The history and mystery surrounding Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville

haunted asylum in peoria illinois

Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville was home to thousands of psychiatric patients, one reform-minded administrator and arguably the area's greatest ghost story.

The asylum closed in 1973, but 50 years later, its "haunted grounds" can still be seen. Here's what to know:

The history

The hospital opened in 1902 as the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane. Superintendent Dr. George A. Zeller established a community-like "cottage system" with multiple buildings, including patient and caretaker housing, a store, a power station, a bakery and a farm area. Ultimately, there were 63 buildings on the sprawling, parklike grounds. (Today, only 13 remain.)

In an era of cruel and often barbaric treatment of psychiatric patients — from restraints and locked rooms to, later, electroconvulsive therapy — Zeller was considered a reformer, advocating dignified and humane care. He removed the restraints and window bars, reportedly using the iron grates once used to cage patients to create a zoo on the grounds, "a source of amusement and delight to patients, visitors and attendants."

Over time, the hospital's resident population grew to thousands of patients. By the late 1920s, more than 13,000 had already entered the facility. In all, over 4,000 were reportedly buried in the asylum's four cemeteries, many in graves marked only by numbers.

The mystery

The hospital grounds are the subject of local legend. The 2009 book "Haunted Peoria" devotes an entire chapter to ghost stories associated with the former asylum.

Perhaps the best known is the tale of "Old Book," a patient assigned to the hospital's burial crew. Old Book is said to have wept at each interment, moaning beneath a nearby "magnificent" elm. Upon his own burial, the legend holds that Old Book was seen weeping and moaning at that same "Graveyard Elm." Yet as his coffin's lid was removed by confounded attendants, the wailing ceased, and there lay Old Book, in calm repose.

Within weeks, the story goes, the Graveyard Elm began to wither. Soon, with few remaining limbs, it resembled a human skeleton. The "monarch of the forest" was dead. A cutting crew was assembled. Upon the first ax stroke, a wailing could be heard emanating from the tree.

More: Extra: Area's greatest ghost story came from Peoria State Hospital founder Dr. George Zeller

Touring the grounds

The Peoria State Hospital Museum , established in 2013 at 4208 W. Pfeiffer Road, Bartonville, is dedicated to preserving the history of the hospital. According to its website , it has acquired three of the remaining buildings on the hilltop. The museum hosts historical and paranormal tours, vendor bazaars and fundraising Halloween attractions.

This year's Halloween event is an Old State Mine Haunted Trail on the grounds of the hospital. The fictionalized attraction explores the "legend of an old mining village that was overtaken by an evil entity." The trail begins in a former Peoria State Hospital building and continues along a wooded hillside on the former asylum grounds.

More: Fright nights offer thrills and chills at Peoria-area haunted attractions

The trail is open Friday and Saturday evenings in October, as well as Nov. 4. Tickets are $15 and are available at the gate at 4400 Industry Drive or at oldstatemine.com.

For more information

A 2022 mini-documentary, "Shadows of Bartonville: Peoria State Hospital," includes current video and archival photos of the asylum. The filmmakers are reportedly seeking funding for a full-length documentary.

The Alpha Park Public Library in Bartonville hosts a podcast series, "Stories From the Bowen Building: A Podcast on the Peoria State Hospital."

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The Wailing Elm of Peoria State Hospital

This historic hospital for the mentally ill holds a strange history—and an even stranger ghost story.

peoria state hospital

  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1895, the Illinois General Assembly passed a provision to establish the ominously-named Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane. The ultimate result was an institution that would eventually become known as the Peoria State Hospital, 63 buildings and their grounds on a plot of land at the edge of the small town of Bartonville, near Peoria, Illinois.

Before the hospital even opened its doors in 1902, it had already faced unusual challenges. The first building on the site was completed in 1897, and described as "a facsimile of a feudal castle." This building was never inhabited and was eventually torn down and replaced by the "cottage plan" of multiple buildings by 1902.

Related: 10 Horror Books Too Terrifying to Handle  

The reason for the abandonment and demolition of the original structure is uncertain. Most sources cited a series of abandoned mine shafts beneath the property, undermining the structural integrity of the original castle-like building. However, a 1927 history of the Peoria State Hospital , held in the archives of the George A. Zeller Mental Health Center Professional Library, states that the reason the original building was never occupied was that it "was found to be wholly out of harmony with modern ideas for the care of the insane."

peoria state hospital

Dr. George A. Zeller (pictured in the middle)

Whatever the reason for the change, the hospital opened under the new "cottage plan" in 1902, with 33 different buildings including a communal utility building, a power station, and housing for patients and staff. The new hospital opened under the administration of Dr. George A. Zeller. Dr. Zeller was considered a pioneer in mental health and the day-to-day running of a hospital. He was also the source of one of the most dramatic ghost stories in the hospital's long history.

