Location: Danvers, Massachusetts (aka Salem Village until 1752)
According to the historyofmassachusetts.org, the Danvers State Lunatic Asylum was built between 1874 and 1878. The land on which it was built is called Hathorne Hill after Judge John Hathorne of the Salem Witch Trials who had lived there. The land was purchased from a farmer, Francis Dodge, in the 1870s. It cost $1.5 million to build the asylum at a time when America was still recovering from their Civil War. Over time approximately 40 buildings went up to house TB patients, staff, the medical building, machine shops, two nursing homes, a pump house, cemetery, and cottages, many were connected by underground tunnels.
From 1920 to 1945 the treatments done at the Danvers State Insane Asylum on patients included ECT and lobotomies. Patients often faced neglect and the use of restraints. These treatments are said to “have left a massive psychic imprint on the walls.” (hauntedrooms.com)
Dr. Walter J. Freeman II reportedly conducted numerous lobotomies in the Danvers State Insane Asylum. The care of the patients declined as overcrowding took over while staffing levels remained unchanged. Eventually, the asylum closed in 1992. Reports from visitors to the asylum included hearing voices asking for help and tortured screams.
The building’s facade remains as luxury apartments were constructed and opened in 2008. The area is now known as Halstead Danvers. I wonder if the screams are still heard?
In 1916 forty patients moved into the hospital prior to its opening in 1917. The hospital continued to grow in response to the needs of the surrounding area and by the 1930s the hospital had opened a ward for WWI veterans, another for civilian men, another for women and a separate ward as a Tuberculosis Sanitarium. The 1940s brought electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) into fashion for those suffering from mental illness. The 1950s saw the practice of lobotomies used on the mentally ill.
The hospital expanded its scope once again in the 1960s to include an adolescent unit and an alcohol treatment unit. In 1997 a high-security building was constructed and still operates to this day with about 200 court-ordered patients housed within its walls. (thefurther.net)
Tours are available where visitors can hope to hear unusual noises, doors slamming, disembodied whispers, and perhaps have the chance to capture orbs or apparitions with their cameras. It seems that the town of Alton has other haunted locations too which means that it is now on our ghost hunting bucket list. Is it on yours?
Today we shall venture across the Atlantic Ocean and into County Derry. County Derry is also known as County Londonderry in Northern Ireland. There are six counties in Northern Ireland, and County Derry is considered to be one of the four counties in Northern Ireland where the majority of the population identifies as Catholic. With Northern Ireland being part of the United Kingdom it is the Republic of Ireland that calls the area County Derry and it is the British Authorities that refer to the area as County Londonderry.
As with many places in Europe County Derry contains numerous locales that are said to be haunted. Let’s take a virtual visit to some of them.
What is Haunted in County Derry Ireland?
The photo above is the former Roe Valley Hospital at Limavady County Derry. The building was a workhouse between 1842 and 1932 where on average 10 people died per week. Certainly, some of the spirits of the departed are still hanging about.
It has been reported that one night a security guard was taking photos of the building and captured the image of a ghost. At the same spot, people have heard the crying of babies and have seen men and women in uniform. In the photo below, that has been confirmed as a ghost image by the Paranormal Society of Ireland, you will see the ghost of a nurse holding a baby.
The old hospital is still very busy today, with people working in many different parts of the hospital who have reported strange happenings. Babies have been heard crying by the old Maternity Ward. The security guards found the crying of the phantom babies unnerving. No doubt about that. Ghosts are one thing but ghost babies that are crying would disturb me to no end. As a parent, I would yearn to comfort them.
In the Nurses Home, which is an outbuilding that the nurses lived in when the hospital was still operating, the guards say they hear different sounds. The sound of dragging is heard almost nightly according to theghosthuntuk.com. The guards also will hear the loud wails of a man. People have also been nudged out of the way. Too bad the ghosts don’t use their manners and say, “excuse me.” Although, maybe that would make the whole experience even more frightening.
The kitchen has a resident poltergeist that moves items from time to time. As theghosthuntuk.com states, “They have experienced cold spots and heard whispers. But perhaps more strange is that this particular spirit has tried to hold people’s hands.” How romantic? NOT!
Boom Hall is a once glorious home that was built in 1779 by John Alexander. Boom Hall is located on the banks of the River Foyle. It has passed from family to family and is currently on the edge of collapse.
The area is said to be haunted by the ghost of Captain Browning. According to Catherine Cavendish’s article The Haunting of Boom Hall, Captain Browning died of his wounds received when his ship, the Mountjoy, broke through the wooden boom that was erected as a barrier by Jacobean forces to keep food out of the city in 1689. The ghost of Captain Browning may appear when the weather turns misty; a tall figure dressed in a dark blue tailcoat with gold braiding.
Another ghostly apparition is said to be the ghost of a family relative that was sent to live at Boom Hall to separate her from the young man she loved. The young man was a groomsman and her family did not want her involved with him. The young man, as the story goes, followed her to Boom Hall and would hide in the stables where the young lady would visit him. His presence was eventually discovered and he had to run away. The family then locked the young lady in her bedroom that was located at the top of the house. The young lady pined for her lover and after a week or two a fire broke out in the locked bedroom. Attempts were made to retrieve the young lady but to no avail and upon searching the ashes no trace of her body was found. Yet, after that terrible event, a servant was approached by a spirit in the long corridor at the top of the house and was guided to the stables by the spirit who held her hand. It is reported that the servant found a brooch that had belonged to the girl and when she took it to the mistress of the house the brooch was taken to be a sign that the young lady had somehow escaped the deadly fire. (derrynow.com)
This story is a bit confusing as it seems to say that the young lady escaped death on the night of the fire, but that she is also the spirit. Whomever the spirit is, she has been sighted on numerous occasions and ghost hunters still like to search for her.
Boom Hall has been fenced off and partially boarded up as it is about to fall to the ground. The fences and boards have not stopped all ghost hunters though as the fire brigade learned in 2016. They received a call of distress from two young men who had entered Boom Hall to ghost hunt and became trapped. The rescue took about an hour and a half and just proves that curiosity does not only kill cats but can potentially kill humans too. Safety first people, safety first.