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The Haunted Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital

The Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital, in Marlboro Township, in New Jersey, in the United States, was originally opened in 1931, according to lore built upon the land that once held a pig slaughterhouse. This is a pretty grim beginning as it is, but throughout its history the hospital managed to one up itself in terms of dark deeds and atrocities. From the very beginning there were rumors that the staff mistreated the nearly 800 patients it held at any given time, and there were stories of hearing screams of anguish from its walls or of seeing patients wandering about outside unattended, even in freezing cold conditions. At least one patient was said to have died in this manner, and deaths, it seems, were a part of life here. If anywhere makes for a spooky location, its an abandoned mental hospital, and this place earns its place.

In addition to the estimated dozens of patients who died here over the years due to mistreatment, in the 1970s the hospital would see a bout of food poisoning which would kill several people, and by 1980 the death toll of this dank place was such that there was even a private cemetery for the hospital built on the grounds holding an eventual 924 marked graves and who knows how many other, unmarked ones. Indeed, it is said that close to 1,500 people died here over the course of the Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital’s years of operation, with others still reportedly disappearing without a trace. It was the reports of death and misery that would prompt an investigation into the facility, headed by then state Senator Richard Codey.

Codey arranged an undercover operation, with himself posing as a newly hired orderly. This process itself was already telling, because he reportedly put information on his fake resume that marked him as a sex offender, and yet still he was hired without question. On the inside he would very soon uncover all manner of patient abuse, filthy living and working conditions, misappropriations of funds, tax evasion, and blatant disregard for proper environmental procedures with regards to disposal of chemicals and waste. Codey’s report was shocking, and it caused a Senate Task Force to be formed in 1994 for the purpose of further looking into these claims, finally writing in its report:

The results of the investigation reveal a tableau of waste, fraud, thievery and corruption in which the squandering of taxpayer dollars virtually has become business as usual at this institution.

Not long after this, the doors to the hospital were shuttered for good in 1998. The remaining patients were relocated, the graves stayed. The land became overgrown and feral, the state not quite sure what to do with it, and in the meantime, it became ground zero for all manner of tales of hauntings and the paranormal. One popular story that would emerge was a piece of forgotten lore tied to the place concerning a man who once lived at the slaughterhouse the hospital was supposedly built on. The man was a farmer called simply Mr. Allen, who had according to the story inherited the land from previous generations. When the state came in to claim his land for the purpose of building their facility, Mr. Allen apparently put up a huge fight, doing everything in his power to make sure the hospital was not built and even continuing to break into his own house long after it had been seized and locked up.

The story goes that he was arrested, but would not let it lie, eventually going stark raving mad and becoming a patient at the very hospital he has so aggressively tried to stop. He apparently adjusted quite well to life there, and calmed considerably. Whether that was due to seeing the era of his ways or heavy medication is unknown, but it got to the point that he was kept under very minimal security until one day he just vanished without a trace. A manhunt was launched for the fugitive but he was purportedly never found, and he was slowly just sort of forgotten about, that is until the weird phenomena started.

A few weeks after he stepped off the face of the earth, both patients and hospital staff alike began to complain of hearing what sounded like the squealing of pigs in the late-night hours, but police called to the scene were never able to find a source for it. Things escalated when one morning staff arriving at the hospital did so to find the bloody carcasses of pigs littering the area, with a message scrawled in blood on a wall that read, “I see you. Tonight you will all die.” A security guard was placed in the area to keep an eye on things that night, but in the morning he was nowhere to be found. A trail of blood was supposedly found leading to the old slaughterhouse freezer unit, which had still not been torn down, and within they made the macabre discovery of the night watchman hanging from a meat hook and a pig’s head perched atop the stump of where his own head had once been. The crime was supposedly never solved.

Although there is no evidence that a Mr. Allen ever even really existed, he has become first and foremost among a colorful cast of ghosts said to haunt the decrepit ruins of the Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital and abandoned slaughterhouse ever since. Mr. Allen will appear as a completely deranged madman, often accompanied by the squealing of pigs and leaving messages in blood behind. The sounds of squealing, screaming, and other less identifiable noises are often reported from the property, and the apparitions of dead patients also commonly seen, as well as shadow figures. This made the area a favorite haunt of thrill seekers and ghost hunters, who would hop the fences to explore the area, despite the dangerous, dilapidated conditions. Even when much of the existing structure was torn down in 2015 to make space for a new park, there are still weed choked, vine wrapped areas that still manage to drawn in the adventurous seeker of the macabre. It is certainly known as a haunted place, but whether this is real or just urban legend is unknown. Yet, looking at this desolate place with such a dark and insidious history it is hard not to think that even if it is not really haunted, then it very well should be.