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Athens Asylum 

Athens Lunatic Asylum

Now Lin Hall of Ohio University

Lin Hall, Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701



+39° 19' 15.43", -82° 6' 33.73"

The Legend

Ghostly faces peer out of the windows at unsuspecting walkers.

Haunted Ohio-Athens Asylum

A little about the Asylum:Athens Asylum -  Athens, Ohio

From 1874 to 1993, the Athens Asylum provided a safe haven for those with mental disabilities. It was originally built on land acquired from a local farmer, Arthur Coates.

The hospital was renamed within two years of its opening as the Athens Hospital for the Insane. Later the hospital would be called the Athens Asylum for the Insane, the Athens State Hospital, the Southeastern Ohio Mental Health Center, the Athens Mental Health Center, the Athens Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center, the Athens Mental Health and Developmental Center, and then (again) the Athens Mental Health Center. After the hospital's original structure closed, Ohio University acquired the property and renamed the area, The Ridges. However, the state hospital continued to function in Athens, with patients and staff relocating to a newly constructed facility on the north bank of the Hocking River. At the time of the transition in 1993, the new facility was called the Southeast Psychiatric Hospital.

Athens Asylum -  Athens, OhioThe original hospital was in operation from 1874 to 1993. Although not a self-sustaining facility, the hospital for many years had livestock, farm fields and gardens, an orchard, greenhouses, a dairy, a physical plant to generate steam heat, and even a carriage shop in the early years. Athens Asylum -  Athens, OhioThe architect for the original building was Levi T. Scofield of Cleveland. Construction of the facility began in 1868 and the hospital opened on January 9, 1874.

The designs of the buildings and grounds were influenced by Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, a 19th century physician who authored an influential treatise on hospital design, On the Construction, Organization and General Arrangements of Hospitals for the Insane. Kirkbride buildings are most recognizably characterized by their "bat wing" floor plan and often lavish Victorian-era architecture.


The history of the hospital documents some of the now discredited theories of the causes of mental illness, as well as the practice of harmful treatments, such as lobotomy. Disappointments, religious excitement, lightning strikes, PMS, and seduction are listed as causes of insanity in the early annual reports of the hospital. The leading cause of insanity among the male patients was masturbation, according to the annual report of 1876. In the firstAthens Asylum -  Athens, Ohio three years of the hospital, eighty-one men and one woman were diagnosed as having their insanity caused by masturbation.

When the hospital first opened, many patients there were Civil War Veterans suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome.

Children who would have today been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD would also have been committed by their parents because they were too much for them to handle. Athens Asylum -  Athens, Ohio

Mothers with large families were known to commit themselves for a couple weeks just so they could take a break.

  1. During the 1950s, Walter Jackson Freeman, M.D., Ph.D., "The Father of the Transorbital Lobotomy," performed over 200 lobotomies on patients. Although now discredited as a treatment for mental illness, the surgery on the brain was an accepted medical procedure at the time.
  2. Multiple personality and convicted rapist, Billy Milligan (made famous in Daniel Keyes' book, "The Minds of Billy Milligan") was a patient at the hospital in the 1970s.
  3. Athens Asylum -  Athens, OhioThe stain left by the decaying body of a 54-year-old female patient has fueled the speculation of those who believe in haunted places. She was found dead in an unused ward early in 1979, after she had been missing for six weeks.
  4. Interior images of The Ridges served as the visual setting for "How To Make Your Movie: An Interactive Film School", an interactive CD-ROM that was produced by Athens, Ohio based multimedia company Electronic Vision in conjunction with film director Rajko Grlic and the Ohio University Film School. [2] Athens Asylum -  Athens, Ohio - 1910
  5. The Ridges was shown on Fox Family Channel's television show "Scariest Places on Earth" and claimed Athens, Ohio as the 13th most haunted place on earth. **

Today, the grounds are run by Ohio University. The university has gone to great lengths to maintain the buildings to keep them from being torn down like so many other historical structures. There is an art museum within the main entrance (it is not a museum celebrating the history or legends of the institution. It has pottery on stands and photos on the walls. If you are going to visit, please be aware if you have children some of the museum's artwork can have explicit material. Call ahead to check.) You can walk the grounds outside the building, the cemetery and nature trails. There are gates to the complex that close at dusk to keep vandals and curious college students out.

Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio Athens Asylum, Athens Ohio
Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio
Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio
Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio
Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio
Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio
Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio
Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio
Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio
Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio Athens Asylum - Athens, Ohio
Athens Asylum -  Athens, Ohio  Athens Asylum -  Athens, Ohio

A Map of the Athens Asylum (now called the Ridges) from
Athens Asylum Map
See Wikipedia, Athens Lunatic Asylum, /Athens_Lunatic_Asylum  (as of Sep. 6, 2007, 17:04 GMT)

21 Crows - Haunted Hocking

Copyright ©2000-2014- Ohio Ghost Hunter Guides - Haunted Hocking-Heart of Hocking-Discover the wilder side of Ohio. The information provided is correct to the best of our knowledge. Ohio State Park hiking trails are closed from dusk to dawn. Don't ghost hunt in the park after hours and please don't go off the trails.


Haunted Ohio - Ohio Ghosts and Ohio HauntingsParks, Cemeteries and other locations have specific hours of operation which may vary and change so we do not list them - many from dawn to dusk. Just because they are listed here does not mean you can go there without permission or without checking for hazards first. Always check with local authorities, land owners and law enforcement agencies for times you may enter properties and that they are safe to enter. Get written permission to use property. Don't trespass. Respect the areas you hunt. Always check for safety first; some areas are hazardous. Some of the areas in the guides may be private. Call the area before you go and make sure it is okay to ghost hunt there.

 Site Design: 21 Crows / Heart of Hocking. If you have a Haunted Ohio area you would like the Haunted Hocking Team to check out, please contact us at All requests can be kept confidential.

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  Haunted Ohio - Ghost Hunter Guide   Haunted Hocking  Cleveland Ohio Ghost Guide

Haunted Hocking—A Ghost Hunter’s Guide to the Hocking Hills I (Covers the Hocking Hills Region)  
Haunted Hocking— A Ghost Hunter’s Guide II (Hocking Hills and the counties of Athens, Lawrence, Meigs, Fairfield, Perry, Ross, Vinton, and Scioto)  
Ohio Ghost Hunter’s Guide — Haunted Hocking III (Covers Counties of: Allen, Athens, Delaware, Franklin, Gallia, Hancock, Henry, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lake, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Marion, Muskingum, Perry, Pike, Sandusky, Scioto, Washington and Wood)  
Ohio Ghost Hunter Guide—Franklin County IV (Covers Columbus and vicinity)

Ohio Ghost Hunter’s Guide V — (Covers  Allen, Auglaize, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Gallia, Greene, Hardin, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Lawrence, Logan, Lucas, Madison, Miami, Mahoning, Montgomery,     Morgan, Muskingum, Pickaway, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Sandusky, Scioto, Stark, Summit, Vinton, Warren, and Wood)

Ohio Ghost Hunter’s Guide VI  (Covers Counties:  Adams, Ashtabula, Belmont, Brown, Clark, Clermont, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hancock, Henry, Hocking, Jackson, Knox, Marion, Medina, Morrow, Pickaway, Pike, Sandusky, Scioto, Summit, Tuscarawas, Vinton, Warren, Wayne)

Ohio Ghost Hunter’s Guide VII (Covers Cleveland and including Counties: Cuyahoga, Lake Lorain, Medina, Richland, Summit and Wayne)