Located in Radford Virginia, St. Albans Sanatorium was first built and used as a private preparatory high school for boys in 1892 by Professor George W. Miles. Miles envisioned this school as a place where boys would learn to be “future southern gentlemen”, but that was the exact opposite. The students were met with high expectations to do perfect in both the classroom and the sports field, causing extreme methods to be used and bullying was encouraged. The school became known as one of the roughest schools, causing several murders and suicides of the students due to the heated athletic rivalries and bullying among the students. When Miles died in 1903, the enrollment at St. Albans fell, closing eight years later.
In 1916, Dr. John C. King acquired the property, turning it into a psychiatric hospital. Miles’ school vision was a failure, and it predicted the future for Kings’ vision of his hospital – another failure. There was a disturbing history of “treatment” methods such as insulin-induced comas and lobotomies, leaving the patients brain dead or actually causing them to die. Other forms of “treatment” aka torture were electroconvulsive therapy, hydrotherapies in icy water and confined for days, and more. Even though the sanatorium was considered advanced for its time, the treatment for the patients was inhumane. Along with the history of the school, there were several murders and suicides that took place during the time that this was an active medical facility.
After the failure of the psychiatric hospital, it was vacant until Tim Gregory, a former patient, made it his mission to renovate the remaining buildings as a “research and enlightenment center.” Today, it is kept as historic buildings and during Halloween, used as a haunted house. St. Albans operates as a historical site, offering both historical and paranormal tours. Paranormal investigators can even rent out the building to conduct their own investigations.
With its tragic history, this location is said to be extremely active in the paranormal, some saying that this location is the most active on the east coast. The conditions today inside are not pretty; walls torn down, graffiti on the walls that are still standing, broken wheelchairs, rusty chairs, gurneys, and other objects are there, stuck in time. With this tragic history and terrible treatment of the people who lived in these walls, the overall feeling has been described as “gloomy.”
Having both private and public ghost hunts, several accounts of the paranormal have been documented. There are several rooms in the sanatorium that are active such as the Bowling Alley in the basement said to be haunted by two female spirits named Allie and Gina Renee Hall. Alice is said to be the daughter of a hospital patient while Gina was a woman who was murdered near the sanatorium along Hazel Hollow Road in 1980. Several paranormal teams have gotten evidence as well such as 3:33 AM Paranormal got a ghost whispering recording (also known as an EVP) in the Electroshock Therapy Room, Black Raven Paranormal investigated and near the small bathroom in the woman’s ward, one of the members was touched, and the Maryland Ghost Trackers recorded several EVPs and captured a shadow figure on the stairs. Along with this, full body apparitions have been photographed in another ward, there are disembodied screams, footsteps, and conversations, rocking chairs rocking on their own and strange mists appearing as well. The sanatorium has also been featured on SyFy’s Haunted Collector and Travel Channel’s The Dead Files. While it is now a historical site, reminders of the past are still everywhere from the rusty wheelchairs to the rooftop garden mesh that once prevents patients from jumping.
TO BE INVESTIGATED.
This location is at the top of my list to be able to investigate once COVID has been ended and Ivy and I are able investigate this together. With the amount of reported paranormal activity and the history of this location, I have been wanting to investigate this since my early teen years when I first heard of it.
Tips for Visiting:
- The tours and public investigations are reserved on specific dates. Please check St. Albans website for information on these.
- Private ghost hunts can be scheduled as well through the website.
- Their website is http://www.stalbans-sanatorium.com/
Please note: I do not own these photos unless stated. Credit is given as to where the photo is found. Thank you.