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What This Drone Footage Captured At This Abandoned New Jersey Asylum Is Truly Grim

Construction on New Jersey’s infamous Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital began in 1871. In August of 1876, the institution took in its first patients. 132 years later, Greystone Park was closed. At its peak, the institution housed over 7,000 patients. When the facility finally shut down in 2008, there were just 550 remaining. Many of the buildings on the Greystone Park campus were architectural marvels, the entire site was a cultural icon. To the dismay of many New Jerseyans, the complex was demolished in 2015.

The complex has been known by many names over the years, another being the State Asylum for the Insane at Morristown. The striking structures were designed to follow the Kirkbride Plan. Defining concepts included well spaced wings allowing all patients to enjoy the natural surroundings and an abundance of sunlight. The core principle of the Kirkbride Plan was that the mentally ill could be cured in the proper environment. Fresh air and amenities including exercise areas were also prioritized.

While the theory was thoughtful and the desire for moral treatment a noble ideal, Greystone Park was not the therapeutic atmosphere it originally set out to be. It was notoriously overcrowded, particularly following WWI and WWII. Cots lined hallways and illnesses including tuberculosis and typhoid fever were not uncommon. Cleanliness became a major issue but additional buildings were added and new facilities built in New Jersey that helped curtail the problem.

By the 1990s, Greystone Park had fallen on very dark times. Patient escapes were not infrequent, female wards ended up pregnant and buildings became dilapidated, in desperate need of repair. The facility nearly lost its accreditation. A six-month plan was developed to improve conditions and, while somewhat of a success, better medicines which allowed patients to function in society and a push for deinstitutionalization made Greystone Park unnecessary. The focus switched to group homes and outpatient treatment.

The buildings sat vacant for seven years, a favorite spot for urban explorers and lovers of all things eerie and abandoned. A truly unique site, the campus was a self contained community with staff housing, a post office, recreational and vocational facilities, and a system of tunnels connecting the various structures. A horror film was even made focusing on the location, filmed after Greystone was abandoned. Based on real life experiences, the filmmakers and cast believe the spot to be haunted. “Greystone Park” was written and directed by Sean Stone, son of Academy Award winner Oliver Stone (writer of Scarface and director of Platoon) who also had a role in the movie.

Another film (found on the NJ.com YouTube channel) was made featuring the facility, one I will share with you now. The short film (around 4 minutes) was captured via drone and nominated to the NYC Drone Film Festival. The footage captures the demolition of Greystone from a unique perspective, sure to take your breath away. Hauntingly beautiful, the video gave me chills, particularly when the drone entered what was once the chapel. You have to see it for yourself.

What are your thoughts on Greystone Park? Would you have wanted to see it saved or were you glad to see it go? To learn about another notorious New Jersey mental institution, enjoy my previous post: This Creepy Asylum In New Jersey Is Still Standing… And Still Disturbing. For a good scare, check out: These 12 Terrifying Places In New Jersey Will Haunt Your Dreams Tonight.

Kristen Koennemann
Kristen is a freelance writer, editor and social-media manager who really loves her state. She's here to share all that New Jersey has to offer with residents and the rest of the world.