Built in 1854 in picturesque Taunton, Massachusetts, it was originally called the State Lunatic Hospital at Taunton. Although newer, more modern buildings were eventually added to the 154-acre parcel of land, the original building known as the Kirkbride Building, remained standing for over one-hundred and fifty years. Recently rebuilt and remodeled, this was the building that most of the ghosts called home.
Long before it was finally closed in 1975, the insane asylum saw some of history’s worst killers. Among them was serial Jane Toppan. Jane was a nurse at Cambridge Hospital, and during her time there she experimented on patients using morphine and atropine.
In addition to her known, medically-induced deaths, Jane also had the goal of claiming more victims than any other female serial killer. Upon capture, she confessed to murdering 31 patients in total. She remained at Taunton up until her death in 1938. Lizzie Borden, the young woman accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe also spent time behind the Taunton walls.
More frightening than its residents were rumors that began circulating regarding the hospital’s staff. Shortly before its closure, many of the hospital’s patients reported an uneasy feeling whenever they passed the doorway to the basement. It wasn’t until a few staff members began digging in old files that they found what may have been the cause.
In the 1920s, patients reported seeing a select group of doctors and nurses taking fellow patients down to the basement. The patients who went down there were never seen again. It is believed that this select group were Satanists conducting rituals and experiments on patients. This was never conclusively proven, but those brave enough to go down to the basement have all said that, once down there, they were overcome by an intense feeling of paranoia. Some have even said that they saw shadows moving across the walls.
After the Kirkbride Building officially closed in 1975, it quickly fell into disrepair. For years, it sat empty, becoming a place where kids would hang out and drink. It was also a hotspot for ghost hunters looking to commune with the spirits that still haunted its corridors and infamous basement. In 1999, the beautiful dome that towered over the building collapsed. Then one night in 2006, a fire broke out in the central building. The fire destroyed the Kirkbride’s central structure, but left its wings intact until 2009 when the city had them demolished.
Yet some believe the story did not end there. Before carting off the debris to the local landfill, the city sold off many of the hospital’s parts and pieces to companies all over the United States. The iron gates that once held in the criminally insane are now blocking the entrance of some other building. The bricks that made up the walls that shadows once danced across are now part of someone else’s walls. And the light fixtures that lit the hallways that Satanic doctors dragged patients through in the middle of the night are now lighting another unknown room somewhere. Perhaps the ghosts have just relocated to new residences.