That Spooky Washington State Asylum Is Still Here… Also Unsettling

The history of the Northern State Mental Hospital in Sedro-Woolley is quite fascinating. The hospital, which opened in 1909, featured several production facilities and a 700-acre farm to ensure its own sustainability. The factory stopped operating in 1973, and the county received the land to use as a park. The Job Corps is still operating in some of the facilities, while the rest of the campus is open to the general public. Here are some images taken by those who were able to see the interior of the Washington state asylum’s abandoned building:

Do you fancy checking out some Washington ghost towns? There’s a lot of mystery and intrigue at this long-abandoned asylum. Washington state’s Western State Hospital in Steilacoom and Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake, not far from Spokane, were both at capacity in 1909. The state decided to construct a third mental facility rather than expand the existing two.

Robert Ashworth/Flickr
Northern State Asylum, located in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, formally opened its doors to the public in 1911. These eight counties in the Pacific Northwest—Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish, King, Jefferson, San Juan, Clallam, and Island—would refer their patients to us.
They used occupational therapy at Northern State in the hopes that patients would heal faster if they were able to work on the farm. Electroshock therapy and lobotomies were just two of many unethical methods used to treat mental illness.

Many patients engaged in classes to better prepare them for when they leave the hospital. Several were sterilized as well, based on century-old ideas that the “therapy” would be beneficial for both the individuals and the larger community.

Allison Mapes/Google
It is amazing to think back on all the “causes” that sent people to this hospital, even though some of the enrolled people really have mental problems. Weren’t some of them just making it up? Women who had gone through menopause were allegedly committed by their husbands, and children with symptoms that would be classified as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder today were sent away.

In 1953, the psychiatric hospital almost reached capacity with its over 2,000 patients spread over its 33 wards. There is a little laboratory in the background of this picture, which is part of the original building.

This is a surgical ward ceiling light, where patients underwent trans-orbital lobotomies. In an effort to “cure mental disease,” Northern State University was notorious for doing this risky brain procedure.

Allison Mapes/Google
It’s been said that there were thousands upon thousands of patients who passed away here. The gym at this facility backs up to a graveyard that has been left to overgrow and become home to unknown occupants.

There have been several reports of paranormal activity and sightings in the facility since it was closed. Reports of a little girl with a red ball and a man ghost looking for her are by far the most common. The state of Washington is rife with haunted attractions, and this one is among the best.

Josh Wedin
In spite of the fact that the hospital shut down in 1973, the main complex is still in use today, both as a Job Corps center and a drug rehabilitation center. Many other areas of the grounds, like as the old farm where patients used to work, are still free for exploration, though, if you’re up for a spooky adventure.

Feeling a little uneasy yet? Have you ever visited the haunting Washington, DC, asylum after it was closed? Don’t be shy; chime in with your opinions below.

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