(New Jersey State Hospital at Trenton)(New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum)

101 Sullivan Way, Trenton, NJ

State: Former Insane Asylum; Partially Abandoned; Operational Forensic Hospital on Site


Please Share Your Experiences
Name Your Experiences @ Trenton Psychiatic Hospital Submit

By J.J. Pease after J.X. Mason - <a rel="nofollow" class="external free" href=""></a>, Public Domain, Link

West entrance to the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey

Date 5 September 2023, 14:08:30

Source Own work

Author Famartin

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.


This hospital was the first institution in the State designed to help the mentally ill. It was the brain child of Dorothea Dix – the mother of care of the mentally ill – who had toured the Poor Houses and Jails and saw the appalling conditions.

This was also the first building built in the Kirkbride Plan created by Thomas Kirkbride – a Philadelphia psychiatrist – who designed a hospital to have a central administration with 2 wings going out on both sides resembling something like a bat. One side would be women’s wards and the other men’s wards. The calmer patients would near the central administration while the more violent ones were at ends of the wings.

Having investigated a couple of Kirkbride Buildings myself I can tell you the energy is almost unbearable at the end of these wings. At Buffalo State Hospital one member had to quit the investigation as she was unable to move on she was so physically ill.

The hospital opened on May 15, 1848 and 86 patients were admitted in the first year. Psychiatrists and administrators came from all over America and the world to see the Kirkbridge Plan. It is assumed they loved it as numerous asylums were constructed using this plan from point on – ie Danvers State Hospital, Buffalo State Hospital, Topeka State Hospital and many many more.

In the 1850 – 60’s new buildings were constructed for patient housing and recreation facilities. As the 19th century came to a close another building was constructed for long term and incurable cases – previously the State had limited stays to 6 months.

By the 1950’s the hospital – like all of its contemporaries - was massively overcrowded and understaffed and suffering from financial issues. By the 1960’s the invention of antipsychotics began to steadily decrease the population.

Eventually the buildings began to empty until even the huge Kirkbride Building was empty and locked up. The former asylum was replaced with a new 450 bed forensic – the criminally insane – hospital. The old asylum buildings remain abandoned as they were closed up.


Paranormal Activity

This hospital has a very dark chapter in its history.

Dr Henry Cotton took over as the medical director in 1907. At first everything was as it should be and Dr Cotton removed the use of mechanical restraints and started a number of occupational health programs. Then he discovered that untreated syphilis could cause madness.

This translated into his head that all mental illness was an infection in the body. He took it upon himself to do pre-emptive strikes and began to do unnecessary – and sometimes unsanctioned – operations on the patients. He removed vast amounts of teeth but also gall bladders, testicles, ovaries, stomachs and other parts of patient’s bodies.

He turned the asylum into a hell house of horrors. Patients were not given a choice – nor was their consent given or even asked for – and they were put through incredible pain for no reason at all. It amounted to human experimentation.

Dr Cotton claimed a level of success near 90%. Of course, the large number of patients who died due to this mistreatment were not included in these statistics.

Dr Cotton died in 1933 and some of the tortures ended, but up until 1960 removing patient’s teeth was still standard practice in the hospital.

These events are thought to be responsible for most of the paranormal activity on site.

The ghost of Dr Cotton has been seen; whether he is repenting for the sins or anxious to begin his horrific experiments again is unknown.

Apparitions of former patients are also reported – some with missing limbs.

Other Activity: touches, tugs and pulls from unseen presences; poltergeist activity; disembodied voices; cold spots; feelings of being watched, not being wanted and not being alone. Some people on site have developed a sense of paranoia they had to leave the property to escape it; electrical disturbances and light anomalies.