Located on Forest Avenue, the H.H. Richardson Complex, also known as the State Asylum, the Buffalo State Hospital, and the Buffalo Pyschiatric Center, is one of the most recognizable structures in the city of Buffalo. With the Central Terminal, the Complex may be known as the most haunted location in Buffalo.
In the second half of the 19th century, Dr. James White petitioned to have a new pyschiatric center built in Buffalo. The petition was granted, with construction running from between 1869 and 1895. Named after its architect the Complex opened its doors to patients in 1895. By 1974 the Complex was closed and patients were being admitted to other centers.
The claims made about the building, which borders the Buffalo State campus on Elmwood, stem from further claims made about the style of medicine practiced on the grounds. While the Complex was a Kirkbride institution (Dr. Kirkbride was a physcian famed for his desire to improve the lives of the mentally ill) the style of medicine practiced on the grounds of the Complex is claimed to border on the barbaric. It has been argued that therapies ranging from ‘theraputic’ comas to eugenics were practiced on the grounds; the hauntings are said to have been caused by the level of spiritual and emotional traumas taking place on the site.
The building is said to be incredibly active with multiple forms of activity taking place on the grounds, ranging from the classic phantom sitings to shadow people and items left on property moving on their own. The building itself is under disrepair and is not open to exploration, which may be adding to the legend of the property. In 2008 grant money was received in order to begin to rehabilitate the building as a national historical site. The property is now fenced off, and patrolled at all times to prevent entry.
Paranormal investigators have been attempting to verify the validity of the claims made about the Complex for decades. One site, http://www.hauntedfilm.com, claims to be an archive of images and footage of the activity dating back to 1997. However, the researcher who claims to have shot the footage also refuses to be identified.
The Kingston Lounge has a beautiful write-up on the building that has many pictures of the state of the Complex.