Archive for the Ghosts Category

Hell House on the Hill, Danvers MA

Posted in Danvers MA, Ghosts, Haunted History on May 23, 2023 by tommcge

Open: May 1, 1878–Hell House on the Hill

When Dr. Calvin S. May is appointed superintendent of the hospital, the state of  Massachusetts had been undergoing a shift in treatment of the mentally ill. The focus was now “to create a humane and compassionate environment for the patients. The disabled would be placed in a beautiful, healthy and welcoming community where they would be treated with compassion and love.” But…

Instead, Danvers State Lunatic Asylum and others like it became a place of torture, forced fear and abuse. The land which the psychiatric hospital rests, in Danvers, MA is purchased from Francis Dodge in 1874., The need for such an institution North of Boston is caused by the closure “of the facility at South Boston.” The overcrowding of the areas other residences in the region are also a concern. For example, by 1866 Tewksbury Asylum held 1300 patients; it is meant to house only 1000. While this is happening, 1200 more mentally disabled individuals were distributed within this system.

The new complex in the town of Danvers included a school for nurses, segregated buildings for men and women, a research laboratory, a clinic to study “ mental deficiency in children,” and a tuberculosis center. By the time of its closing on June 24,1992 the mental health department in the state went from a place of beauty where, in theory the disabled could get a sense of “balance restored” to a place where patients feared.

“Despite every effort to preserve this natural historic treasure, despite its unique place in the history of the area and in the humane treatment of the mentally ill, Dr Kirkbride’s approach of fresh air, good food gainful occupation, etc. and a limit of 500 patients (maximum in the facility) [which] was later distorted by overcrowding in the 20th century. [This] does not negate the benefits of Kirkbride’s original vision.”

H.P. Lovecraft used this Danvers Psychiatric Hospital as his inspiration for Arkham Asylum, It also turns out the land which this building would sit belonged to John Hathorne, the chief judge overseeing the trials in Salem (1692-1693). In the 1980s 115 patients go missing, their whereabouts are still unknown! So is this place haunted? Are the spirits of those terror victims roaming the grounds? Remember, what this mental institution’s nickname is…