Related: 6 Haunted Asylums You Can Actually Visit  

Among the innovations that Dr. Zeller brought to the hospital was a way to take care of unclaimed bodies. Patients who died in the care of a hospital and who had no family members to claim them had formed a bit of a problem for a number of asylums at the time. Dr. Zeller formed a burial corps made up of several staff members and a handful of patients who buried the unclaimed bodies in a small cemetery on the hospital grounds.

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One member of this burial detail was a well-liked patient who everyone at the hospital simply called Old Book. In fact, Old Book was so well liked that when he eventually passed away, around 100 nurses and more than 300 spectators are said to have attended his funeral. These mourners then bore witness to a chilling sight: According to Dr. Zeller, writing about the occurrence in his 1937 memoir Befriending the Bereft , all those assembled mourners saw the apparition of Old Book appear next to the cemetery Elm while he was being buried.

Related: The Spooky Ruins of Georgia’s Central State Hospital  

What's more: After Old Book's body was interred, the tree began to die, and every attempt to chop it down or burn it failed. The tree itself was said to wail and cry whenever it was cut or a fire was lit nearby. It is only one of the many eerie events that have been recorded at the Peoria State Hospital over the years, though it is difficult to imagine one more striking or which was observed by so many witnesses. 

In 1907, the hospital dropped the word "incurable" and became the Illinois General Hospital for the Insane. Then, in 1909, it traded all that in and become the Peoria State Hospital. At its peak, the hospital housed around 2,800 patients. When its closure was announced only 20 years later, that number had dropped to 600. Peoria State Hospital’s doors were officially shuttered in 1973.

peoria state hospital

  • Photo Credit: Alchetron

Since its closure, most of the hospital's 63 buildings have been demolished or converted into industrial or commercial businesses. The Bowen Building, which once housed the hospital's administrative offices, is undergoing demolition , in spite of fundraising efforts by the Save the Bowen Foundation. 

Related: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and the Haunting Enigma of Lily  

The cemetery still stands on the hospital grounds. Sometime after the burial of Old Book, the cemetery Elm was struck by lightning and finally removed. Yet rumors of sightings of Old Book—and the sounds of his sadness—persist till this day.

As for the actual gravesite of Old Book? For decades it remained without a headstone. Around 2010, however, one former hospital employee erected a memorial in honor of the former patient.

Featured photo: Wikimedia Commons; Additional photos: Destination America / YouTube ; Alchetron  

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Do You Dare? Haunted Illinois Mental Hospital Reopens This Weekend

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If you love spooky stuff then you, my friend, are in luck.

A mental hospital that opened in 1902 and is thought to be haunted is reopening this weekend to the public for paranormal investigations.

It's Peoria State Hospital, which was originally the "Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane" (where do I check in?). NBC Chicago reports that tours are opening up to the public on Saturday from 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Paranormal investigations will be available August 6th & August 20th. 

The guided tours of the grounds include three Peoria State Hospital buildings, the monument area, the Old State Mine Haunted Trail, and four cemeteries. T ickets are $50 per person and you can get them here . 

Why It's Haunted

Back in the 20th century, Dr. George Zeller was the "father" of the institution. He believed those with mental illnesses could be treated humanely so he took bars off of the windows and removed the forms of restraints against the patients.

While it was in operation, the hospital developed a good reputation, being number 1 for curing its patients for 69 out of its 71 operating years.

Illinois Haunted Houses says the property might be haunted by Manuel A. Bookbinder, who was a patient who worked on the burial grounds and mourned the passing of hospital patients. When Bookbinder died himself, it's said that funeral attendants (400 of them to be exact) could see him mourning at his own funeral. But when they opened up his casket to make sure his body was still there, it was.

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Haunted illinois mental hospital opens to public this weekend, ghostly laughter, a mysterious torso and a patient haunting his own funeral are all part of peoria state hospital's spooky legacy..

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Anna Schier , Patch Staff

A haunted hospital will reopen to the public this weekend.

BARTONVILLE, IL — One of Illinois’ ghostliest haunts will soon reopen to the living.

The Peoria State Hospital Museum opened July 12 following an extensive renovation, according to WGN , and the first of several paranormal tours of the old hospital grounds is set for Saturday.

Established in 1902 as the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane, the hospital was groundbreaking in its time for its humane treatment of those with mental illnesses. Superintendent Dr. George Zeller changed the name to Peoria State Hospital, took the bars off the windows and did away with restraints, opting instead for holistic therapies, according to the museum website.

Find out what's happening in Peoria with free, real-time updates from Patch.

