Haunted Western New York-Utica Psychiatric Center



Returning to my stomping grounds, the Utica Psychiatric Center is cited as one of the most haunted locations in Utica. The building was opened in 1843 as the country’s first public mental health center. This was prior to the era of the Kirkbride Plan and moral treatment, which helped to make mental health care more humane for patients; the H.H. Richardson Complex was a Kirkbride building with an eye towards the safety of the patients, even if the treatment fell well below what we would currently call humane and safe.

The first director of the Center was Dr. Amariah Brigam, who would later help to found the American Psychiatric Association. However, the development that the Center would become known for was the Utica Crib. The crib was an adult-sized restraining device that was used to control patients who doctors believed could not be controlled in other ways. Even as early as the 1860s the crib was controversial, with some suggesting that it had a calming effect and others arguing that it was dehumanizing (see here for a photo).

Claims about the haunting seem pretty typical for haunted asylums, and run parallel to those claims made about the Richardson Complex. Orbs, ectoplasm, voices, and other traditional haunted phenomena seem to be the most common.

Please do not enter this site, it is currently not open to the public.

Haunted Places in Utica Area

Kirkbride Plan

Utica Psychiatric Center

Utica Lunatic Asylum

The Most Notorious Ghosts, Haunts, and Urban Legends in Utica


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