Opening in 1869, Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane was once the largest asylum in the United States, and was in operation until 1995. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. I wonder if she ever married. By 1877, Willard was the largest asylum in the United States with 1500 patients. Every year, thousands of tourists pour into the Finger Lakes region to take in the changing of the leaves as the green of summer makes way for the hues of autumn. The Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane was to be constructed right away on the 440 acre parcel that lay dormant in the Finger Lakes. As such, out of respect for the patients’ families, none of the graves were marked with surnames. Weekly Special hosts Joe Hren and Pam Thrash get a sneak peak of Willard Library's ghost tour as they visit some of its most infamous haunted sites. Other suitcases have more practical items like shoe polish or toothpaste. At a time when understanding of mental health was very crude, not everyone who found themselves locked in the asylum was really insane. It turns out the staff had been reluctant to throw them out. Though nature has begun to reclaim the halls, they still seem haunted by the lost souls who once walked them. The corpses that weren’t cremated ended up in the asylum’s cemetery. …if that cat could only talk…the stories it could probably tell after sleeping there every night alone. But at Willard, the staff made sure that she was dressed and groomed every day. ( Log Out / Freaktography/FlickrOne of the ruined hallways inside the asylum. In 1890, its name had changed from Willard Asylum for the Insane to Willard State Hosptial. However, history buffs and curious tourists can take a guided tour inside the asylum walls. The first patient was a woman named Mary Rote, who came from just the kind of situation Willard was built to save people from. Undone by war, it was transformed into Willard State Hospital in 1865, and reconstructed and reduced in size in 1886. We investigate and research unexplained phenomena that includes, but is not confined to; experiences of hauntings, EVP, apparitions, ghost sightings, and a broad range of altered realities.”. It’s said that the spirit of the “Grey Lady”, who has appeared over the years to countless people in the form of a misty human shape, roams the library stacks at night. Since the hospital closed, there have been an increasing number of reports of paranormal activity. The building's name is Pines, and I don't know much else about it other than it was used to house patients. Many never did. Guided tours and private ghost hunts are available for purchase on the Asylum’s website. I have been doing some more research on her and have posted it on that blog. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. I will check out the website. But the facility was still a product of the times and today, many of the asylum’s practices would still be considered horrifying. Willard was trying something different and it worked. These were created to be sold to U.S military officers in 1978, however now lie abandoned after a loss of investment. Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane. It only functioned as an asylum from 1869 to 1995, housing thousands of patients. Barbara S. Also, I noticed in the photo that all of the patients were women. The bowling alley built in Willard during the later years is also still there with several decaying pins remaining at the end of the lanes. Thanks Doug & Jane, I thought you did a fabulous investigation! The morgue is still largely intact, with the autopsy tables in place next to the drawers where bodies were kept. Willard opened in 1869 and housed 1,500 patients by 1877, making it the largest asylum in the country. The photo was interesting. More than half of the 50,000 patients that came to the Willard Asylum died within its walls. This particular photo was at Willard. The apparition was first seen in 1937 when the library's janitor caught a glimpse of the veiled spectre in the basement. They treated her like a human being instead of an animal. More than 5000 patients are buried in the Willard Psychiatric Center (formerly the Willard Asylum for the Insane) cemetery which included Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, and Civil War veterans sections. Ghosts are Scary, Disabled People are Not: The Troubling Rise of the Haunted Asylum By SARAH HANDLEY-COUSINS • October 29, 2015 This past spring, the defunct Willard Psychiatric Center (previously known as the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane) in Ovid, New York, opened its doors for tours — one day only, with no advance sale tickets. The lady in the window might have been the cook? They had been left behind by patients who never left, their belongings left unclaimed. 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