The Warren State Hospital was established in 1974. For a few years now I have been wanting to investigate it cause Dr. Vig told me all about how once a year they open up the underground tunnels and give tours. Just like they give tours once a year of this once building on site that is supposed to be haunted.

The main building here looks like a castle much like other asylums that the PGS team has visited. I learned from this investigation it never pays to be sincere and ask permission cause honestly sometimes being sincere bites you back. We have a system we use and it works although for some our methods may be a bit eccentric which is fine too. But take it from me security and administration for this place are not very kind towards visitors so if you visit the grounds expect security either to escort or accompany you. I do understand the privacy issue but nonetheless many aslyums are being demolished in this country soon all some of us will have are fond memories and photos. 

Photography here is nearly prohibited as the asylum is only partically abandoned or unused. During my visit I visited the main office only to be turned down by a pretty gal in a mini skirt and sexy dressing secretary who stated that she would have to run this past security and adminstration. Nothing comes short of a charade so we decided to keep the photographs to a minimal so that our viewers could still enjoy this monolithic state hospital.

I did not get to do a ghostly investigation of the asylum however I still pulled off quite a few photos for our fans to enjoy.  I have heard over the last few years of it being haunted. On occasion staff writes me privately to share a story or two. Every story is different and it seems like most of the employeers have at least experienced something of the strange. 

This is not an investigation where your going to see fancy ectoplasm, apparitions, orbs etc this is a place that I want you to look at the photos and try to use your own imaginations. There is no doubt in my mind that this place is NOT haunted. Dr Vig told me that he stayed on the asylums property when his house burned down and there was ALOT of ghostly activity. The toilet paper roll would start unraveling by itself then he would ask it to stop and it would and they had a few other ghostly experiences.

Then I have heard so many times about the network of tunnels underneath the asylum. They have tunnels I know this for a fact cause on the grounds are these booths with locked doors. Each booth has a stairwell leading down right in the middle of the property. The tunnels probably are to move patients from one area to another. I was also told the doctors used them to get around the facility. Definitely not a walk id like to take in the middle of the night especially back in the 1800s when candlelight was neededs in some instances. A buddy of mine told me the tunnels have areas which are sealed off which may lead into Warren. I am not sure how factual this is but I do know that during construction in Warren PA tunnels were discovered. 

Slowly the asylum is becoming abandoned the town has made use of the buildings that are no longer in use which is good cause alot of places close down and the buildings deteriorate.  Now if you want to get real technical about the history let me go into it and hopefully by the time you are done reading the history you will be pretty happy we brought this place to you.

The Warren State Hospital was one of the first large mental hospitals to be be built exactly following the Kirkbride model which as named after Dr. Thomas Kirkbride. In the mid 1800s he designed mental hospital buildings in a matter that permitted natural sunlight to enter each room sometimes each day. Another feature about his design is that it had its own natural air conditioning using venting towers to pull air up and through each room in the building. His design of this asylum would be one with tree line drives, fountains, threes, and shrubbery giving it a park like settings. 

The main building was designed to withhold 650 patients which the corner stone for the building was laid in 1874. The cellars or tunnels that are seen today were all dug by hand. Single Horse driven carts were used to move the stones from the local quarry to the building site which was more then a mile away. Each day over 15 loads were brought back and forth along with a load of sand. Every stone used in the building was hauled off by masons with wheelbarrows.

Over sixteen million bricks were manufactured, fired on the work site, shaped which included keystones and grounded bricks. When the walls were put up one mason would work on the outside to two brick layers working on the inside wall. They had six men just sharpening the stone masons tools.  The construction started at opposite ends of the building until they met. The towers on the main building were built last and horses were used to hoist the final stones. 

The first patient admitted was in 1880 of December 5th. Dr Curwen was the first full time superintendent. The hospital basically treated people with mental illnesses. It open an outpatient clinic in 1885 for people who did not need to be hospitalized and a free clinic twice a month for people who could not afford to pay. Then eventually the patients library was established, a recreational therapy center and an art department was formed. Dr. Curwen retired in 1900 at the age of 79 years of age. 

Over the years so much changed they allowed treatments using activities like picnics, fishing, 4th of July outings which were held on islands in the Conewango Creek and even a Christmas party. They had a patients baseball team and annual field days. Pretty surprising compared to other asylums and there harsh treatments this place sounded more like a country club lol.

The hospital raised its own beef cattle even managing its own prize winning daily herd, grew and packed its own vegetables. It had a bakery, large kitchen and laundry facility. When oil was found on the land the hospital received a nice sum for it and they enlarged its farm land. Patients were involved in Industrial Therapy so they basically operated the farm, laundry, cannery, grounds keep and cleaning. In simple terms the patients were slaves lol. 

