Haunted Mental Hospital in Illinois reopens to the public this weekend – NBC Chicago
A supposedly haunted mental hospital opened in 1902 in central Illinois will reopen to the public this weekend for paranormal investigations.
Peoria State Hospital, originally named the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane, will once again welcome the public for tours on Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Paranormal Investigations will also be available on August 6 and 20.
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 are available here.
As of July 12, the Peoria State Hospital Museum began offering private tours of the asylum, which are provided. On these tours, guides take guests to paranormal hotspots inside the building and the team is then left alone to explore the property for the rest of the tour.
Dr. George Zeller, a local surgeon, was known as the “father” of the institution and believed in a new kind of institution in the 20th century where people with mental illness could be treated humanely, according to the museum. .
Zeller notably removed all window bars, removed all forms of restraint, and initiated a new holistic approach to therapy, which caused others to consider him “crazy”.
Peoria State Hospital was rated No. 1 for curing patients for 69 of its 71 years of operation, the museum noted, as well as No. 1 for its nursing program for 30 of his 31 active years.
In 1973, the hospital closed due to lack of funding and staffing, according to the website, although employees protested the dismissal. When the hospital closed, 63 buildings stood on the grounds. But due to a “taboo” surrounding the property, most have been demolished with 12 left standing.
Although doctors and nurses stopped treating patients in the 1970s, visitors continued to return to the grounds after reports of paranormal activity.
According to Illinois Haunted Houses, the property may be haunted by Manual A. Bookbinder, who was believed to be a hospital patient who worked with the burial team.
At the time of Bookbinder’s funeral, Zeller reportedly said 400 employees and patients had seen his ghost. The website said they even opened the coffin to confirm his body was still inside, which it was.