Danvers Asylum


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I was researching the origins of some creepy photos floating around on the internet when I came across this Creepy Pasta Wiki outlining the death of Sarah Eustace, an alleged patient in the Danvers State Hospital outside Boston. From the pasta:. The Ghost of Sarah Eustace. Danvers State Hospital formerly Danvers State Lunatic Asylum was a Kirkbride-style psychiatric hospital built in on what was then an isolated site in rural Massachusetts.

Like all Kirkbride asylums, it was famous for its gothic architecture and its use of now outdated medical techniques to treat insanity. Danvers is often cited as the birthplace of the pre-frontal lobotomy. Danvers has several other claims to fame. It was also where the cult horror film Session 9 was filmed. That film put the vast network of tunnels beneath Danvers to good cinematic effect. The most famous story concerns Sarah Eustace, a patient who escaped her ward in and snuck into the tunnel system. Despite multiple searches, and a week-long lockdown of the asylum, Sarah was never seen again.

It was assumed she died down there, lost, thirsty, and alone. Though she never found a body, she did snap this photo in late , which suggests Sarah Eustace walks the Danvers tunnels to this very day. Since it's a Creepy Pasta, I'm inclined to think that the story is just an urban legend. However, I checked out the Danvers State Hospital Wikipedia page , and many of the details noted in the Creepy Pasta - that the hospital inspired Lovecraft and the movie Session Nine - are factual.

Searching Google, I found other websites like this blog and this tumblr , plus stuff on 4chan telling the same story of Sarah Eustace, but no one seems to have any credible sources. Based on the information on this site in which a brave blogger explores the present-day grounds of the hospital, including its cemetery , a lot of the patients had no one claim their bodies when they died, so they received a number instead of a name on their grave marker.

One commenter even notes that she a distant relative who allegedly died at the hospital didn't seem to have a death certificate. Perhaps Sarah's death was never properly documented, and that's why I can't find any info? Has anyone heard this story before, or perhaps has additional information? Though still administratively combined, different facilities and types of care were gradually provided to victims of varying types of misfortune. For example, by , three state hospitals specifically to care for the insane had been built: at Worcester , at Taunton , and at Northampton Her energetic career had significant local as well as national and international impact.

At mid-century the humanistic approach toward care of the insane was generally accepted, yet controversy still surrounded the form or building arrangement such institutions should assume.

Some, heavily represented on the State Board of Charities, favored the dispersion of the dependent as opposed to their congregation. The other faction in the controversy, which found many supporters in the Association of Medical Superintendents, favored a large, highly centralized complex.

Chief proponent of the centralized plan was Thomas S. Kirkbride, M. Kirkbride devised a specific institutional model, thereinafter known as the Kirkbride Plan, which was built upon in all thirty states then in existence and in several European cities. Kirkbride hospitals were intended as monuments to the belief that most insane are curable and thus that the function of the hospital is primarily curative and not custodial.

That curative process was to be greatly enhanced by pleasant surroundings, fresh air, and pure water. The immediate crisis which precipitated the building of a mental hospital north of Boston was the imminence in the early s of the closing of the city facility at South Boston. By , Worcester, Taunton, and Northampton and the Tewksbury Asylum for chronic patients were already housing patients in facilities designed for ; another were scattered about in other less specialized institutions. It was to serve primarily Essex County patients and to accommodate an overflow from South Boston of at least Prominent Boston architect, Nathaniel Jeremiah Bradlee, was selected to design the new facility.

Bradlee a Boston man of important family, entered the office of George M. Dexter at age By the time of his commission at Danvers, at the apex of his career, Bradlee was architect for a phenomenal plus buildings of all varieties in the Boston area. Bradlee practiced with Walter Winslow between and when they were joined by George Wetherell. In addition to his activities as an architect, Bradlee served on the Boston city water board from and from as its president.

The Danvers site, originally Eighteen miles north of Boston, 2 miles west of Danvers, 7 miles from the coal port of Salem, accessibility to visitors and a supply of heating fuel were also deciding factors. Under the supervision of Lynn engineer Charles Hammond, an overall site plan was drawn up, locating the main building on the crown of Hathorne Hill and providing also for a support network of roads and room for a farming operation.

Bitter controversy over the building of Danvers State Hospital centered around its configuration, ornamentation and cost.

Danvers State Hospital Hauntings | Ghostly Activities

The Commissioners defended their plans which, when exhibited at the International Exhibition in Philadelphia, received the only award made to this country for plans for an insane hospital. The investigating committee concluded that several errors in judgment had been made.


  1. The Falls (Inspector Rebus Book 12).
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  3. Danvers State Hospital | Danvers State Hospital | Flickr.

The first patient was admitted May 13, Provision of pure water, an important component in 19th century mental health therapy, was also the subject of argument during the construction and early years of the hospital. The nearby Ipswich River was explored early as a source. In , an agreement was struck whereby the town would build its own intermediate reservoir on the grounds to supply a gravity feed system via a series of ten gallon tanks in the attic.

