Since its doors opened in 1854, many patients of the Taunton State Hospital fell victim to horrific experiments and torture in the supposed name of science. Given its disturbing past, is it really any wonder that the souls of those who passed there, have never moved on.
Many stories of ghostly visitations are based around the sightings of single apparitions, those whose stories usually start with some disturbing or traumatic event that led to their death - restless souls confined to the location where the vile crimes or horrific tragedies took place. When a particular site becomes subject to a constant flow of visitations from more than one spirit, then the story becomes an even more terrifying haunting.
Asylums have often been a focal point when it comes to tales of the paranormal, and for a good reason. During earlier times, these places were treated almost like graveyards for the mentally ill. Then, during the pre-dawn of modern medicine and enlightened psychology interpretations, the insane and mentally disturbed were discarded by their families and sent to faraway institutions.
The doctors who were tasked with treating these patients were given free rein in terms of performing horrific experiments on the mentally ill, at the time, all in the name of science. When you delve into the history of some of these places, it is easy to understand why the spirits of the hundreds of disturbed innocents who were tortured and killed there may still haunt many of these old asylums.
Out of the many asylums, Taunton State Hospital in Massachusetts, USA, was one of the most horrific places, it was even said that once the Devil himself walked through the halls. The hospital opened its doors in 1854 and was originally named the State Lunatic Hospital in Taunton, and it served as the second state asylum. The hospital was built on the specifications provided by Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, who ironically had advocated for treating all mentally ill patients with care and compassion, stating that they would be best treated through good feelings and positivity, and not by fearing them or shunning them, as people were frequently inclined to do.
The build of the hospital followed his designs, including a large campus for patients to wander, with recreation rooms and comfortable bedrooms. The patients were supposed to have sunlight, fresh air, good food, and plenty of space to move around. It had bridge ways to keep the wards connected to the hospital's infirmary wing. The hospital was aesthetically beautiful and quite pleasing to the eye.
However, the outer beauty could not hide the inner ugliness that was taking place in its hallowed halls. Its history is bloody, murderous, and painful. Thousands of patients were tortured, and over the years, several staff members have reported stories of being victims themselves of some paranormal phenomenon.
Taunton was host to several infamous people confined behind its walls, Thomas Hubbard Sumner, the inventor of the Sumner Line, was one such patient who spent his last days in this hospital. Convicted serial killer Jane Toppan was also sentenced to life here, and her story is certainly a harrowing tale. Toppan, who lost her mother when she was just a child, was raised by her father, an alcoholic and eccentric madman nicknamed "Kelley the Crack." He left his two daughters at the Boston Female Asylum and Vanished. Jane, adopted as the servant of the well-to-do Toppan family, took their last name.
As she grew up and trained to be a nurse, she started using her patients as her guinea pigs, dosing them with various drugs such as morphine and atropine. She claimed that watching patients who were near death aroused her sexually. She would drug them, climb into their bed, and hold closely onto them as they passed away.
She later moved back to her hometown, where she murdered her foster sister and attempted to seduce her widowed brother-in-law afterward. With her foster sister dead, she attempted to convince her sister's husband that she loved him, she poisoned him before nursing him back to health. She even poisoned herself in a bid to gain sympathy from him. These attempts at seducing her brother-in-law failed, and he sent her away.
Investigations of her previous murders led to her arrest, where she confessed to having killed over thirty people. They sentenced Jane to life at the Taunton State Asylum. Her ghost, it is said, still haunts the halls, drawing people closer to death and holding them tight as they passed into the void.
The Ghost's Of Taunton State Asylum
Madness, violence, and murder ran rampant within the halls of Taunton. Yet, while many patients housed within the facility were genuinely disturbed, what was far more frightening were the secret activities of the doctors and staff members themselves at Taunton. According to local legend, Taunton was the site of cult activity and devil worship. There were rumors of patients routinely being sacrificed to Satan and other demons. Staff members allegedly brought the most helpless patients down to the basement to be offered to the dark lord as sacrificial lambs. After having heard the rumors, some patients refused to be brought down to the basement. Because of this, they lost their outdoor privileges.
Some of the latter staff reported seeing a man in white walking around the third-floor corridors. He flickers in and out of visibility, becoming physical and then vanishing, coming and going as he wishes. Sometimes, he is simply a shadow that crawls across the wall in a slow, terrifying manner, as though looking for something. Other times, he becomes a solid figure, striding across the hallway in a rage. The apparition is always a male, but no one has ever clearly seen his face. Residents have reported that he stands in the corner of their rooms and watches them silently. Switch on the lights, and he vanishes, his face always hidden in the shadows. Could he be one of the many victims who was tortured and killed at Taunton? Or is he the Devil himself, waiting to ensnare unsuspecting victims? Did the doctors, through their heinous acts of brutality and murder, raise Satan himself? Is it the victim or perpetrator? Or perhaps even both? We can only speculate.
The cemetery is also quite a haunting site. One resident reported a chilling story. A patient escaped the halls of Taunton. He ran out of the facility but tired quickly and unable to run any further, he waited the night out in the graveyard. It seemed to be a good idea because no one would think of looking for him within the grounds of the hospital itself. As he crouched near a tombstone, he felt the icy grip of a hand holding his shoulder, tight enough to bruise it. Thinking someone captured him, he threw his arms up, turning around to face his captor, only to see that there was no one behind him. A second later, a whisper murmured into his ear, "Leave." It repeated itself again and again. Finally, panicked and terrified, the man ran back into the hospital, where he spent the rest of his days. Did both the spectral hand and the disembodied voice belong to a ghost attempting to warn him to escape the halls of Taunton? Or was it the Devil himself, trying to frighten the man into staying? One can only wonder. Doors slam, lights flash, and icy chills occur within the rooms of Taunton. The shadows dance, but not pleasantly. The silhouettes speak of unimaginable horror, of the hundreds of innocents whose bloodshed to bring the Devil to life within the walls of Taunton. It is not surprising that this has become one of the most haunted places in the United States of America.
Taunton State Hospital, supposedly a sanctuary for the mentally disturbed, where they might find peace of mind and solace of spirit, became something else. The doctors, meant to be their caretakers, turned into their captors as they used them as sacrificial lambs for slaughter, cutting into them and offering them up as bait for their satanic rituals.
Whether it was psychotic criminals like Jane Toppan or the innocent victims whose families shipped them off to Taunton, thousands of trapped souls within the halls, to this day, their souls have not found a way out of the mental institution. Instead, they remain imprisoned, long after their bodies have died and rot under the ground.
Now you have read the story of the Taunton Mental Asylum, make sure you read the true story behind the black eyed child of Cannock Chase.