The hospital closed more than 70 years later due to dwindling funds and staffing, and all but 12 of its 63 buildings were destroyed. The museum opened in 2013.

Peoria State Hospital has a long history of haunts. In 2021, Almanac published a 1910 account from Zeller himself about a patient who mourned loudly at his own funeral before going on to haunt a tree on the premises. The hospital was also featured in season 3 of the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Asylum.”

“The other day, I was in our cottage, we were working, and I literally saw the top half of a torso walk by,” Jeff Pirnell, who operates the museum with his wife, Christina Morris, told WGN.

The couple hopes to turn the hospital’s old gymnasium, known for its ghostly laughter, into a community center, WGN reported.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at 4204 W. Pfeiffer Road in Bartonville. The upcoming public paranormal investigations rapidly sold out, but the events will resume in November. For more information, visit www.peoriastatehospital.com .

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From Asylum to Haunted House: The Unexpected Story of Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville, IL

A humble beginning.

In the heart of Illinois , nestled near the city of Peoria in Bartonville , stands the vestiges of an institution that was once a beacon of hope for the mentally ill.

The Peoria State Hospital , initially known as the ‘Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane,’ has a rich history from 1895. This hospital was not merely a medical institution; it was a testament to the resilience and vision of its founders.

The establishment of the hospital resulted from the proactive measures of the Illinois General Assembly. Governor John Altgeld appointed a three-person commission responsible for selecting the site, and Bartonville was chosen.

The first building, completed in 1897, was never used due to compromised structural integrity caused by abandoned mine shafts. This setback, however, did not deter the hospital’s mission.

In 1902, under the innovative guidance of Dr. Frederick Howard Wines, the hospital transformed, adopting a cottage system that resulted in the construction of 33 buildings.

Years of Service and Enduring Impact

Opening its doors in 1902, The Illinois Hospital for the Incurable Insane emerged as a haven for those believed to be beyond help. The facility later became known as the Illinois General Hospital for the Insane, and by 1909, it was recognized as Peoria State Hospital .

The leadership under Dr. George Zeller, a man ahead of his time, was instrumental in shaping the hospital’s reputation. His holistic approach to therapy was groundbreaking and changed the lives of many patients.

Dr. Zeller removed all bars from the windows, took away all forms of restraint, and began a new, compassionate approach to therapy. This revolutionary concept of treating mental illness humanely made him a maverick in the eyes of many.

The hospital gained recognition as the leading institution in patient recovery for an impressive 69 out of its 71 years of operation, a clear indicator of the success of Zeller’s approach. It also housed a highly respected nursing program, further elevating its standing.

The hospital peaked in the 1950s, with 2,800 patients calling it home. However, the patient census had dropped to 600 when its closure was announced in 1972. The closure was met with employee protests, but lacking funding and staffing led to its inevitable end in 1973.

Peoria State Hospital

From Closure to Modern Era

After the closure, the buildings stood vacant and were auctioned off. Winsley Durand Jr., a developer, acquired the hospital with the vision of transforming the structures into office spaces, but his plans never fully materialized.

As time passed, many of the original structures were torn down, with the remaining ones refurbished to accommodate a range of commercial and industrial businesses. The Village of Bartonville marked the entire area as a TIF district to promote continued growth and revitalization.

Unfortunately, the Bowen building, the nurses’ dorm, and the administration building were demolished in 2016. The loans taken for the demolition remain unpaid to the Village of Bartonville, leaving a bitter reminder of the historical loss.

Peoria State Hospital

Supernatural Connections and Public Engagement

Despite its closure, the hospital continued to draw visitors due to reported paranormal activity. The grounds became a hotspot for paranormal enthusiasts, and stories of the property being haunted began to circulate.

One such tale involves Manuel A. Bookbinder, a former patient at the hospital who worked with the burial crew. According to the tale, Bookbinder’s ghost was seen by 400 staff and patients at his funeral, a sight that led to his coffin being opened to confirm his body was still inside.

Peoria State Hospital recently reopened its doors for public tours, allowing the curious and the brave to walk through the historic buildings. Tours include the monument area, the four cemeteries, and the Old State Mine Haunted Trail.

The Peoria State Hospital Museum even started offering private asylum tours, where guides lead guests to paranormal hotspots inside the building, leaving guests alone to explore the property.

A Final Reflection

The Peoria State Hospital was more than just a medical institution. It was a beacon of hope for those shunned by society, a sanctuary where they were treated with compassion and dignity.

The hospital’s legacy, from its inception to its closure and beyond, is a testament to the resilience and vision of its founders and the enduring spirit of those who walked its halls. It is a stark reminder of our society’s evolving approach to mental health and the necessity of preserving such historical institutions.

