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Athens Mental Hospital

Athens Mental Hospital paranormal

Location submitted by: jragan on 01/07/2011
DBA Approved: Y

PANICd#: 1025

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The Athens Mental Health Center, in Athens County, is located on a hill across from the flowing Hocking River in Ohio.


Athens , OH
Open to the public: Unknown

Lat: 39.3292396
Lon: -82.1012554

Database Summary:

Demographic Rank: 4
History: 4
Stories: 2
Claims: 8
Evidence: 1
Resources: 3
Retrievals: 2666
Vistor Rating: 5.0
Votes: 1

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History

History information is some background and history about the location. This is meant to be a basic summary. Below the history records you will find sources in which you can click on to find out more information. There may be multiple history records per location.


The Athens Mental Health Center, in Athens County, is located on a hill across from the flowing Hocking River in Ohio. It opened in January 9, 1874 on land purchased from a local farmer named Coates. In recent years, the State Hospital campus also known as "The Ridges", has been absorbed into the Ohio University campus and now houses several of the University buildings. Clearly, lots of changes have taken place on this plot of land, but there still exists some original remnants of the old institution - and they are not wholly physical remnants.

Many years ago, mental institutions were considered peculiar places indeed. The Athens Mental Health Center was an infamous facility that was used to house the criminally insane. Various stories exist of atrocities that occurred within its walls. Beatings, tortures, and other cruel forms of punishment were apparently the norm for its day and there have even been many reports of deaths and murders occurring within the facility's walls.

Facility History

The institution was closed in the 1980's during the time when the Reagan administration closed many of the state's hospitals in order to realize budget savings. Many of the inmates were simply released on the streets and now account for much of Athens's relatively large homeless population. Ohio University acquired most of the institution's campus and many of the buildings have been or are being refurbished to be used as administration buildings. Several of the buildings are open to the public where interested parties can take guided tours and hear of the atrocities and appalling treatment the hospital's inmates were forced to endure. One of the more popular stories provides the tourists with a vivid and grim reminder of how important a "normal" functioning mind can be.

Added by: jragan on 02/01/2011 DB#:72
Source(s):
http://www.altereddimensions.net/ghosts/AthensMent...


It began operation in 1874. Within two years of its opening, the hospital was renamed as the Athens Hospital for the Insane. Later the hospital would be called the Athens Asylum for the Insane, the Athens State Hospital, the Southeastern Ohio Mental Health Center, the Athens Mental Health Center, the Athens Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center, the Athens Mental Health and Developmental Center, and then (again) the Athens Mental Health Center.

The original hospital was in operation from 1874 to 1993. Although not a self-sustaining facility, for many years the hospital had livestock, farm fields and gardens, an orchard, greenhouses, a dairy, a physical plant to generate steam heat, and even a carriage shop in the early years. The architect for the original building was Levi T. Scofield of Cleveland. Construction of the facility began in 1868 and the hospital opened on January 9, 1874.

The designs of the buildings and grounds were influenced by Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, a 19th century physician who authored an influential treatise on hospital design, On the Construction, Organization and General Arrangements of Hospitals for the Insane. Kirkbride buildings are most recognizably characterized by their "bat wing" floor plan and often lavish Victorian-era architecture.

The hospital grounds were designed by Herman Haerlin of Cincinnati. Some of Haerlin's other landscape designs are seen in Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery and the Oval on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus.

Haerlin also based his designs on Kirkbride's plans that stated extensive grounds with parks, lakes, and farmland were beneficial to the success of an asylum.

For many years, the hospital was Athens, Ohio's largest employer. The state hospital was eventually decommissioned and, in a land swap between the Department of Mental Health and Ohio University, the hospital's property was deeded to Ohio University. Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare, Athens Campus (as Southeast Psychiatric Hospital was renamed), still serves as a psychiatric hospital in Athens. With the original Athens Lunatic Asylum situated on a hill south of the Hocking River and the newer hospital on the north bank of the river, the two facilities are still within sight of each other.

The history of the hospital documents some of the now-discredited theories of the causes of mental illness, as well as the practice of harmful treatments, such as lobotomy. The leading cause of insanity among the male patients was masturbation, according to the annual report of 1876. The second-most common cause of insanity, as recorded in the first annual report, was intemperance and dissipation. In the hospital's first three years of operation, eighty-one men and one woman were diagnosed as having their insanity caused by masturbation. Fifty-six men and one woman were diagnosed as having their insanity caused by intemperance and dissipation during this same period of time.

