Independence State Mental Hospital Ghosts, Iowa

Mental hospitals are places of pain, fear, anger and abandonment. Most patients who enter mental hospitals never get to see their families and relatives again. it is not unusual for mental hospitals to become haunted Independence State Mental Hospital in Iowa is not an exception.

Independence State Mental Hospital Haunted?

Those who want to have a glimpse of the paranormal flock to Independence State Mental Hospital. Majority of the building is still currently in use but there are older parts which have been closed and are only usually opened during school tours.

These parts of the building were said to be the place for many lobotomies and electric shock therapies. People who have toured this part of the building reported hearing whispers; feeling cold drafts; and having the feeling that someone or something which cannot be seen is watching them. Those who do work in the hospital make it a point to avoid these parts because they can hear disembodied voices screaming. It seems as if the spot is still the home of patients who have not found their peace.

Brief History

Independence State Mental Hospital was built in 1873 and it was the second asylum in the state of Iowa. The hospital was built to relieve the crowding at Mount Pleasant State Hospital. It was also meant to be a place for geriatrics, alcoholics, the criminally insane, the mentally ill, and drug addicts.

The cost of constructing the hospital was more than $800,000 and it took ten years to complete it. The hospital’s architect was Stephen Vaughn Shipman. He also designed various mental institutions in Wisconsin and Illinois. Although some changes have been made to the building, it still looks the same as it did in old postcards and photographs.

The hospital is now officially known as Independence State Mental Health Institute and continues to serve as a psychiatric hospital which also has alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs. It also houses a training school for nurses. The building has been through several renovations and is still in very good shape compared to hospitals built around the same time.

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8 thoughts on “Independence State Mental Hospital Ghosts, Iowa

  1. susan Stack says:

    how do families track down these poor people deemed insane. Is there a census for the 1880’s? Michael stack was only 21 yrs old & died 5 yrs after being put in one of these places in Iowa.

    • bonnie groen says:

      I also would like to find information about the patients that were in the hospital in the 1880’s and 1900’s. Are there any records.

  2. Alexandria Lease says:

    I was in the placement for four years and one of my peer there at the time woke up screaming saying there was old man was rocking in a chair I don’t know if it’s haunted if anything I just wanted to explore.

    • Layla Crippen says:

      I was in placement there too and was up one night. I went to the bathroom and, obviously, closed the door. I did my business and walked to the sink. The stall next to the one I was in had something in it. I looked closer and this thing was a girl with a tattered gown on. I ran out of the bathroom and cried in my room.

    • Kayla Rommann says:

      I was there as well on ward T, and a girl down the hall woke up screaming that she had cockroaches in her hair… not one of the staff thought she made it up when they turned on the lights and there were none… that’s when i figured out that place is haunted…

  3. Audrey Muzingo says:

    I grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In (I believe) 1988 when I was 14 years old, I had a very bizarre experience with this facility. It started with a dream that my family took a car ride together (parents, sister and myself) which was odd because at this point we rarely all went anywhere together. I don’t remember anything about the drive until the part where we turned into a big, round, crumbling driveway in front of a giant abandoned building, which was on the right. It was tall, at least a few stories, very wide, made of big yellow bricks and was of some very old architectural style. I felt very scared and the worst part was looking up and seeing an expressionless face staring down from one of the windows. I turned away to look to my left instead, and saw that on the opposite side of the driveway it was all vegetation, trees and overgrown grass and scrub. As we continued the curvature of the driveway leftward and then away from the building, I noticed some distance back from the road, among the trees, was a tennis court, also dilapidated with plants growing up through cracks in its concrete.
    A few months later my dad, who was a severe alcoholic, hospitalized me with a beating which was not the norm for us kids and was mysterious in its own right (whole other story). But here’s where it comes into this story–he was court-ordered to receive inpatient alcoholic treatment “at Independence” (I had no idea where that was, never been there). I guess because we wouldn’t be seeing our dad for a while, my sister and I went along to take him to the facility. I was reading a book when we approached the grounds, and when I looked up, I was thoroughly freaked out by the sight of that huge old yellow building on my right, the greenery on my left, even the tennis court, only the place was in good condition, not in ruins like in my dream. I also did not see any ghostly faces in any windows. But that was probably the strangest experience I’ve ever had. As someone very wedded to science, I’m very skeptical of supernatural forces, but I can only guess that my dream was some kind of time-shifting blurring of the near future and very distant future, when the hospital will no longer be in use.

  4. Michael says:

    i have been there myself last year in the adolescent part. at night when i was trying to sleep this little boy would appear and ask for help. i asked staff to sit outside of my door. and i would hear stories from the rec staff i was close too about him walking in the dark out there and seeing people in the fenced in areas.

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