The Story Behind This Haunted Asylum In Vermont Is Truly Creepy
Built in 1834 as the Vermont Asylum for the Insane, the
Brattleboro Retreat (which sounds a little nicer… even though it wasn’t) has some places and points that you won’t want to go near after dark. Is this Vermont state hospital haunted? If you ask us, yes – it doesn’t take much belief in the paranormal to find this place terrifying. Come explore one of the single most haunted places in Vermont… if you dare.
The Vermont Asylum for the Insane was originally founded in 1834 and funded by a $10,000 gift that was willed for this specific purpose.
In the late 19th century, it was renamed the Brattleboro Retreat in order to eliminate confusion with the state-run Vermont State Asylum for the Insane.
This mental health and addictions treatment facility spanned more than 1,000 acres.
The majority of the campus, including many of the buildings here, 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, the Brattleboro asylum still cautiously approached treatments like electroconvulsive therapy that are now deemed inhumane. Admittedly, these were utilized in a fairly limited capacity and are no longer used today.
The most notorious building here is the Brattleboro Retreat Tower.
If you believe the stories, this is where most of the hauntings on campus take place.
This tower was built in 1887 by patients at the Brattleboro asylum.
At the time, doctors believed that physical labor could help mentally ill patients regain 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 that occurred here is a closely-guarded secret.
The tower was sealed off and remains closed today. It is opened a few times a year to allow the public to climb the spiral staircase and take in the amazing views 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... for obvious reasons.
The tombstones date back as far as the 1800s and are in poor condition.
Visitors to both the Brattleboro Retreat tower and the cemetery report feeling strong emotions of uneasiness.
Some have even said they saw fleeting shadows or images in 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 still treats patients suffering from mental health issues.
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! If you’re raring to go on this trip but unsure what to bring, take a look at our ultimate road trip packing guide to make sure you have everything you need.
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More to Explore
is this vermont state hospital haunted?
Where is the Brattleboro Retreat Tower?
It looks like something from a fairy tale, but nope – it's just Vermont. The Brattleboro Retreat Tower is a literal tower (seriously, like in Rapunzel ) in the woods near Brattleboro, Vermont:
It was built in 1887 with good intentions: here, humane care would be provided for sufferers of mental illness.
Unfortunately, though, it ended up becoming one of the creepiest places in Vermont.
The treatments offered were not helpful, and many patients died by suicide when they plunged from the top of the tower to their deaths below.
Now, it’s said to be one of the most haunted places in Vermont and it’s a popular destination for curious ghost hunters to check out in hopes of seeing something scary.
What are some interesting Vermont history facts?
Vermont’s a cool little state filled with interesting history facts!
Did you know that Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery in its state constitution?
It was also the first state to pass marriage equality legislation.
Its largest city is Burlington, which is home to just 42,000 people and there are only 626,000 people living here.
There are some amazing state parks in Vermont with intriguing histories and interesting value to culture and society, and there are lots of awesome places to visit in Vermont for those who wish to explore it.
Are there any old Vermont asylums that are still open?
Well, they’re definitely not called “asylums” anymore, but we digress. First and foremost:
The Brattleboro Retreat (where the above-discussed tower is located) was Vermont’s first institution for the mentally ill.
It was originally called the Vermont Asylum for the Insane, and we’re pretty glad they changed that eventually to something a little more humane.
In terms of places that are still open to this day, though, check out the Vermont State Hospital, also found near Brattleboro Retreat. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.
Brattleboro Retreat, Brattleboro, VT 05301, USA