There will be a special video added in the future from this investigation I will not say what it is but its pretty phenomenal so keep checking back in the videos section.


The Utica Lunatic Asylum opened in 1843 designed by Captain William Clarke and was one of the first and oldest asylums in the country as well as one of the largest Greek revival buildings in the country. It also was one of the earliest structures to incorporate progressive theories on the treatment of mental illness and one of the first such institutions in the United States. 

The asylum focused mainly on farming and the growing of crops. This was because it was said to calm the soul or provide some sense of peace to the insane according to the first director, Dr. Amariah Brigham. Later they would call this the pleasure gardens. This asylum contained everything you could think of a theatre, clothing shops, parlors, library, slaughter house, and at least 2 other wings which were connected to the main building which housed the patients. 

One thing comes to mind when you hear about the Utica Asylum and that is the invention of the Crib and use of the straight jacket which both were used to contain patients. The reason for this occurring is that over time their were less mental patients being sent here and more criminals that were often put here so containing them so they would not escape or cause harm to themselves would be the main focus of this asylum. The crib was like a coffin where the patients would be put in and locked in their for days some patients said it calmed them. One thing I loved about this place is the front entrance the giant stone columns made me want to  enter as soon as we arrived. 

Now the asylum sits their in despair floors collapsing, water leaking inside, rotting wood, chemicals leaking Ect. Some electricity still runs inside this place and in my opinion it is one of the most dangerous buildings we ever been in. Certain areas are sealed off because they are overwhelmed with chemicals/asbestos and other areas the floors are like sponges where you will walk and start t sink or the floors will start to crack. So we really did not spend no more then about 45 minutes waking around so honestly I cannot say what is inside the other wings that are connected to the main building. 

Their is a few other buildings in the area which are also part of the asylum. Some are covered by ivy some look like mansions probably staff houses which would provide a place for the caretakers, nurses, and directors to stay while maintaining the entire asylum. The asylum could hold 600 patients but eventually when it became crowded they were sent to the very harsh Mattawan asylum. 

In my opinion this place is very haunted although we did not spend much time inside we were able to capture ectoplasm, orbs, hear voices, movement and much more all within a short time. It seems that even though the physical  no longer roam its halls the ghost of the insane still do. Below I have enclosed a detailed article about the asylum I am sure you will find it quite interesting.

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Some more prologue photos from our visit coming in the future!!

Utica Asylum Article

The following text, provided by Mark Harf, a native of Utica, New York, is courtesy of the Greater Utica Landmarks Society, June 11, 1981 and an exhibit which was held in the Fountain Elms building of the Munson Williams Proctor Museum of Art in Utica in the mid-eighties:

The main building of the Utica Psychiatric Center (originally called the New York State Lunatic Asylum at Utica) was completed in 1843 and is internationally recognized as a monumental example of the Greek Revival architecture tradition. The building was the first New York State owned and operated institution to care for the mentally ill, and it also was one of the earliest structures to incorporate progressive theories on the treatment of mental illness. It was also one of the first such institutions in the United States.

The huge size of the stone structure is perhaps its most significant feature; being 550 feet long and averaging 50 feet in depth. The projecting central portico is 120 feet long and is dominated by six limestone columns 48 feet high and eight feet in diameter at the base. "No European public edifice has a grander Greek Doric portico than that which dominates the tremendous four story front block...." architectural historian Henry Russell Hitchcock wrote in his definitive Architecture: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The prevailing medical theory of the 1830's advocated that patients be segregated by sex and type and degree of illness, with each group housed in a self contained unit. As far as possible, the interior layout of the building was arranged to provide optimum conditions for the patients.

In 1850, a listing of accommodations noted: 380 single rooms for patients, 24 for their attendants, 20 dormitories each accommodating from 5 to 12 persons, 16 parlors or day rooms, 12 dining rooms, 24 bathing rooms, 24 closets and 24 water closets. The mechanical systems of the original building incorporated the latest improvements. Hot air wood burning furnaces in the basement provided heat for the building. Ventilators opening from the rooms to flues in the walls allowed air to circulate constantly. Hot and cold running water was supplied to each floor, the cold water coming from the roof while the warm water was pumped by a steam engine from basement storage tanks.

Dr. Amariah Brigham, the first director, made a significant contribution to the treatment of mental illness. He believed insanity was a disease that could be treated by putting the patients to work on the hospital's farm, grounds, and other useful occupational projects. He established a printing shop where in 1844, he published the American Journal of Insanity, the first publication of its kind in the world (and forerunner of the American Psychiatric Journal).

In 1836, a New York State commission was appointed to purchase a site and erect a charitable institution for mental patients. In 1837, 130 acres of land were purchased for $16,000. New York State contributed $10,000 and the remainder was raised by Utica's citizens (total cost at the time exceeded $285,000, which made it one of the most expensive and largest institutions of its time). Captain William Clarke appointed a commissioner in 1837, was the architect of the powerful Greek revival design. His plans called for three additional buildings, similar in design to the existing building to be built in a quadrangle. The four buildings were to be connected by glass verandas and the total space enclosed was approximately thirteen acres. The grand design proved too costly, so the other buildings were never completed.

The Utica building's Greek Revival, Doric columns (six of them) are eight feet in diameter at the base and 48 feet high. They are at the main entrance which also has a gray facade made of upstate New York limestone. Two four story main wings extend laterally from the entrance. Later construction added wings to either end, greatly increasing its capacity (parts of these additions have since been demolished). One estimate compared the asylum's original square footage to that of a 26 story sky scraper. In the attic, visitors may still see murals and the stage of a patient's theater; sunlight still floods the vacant day rooms downstairs.

Yet, from its earliest days, Utica was overcrowded and under funded. In 1843, the average daily population was 109 with a 49 percent recovery rate; by 1869 the population was 600, the recovery rate had dropped to 26 percent, and seven times as many insane persons were still in poorhouses. Although advocates of Brigham's "moral treatment" philosophy were hard pressed to admit that some cases were beyond their reach, a growing number of physicians and legislators began to see a separate category for the chronic insane; these patients were incurable, they argued, and they needed only custodial care.*

Sources: Greater Utica Landmarks Society "Old Main" Guided Tour Leaflet 1981, and 1985 Exhibit, "Silent Voices", at Munson Williams Proctor Institute Museum of Art (Utica) with Leaflet text by Brad Edmonson.