While the hospital no longer serves its original purpose, it remains interesting. It welcomes the public to immerse themselves in its rich history, to walk its haunted trails, and to remember a time when this place was a refuge that society had deemed ‘incurable.’

Peoria State Hospital

The Peoria State Hospital is a testament to the passage of time, the evolution of mental health care, and the enduring spirit of humanity.

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haunted asylum in peoria illinois

haunted asylum in peoria illinois

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OLD STATE MINE

An Outdoor Trail Experience With An Indoor Line

Located on the haunted asylum grounds of the Peoria State Hospital

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NBC Chicago

Paranormal Investigations Reopen to Public at Haunted Mental Hospital in Illinois This Weekend

By becca wood • published july 22, 2022 • updated on july 22, 2022 at 4:30 pm.

A supposedly haunted mental hospital opened in 1902 in central Illinois will reopen to the public again this weekend for paranormal investigations.

Peoria State Hospital, originally named the "Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane," will start welcoming the public back for tours on Saturday from 7-10 p.m. Paranormal investigations will also be available Aug. 6 and Aug. 20.

The guided tours include three Peoria State Hospital buildings, the monument area, four cemeteries and the Old State Mine Haunted Trail, according to the museum.

Tickets are $50 per person and available here .

Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.

As of July 12, the Peoria State Hospital Museum started offering private tours of the asylum, which are provided. On those walk-throughs, guides take guests to paranormal hotspots inside the building and the team is then left alone to explore the property for the remainder of the tour.

Dr. George Zeller, an area surgeon, was known as the "father" of the institution, and believed in a new kind of institution back in the 20th century where people with mental illness could be treated humanely, according to the museum.

Zeller notably took all bars off the windows, removed all forms of restraint and began a new, holistic approach to therapy, which made others consider him "mad."

haunted asylum in peoria illinois

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Peoria State Hospital was considered No. 1 for curing patients for 69 out of its 71 operating years, the museum noted, as well as No. 1 for its nursing program for 30 of its 31 active years.

In 1973, the hospital closed due to a lack of funding and staffing, according to the website, though employees protested the termination. When the hospital closed its doors, 63 buildings stood on the grounds. But because a "taboo" surrounding the property, most were torn down with 12 left standing.

Though doctors and nurses stopped treating patients in the 1970s, visitors continued to return to the grounds after paranormal activity was reported.

According to Illinois Haunted Houses , the property could be haunted by Manual A. Bookbinder, who was reportedly a patient at the hospital who worked with the burial crew.

At the time of Bookbinder's funeral, Zeller allegedly said 400 staff and patients saw his ghost. The website said they even opened the coffin to confirm his body was still inside, which it was.

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I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...

Friday, October 3, 2014

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Illinois's Haunted Hospitals & Asylums

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Categories: Real Haunted Hospitals & Asylums

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haunted asylum in peoria illinois

Haunted Places in Peoria, Illinois

haunted asylum in peoria illinois

Peoria Public Library

Peoria, illinois.

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Emack and Bolio's

This ice cream parlour is haunted by former owner Jim Schwab, who died after falling headfirst down a flight of stairs. Staff have reported disembodied footsteps descending the staircase, while others have encountered a male apparition on the upper floor. (Submitted by Callum Swift)

Peoria Players Theatre

Peoria Players Theatre is said to be haunted by a playful ghost named Norman, a former theater director who died in 1960 at age 34, and a more sinister entity whose identity is unknown.

haunted asylum in peoria illinois

Peoria State Hospital

Bartonville, illinois.

This abandoned mental hospital, now in the planning stages for restoration, is said to be haunted by Manuel A. Bookbinder, or Old Book. Old Book was a patient who worked with the burial crew at the hospital until his own death.

Safari Bowl

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You will hear footsteps on the lanes when it is jaut you in there. You can hear pins be thrown across the back of bowling ally when no one is back there. There are dog barking. There is also a little girl that is 8 yrs old that haunts ...

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Stanford Pour House

Stanford, illinois.

Originally built at the turn of the century as a mercantile grocery store, it was shortly after used by a local church for their temporary place of worship until their regular church building was completed. It was then used for many years as a funeral home. It ...

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Stanford Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Built in 1901, the Stanford Cumberland Presbyterian Church had been loved and enjoyed by it's congregation until it was sold in 2004. Between 2004 to 2012 it has changed hands four times since. The first owner lived it for a very short time. It was then ...

Atkin-Colby Hall

Normal, illinois.

Atkin-Colby Hall at Illinois State University is rumored to be haunted on its 11th floor. One witness claims to have been pushed down the stairs by the ghost. Also described by witnesses are doors opening, whispers, strange noises, and an overwhelming feeling of discomfort and that you are not wanted ...

