Inside The Ruins Of 9 Abandoned Asylums Where The ‘Treatments’ Were Torture

Published November 30, 2020
Updated July 16, 2021

The Beechworth Lunatic Asylum In Victoria, Australia

Abandoned Beechworth Lunatic Asylum
Empty Asylum
Abandoned Hallway
Broken Window
Inside The Ruins Of 9 Abandoned Asylums Where The ‘Treatments’ Were Torture
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In October 1867, the sprawling Beechworth Lunatic Asylum was opened in Australia. The facility was built on a hill due to the erroneous belief at the time that high altitude could cleanse patients of their mental illnesses.

As was typical of early institutions, the abandoned asylum took in a massive number of patients. At its peak, it housed about 1,200 patients and employed 700 staff members.

Also like most facilities of the 19th century, the "treatments" at Beechworth were notoriously violent. Doctors subjected patients to straitjackets and shackles. Electroshock treatments were common practice there, so much so that there were reportedly mass "shock sessions" where nearly the entire patient population was shocked simultaneously.

Given the extent of the mistreatment that took place at the asylum, it may not come as a surprise that the facility, which was finally closed in 1995, is said to be extremely haunted. Those who worked at the hospital during its last years alleged that the hauntings began long before the hospital was shuttered.

One common spooky sighting is the ghost Matron Sharpe, who once worked at the asylum. She is said to have shown kindness to the patients and tried to improve their conditions. Later nurses alleged that she returned as a spirit whose presence was marked by a sudden chill in the room. She would reportedly stand watch over patients as nurses shocked them.

Other ghosts have allegedly been spotted by visitors during haunted tours around the abandoned asylum, which now sits empty and untouched in the same spot it was built over 150 years ago.

Natasha Ishak
A former staff writer for All That's Interesting, Natasha Ishak holds a Master's in journalism from Emerson College and her work has appeared in VICE, Insider, Vox, and Harvard's Nieman Lab.