Creepy September 25, 2016
The Story Behind This Haunted Asylum In Vermont Is Truly Creepy
Built in 1834 as the Vermont Asylum for the Insane, the Brattleboro Retreat has some places that you won’t want to go after dark. This haunted asylum is beautiful, and in some areas, terrifying.
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The Vermont Asylum for the Insane was originally founded in 1834 by a $10,000 gift that was willed for this purpose.
It was renamed The Brattleboro Retreat in the late 19th century in order to eliminate confusion with the state-run Vermont State Asylum for the Insane.
This Mental Health and Addictions Treatment Facility is on 1,000 acres.
More than 600 acres of the campus, including most of its buildings, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
The institution based its philosophies on the humane treatment of mentally ill patients.
The patients were treated with dignity and respect in a caring, family-like environment.
The Retreat emphasized good meals, fresh air and exercise.
However they still cautiously approached treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy ("ECT"), although they were utilized in a fairly limited capacity. Today the Retreat's ECT clinic is closed.
The most notorious building here is the Retreat Tower.
This is where most of the hauntings on the campus happen.
This tower was built in 1887 by the patients of the Vermont Asylum (now the Brattleboro Retreat).
At the time, doctors believed that physical labor could help mental patients regain their stability.
Groups of patients were put to work building this large stone tower.
The tower was meant to provide a scenic overlook of the asylum grounds.
However, many of the patients chose to use the tower in a different manner.
They would climb to the top of the tower and leap off onto the rocky cliff below to commit suicide.
The number of suicides here is a closely guarded secret.
The tower was sealed off and remains so today, although they do open once or twice a year to allow the public to climb the spiral staircase and take in the view from the top.
There have been several reports of a ghostly figure jumping from the top of the tower…
But the apparition always disappears before it hits the ground.
Another area of the Retreat that gives an eerie and ominous feel is the cemetery.
The tombstones date back to the 1800s and are in poor condition.
Visitors to the cemetery and tower report strong feelings of uneasiness.
Some have reported seeing fleeting shadow figures or images out of the corners of their eyes.
Many of the graves are marked with only numbers or “Unknown.”
There is a registry of the deaths that occurred at the retreat, yet there are far more names than there are graves.
Today the Brattleboro Retreat is still a treatment center for mental health patients.
But the legends and stories of the old days, and perhaps the ghosts, live on.
If you like scary things, take the
ultimate haunted road trip through Vermont!