Williams Hall

Illinois State University's Williams Hall was the site of the university's first library, and is thought to be haunted by the spirit of the first librarian, Angie Milner. Even though a new library was eventually built in her name, and the old one was turned into Williams Hall, the ghost ...

Kemp Hall - International House

Bloomington, illinois.

Kemp Hall International House, or I-House, is said to be haunted by a ghostly Lady in Red. She is believed to be Mrs. A. E. DeMange, former owner of the mansion. She passed away after living here only a year, in 1908. Mr. DeMange sold it to the Illinois Weslayan ...

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Lawford Theatre

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Folks who have visited or worked at the Lawford Theatre have seen faces appear in photographs and have felt cold chills behind the curtains on opening nights.

Lincoln College

Lincoln, illinois.

Lincoln College is rumored to have ghosts in the 1866 University Hall, where a face appears in the bell tower and white misty forms appear in the windows. The ghosts, whose footsteps also are heard from time to time, are believed to be a boy and girl who passed away ...

East Otto Cemetery

Lewistown, illinois.

Local legend has it that the specters of two headless women can be seen at this cemetery late at night, screaming as they're being chased by an axe-wielding maniac. No word on exactly how a headless woman is supposed to be able to scream, but you know, details, details...

Friendly Cafe

Abingdon, illinois.

The café is rumoured to be haunted. Employees have been touched by unseen hands, and a woman in a long dress appeared to a former owner in the main kitchen. (Submitted by Callum Swift)

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Abandoned Train Bridge

Spring valley, illinois.

Shadow figures have been seen on and around the abandoned bridge that goes over the train tracks in DePue, Il. The sounds of screams, train whistles, and a train stopping have been heard in the location when the train that runs the track is nowhere near the village. Many ...

Moon Point Cemetery - Moon Creek Cemetery

Streator, illinois.

Moon Point Cemetery, aka Moon's Point Cemetery or Moon Creek Cemetery, is older than the Civil War and legendary with those who like to tell ghost stories. It was thought to have begun as a family cemetery for early settlers Jacob Moon and his family. The cemetery's most-talked-about ghost is ...

Massock Mausoleum

The Massock Mausoleum stands in a small graveyard called the Lithuanian Liberty Cemetery, and it's the stuff of legends. Locals tell of a Hatchet Man, a scary ghost who guards the cemetery, and the mausoleum door is said to remain warm and has been sealed closed since the 1960s when ...

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Kaskaskia Hotel

Lasalle, illinois.

This historic hotel opened in 1916. Locals tell a story of a young woman who committed suicide by jumping from the top floor in the 1920s, but some will tell you she was pushed by her boyfriend. It is said that employees there would hear the click of her heels ...

Ninth Street Pub

According to local tales, the Ninth Street Pub's ghost is Mrs. Sonnenburg, an elderly woman who lived adjacent to the pub and often complained about its noise. After her death, the owner of the pub purchased her home and made it into a pub addition. A staff member who was ...

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Locals say that a woman wearing a white flowing gown glides across the field on quiet nights. It is said she is the spirit of Julia Markham, who in 1905 killed her 7 children with an ax and then set her house on fire, killing herself.

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Starved Rock Lodge

Oglesby, illinois.

At this circa 1900 historic lodge, folks say, reside the ghosts of Native Americans who once fought a battle nearby. Guests have reported seeing a black apparition and strange orbs of light, and they have felt cold spots and experienced doors that open and close by themselves. It should be ...

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Super 8 Macomb

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This Super 8 has been the site of numerous strange happenings. Witnesses say the lights and air conditioning will turn on and off by themselves, doors will open on their own, and mysterious whistling can be heard. Clerks have experienced electrical malfunctions with the phone, such as all the lines ...

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Western Illinois University

Lingering spirits are many at this university! Bayliss Hall, room 1117, is haunted by a former occupant who delivered a baby in secret, threw it down the trash chute, then hung herself in the closet. Cries and moans can be heard in her room. In room 501, a severely depressed ...

Dana-Thomas House

Springfield, illinois.

Witnesses who visit or work at the historic house have reported humming voices, chairs being thrown down the stairs, curtains that move by themselves, and an apparition of a woman in black. The woman is believed to be the home’s original owner, Susan Lawrence Dana, who is rumored to have ...

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This inn was originally built in 1909 as a private home. As to the identity of the haunt who resides here, very little is known. Guests have witnessed apparitions and heard voices coming from rooms that are vacant, and the elevator runs by itself. Also, some people here have seen ...

Millikin University

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Many ghosts are said to haunt the historic Millikin University, including Rail Girl, who haunts the Albert Taylor Theater. Her ghost appears, as her name suggests, along a rail in the upper part of the theater. Students have a tradition of leaving her three pieces of candy before a show ...

