Some of the spookiest haunted places are those infused with a dark history of pain and suffering. Many of these locations just so happened to have fallen into disrepair as haunted ruins, and they invariably attract to them tales of of the supernatural. Such sites are custom made for it, looking like something from out of a horror movie and with the grim and often tragic past to back it up. We can find such a place out in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, which was once an asylum for the raving insane and is now considered to be one of the most haunted places in the nation.
In 1938, construction began in Bundoora, a northern suburb of Melbourne, Australia, on the Larundel psychiatric institution. It was to be part of a larger complex known as Mont Park, and was meant to alleviate the overcrowded conditions at other nearby institutions, as well as to replace the outdated, deteriorating Kew Mental Hospital. During World War II, Larundael was repurposed to serve as a military hospital, training ground for the Royal Air Force, and a civilian emergency accommodation unit. In 1953 it returned to its original purpose, in its heyday accommodating around 750 patients and gaining fame as being the birthplace of lithium as a treatment method for manic disorders. Among these patients were some of the worst of the worst of the criminally insane, what were considered to be the the stark raving insane, its most notable resident being Peter Dupas, who would go on to gain infamy as a prolific serial killer.
Larundel would stay in operation until 1999, when increasing advances in psychiatric care and treatment methods rendered it obsolete, an archaic dinosaur of another time. After that it devolved into a weed-choked feral derelict, gathering a skin of graffiti and grime, its walls crumbling and the abandoned halls strewn with various debris. Its eerie mystique made it a popular destination for urban explorers, who came to venture through these darkened corridors, as well as to create a canvas of creepy graffiti that covers nearly every inch of every surface. Of course, with such an undeniably spooky place, the Larundel institution has also draw to it various stories of supernatural strangeness.
Those who have dared to cross the fences and elude the security guards meant to keep people out for their own safety have reported all manner of creepy ghostly phenomena from this place. One of the most common is that of anomalous noises, including disembodied footsteps, crashing or nagging sounds, and on occasion what sounds like shouting, wailing, screaming, and even a baby crying. Electrical equipment will also apparently go haywire, batteries will suddenly go dead, and roving cold spots are not uncommon. On top of all of this are anomalous smells, as well as supposedly hulking shadow figures that dart about, and also objects that will suddenly fly across the room. One area that is said to be particularly haunted is the basement, which is said to be so pervaded by a blanket of negative energy that many people cannot stand to be in there for long, repelled by some unseen supernatural force. Of course at least with the tales of the unexplained sounds this could all be down to the creaks and groans of an old building, conspiring with its scary countenance and creepy ambiance to fuel the imagination, and one urban explorer has said of this on the site Ex Utopia:
The Larundel complex certainly is a noisy place. Situated on the edge of a park, the buildings are often hit by strong gusts of wind. The metal sheets riveted over every ground floor window and door have a habit of rattling and groaning – often with unsettling results. There were numerous moments during my exploration of the asylum, that I almost became convinced we were not alone in the building. The voices and occasional laughter from passing pedestrians have a habit of getting caught inside the walls, their echoes bouncing down the still corridors. My concerns, however, were primarily related to getting caught inside; the possibility of a supernatural presence didn’t even cross my mind.
Much of the graffiti around the asylum seems to be aimed at perpetuating this sense of paranormal unease. Phrases like, “save yourselves” or “I can hear them through the walls” appear everywhere, usually painted in neat, joined-up handwriting. Most of the graffiti around the site did little to benefit the atmosphere – the asylum serving rather as a blank canvas for would-be artists to let off steam. Here though, the painted images and words created a startling effect. High above the earth-filled bathtub, the words “Help me” were daubed in red paint; to one side, what appeared to be a figure in a straightjacket was wrapped in the embrace of some kind of demon. Even the mess of tags and scribbles that filled the other walls seemed to add to the general malaise of chaos and insanity.
However, other phenomena are not as easy to write off as merely the grunts and groans of a dilapidated building, One of the creepiest stories to come from Larundel is that of a ghostly little girl who wanders about the premises. Often heard rather than seen and identifiable by her eerie giggling, she is said to be the spirit of a young teen girl who died on the third floor during its years of operation. According to the lore, this nameless young girl was fond of a music box that she had with her at all times and would play when she was lonely. The ghost can sometimes be seen wandering about in a nightdress clutching the music box close, but more creepily, she will apparently often play it at exactly 11:55 p.m. There have been many reports of urban explorers or paranormal investigators hearing the otherworldly sound of the music box wafting through the gloom, and on occasion it has even been recorded, such as in this video taken by some visitors. Incidentally, the comments on that video provide a lot of testimony about the place as well. It has been suggested that this is a prank being played to scare away trespassers, but those who have heard it insist that there is no identifiable source, and all efforts to locate the box turn up nothing.
In recent times, much of the complex is no longer there, having been developed into a housing complex, but there are is still a cluster of the ruins left. Whether it is really haunted or not, with its deserted, dusty façade and spooky ambiance it certainly feels like it should be. wandering these lonely corridors it is not hard to imagine that it might be haunted by spirits still tethered to it. If you want to check it out for yourself you will have to get through the gates and the security, but if you do manage to do that and find yourself standing there in the murky gloom, just keep you ear out for any music boxes and watch your step.