A Brief History: To this day the land of which, Greystone Psychiatric Hospital once remained, is located on 59 Koch Avenue, in Morris Plains New Jersey. In the summer of 1876, on August 17th, the hospital’s construction was completed following the architectural plans of Samuel Sloan. He wanted the hospital to be built structurally according to the “Kirkbride Plan” which was a specific hospital design that originated from Thomas Story Kirkbride. Greystone had both male and female wards in the main building, as well as, a place of residence for the hospital employees. Greystone psychiatric practiced treatments of hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, insulin therapy, and lobotomies. The doors officially opened for service in 1877.
The capacity was meant to hold 500 patients, but in 1895, it was recorded that there were 325 patients more than the allowed limit. Over the next few years, the hospital contained over 1500 patients in 1903, 4,886 patients in 1935, and 7,674 patients had peaked the population of Greystone in 1953. The overcrowding caused typhoid fever, and the water supply was said to be the main source for the spread of the disease. Multiple fires also occurred at Greystone, one took place in 1907, in which the cottages had a major fire, and in 1929 to 1930, the main building had suffered from over three fires.
Greystone Psychiatric Hospital began closing buildings in the year of 1975. The first to go was the Clinic building, followed by the Curry building in 1976, and the employee dormitories in 1992. Patients were moved out of the main building in 1988 and were placed into the transitional cottages.
On May 29th, of 1956 a legendary folksinger, songwriter, and political activist named Woody Guthrie was committed as a patient to Greystone. Prior to his admission, he was arrested for “wandering aimlessly on the highways”. He was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a degenerative nervous disorder, in which he unfortunately inherited from his mother. Guthrie referred to Greystone as “gravestone”. He remained as a patient in ward 40, or to him as “wardy forty”, suffering, in pain and agony, until he moved to a hospital in New York where his imminent death took place in 1967.
The Senate task force began conducting patient care investigations in 1996. There were reports of sexual abuse by the employee’s, violence that was present amongst the patients and towards the employees, and sadly multiple patient suicides took place.
From 1997 to 2008 almost all of the buildings in Greystone had been demolished. The Governor of New Jersey deemed in 2000, that Greystone be completely shut down within the next 3 years. The following year the land of which Greystone resided on was purchased for $1 by Morris County, and was then lawfully allowed to be used as a park, open space, or as a historic preservation. In 2008, Greystone had officially closed, and was replaced with a nearby hospital.
Opposition began to arise, against the county, as plans for the demolition of the main Kirkbride building was made. However, efforts of the public and media had failed, as the demolition began on April 24th, of 2014, which lasted till October of 2015. Although Morris County still plans to make use of the property, it remains as a testament to time, of the history that once took place at Greystone Psychiatric hospital.
Haunted History: The abandoned Greystone Psychiatric Hospital that once remained was a prime location for many urban explorers. Many of whom that have trespassed to revisit the place that once stood, have said it to be a highly creepy place. The torture, maltreatment, abuse and horrible deaths may have most definitely left some residual energy behind.
An author of paranormal romance novels, Denise K. Rago, visited the old hospital and wrote about her feelings of the energy that were present. People who have toured the remains have also experienced feelings of being watched, or when in a building, “not being able to get out of there quickly”. Since the grounds are patrolled by the local police, one must enter with caution and wit.
An author, Phillip Buehler who publishes in the magazine “ Weird, New Jersey” wrote a book about Greystone Psychiatric. He based it on his investigations at Greystone, and of Woody Guthrie’s life during the time he spent at the psychiatric hospital. He claims that the underground tunnels, which connected to the other buildings, that were used to transport patients and other things, were indeed a strange and scary place to be and that the grounds itself seemed to have an “oppressive energy” present.
One individual whom explored the abandoned hospital stated that he saw a young girl, dressed in a pink dress, was looking out of a window. With there being no electricity present, a group of explorers stated that a “greenish light” was seen through a window.
A film, by Sean stone titled “Greystone Park” was made in 2012. The movie was based on the experiences at the abandoned hospital. He stated that there were temperature drops taking place in 90 degree weather, as well as the air being heavy, and fog that left flashlights incapable of providing a greater length in vision.
Although not much of the buildings are left, the site and land itself still remains. Most people are aware of the happenings and history that took place at Greystone, and won’t dare to step foot on the location due to the feelings they gather from its past. Those who do, have had numerous varying experiences of all things paranormal. Photographs that were taken exhibit the remains of the abandoned building and provide a vision to what once stood. It can be certain to most, that Greystone Psychiatric Hospital is for sure a reputedly haunted location.