Uncover the CHILLING Secrets of Utica State Hospital: A Haunting Journey in New York


There are many haunted and abandoned places in New York State, but few are as creepy and intriguing as the former Utica State Hospital. This hospital, the country’s first state-run center for the mentally ill, served thousands of patients between 1843 and 1978.

Many of them experienced neglect, abuse, and experimental treatments including lobotomies and electroshock therapy. Some died inside the hospital walls and were buried in unmarked graves on the grounds. Today, the hospital is a collapsing ruin, reputed to be haunted by the restless spirits of its former residents.

History of Utica State Hospital

Dr. Amariah Brigham, a psychiatric pioneer, and the American Psychiatric Association’s first president, founded the Utica State Hospital. He envisioned a humane and innovative facility that would offer moral support and occupational therapy to the mentally sick. He also created the hospital’s main building, a huge Greek Revival structure with a central dome and two wings. The edifice, finished in 1850, was regarded as an architectural marvel and a source of municipal pride.

This North Carolina Highway Was Declared the Most DANGEROUS in America

Brigham’s vision quickly faded as the hospital became overcrowded and understaffed. The hospital’s population increased from 140 patients in 1843 to almost 2,000 by 1890. The hospital also enlarged its facilities, including new buildings, cottages, farms, and a cemetery.

The hospital’s standards of care also deteriorated as patients were subjected to harsh conditions such as poor cleanliness, insufficient food, and a lack of ventilation. Many patients were either confined, secluded, or subjected to intrusive treatments, such as lobotomies, carried out by Dr. Walter Freeman, the infamous “ice pick” surgeon.

The hospital’s reputation worsened considerably during the twentieth century, as it was the focus of scandals, lawsuits, and investigations. In 1972, Geraldo Rivera, a journalist, revealed the atrocities of the hospital’s Willowbrook unit, which housed children with developmental problems.

He reported that the youngsters were living in filth, neglect, and cruelty and that they were being used as guinea pigs in hepatitis research. His report aroused public uproar, prompting improvements to the mental health system. The facility was eventually dissolved in 1978 after the state passed the Willowbrook Consent Decree, which required the deinstitutionalization of mentally ill people and the establishment of community-based services.

The Hauntings at Utica State Hospital

The majority of the hospital’s structures were demolished or repurposed after its closure, except the main building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The structure was abandoned and rotting, making it a popular destination for urban explorers, vandals, and ghost hunters. Many people have claimed paranormal activity at the hospital, including hearing voices, footsteps, screams, and laughing, seeing apparitions, shadows, and orbs, feeling cold spots, touches, and pushes, and smelling odd aromas like blood, rot, and sulfur.

Pennsylvania Has an Abandoned Town That Most People Don’t Know About

Some of the most haunted locations of the hospital include the basement, which held the morgue and autopsy room, the fourth floor, which housed the lobotomy victims, and the dome, which housed Dr. Brigham’s office and where he supposedly committed suicide.

Some of the hospital’s most notorious ghosts include the Nurse, who is seen wearing a white uniform and carrying a clipboard, the Little Boy, who is heard crying and asking for his mother, the Old Man, who is seen sitting in a wheelchair and staring blankly, and the Shadow Man, a dark and menacing figure lurking in the corners.

Future of Utica State Hospital

The Utica State Hospital’s fate is unknown since it faces threats of vandalism, fire, and demolition. The state owns the building, however, it is administered by Save Our Structures (SOS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and restoring historic landmarks.

SOS has been collaborating with the state and the local community to identify a suitable use for the building, such as a museum, hotel, or cultural center. However, the project confronts numerous hurdles, including funding, zoning, and environmental concerns. The building also needs major renovations due to water damage, mold, asbestos, and structural issues.

Despite the hurdles, SOS and its supporters are optimistic that the Utica State Hospital will be preserved and given a new life. They see the building as not only an important piece of history but also a potential benefit to the city’s economic and social development. They also believe that by recognizing the hospital’s history, they will help heal the wounds of former patients and workers, as well as pacify its restless ghosts.

Final Words

The former Utica State Hospital represents a sad period in mental health history, characterized by neglect, abuse, and lingering legacies. Despite its deteriorating state, Save Our Structures and the community are working to keep it standing. Beyond its creepy reputation, the institution represents the importance of compassion and empathy in mental health care, promoting healing for both past and present stakeholders.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.