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Forest Haven Asylum: Tragic Story & You Can Still Find Toys Left by the Children

Nikola Petrovski

First opened its doors in 1925 and after 66 years of service, the doors shut for the last time. The reason – several deaths of aspiration pneumonia, abuse, medical incompetence…

The list goes on. Forest Haven was a sort of live-in institution for children and adults with some form of mental health disability.

The eerie hallway. Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

The eerie hallway. Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

Inside this gruesome hospital, over 1000 patients were living their ill faiths. Sometime in 1989, the justice department began to monitor the deaths from aspiration pneumonia a type of condition that can be caused, among other things by improper feeding like feeding the patient while he or she is lying down.

Bed for the younger residents of the Forest Haven.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

Bed for the younger residents of the Forest Haven.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

But the horrors were endless. There were also many cases of physical and sexual abuse and many of the so-called doctors were without the proper medical license. To make things even worse all of the dead patients were buried in mass graves without any kind of mark or headstone.

Just bodies dropped one on top of the other. After years of weathering and erosion, some of these mass graves were uncovered revealing the truth and the pain through which these patients went.

Nature claiming back what is rightfully hers.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

Nature claiming back what is rightfully hers.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

The asylum was built with peace in mind, offering the patients the care they needed away from all of the noise urban life has brought. Inside this hospital, there were dental and x-ray rooms, doctor’s office, electroshock and hydrotherapy rooms. Not to forget the need for recreation the patients were able to use the gym, the basketball courts, the baseball field and the cafeteria.

The abandoned dentist office.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

The abandoned dentist office.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

Instead of relaxing and learning new things every day, these poor souls were fighting endlessly with their abusive predators.

Asbestos hanging from the ceiling.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

Asbestos hanging from the ceiling.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

According to the Washington Star newspaper, it was a 9-year-old Joy that brought joy to this whole situation. This mentally ill little girl was found tied naked on a bed inside a cage. Joys story was what started the whole process of uncovering the deepest secrets of this ironically named hospital.

An abandoned window – the only contact with the outside world.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

An abandoned window – the only contact with the outside world.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

The United States Park Police is responsible for the premises of this forest hospital and today this place is among the most favorite places to explore and photograph. It remains a cruel reminder of the dark past this asylum has to offer.

But nature started to take back what was once hers, but on the inside one still can find the beds stained by constant wetting, the toys left by the children who never passed by the age of 9 and some of the patient records with all their history inside.

The abandoned chapel – home for the graffiti artists.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

The abandoned chapel – home for the graffiti artists.Author: Will Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0

A History that loudly screams at us, demanding to never be forgotten.