Haunted Ohio University: Tuberculosis Ward

The Infamous Ridges Mental Asylum and Athens' OU (Ohio University) Campus

Some call Athens, Ohio one of the most haunted places in the State due to numerous accounts of haunting in that region. But one place, in particular, is known by many to have been very haunted: one of "The Ridges" buildings was formerly a tuberculosis ward for the mentally ill (Athens Lunatic Asylum).

In early 2013, the tuberculosis ward was razed due to it remaining unoccupied and being a target for vagrants, vandals and paranormal explorers who frequently trespassed to get a look inside. The building had remained as the only lunatic asylum building left on the campus of Ohio University that had not been repurposed as part of the college campus.

The Story Behind Ohio University's Tuberculosis Ward
Beginning right after the Civil War in the mid to late 1800s, many mental asylums began popping up across the United States. They were typically constructed in a Kirkbride-style or “cottage style” (the former Massillon State Hospital is another example) of separate buildings situated together on many acres of property, sometimes interconnected, and beautiful. The movement to treat the mentally insane or troubled humanely inspired this type of mental hospital. There was also a rise in soldiers needing help after stress associated with the great Civil War.

At the Athens Lunatic Asylum, over time, people began filling the buildings with not only the mentally ill but the elderly. This led to eventual overcrowding, and the conditions deteriorated. Treatments also changed and included such torturous procedures as lobotomies, ice water treatment and shock therapy. None of these “treatments” could be considered pleasant and were really forms of torture. Decades later, eventually, drug treatments would replace these outdated methods in the 1960s. The mental hospital changed names many times over the past century, suffered several fires, countless deaths, much torment and even cared for tuberculosis patients. By 1993, the hospital closed, sitting vacant until Ohio University purchased it a few years later, restoring and renovating all of the buildings on the grounds except one: the tuberculosis ward.

The tuberculosis ward has long been considered haunted by many, especially college students who have frequented it over the years. Given its history of suffering and death, the energy left with the building certainly couldn’t have been good; and if a place on the Ohio University campus were to be haunted, the tuberculosis ward definitely had the back story. But we have to ask one question: What about all of the other buildings that still exist from the asylum? Are they haunted, too? We will be looking for reports...

Photos & Videos
Tuberculosis Ward Video:  A peek inside the haunted tuberculosis ward. Near the end of the video, recorded at Ohio University, there is something that moves; and it looks sort of like a face. Watch carefully and decide if this is evidence of the building once being haunted by ghosts.

Margaret Schilling's Body Print Photos: Imprint of the dead body of Margaret Schilling who was accidentally left trapped in one of the buildings after it was locked up and abandoned. Her imprint is said to have reappeared after her decomposing body was discovered and removed.

Also see the Athen's Ghost - the photo was taken in a lunatic asylum!