One of the spookiest places I have come across in my travels for my Forgotten Pieces of Georgia project is the Central State Mental Hospital in Milledgeville, Ga. This facility was opened in December of 1842 and is still partially used today. The complex includes 200 buildings on 2,000 acres and at one time was the largest mental health facility in the world.
The hospital was run by Dr Thomas A Green from 1845-1879 and the care of patients in those days was a “family” environment. During his tenure, Green ate with the staff and patients and abolished all rope and chain restraints. By the 1960s, the facility had grown to 12,000 patients, but over the following decade the population began to decrease due to less centralization of those with mental disabilities and more regional hospitals and other clinics opening throughout the State of Georgia.
In 2010, the hospital was closed by the Georgia Department of Behavioral and Developmental Disabilities and now only a few of the buildings are used to treat around 200 patients that require short-stay acute treatments for people with mental illness and recovery programs which require longer stays with more specialized and skilled ICF nursing centers. Some of these programs still serve primarily central Georgia, where others are available by other counties around the state.
The main building, pictured here is known as the Powell building and now sits totally empty and decaying. Walking around the property as I have several times, you can see that this was also a facility for the criminally insane as well as all of the doors and locks are the same that are uses in county jails and state prisons throughout the United States.
You can read more about this facility in this 2015 article from Atlanta Magazine, which shows the buildings in a better state, while the facility was still in operation. There are rumors that the facility is now haunted, although I am not sure if that is true, but if you happen to visit it closer to evening it does take on a bit of a creepy vibe for sure.