In 1901 a school for nurses was opened and by 1903 the first class graduated. In 1936 it was closed down and the amount of patients by 1916 was well over 1000.  The name in 1920 changed and was called The Warren State Hospital of course by that time many buildings were built on site.  By 1963 over 2600 people were patients at the hospital. Then by the 1990s it dropped to a mere 600. 

But some of the other buildings on site are the auditorium which can seat 1100 patients, the institute for Geriatric Research, The Interfaith Chapel for many different denominations, and the Foresenic Unit which was opened to provide impatient psychiatric care and competency evaluations for inmates in jails across the hospitals catchments area. That holds 27 beds for the criminally insane. Today their are said to be only around 100 patients its downsized alot. Its one of these asylums patients can come and go unless you are criminally insane. 

The State hospital services many counties such as Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Vanango and finally Warren. So its definitely a very large scaled places that has made an impact in western PA. 

As far as abuse within the system I am sure it still happens today with patients not as bad as a century ago however. Its unfortunate but state hospitals are places of abuse such as patients being hit, sexually assaulted, mentally abused etc. It happens at nursing homes and I am sure it happens here or has in the past. I am not accusing anybody in particular but as a psychic I can tell you right now the security guy that I conversed with I gave a quick reading of his aura and he has hurt some of the patients in the past shame shame on him.  Sometimes people with positions of power abuse those positions and they get away with it. 

What is even more sad is that near the state hospital is the cemetery which was buried in brush and neglected for many years. Now that its been cleaned up only a few stones are visible out of 900 burials. All the burials that took place in the cemetery were people who died at this state hospital some died staring out at the Cornplanter's Forest and mountains of Warren PA and in my opinion its a sad asylum to visit. 

If I knew about them giving tours of the tunnels last year ago I would have flown up to get photos of them. Just as an internal tour of the buildings on site. I did briefly go inside the main Kirkbride building and its really amazing. I mean after going into these abandoned buildings then stepping into here one can see what a Kirkbride building looks like that has not been vandalized or ruined by the elements. Just entering the main hall was amazing with stained glass windows, marble floors, historic plaques, antiques, and giant old wood doors. Its a very interesting place and not many can say they been here or walked inside of it.

Its not illegal to walk around on the grounds however as far as photography goes it is strictly prohibted which is why you do not see to many floating around. From my experience the one relief I felt from this state hospital is that its untouched from vandals or age. Most Kirkbride Buildings are a victim of mans will to destroy history and as long as this location stays opened this castle will remain preserved as if it were built in the 1800s. 

© By

AngelOfThyNight-Lord Rick


Subject: PGS-Rick Please Read
Date: 3/9/2011 10:24:07 A.M. Pacific Standard Time

Dear Lord Rick,
I just read your article on the Warren State Hospital. I found it very informative and entertaining. I used to work on its campus and had a couple of strange experiences.
First of all, let me say the tunnels do not extend to town, which is a few miles away, but they do go across the road to the Walmart lot, and possibly beyond to the cemetary. You can tell where they are in the winter, because the snow melts above them faster than anywhere else. There were paths of melted snow every year between the building I worked in (labeled in your photos as #9), the criminally insane building, and your building #8 (now Children and Youth Services). It's a magnificent old Victorian with original woodwork and fireplaces, with an old carriage-porch on the side. I was told the tunnels were for the use of the doctors, who lived on campus. I'm afraid I have never heard of tours of the tunnels, but I will certainly watch out for them now.
Anticdote: the first Halloween I worked there, my supervisor suggested she show me the attic, late at night. We turned on the light (an old push-button system) and it immediately burnt out, so we decided to use our cell phones as flashlights. I chickened out when I realized that if this was a movie, this would be the point where the whole audience says, "I can't believe they are that stupid, to wander into the dark attic of a building connected to a criminally insane asylum on Halloween night," just before the murderer jumps out with a bloody chainsaw.
Anyway, one night, I was working alone and heard footsteps down the hall and keys jingling. I figured it was one of the guards (who scared the bejeezus out of me with similar noises a week earlier), so I went out of my office to say hello, but no one was there. I searched the building, and it was locked up tight.
Another time, I was again alone at night, I shut everything down and locked up. When I got to my car, I saw the lights were still on, so I started back, figuring I had forgotten them. Before I got half way, they turned themselves off.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your article and share my experiences.
Have a great day!

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Main Hospital Annex Built In The 1800s

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Other Structures On Site (Administrations, House, Chapel, Cafeteria, Barn, Workshop, etc)

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A Brief Look On The Inside

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The Entrance To The Tunnels Underground