Haunted Places: The Puget Sound Mental Hospital

The Puget Sound Mental Hospital is a near century old psychiatric institution located in Tacoma, Washington. Even to this day, Puget Sound Mental Hospital continues to take patients, even though about half of the original institution has been closed off due to it essentially falling apart over the years. But patients of decades past – those of an otherworldly, spiritual nature that is – continue to walk the halls of  the Puget Sound Mental Hospital.

Originally built in 1926, the mental hospital has quite the precarious history. Some say the very first experimental lobotomies were performed here, which would have undoubtedly had irrevocable adverse affects on the unfortunate patients that underwent such tentative trials.

Like most mental institutions operating in these times, Puget Sound Mental Hospital is haunted by the maltreated, neglected and overcrowded detainees who suffered, and many which died, within its walls. The fact that at least some of them were truly deranged to begin with doesn’t help matter as they return in the afterlife to walk the halls of the asylum.

The most famous ghost of Puget Sound Mental Hospital is that of an elderly lady who haunts the 4th floor, now closed off from the operational section of the institution. She manifests traversing the hall with her walker, and sometimes when she is not spectrally visible, her walker can still be heard scraping across the floor.

The most damaged area of the hospital, crumbling down to exposed rebar in some areas, reverberates with the reactive sense of paranormal activity. The eerie feeling of eyes watching you from just around the corner can be unnerving to say the least and have driven multiple staff members to seek new employment.

Strange noises and barely audible whispers echo throughout the stairwell. Footsteps are heard from areas in which no one is present, coming down the hall as if they are just about to turn the corner and bump into you, but as you glance into the intersecting hall, the steps halt and no one is there. This is the kind of thing staff members have reported while working in what they claim to be the irrefutably haunted Puget Sound Mental Hospital.

It’s not hard to believe that the mental institution is haunted, considering its long and shady past. Tacoma, Washington is not the only city in the Unites States to lay claim to a haunted, century old mental asylum. Places like these are a hub for negative energy, gathered and compounded by the restless souls of disturbed and forsaken patients.

The Puget Sound Mental Hospital is still a partially active institution, mostly handling drug rehabilitation treatment and geriatric psychiatry on an inpatient and outpatient basis, but also more practical services like emergency, surgery, lab work and other general needs.

For seekers of spiritual phenomenon, that means that Puget Sound Mental Hospital is all but off limits to paranormal investigators without receiving proper admittance from the institution, which is rather hard to obtain since common devices used to investigate a haunting are forbidden within the hospital’s walls.


  • gloriagirl

    I understand why they don’t want investigators in there looking for the unknown..Maybe they are affraid of having the spirits get revenge for being there in the first place.

  • Bill

    Why can’t they close the investigators in the sealed off sections? Then, it there are any negative effects (to the Investigators) they can remain as residents… further proof, the supernatural does exist; and no harm done to the institution

  • christen

    id understand why ghost are here why do they taunt us …were are they suppose to go

  • Ghost Writer

    I do not think all ghost are here to taunt us, Christen. Here is what I think; I think we forget that if people are mean in life there is a good chance they are mean in death. I am not convinced your personality will change once you are dead. I believe some ghosts are trapped here and they want to do what ever possible to get our attention and get our help. Sometimes these actions may scare us and of course it is hard to determine what these ghost may need help with. I think there is a place of comfort and peace for these ghosts to go, I also think that sometimes, especially if a dramatic death is involved they may need help getting there.

  • cbseme

    People don’t know if the spirits want to harm the living until investigators well, investigate.I think people should be able to investigate to see what they can find.

  • Jody Palmer

    I Am Just Curious About Something…In The Movie “The Stepfather 11…The Escape Of Jerry Blake, T The Murders Of A Psychiatrist, & A Guard Was Supposed To Happen There,At Puget Sound Psychiatric Hospital, So.. Upon Reading How Puget Sound Hospital Was Supposed To Be Off Limits, As Far As Any, Or All Investigations, How Was It Possible That This Movie Was Filmed At That Very Same Hospital?..

  • Jody Palmer

    I Believe In Ghosts, As When I Lived At Two Apartment Buildings, I Actually Experienced Some Ghosts, Walking Around..The First Being At My Apartment..Late At Night, While By Husband, Was Working (He Worked Nights.. While In My Apartment,With My 6 Cats..I Was Sound Asleep, When I Was Awoken By A Big Boom,(The Bedroom Was Completely Dark)..I Woke-Up To See A Very Large Man, All Dressed Up In Black, Wearing A Very Large Black Brim Hat, & A Long Black Trench Coat With A Cape Attached To It!..I Was Very Nervous, & Scared, But Didn’t Turn On Any Lights..But I Asked Him Who He Was,& What He Wanted,& He Never Answered Me,.. So I Pulled The Covers Over My Head, & Stayed Underneath The covers Till Morning, When My Husband Came Home From Work..I Told Him What I Saw, & He Didn’t Believe Me..”Which Is Very Typical Of Him”…But I Did See This Black Figure Approaching Towards My Bead!…I Fugure That At Sometime, He Could Have Lived In This apartment, & Even Died There!!!..My Husband & I Eventually Moved-Out!!..This Was Very Weird, & Scary!..

