Posted: Jul 10, 2007 17:24 Post subject: Monson State Hospital (Palmer,MA.)
I'm new to this forum.
I've been trying to get more information on Monson State Hospital located in Palmer, Massachusetts.
I found some cool photos taken in 2006 of the hospital via a Yahoo Search, but I've found no recent photos or info on the hospital.
I do have some knowledge of the hospital that is not on the internet, but would love to have more info, especially information about the hospital's early days (eg: the late 1800's to the mid 1900s).
One thing that I have discovered via my net searches, is that most of the information floating out there about Monson State Hospital are quite incorrect. Makes me wonder how much of the other information about other Asylums are also incorrect.
Joined: 24 Aug 2006 Posts: 62 Location: NW Indiana
Posted: Jul 13, 2007 22:57 Post subject:
I think most of the old buildings are gone except for a handful across the road from the newer buildings of what is now called Monson Developmental Center. I'm not sure why it seems like there is so little history about it around, although it looks like it was one of the smaller ones in the state and mainly for epileptics. If you live in MA you could go hunt down old photos, paperwork etc at the state archives probably
Odds are alot of what you read about most asylums is wrong, partly because of old rumors. And theres a place listed on a website as an "asylum" when in fact it was only a regular hospital.
You are right in that there is not alot of info on this Hospital. Plus you are 100% correct that the Hospital primarily specialized in Epileptic deseases, and other unfortunate disabilities such as Spina-Bifida, severe Multiple Sclerosis, or for instance persons born without any arms or legs,blind and deaf, and needing much help.
Most of the patients there (with very severe diformaties) were just dumped at various hospitals or churches by the patients' parents. These disabled people (and many babies,I must add) were not wanted by their parents, so Monson State Hospital was one place where these disabled persons could be taken care of , for the rest of their lives.
I even got to see the "Baby Ward"...which was always one of my favorite Wards. I could not believe that all those little disabled children were just left there. I was glad that somebody took the time to care for them. State money well spent,in my opinion.
When I took the various tours, about 30 years ago, I saw that the disabled patients were loved and cared for with the greatest care. I saw no abuse. I spoke with many of the patients and most felt fortunate to be there, because at least "somebody could love them", even though their parents had deserted them.
No way did I feel that the Hospital was "haunted", as I walked through the grounds and Wards.
By the way, when active many years ago, this was an absolutely immaculate and gorgeous State Hospital. Actually, one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen.
Example: At Christmas time, the entire grounds were decorated with Christmas lights and decorations.
...Or on the Fourth of July the entire hospital (including Nurses and Doctors) participated in picnics and B-B-Ques. The disabled patients withough legs and arms, for example, attented all festivities and each had an attendant that helped them to eat. You could not take the smile off the patients' faces. Even though these people were born with such horrible afflictions, they looked happy to me. And many told me so.
Personally, I feel that a State Hospital with so much love there, could not be so "haunted" as people have rumored on the Internet.
Maybe in the earlier days, there was less care there, but as Psychiatry and Medicine improved by the mid 1900's, the patients were not harmed or hurt, by what I saw.
I had asked workers there (30 yrs ago) if there had ever been cases in which patients were chained to beds and tortured & such, but they said that they had never heard of such things. They said those were rumors. I felt comfortable with their answers
I discovered that Monson State Hospital is now closed to Tours, so I guess I wont be able to return to see the patients still there. I was just hoping that maybe they had resumed their Tours by now, but it sounds like that's not the case.
Joined: 24 Aug 2006 Posts: 62 Location: NW Indiana
Posted: Jul 17, 2007 22:05 Post subject:
Indiana had a similar place called the "Indiana village for epileptics" that closed sometime in the '80s. I think they had one set of buildings for adults the other for juveniles. Haven't seen many photos of it but it didn't look like a nice place at all.
Does the new Monson have volunteers? Most State hospitals and developmental centers give tours through the volunteer services. Unfortunately not enough people realize what these places are really like. Although now there is an impression that there are less people in state hospitals because of big improvements, when in reality they end up in prisons or jails instead thanks to the mental health reform act that cut alot of funding in the mid-'80s.
Not sure if Monson State has any volunteer programs or not. They sure used to , about 30 yrs ago.
I used to live in a small area adjecent to Monson State (ie: in a small town nearby) . But this was many years ago, & I have since moved. I do still have relatives that live close to Monson though.
Yes, it upsets me to have learned that when they closed many Hospitals back in the 1980's, they basically gave-up on many patients and so many of them ended-up becoming homeless. And plus, some patients ended-up in prisons because they no longer had medications available to them (and/or much needed care), and therefore they ended-up comitting crimes of various types---& for what ever reasons (eg: stealing for food, or getting in fights for food, or becoming alcoholic to forget their troubles, etc) .
