Content Warning – This article discusses mental health facilities including the experiences of previous patients and may be triggering to some readers. Should you wish to talk, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Bone-chilling sightings, horrid smells of rotting flesh, and a history to induce nightmares in even the most seasoned lovers of spook – the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum has the macabre reputation of one of the most haunted sites in Australia.
And with the knowledge that very few of its patients walked out of the institution alive from 1867 – 1995, coupled with several modern-day accounts of bizarre and unexplainable figures walking its derelict halls, it’s easy to see why.
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Built on a hill in Beechworth, Victoria, the site was chosen because of the belief the town’s altitude would cleanse the patients of their illnesses, with the winds carrying away their mental afflictions.
At its peak the hospital housed 1200 patients, 600 men and 600 women, and as medication wasn’t introduced until the 1950s, the centre’s doctors opted to restrain patients with straightjackets and shackles, and in some cases, they received electroshock treatment.