  • Jody Palmer

    My Second Encounter Was When My Husband, & I Lived At The Rob Roy Apartments In Denver, Colorado…The Apartment Bldg Was 150 Yrs Old,..& Very Haunted….The building Has Two Floors, & At Night, When It Was Quiet In The Hallways,My Husband & I Heard What Sounded Like Someone Running Thru The Hallways, (Upstairs, & Downstairs,)So When My Husband & I Went to Investigate (Because He Was Working As A Maintenance Man There At The Time) We Could Hear Someone Running Up & Down The Stairs, But No Other Tenants Were In Site..So After A While, & A Little Investigating, Found Out that In The Late 30’s Or 40’s..People Who Moved There, Either Committed Suicide, Or Died There, From Sickness, Or whatever…& Some Of The apartments In The Basement, Of This apartment Were Used As Morgues, For The Dead Bodies!..This apartment Building Is Well Known For It’s Name..”The Rubber Room”.. Because Some Of The Tenants Who Moved There, Never Got to Leave There Alive, Anyway! !..My Husband & I Lived In One Of Those Apartments, Where A Gentlemen Shot Himself!..There Are Alot More Mysteries, & Haunted Stories On “The RobRoy” Apartments!…

  • Syd Prasai

    Something similar has happened to me too. I was in grade six at that time, and I lived in hostel of my school (I will not mention the name because it is one of the reputed school here in Nepal). it was around half past 11 at night, and I woke up because my bladder was about to blast because of pressure. The hostel used to be locked from outside. I went to the restroom, and just as i entered, some one, or something, i don’t know, ran across the corridor. I could only hear the sound of heavy footsteps, of some one very large, and of course, we were only at grade six no one was that big to have that heavy footsteps. I was afraid, however, i dared to go in and check every of the toilet compartments and every corners of the bathing halls, just as I turned, I again heard those thumping sounds running wildly but nothing could be seen. I was so afraid I peed in literally peed in my pants. I couldn’t move or even make a noise, and i just sat there and waited for some one to come and rescue me. It was not until 4:30 am that one of my dormitory partner came and saw me there in that condition. And then I cried. I heard those foot steps all night. I was just a kid at that time, I didn’t know much, but i was, and am damn sure that that thing was a Ghost!!

  • Mandy

    It’s located just up the hill on Pacific Ave from downtown Tacoma. I live about 2 miles away from the hospital and I have to drive past it every morning at 4:30 and it freaks me out!!! I can imagine the horrible things that went on there in the past. Even in the day time the building is creepy looking.

  • music fan

    i live behind the hospital….and i have known since i was a kid the place is haunted…. by good bad and indifferent.. it is not a place one wants to be around after dark.

  • Jonay Charlston

    Hello. This story is very interesting and I do believe it is a haunted location. However, being from tacoma I do need to point out some incorrect facts which was told in this story about this building being a mental health facility where the first experimental lobotomies where performed. 1926 the building was built and it was named Puget Sound Hospital. It was one of the puget sounds first community hospitals to include a emergency room build to serve the medical needs of the community. It did have a single mental health wing where it would provide very limited mental healthcare services for patients mainly evaluations and short observation stays pending transfer to the states primary mental healthcare facility Western State Hospital. The frontal lobotomie was first performed and perfected at Western State Hospital in the early 1900’s. Once puget sound hospital closed sometime in the mid 90’s pierce county decided to open a community based mental health facility and renamed the property Puget Sound Behavioral Health but it was also closed and currently the building is not occupied and remains empty but is surely still haunted and the ghost are now its main tenants.

  • Patty

    What I tell my teenage daughter is, be very aware of coincidences. DO NOT ignore them! It is someone or something, trying to get your attention! That’s the only way they know how to break thru to us.

    On a daily basis, most of us are inundated with society’s noises and behaviors; that we quickly learn to block out. E.G., in southern California, the noise of a car alarm sounding won’t even get most of us to turn our heads and look anymore, to see if a crime is actually being committed or if it’s just mindless noise. But I’m happy to report, (the behavior I witnessed while being involved in a car accident this summer), the sound of a car’s horn, though different tones, depending on the makes and models of vehicles, STILL gets our attention. Though the horn has different tones, we all know the sound is distinctive, from which comes from a vehicle. The sound of a vehicles’ horn, will get the attention of any driver, who quickly assesses their behavior and if needed, corrects their behavior, in accordance with why the horn is being sounded in the first place.

    It’s really amazing, how intelligent we are; after we peel off the drama and stress of our lives, which at times feels like it drowns us. The coincidence you experienced could be negative or positive; that has no relation to the main message being negative or positive. There’s no reason to be fearful, if a coincidence is negative. Just be alert to your surroundings; until the message comes thru to you. This is the best time to ‘over think’ and/or ‘over analyze’ the situation.

  • Tim Kilian

    We have been awarded the contract to demo the hospital site, Puget Sound Hospital will be coming down this year 2015. First removing all asbestos and haz waste, don’t know if any blessings or clensings are scheduled. When we did the demo for the old Puyallup Indian school/ treatment center for children with problems, the elders/medicine men did have the tunnels and area blessed. You could still feel the terror and fear in the tunnels where the padded cells were.

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