Avon Theater

Staff members at this theater report disembodied laughter, footsteps, missing objects, and voices and applause that come from the auditorium when it is empty. The apparition of a man in his 50s or 60s also has been seen.

Lincoln Square Theatre

This historic 1916 theater building was built atop the fire-ravaged Priest Hotel that once stood here. It is said that the ghosts of the fire victims still linger in the theater. Red, a former theater worker, is a friendly ghost here. Witnesses have heard his whispers, seen his shadowy form, ...

Greenwood Cemetery

This large and very actively haunted cemetery is known for the ghostly weeping Greenwood Bride, and it's also home to many Confederate soldiers' spirits. The soldiers were prisoners in the Civil War, and died of yellow fever only to be cast into unmarked graves. The soldiers have been known to ...

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Allerton Mansion

Monticello, illinois.

The Robert Allerton Park, with its 1900 Georgian Revival mansion and incredible gardens, are both open to the public. Here visitors may see some ghostly goings-on in the form of a Lady in White, believed to be a guest at the mansion long ago. It is said that she is ...

haunted asylum in peoria illinois

Mercer County Courthouse

Aledo, illinois.

The courthouse building dates back to the 1890's, and in the 1930's a skeleton was removed from the basement when the interior was remodelled. Ever since, staff have reported hearing footsteps after the courthouse has been locked up for the night, and a woman leaving the building in the ...

Vishnu Springs

Colchester, illinois.

Back in the 1880s, the strange-tasting water at Vishnu Springs, named after a Hindu god, was thought to have healing properties. Holiness Camp Meetings of folks who wanted to partake of the magical waters drew 3,000 people to the area, and a town was formed. Witnesses say the area is ...

Amboy Pharmacy

Amboy, illinois.

This old-fashioned pharmacy is haunted by at least seven spirits, according to a visiting psychic. Dating back to the early 1860's, the main haunting here is by a former pharmacy owner who was displeased by recent renovations. Known as 'Steve', he has been known to knock objects off shelves, ...

Central Avenue Ghost

Bettendorf, iowa.

The spirit of a middle-aged washerwoman haunts the area with her wooden washtub. She has been reported since the late 1800s, but some say she upgraded her equipment and sometimes appears with a double-wringer washing machine.

Illinois College

Jacksonville, illinois.

Illinois College, founded in 1829, is rumored to have several haunted buildings. Among them are Sturtevant Hall and Beecher Hall, where folks have reported apparitions, footsteps, and other noises. Beecher Hall, according to campus talk, was formerly a medical building and the top floor was a space for storing cadavers. ...

haunted asylum in peoria illinois

Hotel Blackhawk

Davenport, iowa.

This place has undergone extensive renovation since almost burning down in a fire started by a meth lab operating out of the eighth floor in 2006. Could meth fumes, seeping through the walls account for the reports of ghosts? Cary Grant suffered his fatal stroke on the eighth floor ...

haunted asylum in peoria illinois

Scott City Hall

An imposing building with a bell tower just begs to have a good ghost story associated with it, and this city hall building is no exception. People claim to see the ghost of a hanged man in the tower at night, allegedly from prisoners who were illegally hanged there. ...

Masonic Temple

A wide assortment of haunted activity is claimed to occur at this former masonic temple. These phenomena include disembodied voices carrying on a conversation, noises without a recognizable source such as footsteps when there is no one seen, names being called when there is no one present, etc. Objects ...

Alice French House

This historic mansion was the residence of the notable writer, who spent her years throughout here during the warmer months. Her father, the town mayor, originally owned the house, and it may be his spirit that is often reported here by visitors. Witnesses claim to have seen a distinguished ...

Phi Kappa Chi

This fraternity house has a haunt of its own, the apparition of a large man who enters at the front door and walks up the stairs to the front bedroom. He wears an overcoat with the collar turned up. Student lore says that the apparition belongs to a homeless man ...

haunted asylum in peoria illinois

Palmer College of Chiropractic

There is a lecture hall, built in the 1800s, that is said to be haunted by ghosts who fly around the ceiling, making the hanging lamps sway. It is said that there are no air vents, fans, or windows of any sort placed in such a way that would cause ...

haunted asylum in peoria illinois

Ambrose Hall

At this hall in St. Ambrose University, witnesses have reported hearing strange noises and footsteps late at night. They have also seen flickering lights. Some attribute the occurrences to the spirit of an old priest who died many years ago.

Stony Hollow Road

Burlington, iowa.

Spooky tales told here revolve around a ghost named Lucinda. She is said to have committed suicide by jumping off a cliff when her beloved failed to meet her to run away together. There are many reports of people seeing the ghost. Local urban legend also says that if you ...

