Is Traverse City State Hospital Haunted?

Traverse City State Hospital operated for more than 100 years and during those years many stories have evolved about restless spirits and patients who never checked out of the hospital. The reportedly haunted hospital now stands in solitude and in disrepair and one could look through the windows and see the peeling paint and dilapidated furniture and perhaps even a shadow or two. There are numerous books dedicated to the hospital’s long and disturbing history, and its paranormal goings-on.

There is said to be a portal to Hell which can be found under “The Hippy Tree”, located on the trails behind the building. There are reports of disembodied screams and voices echoing through the empty halls. Lights are said to turn on and off by themselves. This is made even more frightening by the fact that there has not been electricity running through the building for a good number of years.

Apparitions of adults and children have even been seen in the asylum. A priest who was believed to commit suicide is still seen in the same room where he took his life. Rumors are also rampant that there is a disfigured creature that appears in the tunnels and basements of the hospital. There are also reports of religious objects being destroyed before they can be brought inside the building.

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Although the building has such a grim reputation today, it was intended to be a place of healing. It was built to heal patients but not with barbaric treatments. Even straitjackets were prohibited. Dr. Munson remained the hospital’s most popular and loved doctor. He believed that patients will heal faster if they were put in a place of beauty and tranquillity. There was no shock therapy and other inhumane treatments. He was a hero to the patients and there was even a statue built for him when he retired and passed away.

There was even a farm with animals such as pigs, cows, chickens and various vegetable fields. The idea was for patients to slowly find purpose in their lives. The hospital looked more like a school than an asylum for the mentally insane. Although originally a hospital for people with mental issues, the hospital expanded and accommodated patients with diseases such as typhoid, polio and influenza. It was also later used as a drug rehabilitation centre and a home for the elderly. By 1989, with funding being cut, the hospital finally closed its doors.

Some people think that because of the superb care the patients got in the hospital, their ghosts roam there because it was a place of happiness for them and not of despair. For them it was a place where they got the treatment they needed and deserved.

**Note: The main building (building 50) and outer buildings, are currently being refurbished as part of the Grand Traverse Commons Village, which is both a residential and commercial development designed to preserve this historical site.