Get ready to live life on the edge, because we are about to explore the world’s coolest abandoned hospitals. If you don’t already have candles, blankets, and hot chocolate on-hand, take a moment to get situated because you haven’t heard stories like this before. These places will surely give you goosebumps as we learn why they were deserted, and the haunting images they leave behind. From Victorian-styled buildings used as asylums, medical clinics, and old military hospitals, let’s enter some of the creepiest abandoned places on earth.
Beelitz – Heilstatten
Location: Brandenburg, Germany
Active Years: Late 1800’s – 2000
Right from the beginning, this hospital can be seen as a sinister reminder of where young Adolf Hitler was treated after the Battle of the Somme during World War I. The Beelitz-Heilstatten is a 60-building complex located outside of Berlin in Brandenburg. The hospital was constructed during the late 19th century and was initially intended to be a hospital for treating the rapidly increasing number of patients suffering from tuberculosis at the time.
At the turn of the century, World War I broke out, and the Beelitz-Heilstatten was converted into a Red Cross hospital for wounded soldiers rescued from the front lines. During World War II in 1945, the hospital was occupied by the Soviets, and Beelitz became a Soviet military hospital until the German unification of 1990. Five years later the Soviet army withdrew, and in 2000 the historic hospital was completely abandoned. Although Beelitz-Heilstatten is no longer used today, it had its moment in fame when used as a movie set for Valkyrie.
Linda Vista Hospital
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Active Years: 1905 – 1991
Built in 1904, this hospital was originally known as the Santa Fe Coastlines Hospital. The hospital cared for railroad employees posted in the area and was renamed Linda Vista Hospital in 1937.
Following the Great Depression in the 1930s, the quality of the hospital’s services drastically worsened. Coupled with the rapid increase in crime and violence, hospital funding and staff count decreased – leading to a rise in the hospital’s death tolls. During the 1970s and 1980s, gang violence also continued to increase, leading to the hospital’s ultimate abandonment in 1991. Today, much of the facility remains in ruins, but Hollywood directors found the premises to be an excellent film set for famous movies like Pearl Harbour.
Trenton State Mental Hospital
Location: Trenton, New Jersey, USA
Active Years: 1848 – Present
This was the first public health mental institution, also known as the “Hospital of Horrors.” The Trenton State Mental Hospital was established in 1848 by American mental health advocate, Dorothea Lynde Dix. Trenton State hospital was designed in accordance with the Kirkbride Plan, which promoted natural light and air circulation throughout the facility to nurture patient wellbeing.
After 1907, the horror began when Dr. Henry Cotton was placed in charge of the hospital. As a result of Cotton’s belief that infections were the root cause of mental illness, he and his staff began cutting out patients’ organs without their consent. Even though Cotton claimed that he had a 90% success rate, his cruel methods led to an enormous death toll. After Cotton’s death, this brutality continued until the second half of the 20th century. Although the majority of the hospital wings fell into abandonment as the years continued, a small portion of the hospital still operates today with minimal beds.
Nocton Hall Hospital
Location: Lincolnshire, England
Active Years: 1917 – 1983
Despite being labeled as a historic grade II building in Lincolnshire, England, this Victorian mansion stands in ruins today. Nocton Hall’s foundation dates back to 1530 and following its expansion in 1834, a fire broke out. Following the fire, the hospital was rebuilt by the 1st Earl of Ripon in 1841 to be used as his residence.
In 1914, the Hodgson family took over residency. When America entered World War I in 1917, the Hodgson family moved out to convert the home into a treatment center for the American soldiers. During World War II, the estate was taken over by the British Royal Air Force and remained under its control until it was closed down in 1983. As a result of another fire incident in 2004, most of the old mansion has now been destroyed.
Poveglia Island Healthcare Center
Location: Venice, Italy
Active Years: 1793 – 1968
The existence of the Poveglia Island dates back to circa 421. By 1776, the island became an established trade center and its population began to flourish. As a result of a plague outbreak in 1793, Poveglia Island became a quarantine station for infected people until 1814. Starting in 1922, the island’s facilities were used to treat the mentally ill. This continued until 1968 when the island healthcare center closed down after rumors of a mad doctor performing unworldly experiments on the patients.
Severalls Mental Hospital
Location: Colchester, Essex, England
Active Years: 1913 – 1997
Severalls Mental Hospital was a psychiatric asylum built in 1913 in Colchester, Essex. The campus sprawled over 300 acres with a housing capacity for up to 2000 patients. Similar to other asylums on our list, doctors performed unfathomable experiments on patients, including frontal lobotomy.
Following World War II, the German air force bombed the area in August 1942, which destroyed the hospital’s west wing and killed 38 patients. The hospital entered its decline during the late 1980s and officially closed to the public in March 1997.
Location: Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine
Active Years: 1970 – 1986
As far as infamous abandoned places go, you will always find Pripyat near the top of the list. During the city’s development, the hospital was founded in 1970 with a capacity for 400 patients and a state-of-the-art maternity ward. In 1986, one of the most devastating nuclear accidents in history occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant during a reactor test. On that fatal night, the fire-fighters and rescuers of the Chernobyl disaster were brought here for treatment. Many victims’ uniforms still lay scattered in the hospital basement today, being too radiated to move. More than 33 years later, the entire area is still radioactive and is inhabitable for humans for at least another 20,000 years.
Danvers State Hospital
Location: Danvers, Massachusetts, USA
Active Years: 1878 – 1992
Built in 1874 in rural Massachusetts, the Danvers State Hospital was officially opened in 1878. This is another example of an American mental asylum designed in accordance to the Kirkbride Plan, which promoted natural light and air circulation throughout the facility to nurture patient wellbeing. The building underwent several expansions and modifications in subsequent years.
Infamously known for its electroshock therapy and reports of patients being beaten by the hospital staff, it is no wonder that the Danvers State Hospital is rumored to be a haunted building. By the 1960s, massive budget cuts took place, and with the ongoing reputation of inhumane activities, the hospital started closing off wards as early as 1969, finally closing down in 1992.
Ypres Advanced Dressing Center
Location: Ypres, Belgium
Years Active: 1915 – 1918
This site was never built as a state-of-the-art medical facility, but rather like a front line medical aid clinic during World War I in Ypres, Belgium near the British trenches. The Advanced Dressing Center was constructed in 1915 and operated as a rudimentary medical center, providing immediate aid to wounded soldiers.
During the 2nd battle of Ypres on April 22, 1915, the German army first used Chlorine gas in the history of war against the Canadian positions. Following these events, the Advanced Dressing Center was constructed. Today it stands as a grim reminder of one of the two most deadly wars in human history.
Sanatorio de La Barranca
Location: Navacerrada, Spain
Active Years: 1941 – 1995
When the Spanish Ministry of Health undertook a project to build several sanatoriums around Madrid, the Sanatorio de La Barranca was built in 1941 in Navacerrada, Spain. The hospital’s initial mission was to treat various diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy. Similar to the other sanatoriums built, the Guarda hospital was built among isolated woods since fresh air was considered to be the best medicine before the discovery of penicillin.
In 1962, while most sanatoriums were being demolished, Sanatorio de La Barranca was converted into a mental asylum. The hospital continued to operate as a mental asylum until it was closed in 1995 and has remained abandoned since.
So many of histories mysteries are hidden in the abandonment of these hospitals. It horrifies us to think about the illegal and vicious activities that happened behind their walls. Do you know of any more abandoned hospitals that our readers need to know about? Reach out and let us know!