Aux Sable Cemetery

Morris, illinois.

Aux Sable Cemetery is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a mischievous young girl who has been known to play pranks, such as lowering electrical car windows when the key is not even in the ignition. The site is also said to be a portal from a ghostly ...

Anderson Cemetery - Cemetery X

Taylorville, illinois.

According to tales told about this cemetery, there is a secret passage that opens up at night, when trees part and a path appears to an ancient graveyard. It's said to be protected by a phantom wolf who chases trespassers. (The cemetery is not to be confused with another Anderson ...

Cotton House

Clinton, iowa.

This historic gothic mansion belonged to a family of barristers, who moved out after seeing the apparition of a woman in white roaming the hallways and ground after dark. Visitors to the house will not go down to the basement alone, which is believed to be haunted by an ...

The Harrison Street Inn

Sullivan, illinois.

Eyewitnesses report apparitions, footsteps, diesmbodied voices, showers and toilets that work by themselves, and many other strange phenomena at this historic inn.

Muscatine, Iowa

The Blue Angel is a statue with a legend. Reports say that back in the 1950s, she was thought of as the benevolent spirit of the cemetery, protecting it from vandals. Sometime since then, tales about her have become more sinister. She is said to have once held a rose; ...

Conover Square

Oregon, illinois.

Conover Square is a former piano factory, now a shopping mall. Built in the 1890's, it is now the home of many haunted happenings. A little girl's spirit giggles in the hallways & museum, loud crashes boom from the unoccupied third floor, and more than one female ...

Patrick Haley Mansion

Joliet, illinois.

Egyptologist and architect Frank Shaver Allen built this mansion that's been popular with ghost hunters since the '70s. Among the spirits believed to be active here are the architect himself as well as a little boy, an older woman who died on the premises, and a nanny. Perhaps adding to ...

haunted asylum in peoria illinois

» Cemeteries near Peoria, IL » Find museums in Peoria, IL

IMAGES

  1. Peoria Asylum (Bartonville)

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  2. You won't believe what happened at this Haunted Asylum

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  3. Peoria State Hospital

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  4. Peoria Asylum (Bartonville)

    haunted asylum in peoria illinois

  5. Peoria Asylum (Bartonville)

    haunted asylum in peoria illinois

  6. Bartonville Insane Asylum, abandoned in the 1970s

    haunted asylum in peoria illinois

VIDEO

  1. A HAUNTED Jail In OHIO Paranormal Nightmare Tv

COMMENTS

  1. Haunted Mental Hospital in Illinois Reopens to Public This Weekend

    Peoria State Hospital, originally named the "Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane," will start welcoming the public back for tours on Saturday from 7-10 p.m. Paranormal investigations...

  2. Aura Haunted House

    Aura Haunted House - Located in the Old Peoria State Hospital District - is Peoria's premiere haunted house event!

  3. Night at Peoria State Hospital

    Join American Hauntings as we explore the haunted confines of the infamous Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville, Illinois. Known for the restless spirits that have roamed this place for decades, we're now taking you behind the locked doors of a NEW part of the hospital that has never been explored before! THE HISTORY OF PEORIA STATE HOSPITAL

  4. History meets legend at storied Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville, IL

    The 2009 book "Haunted Peoria" devotes an entire chapter to ghost stories associated with the former asylum. Perhaps the best known is the tale of "Old Book," a patient assigned to the...

  5. The Strange Haunting of Peoria State Hospital

    Dr. Zeller was considered a pioneer in mental health and the day-to-day running of a hospital. He was also the source of one of the most dramatic ghost stories in the hospital's long history. Related: 6 Haunted Asylums You Can Actually Visit Among the innovations that Dr. Zeller brought to the hospital was a way to take care of unclaimed bodies.

  6. Peoria State Hospital

    Peoria State Hospital Historic District, also known as Bartonville State Hospital or Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane, was a psychiatric hospital operated by the State of Illinois from 1902 to 1973. The hospital is located in Bartonville, Illinois, near the city of Peoria in Peoria County.

  7. Aura Haunted House

    Aura Haunted House is located in the old Peoria State Hospital Historic District in Bartonville, Illinois at the historic Pollak Hospital Building. A psychiatric hospital operated by the State of Illinois from 1902 to 1973. It was completed under the direction of Dr. George Zeller as a cottage system plan of 63 buildings.

  8. Do You Dare? Haunted Illinois Mental Hospital Reopens Saturday

    It's Peoria State Hospital, which was originally the "Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane" (where do I check in?). NBC Chicago reports that tours are opening up to the public on Saturday from 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Paranormal investigations will be available August 6th & August 20th.. The guided tours of the grounds include three Peoria State Hospital buildings, the monument area, the Old ...