I heard the statistics are mind-boggling, since so many mentally ill people are now incarcerated and not receiving any mental health or medicines to treat their illnesses. Thus, they are placed in prisons and once again forgotten, when they should actually be placed in mental hospitals to receive therapy and medicines for their illnesses & then released to lead productive lives.
I also heard that many prisoners on death row have IQs way below normal, some with the mental capacity of a small child ,for example. And those inmates never got proper mental health care either. So basically, persons with child-like mental capacities are being put to death or imprisoned, etc....
The state of our current mental health system is shocking.
As a Special Education Teacher, I have been interested in the humane tretment of people with disabilities my entire adult life. I just wish the funding were still there to help all the people that are now so forgotten. It makes me sad just to think about it.
Joined: 24 Aug 2006 Posts: 62 Location: NW Indiana
Posted: Jul 20, 2007 22:18 Post subject:
There was a program on PBS last year called Prisons:The New Asylums. I'll have to dig up the link for it. It was pretty much about what you describe. When my uncle was at Manteno in the late '60s they pretty much just stuck him in a corner since he was low risk and non-violent, there just wasn't enough staff to keep up I guess.
Joined: 01 Dec 2007 Posts: 1 Location: Northbridge, MA
Posted: Dec 01, 2007 11:17 Post subject: Monson State Hospital
Hello. I have worked at Monson Developmental Center for 18 years now. You're right.. it's a wonderful place with many caring and loving caregivers. The grounds are maintained and decorated beautifully. The residence buildings are also decorated seasonally and always very homelike.
There is actually a bit of historical information. I would suggest calling the main # 413-283-3411 and speak with the Facility Director.
Thank you Palmer070707.
I'm so glad that you saw this Topic.
It's so nice to hear from someone that still works at MSH. I'm also so glad to hear that the state of Massachusetts is taking care of Monson State Hospital (unlike what happened at Danvers & other State hospitals).
This time of the year makes me especially remember the beautiful lighted Christmas trees that were lit all around MSH.... So clean and festive! I'm sure it brought happiness to all the patients there and of course to all the workers of the Hospital. As a visitor, 30 years ago, I always left MSH with good feelings in my heart. Good memories...not sad ones.
I hate to burst everyone's bubble here but I live in Monson and although Monson Developmental Center or Monson State Hospital, as you all seem to call it, is very beautiful and is a legit hospital, the old buildings in the back of the state property are haunted.
These buildings are closed off to the public (and even to the people who work there) but some of them are visible from the road during the winter. They are located across Rte. 32 in Monson and are separated from the current and operating state hospital. I have also been on a tour of the operating hospital back in high school and you are right, it is very beautiful, especially in the summer, and, yes, the patients seem to be very happy there. But across the street is a very, very different story.
The buildings that you can see from the road had at one time contained violent criminals for shock therapy treatment (revolutionary at the time,) sometimes lobotomy, and rarely they euthanized patients who were not responding to treatment and continued to be violent. In the back, there are like 4 buildings that used to be the children's ward. Inside, although I wouldn't suggest going in since it's too dangerous, there are still hand, neck, and foot shackles bolted to the walls to restrain patients during therapy and violent behavior in both the criminal ward and children's ward. Although I haven't seen them, someone also told me there were tunnels underground linking some of the wards together.
I haven't seen any apparitions (I didn't want to stick around that long,) but there is a strange, heavy feeling you get even just standing on the grounds. As you approach the criminal ward, you can hear feet shuffling,
doors opening and shutting, and people talking...just as if it never shut down.
I'm not expecting anyone to believe my personal experiences, but what I said about the closed part of the hospital is true. Look for yourself if you want, just be careful- you could get nailed for trespassing. I'm not going back, it's just way too creepy, but it was definitely very cool and I'm glad I did. Just never again.
When I took the tour ,they just showed us the "modern" wards and they looked just fine and I certainly didn't get any bad vibes.
I didn't know there were "criminal wards" there too (in the back). I fact, I don't even know where the "back" of Monson State Hospital even is! It must be well hidden from all the main buildings.
Of course, we all know that Lobotomies and Electro-Shocks (and worse), took place in those state hospitals---especially when they first started in the 1800's and early to mid 1900's. Most of us have heard of the horror stories, ----sadly.
It's just hard to imagine that such horrors took place, but when I lived near Berkeley, there was a special photographic art exhibit there once by SCAVULLO (this was over 30 yrs ago) and there was a section of the exhibit showing actual photos taken by Scavullo inside various Asylums. The photos were taken in the 1940's (maybe even the 1950's) by Scavullo. The photos showed some of those torture chambers (for lack of a better word for them). It was a very shocking exhibit,causing quite the stir. Being Berkley though, the community allowed it.
