What better day than Friday the 13th to talk about insane asylum’s? I’ve spent the last week researching a local state hospital that was built in 1892, a hospital originally known as the Southwestern Insane Asylum, with a goal of delivering on the assumption that places like this are haunted. Here’s what I discovered:
First, the back story. The rumored haunted asylum was established in 1892 and in 1925 the word “asylum” was dropped from the title and the facility became the San Antonio State Hospital. The hospital accepts patients with mental illnesses regardless of the severity or the patients ability to pay. So, as you can imagine, with any state-funded facility come the usual problems. They are severely understaffed and because of this had to turn away patients in 2014, causing some of these individuals to be jailed. Former and current employees complain of poor working conditions, a lack of training, and low pay, according to comments I found on Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com. Patient deaths are not rare and in some cases have led to lawsuits, two of which I found transcripts for. Additionally, the facility itself isn’t in the best condition. While it’s had its share of expansions and renovations, some of the buildings are the original buildings from 1892 and are in total disrepair. The fence surrounding the facility is falling apart as well, aiding in the escape of patients, with the most recent being a paranoid schizophrenic who dismembered his wife back in the 90s and was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
I first found out about this place about 8 years ago and began researching it immediately. I did a really shitty job because I didn’t even know it was still open and at the time, found documents stating that it had been abandoned in the early 90s, with equipment and patient files being left behind. There are even pictures and YouTube videos of the facility that people claim to be haunted. Here’s one of them from onlyinyourstate.com.
Here’s the problem: this isn’t the insane asylum turned state hospital. It’s close to the state hospital but this is actually the old Bexar County Juvenile Facility for Boys and from what I could find it was abandoned because of all of the asbestos it housed. How true that is I don’t know, that was a comment from someone on a forum and I couldn’t find any evidence to substantiate it.
I searched all over the Internet and it’s important to note that some of what I may be looking for may be documented at the county library or something other than an online database. I wanted so bad to scare the shit out of everyone with stories but here’s what I was able to find.
First, if you look this place up there are a lot of false reports about this being the original insane asylum. I found one girl on a forum who said she actually did some amateur ghost hunting and that’s how she discovered it wasn’t it. Unfortunately I can’t tell you if this building is haunted because I could not find A THING on the place. Again, I’m sure I need to dig deeper than online but I was surprised that nothing came up. Also, it’s owned by the county so if you trespass and get caught you will get ticketed and also this is Texas so you’ll probably get murdered by snakes. You never know.
I found a website that talks about the state hospital, it’s origins, and stories about some of its patients. I researched the stories but couldn’t find anything to substantiate them either. I’m not saying they’re not true, I just couldn’t find anything on the ol’ interweb and would probably need to do some offline research. The website also features a few comments from an employee and people who have children at the hospital. Two of the comments I found and are paraphrased, and one I couldn’t find. I read every employee review I could find but unfortunately none of them mentioned the place was haunted. One day I’ll interview some of them because I’m sure Indeed.com isn’t trying to scare potential employee away by letting other people terrify them with ghost stories. Here is the link to that website. https://ghostcitytours.com/san-antonio/haunted-places/san-antonio-state-hospital/
Now, here’s what I did find that creeped me out a little. The actual state hospital has two cemeteries around it; one is called East Mount Calm Cemetery and the other is South Mount Calm Cemetery. South Mount Calm Cemetery has over 1000 individuals who were abandoned and passed away between 1892 and 1924. The majority of the graves are marked with only a block and no information. A few have numeric ID’s and fewer than that have actual headstones with their information. I actually found an event that took place on the 5th of this month that was a re-dedication for the cemetery. However, I couldn’t find any information on who was hosting the event and there was no way to contact anybody. And yeah, I wasn’t going to try because that was a little creepy. East Mount Calm Cemetery has individuals who passed away after 1924. Apparently it’s incredibly hard to get on the grounds, even if you believe you have a relative buried there. Out of all the research I did, finding out about these cemeteries was one of the most unsettling pieces of information I found. If it’s haunted I don’t know. In all of the sites I found about the hospital not one person mentions the cemeteries. But with its back story, what do you think?
I’m bummed that I couldn’t deliver more. What I found justifies calling this place scary but I’m not sure it’s for the paranormal. However, if, god forbids, it were to ever close down, I would like to request the Ghost Hunters investigate. And I will probably decline their offer to join them.