Location - Haverstraw, Rockland County, New York, USA.
Status - Abandoned, partially standing
Reason for closure - Mistreatment of patients
Population - 0
Dates Active - 1911 - 1996
Letchworth Village was a residential institution located in New York built for the physically and mentally disabled of all ages from new born to the elderly. The complex opened in 1911 and, at its peak, boasted 130 buildings spread out over the many acres of land.
Letchworth was described as ‘an ideal center for the mentally challenged’ and it was praised by the state. Yet, rumors such as the mistreatment of patients and horrific experimenting continued to circulate long after its closing. Former worker Dr. Little presented in an annual report in 1921 that there were three categories of “feeble-mindedness”: the “moron” group, the “imbecile” group, and the “idiot” group. The last of these categories is the one that could not be trained, Dr. Little said, and so they should not be taken into Letchworth Village, because they were unable to “benefit the state.” the various jobs that were assigned to the male patients included loading thousands of tons of coal into storage facilities, building roads, and were expected to farm acres of land. A disturbing realization upon a review of Little’s reports is that many of his patients were young children. In 1921, the 13th Annual Report lists the number of patients admitted that year. 317 Out of 506 people were between the ages of 5 and 16, and 11 were under the age of 5 years. The negative energy surrounding Letchworth is heightened because so many of the patients were young children. Visitors observed that the children were malnourished and looked sick. The Letchworth staff claimed in the Report that there was a scarcity of food, water, and other necessary supplies but that was not the case. Children were often the subjects of testing and some of the most cruel neglect. Many of the children were able to comprehend learning but were not given the chance because they were thought of as “different.” Patients were forced to dwell in cramped dormitories, because the state would not complete the construction of more buildings. Barely ten years after being constructed, Letchworth’s buildings were already overpopulated, cramming 70 beds into the tiny dormitories. Nearly 1,200 patients were present during 1921. Over-population was one of the harshest conditions at Letchworth. By the 1950s, the Village was overflowing with 4,000 inhabitants. Quoting a spokesman for the State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Corcoran confirmed that families abandoned their relatives there. Families of patients seemed to be just as neglectful as caregivers of the facility.
The exposure of the secrets Letchworth Village harboured, forced the complex to close its doors permanently in 1996, leaving the buildings to decay.
The now abandoned Letchworth Village is said to be home to many spirits of those who died there, most of who, were mentally insane. People who trespassed the grounds of Letchworth Village have said to have felt feelings of ‘addiction’ and feel drawn back to the abandoned complex. A group of investigators who trespassed the grounds claimed to of seen a 7 foot tall creature, with piercing white eyes and legs bent backwards. They also revealed that as they were travelling home, one of the investigators was listening to the radio when it suddenly went static and a voice came through.
Although there have been plans to demolish the complex to build housing, none of them have ever succeeded and Letchworth Village still stands today, most buildings damaged beyond repair.
"How can I tell you about the way it smelled? It smelled of filth, it smelled of disease, it smelled of death." - ABC News reporter who visited Letchworth Village whilst still in operation.
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