By the turn of the 20th century, Danvers State Hospital had outgrown its site and facilities. Therefore, in an additional acres straddling the towns of Danvers and Middleton, was purchased and a major building campaign was undertaken. Twentieth century additions to the hospital reflect not only growth of the patient population, but also an increased emphasis on occupational therapy and current theories of decentralized care. Large barns demolished were built as were new buildings for the men who helped out the farming venture Grove Hall ; Farm Hall and for women chronic patients Middleton Colony — In fact, after the very first year of its operation, once the layout was decided, roads, fences, piggery, corn barn, wagon shed, manure cellar, and apple orchard were in place.

After only the second, 50 chords of wood and 10, lbs. The farm continued to grow and prosper and soon became a famous model. The Danvers onion, locally derived by the Gregory Seed Co.


  • Danvers State Hospital - Beyond Mental Illness by Endless Asylum on Spotify.
  • Danvers State Hospital - Kirkbride Buildings;
  • The Decline of Danvers State Hospital - Mad In America.
  • The Death of Sarah Eustace in Danvers State Hospital.
  • Elaborate pleasure gardens were established and adjacent to the Kirkbride complex to supplement recreational therapy programs. In fact, the Danvers State Hospital was so remarkable that it attracted 12, yearly visitors as early as In addition to visiting patients, they brought contributions of books, magazines, and flowers and conducted religious services.


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    • History of Danvers State Hospital.
    • History of Danvers State Hospital.
    • Thus, was established a pattern of community involvement for which the hospital would later become noted. As originally established, the Danvers hospital was to be run by a resident Superintendent appointed by an unpaid lay Board of Trustees, chosen by the Governor. In the leadership role of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts radically advanced with the information of the State Board of Insanity, the first in the United States.

      Landmark legislation:. Danvers State made extensive early use of occupational therapy. They also made shoes and participated in other crafts and Montessori kindergarten exercises. Mental and physical hygiene at Danvers State was guided by the most advanced contemporary thinking despite epidemics such as the great outbreak of bacillary dysentery of in which 36 died. Primary ingredients in the program were recreational therapy gardens, etc. It was believed that the use of water baths to ameliorate the clogged condition of the brain would allow for the discontinuance of irritating restraints and depressing drugs.

      An advanced pathology department supported the hygiene effort. It had already pioneered by being the first Massachusetts mental hospital to hire a woman doctor The hospital was a leader in the area of community involvement from the start.

      The Decline of Danvers State Hospital

      As early as , the Superintendent was advocating a preventive mental health program. By there was an active community mental health program. About the same time in the Massachusetts Plan was being popularized, , the current Department of Mental Health was set up. It succeeded the Commission on Mental Diseases, which had replaced the State Board of Insanity in , and runs the state mental hospital network today.

      The last decade [ss] has seen a change in emphasis on the part of the Department of Mental Health in favor of deinstitutionalization made possible in part by advances in drug therapy. Danvers, today housing patients down from a high of , is one of the five state mental hospitals which are expected to be phased out. Recently a group of citizens, myself included, attempted to obtain a preliminary injunction from Superior Court to stay the demolition of the former Danvers State Hospital, which entire property is listed on the National Historic Register.

      “The inspiration to the Inspiration of Arkham Asylum”

      Our request was denied, though we still have the option to go to trial. The plaintiffs in this case, along with others who donated money to assist with legal costs, have always had as their goal the preservation of the best of the architectural greatness of the State Hospital property. This is the same goal that has been emphasized by various special studies and town committees, by Danvers Town Meeting, several governmental agencies and newspaper editorials, beginning as far back as the s.

      Why Was Danvers State Hospital Built?

      Over the years, however, this goal has been obfuscated, eviscerated and abdicated following a multi-year, Byzantine process overseen by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Most advocates of the careful development of this Massachusetts asset, which would protect the historically and architecturally significant circa Kirkbride complex while allowing for new use and including collateral issues of patient inclusion, and the protection and access of the hospital cemeteries, have become exhausted.

      danvers asylum

      Well, several of us have continued the fight, believing that we owe the effort to ourselves, to the general citizenry of today and to future generations. And it is being done only to maximize profit, not because such preservation of the exterior fabric cannot be accomplished. AvalonBay, the Commonwealth, and the Massachusetts Historical Commission need only to look to a well-conceived and executed Danvers project located only a couple of miles away to see how preserving an exterior, while creating a new interior, can be successfully accomplished.

      The reinvented Holten-Richmond Middle School on Conant Street preserves a wonderful exterior and some interesting interior features, while creating a new, beautiful, and serviceable 21st century school interior. But I guess the circa Kirkbride building, with its designation as a structure with national significance both in history and architecture and presenting one of the most spectacular vistas in all New England, is not quite as important as a local school built in the s.

      To those who might look upon us who have continued to cry out for the preservation of more of the state hospital property as obstructionists who just want to preserve anything old, I would say the following: We have witnessed plans for what could have been a positive project preserving the best of the past while allowing its use in new and exciting ways turned into a simple exercise in maximizing profits, everything else be damned. We have seen many good people ground down and burned out in the attempt to do the right thing. It has been an education I am not happy to have experienced.

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