CENTRAL STATE HOSPITAL

620 Broad Street, Milledgeville

Status: Former Insane Asylum; One Building still Being Used; Many Abandoned Buildings

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History

In the early to mid 19th century Georgia was one of the States who realized a facility was needed to take care of the developmentally disabled, mentally ill and the generally mentally deficient – idiots in their vernacular – other than the prisons and alm(poor)houses.

Under the direction of the Governor the State began to look for a site to build one upon. Milledgeville was chosen and the first building was constructed. In 1842 the Georgia Asylum Lunatic, Idiot and Epileptics Asylum was opened; their terms not mine.

 

According to the RVAGhost website here are some of the reasons for locking you up in the asylum:

Abortion

Desertion

Not getting along with an employee/employer

Emancipation

Marriage

Masturbation

Talking back to a police officer

Typhoid fever

On the wrong side of the street

Being too old with no place to go

And a medical condition that slaves supposedly got called “drapetomania”

 

The first head doctor, Thomas Greene, banned both chain and rope restraints and patients worked alongside the staff in the asylum’s operations as well as working on the farm.

Once the South lost the Civil War asylums like this were used, just like prisons, as a way of legally imprisoning the newly freed African-American population and putting them to work for free again.

By the 1960’s 17,000 (per a former hospital employee) patients using 200 buildings on the 20,000 acre site.

At this point Central State was the biggest asylum in the United States; perhaps the world.

Treat conditions had fallen about as far as they could; children were kept in cages and adults were trapped in strait jackets. Insulin and electrical shock were both used excessively as well as hydrotherapy; dropping a patient into a freezing tub filled with cold water and ice.

The doctor – none of which was a psychiatrist – to patient ration had fallen to 100 to 1.

Parents threatened their children they would be sent to Milledgeville if they didn’t behave.

As with other institutions, by the end of the 60’s deinstitutionalization began, and the population began to drop.

In 2010 the State announced that the hospital would be shut down. By then only the Powell Building was being used; the other buildings were abandoned and left to degrade.

The hospital was never shut down and the Powell Building still houses 200 patients classified as criminally insane by the Courts.

In fact, since 2018, a new facility is being built on the grounds.

There are at least 25,000 people buried on the grounds in unmarked graves.

The grounds are open to the public – you can even tour the site in an antique trolley – but entrance to the buildings is forbidden. There is on site security preventing anyone from going inside the severely dilapidated buildings.

There is also a self-guided driving tour of the site. If you decide to walk the site, you have to stay on the sidewalks.

The 5K Thriller Marathon is run here with zombies chasing the runners.

While you can’t spend the night here, you can rent a 19th century cottage on site to stay in overnight. Its located beside the pecan grove near the old infirmary.

 

Paranormal Activity

Reported Activity:

Apparitions of former patients and staff; shadow figures; time and dimensional slips; objects moving on their own; electrical disturbances; disembodied voices; unexplained noises including screams, moans, whispers, laughter and loud bangs; empathic feelings of sadness, loss and depression; physical symptoms including migraines, dizziness and nausea; light anomalies; feelings of being watched, not being wanted, not being alone and being followed; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen entities; objects being knocked from people’s hands by an unseen force and pretty much every other type of paranormal you can think of.