For the female patients hospitalized during these first three years of the asylum's operation, the three leading causes of insanity are recorded as "puerperal condition" (51 women), "change of life" (32 women), and "menstrual derangements" (29 women).

Epilepsy was also considered a major cause of insanity and reason for admission to the hospital in the early years. The first annual report lists thirty-one men and nineteen women as having their insanity caused by epilepsy. General "ill health" accounted for the admission of thirty-nine men and forty-four women in the first three years of the hospital's operation.

The hospital closed in 1993. However, the institution of the state hospital continued to function in Athens, with patients and staff relocating to a newly constructed facility which, at the time of the transition in 1993, was called the Southeast Psychiatric Hospital. The psychiatric hospital in Athens is now named Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare.

 

Added by: jragan on 02/01/2011 DB#:73
Source(s):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athens_Lunatic_Asylum


This is a really nice slide show that highlights some older, historical pictures of this location.

Added by: jragan on 02/01/2011 DB#:74
Source(s):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avD7MURy2-k


 

Among its more colorful ghosts is one Margaret Schilling. Her case is very strange and mysterious. What is known about her is that she was a patient of the hospital who was given a fair amount of freedom to roam. One day, in December 1978 she simply did not return. Although a search was conducted, no trace of her was found. Weeks later in January, her body was discovered in an old closed off section of the hospital.

There are two versions of how she died. One states that she died from starvation, the other that she died of a heart attack. Whatever the cause, there remained on the floor a perfect outline of her body. Many attempts at cleaning the stain have been made but it always returned. This has been scientifically explained by the fact that her decaying tissues were actually absorbed into the concrete. Another part of her mystery lies in the reason why she was never found. There are many stories and accountants of what actually happened. One account claims that she was a deaf mute. There also is some debate about whether or not she was dressed when her body was discovered. Also thrown into the mix is whether or not the door was locked. While these things are mysteries, they are by no means paranormal.

What really makes the story of Margaret interesting is the number of times her ghost has been sighted. Since her strange and unexplained death, many people claim to have seen her wandering the halls. They also claim to have seen orbs and lights in the areas near where she died. There are even rumors that a young girl was haunted by the ghost of Margaret.

Throughout the years, there have been claims of people seeing faces and lights in the windows of the now vacant building. There have also been reports of strange unexplained noises and voices within the building itself. Visitors have also claimed that they feel cold spots and drafts, and have heard footsteps walking the deserted halls.

Many different teams of paranormal explorers have gone into the building to investigate these disturbances. Using a variety of equipment, their findings have included cold spots, unexplained voices and screams. Although none of the teams has reached any absolute conclusions or proof of the paranormal, they have certainly added to the ghostly mysteries that surround this old building.

Added by: jragan on 01/07/2011 DB#:25
Source(s):


Stories

Stories are just that. Stories and personal accounts that have been reported about the location.


This decrease in individualized care and attention led to a renaissance of many of the primitive treatments of Colonial days--with a few new tortures thrown in for good measure. What sorts of things were done to human beings at the Ridges? Well, to name just a few...

1. Water Treatment

Patients were submerged in ice-cold water for extended periods of time. Sometimes they were wrapped in sheets which had been soaked in icewater and restrained.
 
2. Shock Therapy
 
Electric shocks were administered to patients submerged in water tanks or, more commonly, directly to the temples by the application of brine-soaked electrodes. A patient held a rubber piece in his mouth to prevent him from biting his tongue off during the convulsions which followed a treatment. (See One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for a painful example of electroshock therapy.)
 
3. Lobotomy (Original)
 
Patients had their skulls opened and their neural passages separated midway through the brain. This difficult and arduous procedure killed many people, but those who survived did in fact forget many of their depressive or psychotic tendencies. They also forgot a lot of other things, like how not to shit down your leg at dinner time, but with such an abundance of patients the only thing most doctors worried about was how to streamline the process. Open-skull brain surgery is a tricky business no matter how you slice it.
 
4. Lobotomy (Trans-Orbital)
 
Developed by Dr. Walter J. Freeman in the early 1950s, this simpler lobotomy became something of a craze in mental health circles up through the 60s. Dr. Freeman's method involved knocking the patient unconscious with electric shocks, then rolling an eyelid back and inserting a thin metal icepick-like instrument called a leucotome through a tear duct. A mallet was used to tap the instrument the proper depth into the brain. Next it was sawed back and forth to sever the neural receptors. Sometimes this was done in both eyes. There is some evidence that this method actually helped some people with very severe conditions, but much more often the patient had horrible side effects and in many cases ended up nearly catatonic. It also killed a whole bunch of people, too.


Dr. Freeman performs a trans-orbital lobotomy in 1949.

