Most Haunted Places in America: Fairfield Hills Mental Institution
The Fairfield (or Fairfield Hills) State Hospital, sometimes simply referred to as Fairfield Hills, is an abandoned old mental institution for the mentally and/or criminally insane located in Newtown, Connecticut. Though the living no longer reside here, it is said that many ghosts haunt the Fairfield Hills Mental Institution.
The Fairfield Hills State Hospital was built upon 100 acres of land at the request of the State of Connecticut due to overcrowding in its other two state mental hospitals. The state contracted Walter P. Crabtree, Jr. to design the structure, which was fabricated from red brick in the common colonial style of those times.
The original hospital was made up of 16 buildings, connected on the outside by a circular network of paved pathways, and underground by a series of concrete tunnels. Certainly the tunnels were meant for convenience, but what they became was a hidden means of transferring patients, both living and deceased, from one area to another without notice.
Construction took place mostly throughout 1930, and Fairfield Hills finally opened its doors in June of 1931, accepting transfer patients from Connecticut Valley Hospital. In its early days, Fairfield Hills State Hospital housed no more than 500 patients, occupied by just 3 doctors.
In the 1940’s and 50’s, Fairfield Hills was extended with more buildings to accommodate the growing patient population. By the 1960’s Fairfield Hills Mental Institution was terribly overcrowded with more than 4,000 patients, plus 20 doctors, 50 nurses and at least 100 other employees of variable duties.
The reprehensible deeds that went on at Fairfield Hills over the years were not approved by the state – at least not officially – and some even proved fatal to the patients of the mental institution. Treatments included seclusion, hydrotherapy, lobotomy, electric shock therapy and shock therapy by administering the drugs metrazol and insulin. Psychosurgery was performed on more than 100 patients in the first year of its use.
Fairfield Hills was, in reality, more of an experimental institution than a rehabilitation center. Countless patients were essentially tortured for the ‘good of the medical practice’. Finally, in 1995, hospitals for the mentally and criminally insane had gone out of style, so to speak. Other methods of rehabilitation had superseded the need for Fairfield Hills, and it was shut down by the state.
Past patients and employees alike have told tales of the strange, paranormal activity that went on there. The Greenwich House is one building that is said to bring on an overwhelming feeling of despair and suffering. This particular building was destroyed in a massive fire that is said to have been started by a man who thought it would be fun to take a bottle of lighter fluid to the linen closet and toss in a match.
Strange noises have been reported from all areas of Fairfield Hills, from whispers and moans to outright screams echoing throughout the hallways. The clacking rattle of old gurney wheels have been said to traveling hallways and the underground corridors especially. The morgue is particularly animated with resounding, inexplicable noises.
During its last few years of operation, various electronic machines and appliances were rumored to turn on and off of their own accord.
Nothing is known to occur in Fairfield Hills as it stands today. The state mental institution was shut down officially in 1995, and to thwart curious trouble-seekers and hoards of ghost hunting investigators, the hospital has been completely closed off and is patrolled by numerous police cars on a nightly basis.
In 2009, the town of Newton, CT had the underground passages sealed off. If you attempt to visit Fairfield Hills Mental Institution today, you’ll find it incredibly difficult, if not virtually impossible, to sneak past the patrols. They vigorously guard the facility on all sides and are ready and willing to arrest anyone attempting to sneak onto the property.