Haunted Insane Asylum Part of Iowa Barn Tour
Written by Alma Gaul in June 2017
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The 2½-story limestone building stands alone on a rural county road in Jackson County.
It is the only structure that remains on what was once the county “poor farm,” a name given to farms set up years ago to give a home to people who, for whatever reason, did not have one.
Constructed in 1870, it was the “insane asylum,” where people judged by the state to be “incurably insane” were locked away.
Local historian Don Wentworth believes it is haunted.
“When you go up the stairs, there is a hall with chambers, or cells, on either side, and at the end of the hall is a door with a lock on it,” he said. “You have to have a key to open it.
“The (caretaker) keeps getting calls that it’s open when no one has been out there. That’s why we call it an authentic haunted place. Because there’s no way to do that.”
So why is this building on the Spring Barn Tour, a free, self-guided event to be held this Saturday-Sunday, June 10-11, sponsored by the Iowa Barn Foundation?
The foundation is a nonprofit group founded in 1997, dedicated to preserving Iowa’s rural buildings that are symbols of Iowa’s early agricultural heritage.
The answer is that because after its use as an asylum, the building was converted to agricultural purposes, used to raise hogs and chickens.
Each year, the spring tour highlights buildings in various parts of the state; this year, the Quad-City region is featured, with six barns in Jackson County and four barns and two corn cribs in Clinton County.
A building with haunted ties definitely is a first for the foundation.
The former asylum is empty inside, Wentworth said. The second-floor door that mysteriously opens without a key opens to … nothing. A person stepping through the door would fall to the ground below. Although there are no known photos of how the building looked when it was built, Wentworth assumes the door originally opened to a balcony or landing with stairs to the ground.
One of the windows still contains a steel grate, making it impossible for anyone inside to get out.
During the late 1800s, people with mental illnesses were regarded as hazards to themselves and to others who needed to be locked away, Wentworth said.
“And there are stories of widows who were committed by their families to get their hands on their money,” he said.
Or, Only Investigate These Sites During The Day!
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There’s a Place on Long Island That may be More Haunted than the Amityville Horror House
Written by Taylor Krauss, Mar. 2015
Back in November of 1974, a couple and four of their children were murdered by their oldest son. The entire family was shot while they were asleep in their beds.
This was in Amityville, New York, a little town on Long Island.
Soon after, the Lutz family moved into the home…to an unwelcome surprise: they believed the house to be haunted. They said to have experienced things such as oozing walls, apparitions, cold spots and strange odors. It was the house that inspired the Amityville Horror, one of the most iconic horror films of all time.
As terrifying as that sounds, there is a place not far away- about 10 miles- in Melville, New York, that is said to be haunted by some incredibly active spirits.
Sweet Hollow Road, running parallel to Mount Misery Road, has been subject to paranormal investigations, and plenty of people going to check it out themselves.
The road itself has the feeling of something truly terrifying. No matter what time of year you drive down Sweet Hollow Road, it always seems to feel like a chilly night in the middle of the fall. There are no streetlights, and it is a long, winding, one-lane road once you cross under the overpass.
One story is of the asylum in the woods off of Mount Misery.
A small asylum was built in the woods back where the road ends, and one of the patients, Mary, supposedly set it on fire, essentially killing almost everyone in the building. Rumor has it that you can still hear the screaming patients from the fire. Even creepier: apparently they rebuilt the asylum…and it burnt down a second time. The second fire was never figured out.
Another story is of a police officer. Supposedly if you’re pulled over on Sweet Hollow Road, take a look at the back of the officer’s head as he walks away…there won’t be anything there!
It is said that a woman driving on the overpass above Sweet Hollow (see picture above) got into a head-on collision, and now if you flash your lights where her car crashed, you will see a shadow sit up. Is it a trick of the eyes, or is it a spirit making herself known…?
There are tons of other legends that are related to Sweet Hollow Road, and each story has plenty of variations. However, each story has something in common- many Long Islanders have experienced the same things. Many have seen a “hellhound” with glowing red eyes that means imminent death, as well, so look out for that one…
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