The exploration and photography of abandoned places is definitely in vogue. Amateur historians, would-be archaeologists, and adventurous photographers have all found inspiration in the crumbling remains of the world’s forgotten structures. Here in Massachusetts, the Belchertown State School for the Care and Custody of Feeble-Minded Persons is an irresistible target for those looking to peer into the darker corners of our state’s history. What can the rotting boards and peeling paint of this structure teach us about our past?

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Today, Belchertown State School looks tranquil enough from the street. The once clipped and rolling lawns have relaxed into fields of flowering weeds and tangled underbrush. Nature is patiently but insistently reclaiming the shells of buildings so recently full of human suffering. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located at 6 Berkshire Ave, Belchertown.

Have you ever visited this spooky place? Let us know in the comments below! Looking for more haunted areas in Massachusetts? Check out these abandoned places in Massachusetts on an epic road trip. And don’t forget the road trip snacks!

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Belchertown State School

Is Belchertown State School still standing?

The Belchertown State School in Massachusetts, USA, closed in 1992, with many buildings still standing but in decay. Situated in Belchertown, Massachusetts, this facility, which was once home and school to individuals with developmental disabilities, has witnessed a gradual dilapidation of its structures and surroundings.

The property had been subject to vandalism and natural decay for many years, and some buildings were demolished due to safety concerns. However, there were also discussions and plans about redeveloping the site.

What is the tragedy of Belchertown?

The Belchertown State School in Massachusetts is often remembered for its tragic history of neglect and abuse towards its residents, individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Despite opening in 1922 with the aim of providing care and education to this population, the institution became synonymous with inhumane living conditions, inadequate medical care, and instances of mistreatment by staff. Investigations into these conditions highlighted the suffering endured by residents. They were crucial in sparking a movement towards deinstitutionalization and improved care for individuals with disabilities in the United States. The school, closed in 1992, is a bleak reminder of a dark period in care for disabled individuals.

What are the creepiest buildings in Massachusetts? 

With its rich and lengthy history, Massachusetts is home to several buildings often described as creepy or haunted, particularly due to their historical contexts, architectural features, or associated stories and legends. 

Here are some of the creepiest buildings in Massachusetts:

  • Belchertown State School: As previously discussed, this abandoned institution has a dark history of neglect and abuse, and its decaying buildings are often described as eerie and unsettling.
  • Danvers State Hospital: Also known as the Danvers Lunatic Asylum, this building has a chilling reputation. It was a mental health facility with a history of overcrowding and controversial treatments. The gothic-style architecture and its dilapidated state contribute to its creepy aura.
  • Houghton Mansion: Located in North Adams, this mansion is now home to a Masonic Lodge but is often cited as one of the most haunted places in Massachusetts due to reports of paranormal activity, which some believe is connected to a tragic car accident that occurred in the early 20th century.
  • The Lizzie Borden House: Located in Fall River, this house is where Lizzie Borden was accused (and acquitted) of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe in 1892. The house, now a bed and breakfast, is said to be haunted by the spirits of the murdered couple.
  • The Joshua Ward House: Located in Salem, a town famous for its witch trials in the 1690s, this house is said to be haunted by the spirit of George Corwin, the High Sheriff during the trials, and others who were executed during that time.


These buildings and sites are often sought after by paranormal investigators and enthusiasts due to the numerous stories and legends surrounding them.

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