www. haunted hospitals .com
Author's Note: I need to stop going around the Electric Asylum's links page. At night.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and its characters are the property of the British Broadcast Corporation.
Found on a website last updated 1998 (now dead)
When it comes to perusing deserted hospitals, nothing can attract ghost hunters and lovers of morbidity quite like an abandoned insane asylum. And Melgrove Mental Asylum in Averill, Massachusetts, is no different.
Melgrove Mental Asylum was opened in 1882, built to deal with the large influx of the insane from the town. From about 1865 to the 1950's, Averill's always been cursed with an unnormally (sic) high number of residents going mad, the cause of which is still a mystery.
Melgrove was closed in 1952 after a scandal erupted following discoveries of severe patient abuse. Considering this was a time when lobotomies were thought of as a humane and practical treatment, this is saying something. But for seventy years, Melgrove was a dark home to myriad of broken and lost souls.
(3 broken picture links, presumably to photographs of hospital)
As you can see, even without the ghosts, Melgrove looks creepy enough. These pictures were taken fifteen years ago, (sic) you can only imagine what it's like on the inside now.
The asylum has a history of being haunted. There have been several different accounts of ghosts haunting Melgrove, particularly of a woman's voice screaming for a doctor echoing down halls, but the voice stops before explorers can never find its source. The ghost was for a long time believed to be that of nurse Winifred Dearly, who worked for the hospital from 1934 to 1936. Records show that she suffered a nervous breakdown and became one the hospital's patients in 1936. (sic)
The story goes that Winifred managed to escape from her room, and with her knowledge of hospital protocol, snuck up to the sixth floor and jumped from a window, killing herself. Several witnesses claimed to have seen her in the hallways, dressed in a pristine white uniform and carrying a small lit candle, looking around as if searching for something. They've been able to identify her through pictures.
However, someone later researched what really happened to Winifred Dearly and found out that she was released in 1937 and died in 1989, after a long life in which she married and had several children. What's more, I'm related to her! My husband is one of her grandchildren! (Maybe I'm married to a ghost! A ghost who snores!) I only met Grandma Winnie once before my husband and I were married, and that was long before I realized her connection to the hospital.
But if Winifred Dearly isn't the ghostly nurse, who is?
(Two more broken picture links, I presume of Winifred Dearly)
Winifred in 1933, just after finishing nursing school, and Winifred in 1980.
The last sighting of her was in 1960, all sightings of her stopped suddenly. But whoever the ghostly nurse is, she's not alone. There are reports of another ghost in the asylum halls, a male one. He, like Grandma Winnie's doppelganger, only appears in the dead of night.
In 1969, Carol Longley was wandering through the kitchen section of Melgrove's ground floor.
(Broken Picture Link)
No ghosts were seen in the taking of this picture.
If traveling through Melgrove at night isn't scary enough, Carol had no idea what she was in for. She stepped through a door and jumped.
There in the kitchen, was a tall, thin man dressed in a blue suit and brown coat. He had brown hair, and his skin was unnaturally pale. His eyes were sunken. She noticed two dark wounds in the man's palms and his hands were covered in dried blood. Carol jumped back and screamed, but he disappeared. She walked further into the room (I would have run the other way!) (So would I.) but saw no sign of the ghostly specter.
Carol went back (with a friend) the next night, and at first saw no sign of the ghost. After searching the hospital (at least the safe and accessable (sic) parts) they returned to the kitchen. As they were about to leave Carol had a very strange experience. While her friend was in the hallway, Carol went into the kitchen one last time. Then she saw her reflection in the window – and that of the ghost! He was standing in the exact spot he had been standing the previous night – but when Carol turned her head, he wasn't there! Carol shouted to her friend in the hallway, but when Carol turned back to the reflection in the window and the ghost had moved – he was standing right behind her!
Carol screamed and dropped her lantern, and when her friend ran into the room, the ghost had disappeared!
In 1971, local construction worker Michael Jones was walking through the hospital when he saw the mysterious male Melgrove ghost. He was walking through the fourth floor main hallway in the dead of night, when he heard whispering behind him. He turned around and shined his flashlight on someone who had not been there the second before. His description of the ghost was exactly the same as Carol Longley's: a tall brunette man in a blue suit and long brown coat, unearthly pale with lost sunken eyes. The man spoke hoarse but clearly, "Turn the dial to twelve. Tell her to turn the dial to twelve."
Michael claims the ghost then gave a "sudden and pained gasp" and then vanished into thin air. Then, as anyone could understand, Michael very quickly left the building!
(Broken Picture Link)
A 1950's electroshock 'therapy' machine. Note the middle dial. Is this what the ghost in the brown coat referring to?
My friend Daryl had one experience with the Melgrove ghosts. He's been in Averill forever and actually's (sic) the one who got me into exploring abandoned buildings! He claims that the second time he ever went into the hospital back in 1978, he heard crying from deep in the hallways. He heard a woman shouting "doctor!" over and over, but when he tried finding a source it simply faded into nothingness. His wife, Abby, has claimed to have heard a girl weeping once, up on the fourth floor. Another friend of mine, Luke, says that when he was searching around the hospital in 1973, he heard whispers, the only ones he could make out were "She's in the basement. It's in the basement. The ta this (sic) is in the basement." I seem to be the only person in my group of friends who hasn't seen or heard anything! Fooey! (Luke couldn't get into the basement, by the way. It's a section very heavily blocked off. Not that he didn't try!)
The last sighting was in 1983, when three high school boys entered the hospital on a dare. They entered around eleven at night and it was around 1:00 that they heard the familiar whispers which regularly haunt the hospital. They were (understandably) about to leave when they saw the ghost. He stood in the hallway, staring at them. According to Michael Garrol, one of the boy's (sic) I've talked to, the ghost whispered, "Help me."
They ran, very quickly, away.
Unfortunately, that's the last sighting we have of the male ghost. The state sealed up the hospital in 1984, claiming that the asylum was unsafe for public passage due to its increasingly dilapidated state. Doors are locked with chains and the windows are boarded up. Since then, the mayor's office hasn't let anyone in, not even professional ghost hunters, so no one's seen anything more.
(Three broken picture links)
Who are the ghosts of Melgrove Mental Asylum? The sightings of the female ghost confirm almost certainly that is a nurse, but of who? Witnesses swear it's the ghost of Winnifred Dearly, but how can it be a ghost of someone who lived to a ripe old age and died miles away? And who is the male ghost? A patient trapped in the asylum as he was in life? A doctor forced to haunt the halls where he committed so many? Whoever he was, we can only assume he, like Winnie's twin, is still in there, waiting for someone to decipher his cryptic message.
If you have any stories concerning the ghosts of Melgrove Asylum, please share them! E-mail me at (I'm not going to post the address. I did try e-mailing it, but I received a notification that the e-mail account was inactive.)
(I did try a google on Melgrove Asylum. Aside from being on some government historical sites, I could only find it on two other websites on abandoned mental hospitals. One did mention it was haunted by 'two of its former staff' but it did not have any other information. I looked up the Averill, Massachusetts phonebook online and tried to contact the former maintainer of www haunted hospitals .com before it became a basic ad-site, but she's since moved out of the Averill area.)