Formerly The Athens Lunatic Asylum
Many mental institutions in the United States are said to be haunted and thus The Ridges from Athens, Ohio, is no exception to that. If you have ever watched a horror movie, you must have observed that these types of buildings are presented as hulking structures with lots of cobwebs and ghosts that are waiting and haunting at each corner. The abandoned buildings are even worse when it comes to haunting rumors. The Ridges from Athens, Ohio is one of the abandoned places that are said to be powerfully haunted.
The Mental Medical Centre opened here on January 9th 1874 and it specialized in the treatment of criminally and mentally insane patients. It was then known as the Athens Lunatic Asylum. It took over six years to be built and many people thought that a nice quiet place would be a benefit for the health of the insane patients. The majority of the original patients were admitted there by court order or even by their own families. Sometimes these kinds of mental institutions paid an amount of money for every patient they registered when they were lacking them so many families entrusted them with their disturbed family members.
Everyone knew that, despite the large number of disturbed individuals residing there, The Ridges was a calm peaceful place, where patients benefited from fountains and picnics on the beautiful grounds. But this idyllic scenery would not to last a long time. The Ridges soon turned into an overcrowded institution that was treating its patients in a cruel way. Ice water baths, electroshock therapies and lobotomies become regular practices. The kinds of patients submitted to treatment also changed, because children turned their older parents over to the asylum and teenagers that were considered rebellious were brought here by their parents as well.
Several other strange things have happened at The Ridges, besides the cruel treatment applied to the patients. On the 1st of December 1978, a patient named Margaret Schilling mysteriously disappeared. The legend says she was playing hide and seek with the nurses, who got distracted and forgot to look for her. Over more than a month, on the 12th of January 1979 her body was found by a maintenance worker.
Her death was not as mysterious as the marks her body left on the floor. An imprint of her clothes and hair are perfectly visible on the floor. Some said that her body decomposed and the outline was formed because of the reaction of the corpse to the sunlight. This is not a very good explanation, though, because the stain is still there and reappears even after been cleaned up. Margaret Schilling is not the only former patient that is said to be still haunting The Ridges.
The Asylum has a cemetery where those who died were buried and there are rumors it is haunted as well. Because many of the patients were admitted at The Ridges by the court system, they had no remaining family and no persons to pay the funeral expenses. They were thus anonymously buried in simple graves with a number attached. At one area the linear shapes of the graves form a circle, which is said to be a witches’ meeting point.