Essex County Mental Hospital

WARNING: the Sheriff's Office of Essex County do NOT tolerate trespassers. They regularly conduct plainclothes surveillance operations at the hospital. If you trespass, you will get arrested and prosecuted. DON'T DO IT!!

It seems like yesterday season five of Ghost Hunters premiered. Now we have reached the mid-season finale. The chosen location is Essex County Mental Hospital.

Essex County Mental Hospital once went by the name of Overbrook. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the city of Newark, New Jersey purchased land and built many buildings to house mental patients and facilities. The hospital contained a power house, theater and laundromat. Unfortunately, in the winter of 1917, the hospital reported a boiler failure. Twenty people died, some from freezing to death. Thirty-two others suffered from frostbite.

Matters grew worse thanks to the Great Depression. Many institutions, including Overbrook, became overcrowded with the hungry, homeless, and destitute. World War II food rations led to dismal living conditions and near starvation. The end of WWII made the situation worse. Many veterans returned with shell shock or post traumatic stress disorder. Hospital staff could not cope with overpopulation and patient care suffered. There were escape attempts, violence among residents, starvation, neglect, abuse, and suicides. Many patients were subjected to barbaric treatments such as hydrotherapy, prefrontal lobotomy, and diathermy. It's estimated over ten thousand patients died at Essex County Mental Hospital.

Thanks to the inventions of new medicine, the patient population decreased during the 1960s and 1970s. In 2007, Essex County Mental Hospital closed for good. The grounds were turned in to a 90-acre county park. At the south end of the site, several buildings were demolished about a year later.

Overbrook Insane Asylum was used in the film Choke starring Anjelica Huston. Many crew members had ghostly experiences. One member experienced a satanic dark energy in building five and refuses to talk about it til this day. Extreme Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel, not to be confused with Ghost Adventures the series, also investigated the site. Now, it's TAPS turn. Will they see the ghost nurse? Or perhaps capture the sounds of bangs, screams and/or direct threats? We will find out tonight.

For more information on Essex County Mental Hospital check out the Weird NJ website:


Anonymous said…
Here is a link to the article featured in the Ghost Adventures show discussing the "1,800 in Big Asylum in Peril from Cold". It was published in The New York Times on December 21, 1917.
Anonymous said…
The kid who made that video went to my high school. I haven't seen this place in a while...
Anonymous said…
that kid went to my old high school he was in year 7 I was in year 10 I have not seen him for a long time not since I left high school and got a job.
EsseXploreR said…
Oh, where to begin. It is not the "Essex County Mental Hospital", its the Essex County Hospital Center. It wasn't the city of Newark that bought the land, it was the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. It wasn't 20 patients that died, it was 24. Those "barbaric treatments" were considered the best ways to treat the mentally ill. Finally, over 10,000 people did die there. When you consider the fact that it was open for 111 years, that's roughly one death every four days it was in operation. Other psychiatric hospitals in the area average one death per day, and they are still in operation. Please stop blowing things out of proportion to try to convince people that this was a horrible, "haunted" place. It was just a normal psychiatric hospital.
Anonymous said…
I was an Intern there from 1982 to 1984. It was run down, but overall clean with the staff fairly competent. I worked in the Geriatric Unit. I recall older patients dying there, but mostly due to old age and previous illness.
I had a good experience there. The Psychiatrist I worked with a very caring and professional.

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