This of course leaves out any extra cruelties which might have been given without the justification of therapy. Patients were often restrained and were forced to sleep in group bunks in rooms intended for one person. One nurse was sometimes responsible for as many as fifty patients. In these conditions some restricted patients would carve messages on the sandstone windowsills of their rooms, reaching through the ornate bars to leave an anonymous word or sentence. One poignant carving still reads, "I was never crazy."

Added by: jragan on 02/01/2011 DB#:1047
Source(s):
http://www.forgottenoh.com/Ridges/ridges.html


Among its more colorful ghosts is one Margaret Schilling. Her case is very strange and mysterious. What is known about her is that she was a patient of the hospital who was given a fair amount of freedom to roam. One day, in December 1978 she simply did not return. Although a search was conducted, no trace of her was found. Weeks later in January, her body was discovered in an old closed off section of the hospital.

There are two versions of how she died. One states that she died from starvation, the other that she died of a heart attack. Whatever the cause, there remained on the floor a perfect outline of her body. Many attempts at cleaning the stain have been made but it always returned. This has been scientifically explained by the fact that her decaying tissues were actually absorbed into the concrete. Another part of her mystery lies in the reason why she was never found. There are many stories and accountants of what actually happened. One account claims that she was a deaf mute. There also is some debate about whether or not she was dressed when her body was discovered. Also thrown into the mix is whether or not the door was locked. While these things are mysteries, they are by no means paranormal.

What really makes the story of Margaret interesting is the number of times her ghost has been sighted. Since her strange and unexplained death, many people claim to have seen her wandering the halls. They also claim to have seen orbs and lights in the areas near where she died. There are even rumors that a young girl was haunted by the ghost of Margaret.

Throughout the years, there have been claims of people seeing faces and lights in the windows of the now vacant building. There have also been reports of strange unexplained noises and voices within the building itself. Visitors have also claimed that they feel cold spots and drafts, and have heard footsteps walking the deserted halls.

Many different teams of paranormal explorers have gone into the building to investigate these disturbances. Using a variety of equipment, their findings have included cold spots, unexplained voices and screams. Although none of the teams has reached any absolute conclusions or proof of the paranormal, they have certainly added to the ghostly mysteries that surround this old building.

Added by: jragan on 02/01/2011 DB#:1049
Source(s):
http://www.paranormalvideos.net/haunted-places/hau...


Paranormal Claims

Here are the paranormal claims for this location. These have been found through Internet research, reports from members, or reports from personal interviews. To add a claim, please contact PANICd.com, and we will review and add your information.


Claim # Added Added By Claim
1321 02/01/2011 jragan An apparition of a woman named "Margaret" has been seen roaming the halls.
1322 02/01/2011 jragan Orbs and lights have been seen near the location where "Margaret" had died.
1323 02/01/2011 jragan Strange lights have been seen in the windows of the closed buildings.
1324 02/01/2011 jragan Strange noises and voices have been heard within the vacant buildings.
1325 02/01/2011 jragan Visitors have reported feeling drafts and cold spots.
1326 02/01/2011 jragan Footsteps have been heard in the vacant rooms and deserted hallways.
1327 02/01/2011 jragan Unexplained screams have been heard throughout the vacant buildings.
1328 02/01/2011 jragan A stain continues to reappear where "Margaret's" body was discovered. Some say it was her impression left on the world, others claim it to be the result of cleaning the area.

Paranormal Evidence

Paranormal evidence is based on claims that have been reported for this location. There can be several types of evidence; however, we have grouped them based on media type for better organization. Here you will find evidence that are logs, audio, video, or photographic.

To add evidence for a claim, you must submit it to PANICd.com for approval to be entered into the database.


CLAIM #: 1328 - A stain continues to reappear where "Margaret's" body was discovered. Some say it was her impression left on the world, others claim it to be the result of cleaning the area.



Evidence Type: Video
Encounter Type: None Found
Hauting Type: Unknown
Investigation Status: Debunked
This video debunks the claim.
Submitted By: jragan On: 02/01/2011
DBA Approved: Y

Additional Resources

This is a collection of Internet resources for this location. This section will house links to other websites that contain information related to history, claims, investigations, or even the location's website.


Changes to the Asylum
Added: 01/07/2011 By: jragan
Documentation on all of the changes made to the Athens Lunatic Asylum
Official Ohio Documents
Added: 02/01/2011 By: jragan
Official documents and records for the facility.
Altered Dimensions
Added: 02/01/2011 By: jragan
Webpage about this location on the Altered Dimensions website.

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