(Northern State Recreation Area)

25625 Helmick Road, Sedro-Wooley, WA

Status: Former Psychiatric Campus; Government Facility; Parklands; Cemetery On Site


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All Photos Courtesy of Craig M


The economic crisis of 1893 left the small town of Sedro Wolley struggling to survive so they came up with a plan to create jobs and bring in money. Despite there already being two other hospitals for the criminally insane in the area they decided to build a hospital for the insane and purchased 800 acres of land in 1906.

In 1910 the first building was opened which functioned as an administrative and construction office.

By 1912 the first 200 hundred patients were admitted and the hospital quickly became famous for its humane treatment of the mentally ill – quite a difference from previously opened institutions.

The hospital also did its job in bringing the local economy to life; soon the town became very dependent on it.

Only one murder has survived the historical record; it was in 1922 and is described as patient against patient violence.

In the 1940′s the hospital took a new surgeon on staff, Dr Charles H. Jones, who perfected the frontal lobotomy operation here. There are some rather bleak stats during Dr Jones time at the hospital – on average 650 patients were admitted a month with 400 being released and 200 listed as either have been transferred or dying. It is theorized that many patients died while Dr Jones perfected his inhumane treatment.

The total number of people who died at this facility is unknown (as with most mental health facilities in the early to mid 20th Century) but there is an unmarked graveyard behind the gymnasium containing at least 1,000 bodies. The actual death toll is thought to be easily in the thousands.

In 1976 the hospital was officially closed. By the time it was closed it occupied over twice the amount of land that was originally bought in 1906.

Today some of the buildings are in use as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center and a Job Corps.

You can hike the trails on the former hospital grounds. Rumor has it some of the buildings are now open to the public and there is the occasional tour given.


Paranormal Activity

The most well known ghost of the old hospital grounds has been nicnamed “Fred”. Fred likes to throw objects around including sheets, bedpans and nurse’s clipboards and play other tricks on people.

In the former hospital building there have been reports of intense cold spots experienced even at the height of summer. The apparition of a nurse hanging from the rafters have been witnessed at an old nursing station. In the old superintendent’s building bright and colored lights shine out of the second floor windows when the building is empty.

The apparition of a little girl with a red ball is frequently seen in the old nurse’s dormitory as well as an apparition of an older man who seems to be eternally searching for her.

People have reported almost every paranormal activity in the old gym which is located near the unmarked cemetery.

Down in the tunnels there are reports of feelings of intense unease and of being watched, apparitions of former patients and staff, shadow figures and touches by invisible presences.

Other activity: light anomalies, disembodied voices, whispers and laughter, electrical disturbance, feelings of being watched, not wanted and unease/anxiety and pretty much every other paranormal activity possible.

Team Experiences

Negative energy throughout the site; one room in the ruins of the food preperation buildings with nausating negative energy; a fast moving apparition in the old farm buildings that appeared to be a blonde haired woman in a hospital gown and feelings of being watched.

The ghosts were definitely present but seemed to keep their distance; watching us but not interacting.

Unfortunately, we made the same mistake a lot of people do when they visit and only explored the farm area not knowing the abandoned buildings are at another site.