Creepy story of the abandoned St. Albans Sanatorium in Redford, Virginia. Written by Allison Dienstman of Colonial Ghosts.
Places where torment took place on a regular basis become hotbeds for paranormal activity, and Virginia’s St. Albans Sanatorium proves no exception. From electroshock therapy to lobotomies, the treatment for the mentally ill at St. Albans caused tremendous suffering for its patients. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that St. Albans ranks as one of the 25 most haunted places in Virginia.
Located in Radford, a small town in western Virginia, the sanatorium dates back to 1892 when it first functioned as a Lutheran school for boys. Later, in 1916 it became a hospital for the mentally insane. While the owner of the new psychiatric center had high hopes for the institution, it ended up functioning as a torture chamber more than a hospital.
With a staff to patient ratio of 48 to 6,509, the patients certainly did not receive proper attention for their ailments. Not to mention, psychiatric medicine at that time resembled torture more than treatment. Doctors would cut open patients’ skulls and shock them into a stupor with electroshock therapy. Insulin-induced comas and lobotomies left patients brain dead… or in some cases, actually dead.
One particular room had an especially high concentration of suffering. Here, patients would receive hydrotherapy treatment that, according to today’s standards, would have had the place shut down. Some doctors would wrap patients in freezing cold towels while others would strap people down in steaming water vats, where they remained confined for days. They would also blast patients with fire hoses. No wonder this room became known as the Suicide Bathroom. Apparently, at least four people killed themselves in this room.
The building shut down in 2003 before one of its former patients purchased the property. Today, the current owner runs haunted attractions within the former sanatorium including an annual Halloween haunted house. However, not all of the ghost sightings in this building result from the staged haunted attractions.
It seems the unfortunate souls who received brutal mistreatment here in life remain trapped in the building in death. Most visitors immediately experience the feeling of depression and unease when inside the building. Others report seeing the spirit of two young females roaming the basement.
Paranormal investigators often come to St. Albans including from TV shows like SyFy’s Haunted Collector, The RIP Files, and Travel Channel’s The Dead Files. During an investigation, a woman felt the icy grip of a ghost’s hand in the Suicide Bathroom. Another team caught the video of a shadow moving down a staircase.
Do the tortured spirits continue to haunt the hallways of St. Albans Sanatorium? Those who dare can visit the former insane asylum and find out for themselves.
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