  9. Haunted Illinois Mental Hospital Opens To Public This Weekend

    BARTONVILLE, IL — One of Illinois' ghostliest haunts will soon reopen to the living. The Peoria State Hospital Museum opened July 12 following an extensive renovation, according to WGN, and ...

  10. Peoria State Hospital

    445. Bowen Building Survivalnotguaranteedcom (Atlas Obscura User) Peoria State Hospital was in operation from 1902 to 1973. The institution began life as the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable ...

  11. From Asylum To Haunted House: The Unexpected Story Of Peoria State

    From Asylum to Haunted House: The Unexpected Story of Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville, IL A Humble Beginning In the heart of Illinois, nestled near the city of Peoria in Bartonville, stands the vestiges of an institution that was once a beacon of hope for the mentally ill.

  12. Old Book (ghost)

    Old Book is the name given to a purported ghost or spirit that haunts a cemetery and tree on the grounds of the Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville, Illinois.While rumors of ghosts and ghost stories are highly speculative, the Old Book tale has been documented many times. Among those documenting the tale is the first director of the state insane asylum, George Zeller.

  13. Old State Mine Haunted Trail

    An Outdoor Trail Experience With An Indoor Line. Located on the haunted asylum grounds of the Peoria State Hospital. Explore the legend of an old mining village that was overtaken by an evil entity known as Venture through the Mine, Olde Towne & Darkwell Museum before falling prey to Doom's evil. OLD STATE MINE is an all-outdoor trail based ...

  14. Chapter 2: Peoria State Hospital

    The Peoria State Hospital is home to a handful of legends, and is often referred to as "the old state hospital.". The hospital opened in 1902 and was originally called the Illinois Asylum for ...

  15. Paranormal Investigations Reopen to Public at Haunted Mental Hospital

    Peoria State Hospital, originally named the "Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane," will start welcoming the public back for tours on Saturday from 7-10 p.m. Paranormal investigations...

  16. Aura Haunted House

    AURA Haunted House is located in the Old Peoria State Hospital Historic District at 4500 Enterprise Drive, Bartonville Illinois in the Historic Pollak Hospital Building. A psychiatric hospital operated by the State of Illinois from 1902 to 1973. Completed under the direction of Dr. George Zeller as a cottage system plan of 33 buildings.

  17. Peoria State Hospital

    Off Constitution Dr. Bartonville, Illinois United States Get Directions » GPS: 40.638295543657875, -89.66125971081055 County: Peoria County, Illinois Nearest Towns: Bartonville, IL (0.8 mi.) Bellevue, IL (2.7 mi.) North Pekin, IL (3.2 mi.) West Peoria, IL (3.8 mi.) Creve Coeur, IL (4.0 mi.) Marquette Heights, IL (4.0 mi.) Norwood, IL (4.4 mi.)

  18. Peoria State Hospital Hauntings

    Jacob Rice has documented ghosts and ghostly activity since 2007. Jake began his journey in Chicago and founded the ghost hunting team also called Ghostly Activities. Now, he calls the mysterious Pacific Northwest his home. Get ghost hunting tips and haunting details for Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville, Illinois.

  19. Haunted Asylums

    Construction for the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane began in 1895 in Bartonville, but it was seven years before the facility, built in the "cottage-style" with 7 buildings, would open its doors to the first 100 residents on February 10, 190. Dr. George Zeller. Patients who were characterized as being "incurably insane" were ...

  20. Illinois's Most Haunted Hospitals and Asylums

    23,729 Photos: 5 Rating: 3.9 / 5 Exp.: 9 In 1939, this 1930's hospital suffered a typhoid fever epidemic and more than 50 patients and staff members died. The hospital was later renamed the Manteno Mental Health Center and it stopped operations in 1985.

  21. Peoria State Hospital

    Parallax Paranormal investigates Peoria, Illinois' most haunted location - The Peoria State Hospital. Also known as the Bartonville Insane Asylum, was a ment...

  22. Haunted Places in Peoria, Illinois

    Peoria Players Theatre is said to be haunted by a playful ghost named Norman, a former theater director who died in 1960 at age 34, and a more sinister entity whose identity is unknown. Read more » 0 Peoria State Hospital Bartonville, Illinois 5.2 miles from Peoria, IL

  23. The Bartonville Insane Asylum

    The Bartonville Insane Asylum. From 1902 - 1973 the Bartonville asylum operated as a mental hospital. Like all places, it started off with good intentions. It was the kind of place you could go to and receive help for various conditions. The only problem was the staff didn't have any "real" solutions for many of the problems that ...