Throughout the year, we’ve published many articles about places that have been abandoned by humanity and forgotten by society. It’s only natural that such locations gather ghost stories.
We have put together a two-part article to celebrate the spooky tales associated with those properties we’ve written about at Abandoned Spaces in 2020.
Brestovac Sanatorium, Zagreb, Croatia
To begin our second Halloween article of 2020, we are returning to the city of Zagreb in Croatia, where intrepid explorers can find the abandoned Brestovac Sanatorium, a tuberculosis facility that was built for love.
Local doctor Milivoj Dežman was in love with Ljerka Šram, an actress. They’d known each other since childhood, but it wasn’t until Dežman saw Šram in a theater production that he fell in love with her. Šram ended up marrying a banker who ultimately abandoned her after charges of embezzlement. But Dežman took in both Šram and her son, and they lived as a family.
When Šram fell ill with tuberculosis, Dežman decided he would build a sanatorium to care for his love and others who suffered from the same disease. He chose a location on the side of Mount Medvednica because it was believed that fresh air combined with peace and quiet would help people recover from tuberculosis.
Sadly, Šram passed away in November 1913. The sanatorium was repurposed as a military hospital during the First World War, but after that, advances in medicine virtually eradicated the disease, and there was no call for Brestovac Sanatorium anymore. It was closed in 1968.
Stories of hauntings at this location actually began while it was still operating as a sanatorium. Patients reported that the deceased Šram would visit them at night and pray for their recovery. There were also rumors of ghosts covered in phantom blood roaming the hillside.
People began to whisper that there were underground tunnels and catacombs beneath the sanatorium where the terminally ill were placed in their final hours. It was claimed that those taken down there would return as spirits to haunt the hallways.
To read more about this love story and the history of this spooky place, check out our article here.
Kalmykov Castle, Narzanov Valley, Russia
Visitors to the Narzanov Valley in Russia who stumble across the Kalmykov Castle may wonder how such a beautiful building came to be in such a stunning location. In actual fact, it was built by a man who started out as a peasant.
Being born into poverty didn’t stop Betal Kalmykov from becoming a statesman of Kabardino-Balkaria, one of the Russian Federation’s constituent entities. He began his life in politics by forming the Karakhalk organization (which translates as “poverty”) and leading a rebellion against the aristocracy.
In 1918, Kalmykov became head of the Nalchik district and eventually rose to be the Deputy of the Supreme Council of the USSR in 1937. Having become so influential, Kalmykov decided that he needed a suitably impressive place where he could host guests and dignitaries from the Soviet Party.
He decided to build a summerhouse in the Narzanov Valley. It was used as a hunting lodge and party venue, but only in the summer as there was no heating, making it too cold to stay there in winter.
After Kalmykov passed away, the lodge was still used for a while and then completely abandoned. Sometime in the 1930s, the summerhouse was turned into a hotel. However, the new owners still couldn’t heat the rooms well enough to be open over winter, so the hotel only operated between May and September.
The hotel offered 220 beds, a dining room, a library, and even a cinema. It also had an associated campsite. At some point following the campsite’s closure in 2007, Kalmykov Castle also closed its doors forever.
Like many castles, Kalmykov Castle has its own ghost. However, this isn’t the usual grey lady or spectral former owner. The spirit that haunts the Naraznov Valley is supposed to be formless. It manifests as a formless substance that can be seen passing along the wall, ascending the stairs, and leaving a watery trail wherever it goes.
To see some more pictures of this fabulous property, check out our article here.
Talgarth Asylum or Mid Wales Hospital, Wales, UK
The Talgarth Mental Asylum was also once known as the Mid Wales Hospital. It was initially constructed to accommodate only patients who hailed from Brecknockshire and Radnorshire. But as with many hospitals and asylums, it was soon forced to open its doors to other patients and became overcrowded.
Those running the hospital had a strong belief in the benefits to patients of fresh air and activity. As such, the hospital included workshops and a bakery as well as the usual hospital wards and administration buildings. It also had its own electricity, heating, and sewerage so that it could be fully self-sufficient.
During the wars, the hospital was repurposed as a military hospital. In 1948, it was taken over by the NHS, at which point it became a nursing college as well as a facility to help those suffering from substance abuse.
As treatments for those with mental health problems became more effective and more centered in the community, the need for asylums diminished. Talgarth Asylum was closed in 2000. For a time, the land was used for the Black Mountains Business Park, but the park could not survive the global recession and, by 2009, only a few businesses remained.
Those buildings still standing have been a great draw to photographers and urban explorers since some of those structures still have oddities like prosthetic limbs and an ancient piano. However, with the floors rotting due to rainwater, entering the buildings can be very dangerous.
The asylum hit the news headlines in 2016 when a photograph was circulated, supposedly showing a ghostly face at the window. When the picture was featured in an article on a Welsh online news site, locals contacted the publication to explain that it was a hoax.
Apparently, it was a Halloween mask that had been left there some time ago, and someone had been enterprising enough to move it to one of the windows to give the impression of a person looking out. One commenter claimed to the person who’d put it there and informed readers that he’d named the mask “Gareth.” He added that Gareth now had a new home.
To read more about this building and its sad history, check out our article here.
Peters Cartridge Factory, Ohio, America
One site in America with numerous ghost stories attached to it is Peters Cartridge Factory in Kings Mill, Ohio. The company of Peters Cartridge Factory started out when Joseph Warren King bought a powder mill in Little River Miami. During the war, this mill made cannonballs for the Union army.
After such a successful start, King decided to build his own powder mill from scratch a little further down the river. The buildings covered a two-mile stretch of the river, and a dam was constructed to provide the company with hydroelectric power. The new building was called King’s Mill, and a town with the same name grew up around it.
After King passed away in 1885, his son-in-law Gershom Moore Peters started up Peters Cartridge Factory. When the two companies merged, they became the largest producer of shells and ammunition in the country.
Explosions at a munition factory are quite common, and the buildings were deliberately spaced out to try and prevent too much damage. However, an explosion in July 1890 resulted in 12 fatalities and many more injuries. Several buildings were also destroyed.
The site continued manufacturing armaments until March 1944 when the buildings were sold to Columbia Records. It later became a storage site for a distillery until 1968, at which point it was entirely abandoned. It became a popular destination for photographers and urban explorers, and the site became known as one of the most haunted locations in Cincinnati.
Rumors abounded that those who had lost their lives in the explosions at the factory still haunted its remains. Such stories were given added fuel when a photographer held a horror photoshoot there and subsequently left behind tombstones that had been used as props.
Like many abandoned locations, Peters Cartridge Factory was used as a filming location. The crew reported hearing whispering in some of the rooms and seeing items move by themselves.
Some urban explorers stated that they felt like they were being watched while they were in the factory. When a man playing paintball there in 2006 fell through a rotten floor and almost impaled himself on some rusting mill equipment, there were those who said that this was the spirits trying to keep trespassers away.
For a long time, Peters Cartridge Factory was a nightmare for police since they had so many teenagers and ghost hunters trying to access this hazardous location. However, in 2018, work began to turn the site into a mixed-use facility with 135 apartments, restaurants, shops, and a brewery.
It might be too late to see the abandoned Peters Cartridge Factory for yourself, but you can check out photos of its former abandoned glory in our article here.