Exploring Abandoned Asylums and Forgotten Institutions

By Sophia Maddox | March 11, 2024

The Byberry State Hospital, Philadelphia

If you listen closely to the sound of history, the echoes of despair reverberate through the forsaken corridors of abandoned institutions, where debt-laden souls were callously cast into frigid confinement. The grim legacy persisted as the shadows of mental illnesses seized others, drawing them into the desolate embrace of institutional walls. Within these cold confines, the weight of cognitive disorders became a silent torment, an indomitable force driving inhabitants into bleak isolation. Afflicted by specific contagious maladies, some were marooned, left to wither in the solitude of abandonment. Today, these creepy structures stand as poignant monuments to human suffering, lonely sentinels scattered across desolate landscapes, silent witnesses to the forgotten and discarded chapters of our shared past.

Let's explore the desolate remnants of these forsaken institutions and asylums, where the haunting solitude and abandonment permeate every crumbling brick and echoing corridor.



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Byberry State Hospital was a seemingly idyllic refuge when officials inaugurated it in 1903. It promised solace for those grappling with mental illnesses. Little did anyone know, it was about to take a nightmarish nosedive into the abyss. One of the first patients was William Kirsch, who staff shackled in a four-point restraint chained to a wall for three years. 

The staff at Byberry were different from your average caregivers. Instead, they were masters of the macabre. They would wrap a wet towel around a patient's neck, twisting it relentlessly until consciousness decided to take a vacation to the dark side. They also had a unique talent for dentistry because they would extract teeth without painkillers. They were also big fans of overmedication, turning hapless patients into real-life Sleeping Beauties. 

Even with caring staff bravely going to the media with reports, it seemed the world just shrugged and went about business. Byberry State Hospital wasn't where nightmares occurred just in your dreams. They lurked behind every door. It's a cautionary tale that reminds us: when choosing a mental health facility, check the Yelp reviews first.


Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital, South Korea

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In the quiet aftermath of its demise in May 2018, Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital lingers as a spectral figure in South Korea's haunted history, its eerie tale etched into the fabric of its enigmatic past. This building, built in the 1970s, was a psychiatric hospital and a repository of tragic and mysterious stories. 

Things turned sinister in the 1990s when a sewage system disagreement occurred. The owner and director clashed on whether to upgrade, leading to the hospital's closure. As whispers of the director's demise and the owner's escape to America swirled, Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital transformed into the stuff of local legends, an unsettling enigma in the landscape.

After the building's closure, the shattered windows and decaying walls became nature's way of saying, "I'm taking over now." Mother Nature decided to turn the place into her avant-garde art project, complete with vines, weeds, and a touch of existential despair. Vandals played the role of intrusive spirits, breaking windows and scattering shards across the lifeless floors.