Also, PBS just had an interesting TV show this week called THE LOBOTOMIST. It was a documentary, and well done. As was mentioned in the documentary, many of the first "guina pigs" used by Freeman lived in state hospitals, & were basically deserted by their families, so Freeman was able to perform his QUICK Lobotomies without needing family (or patient) consent.
Posted: Mar 09, 2008 11:32 Post subject: Monson state
Well i grew up in Monson when the Monson/Wilbraham Academy buildings were still standing before they were occupied (the ones that are left) before the library addition way before lol anyways my friends and i used to explore abandoned buildings before it was called urban exploring (and before you would get hasseled for checking someplace out ) we have been in every abandoned building in Monson(at the time) except the ones at Monson State just because they were way too creepy and the feeling you get when your there it is a very uninviting feeling plus when I was a kid there was a legend of a Patient who had escaped the current facility and went back to the abandoned building because thats all he knew and he killed anyone who was unfortunate enough to run into him.
Know that im older and know what really happened it was just a legend, he did escape and go back to his old dorm but he was also captured and returned to where he was supposed to be but you can see as a kid how that would keep you away.
Now the reason some of you cant find this place is because you are looking in the wrong place its official postal address is
175 State Avenue
but the facility is actually on hospital rd in Monson
it is right on the Monson/Palmer line but it is in Monson
be warned if you get caught on the property Monson police,Palmer police and the state police will be called and all will respond so youll have cops comming at you in all directions and for those of you who think its not haunted the link below are a bunch of ghost hunters from texas who used to live in palmer they have been inside and a story of theyre time inside Monson State
http://www.texashauntsociety.com/monsonstate.html _________________ When you go looking for ghosts in these places be sure to be a ghost leave no clues to your existence and dissapear into thin air!!!!
As someone who has done extensive research on Monson State (and every other name it has went by since the late 1800's), I can tell you that if you think this place was a positive entity for those who required "special care", you are highly mistaken. This was a place that housed and tortured the "unfortunate". Immigrants who found it impossible to make it in the US, children who's parents couldn't take care of them, and those who the state deamed to be "morally blunted" or "a deginerate".
Just to give you a simple view of how this place was looked at back in the day, look up "The Hill Folks". It was a report done back in 1912 by the Eugenics Office in New York. To cut it short, Monson State was a place where mass sterilization took place (on adolescent boys and girls), mass labotomies, anti-masturbation tools (ie...the "cast" designed by Dr. Everett Flood-The Superintendant of Monson State and Resident Doctor)was implemented and radioactive experiments were done on teenage boys by the way of oatmeal supplied by Quaker Oats (the law suit was settled back in 1984 or there around). I've also visited there quite a few times and have also found the tunnel that the staff up there would take the "bodies" in and out of. Also, look up the orphan trains of the early 1900's. Monson State also contributed to that little fiasco as well!!!!!
I just went to Monson State Hospital a couple days ago. It seemed as though all the buildings were in use and there were a lot of people around. I was only able to see about 3 abandoned houses randomly spread around but I didn't go up to them because of all the people...I didn't want them to suspect me or something. I only saw one of the hospital buildings that wasn't in use because when I looked in the door the walls were pealing and there wasn't anything inside. But all of the other buildings had like boxes and such stored in there and I was not sure what they were doing...I thought it was going to be more deserted up there and I was expecting more of the buildings to be untouched. Also on the other side of the road there were about 3 different roads leading up, with gates and a bunch of "No Trespassing" signs along with a sign threatening that there was cameras. I didn't go up there but I was very curious...has anyone else been up there? If so do you know what they are trying to block from people? Just the other hospital buildings? Also Does anyone know what they are doing with all of those buildings that look as though they should be abandoned but yet they are in use? I know some of it was supposed to be a Development Center but I didn't know they were using almost all of the buildings that you ARE allowed to go up to...I am kind of new to this I have always been interested in abandoned places like this but I just recently started going to them and I'm just looking for some answers and someone to talk about this stuff with =) I posted this on another site but instead they just seemed to think I wanted to go against the law because I asked about the signs...but thats not what I meant, I was just wonderingg.
Joined: 24 Aug 2006 Posts: 62 Location: NW Indiana
Posted: Jul 15, 2008 23:38 Post subject:
I think the "abandoned" buildings you saw are still part of the active campus. Some are not currently used but are in the middle of ones that are. The abandoned part people talk about are across the road, I think people still walk or ride bikes through there.
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