We all know that horror movies thrive not only on the characters, but the atmosphere as well. The abandoned mansion or shut down asylum plays as much a roll as the monster or serial killer. Every one of these places is usually based on something in reality. There are real places that are far scarier than anything on the celluloid of a movie.
Eastern State Penitentiary
Any place that is filled with murderers and rapists isn’t going to be pleasant, but imagine if it was derelict, abandoned and filled with the immortal spirits of those prisoners. Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA. opened in 1829 and didn’t close until 1971, and, by then, it was in pretty bad shape. While in its prime, the prison housed some of the worst of the worst, and many say their spirits still roam the halls. It’s been featured on countless television shows and has tours available. If you want to visit this unsettling facility, then don’t be surprised if you meet a few expired prisoners.
Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
No mad scientist’s lab would be complete without the obligatory jars of brains, but there is one place where this is the norm. The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, PA. (I’m sensing a pattern here) is a medical museum that borders on the macabre. It features The Soap Lady, a woman unearthed in 1875 and encased in a naturally-occurring fatty substance called adipocere. There’s also an entire section known as The Wet Specimens filled with all manner of items in jars and an extensive display of classical surgical instruments that will give even the hardiest soul nightmares.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Horror comes in many forms, including from the suffering of the innocent. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, W.V. is filled with the sorrow of the thousands of poor souls that passed through it. The facility opened in 1864 and wasn’t officially closed until 1994. It began as an asylum during a time when people could be committed for reading books and being willful. (Boy, would we be in trouble) The treatments for these people included lobotomies and being locked in coffin-like enclosures. By the time it closed in ‘94, it was in severe disrepair and is now a haunted attraction. I personally know many people who’ve been to the asylum and experienced the oppression and restless spirits that once lived there.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Tuberculosis was a deadly disease that struck young and old alike. It was a devastating affliction that took its toll over a long period of time and was highly contagious. Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky was often the last place patients saw as doctors tried all manners of treatment, often doing more harm than good. The massive facility housed more than 400 patients at its height and the remains of this terrifying structure remains today. When that much death and suffering exists, it leaves a mark that never goes away. The facility has been a staple of ghost hunting shows and is considered one of the most haunted locations in the United States.
Poveglia Plague Island
Nestled in the picturesque canals of Venice, Italy is an island with such a horrific history that it defies belief. Poveglia Plague Island was once a refuge from invaders, but with the introduction of The Black Death, it became a quarantine zone for thousands of the infected. It began in the 14th century where most of those sent died and were burned on massive pyres or simply buried in unmarked mass graves. It happened again when the disease struck in the 17th century. If that wasn’t bad enough, then it became an asylum in the 19th century where it was reported a doctor performed unorthodox and torturous treatments on unfortunate patients. The island has been abandoned since the mid-1970s and is off limits to the public. Those that do venture to the cursed island often report strange happenings and evil forces lurking in its ruinous depths.