Massachusetts is a state steeped in history, mystery and the supernatural. Across its ancient cities, forests and coastline lie numerous abandoned buildings, factories, asylums and ruins waiting to be explored by urban explorers and paranormal enthusiasts.
This guide profiles the top 10 creepiest abandoned places that can be visited in Massachusetts in 2024. From ghost towns to haunted hospitals, these eerie sites offer thrills for photographers and amateur ghost hunters willing to venture off the beaten path.
Follow all safety precautions before entering any abandoned property and respect these historic places. Let’s begin the countdown to the most spine-chilling and mysterious empty locations hidden across Massachusetts!
1. Danvers State Hospital
Location: Danvers, MA
The massive Danvers State Mental Hospital complex is one of the most iconic abandoned places in Massachusetts. Built in 1878 on an isolated 78 acre property, this labyrinth of Gothic-style brick buildings and tunnels once housed thousands of psychiatric patients under horrendous conditions.
Danvers State has been left to decay since closing in 1992. The central Kirkbride building is the most spectacular structure – an imposing 600 ft long edifice with wings spreading out on each side. Exploring inside reveals countless rooms, furniture, equipment and records left behind, hinting at the hospital’s dark history.
Danvers has long been rumored as one of the most haunted spots in Massachusetts. Tales of cruel experiments on patients fuel stories of ghostly figures, screams and cries heard within the haunting grounds. The hospital served as inspiration for several horror films, games and books like H.P Lovecraft’s Arkham Sanatorium.
Those brave enough to venture inside Danvers State will discover a massive maze of rooms and wings collapsing under the weight of time yet still evoking its tortured past. While off-limits for safety reasons, the State Hospital remains visible from outside as an imposing reminder of Massachusetts’ psychiatric history.
Address: Hooper St, Danvers, MA 01923
2. Fernald State School
Location: Waltham, MA
The Fernald State School in Waltham, MA was founded in 1848 as the Massachusetts School for Idiotic Children. For over 100 years it operated as a state home and training center for disabled children and adults judged mentally incompetent by authorities.
At its peak in the 1960s, Fernald housed nearly 3,000 patients on 190 acres. Children lived in large dormitories and underwent cruel experiments like radiation exposure by MIT and Harvard as part of secret government funded studies. A dark history of patient abuse, neglect, malnutrition and even mysterious deaths marred this facility.
Fernald officially closed in 2014 with remaining residents transferred elsewhere. Since then the green-roofed buildings have been left abandoned, with the entire site set to undergo re-development soon.
Past the secure fencing, the school still contains equipment, records and even abandoned suitcases left by former residents hastily departed. The labyrinth of tunnels beneath the property also offers an eerie adventure for those willing to locate access points rarely discovered by officials.
Many ghost stories surround Fernald, from apparitions to fleeting shadows of its tortured past residents. Paranormal investigators regard it as an active location for making contact with those who passed here.
Officially off-limits today, Fernald offers a thought provoking if creepy experience for those able to glimpse within its crumbling walls.
Address: 200 Trapelo Rd, Waltham, MA 02452
3. Metropolitan State Hospital
Location: Waltham, MA
Metropolitan State Hospital was a sprawling mental health facility opened in 1927 that operated for over 80 years before closing in 1992. Comprising over 50 buildings spread across 135 acres, this self-contained campus was home to thousands of long-term psychiatric patients.
In the decades after its closure, Metropolitan State’s structures have sat abandoned and extensively vandalized. The property was originally meant to be redeveloped into commercial, educational and residential buildings but plans never materialized. Only one structure – the Administration Building – has been renovated amidst the otherwise dilapidated complex.
Urban explorers are drawn to the eerie, decaying wards, facilities and tunnels running beneath Metropolitan State. Entering the grounds requires discreetly bypassing secure fencing and patrolling guards. Inside are countless rooms with equipment, furniture and records scattered about, bearing testament to the hospital’s former use.
Many unsettling tales originate from Metropolitan, including mysterious deaths, mistreatment of patients, lobotomies performed and supposed supernatural phenomena. Apparitions, banging sounds and footsteps are often reported here. Paranormal investigators continue scrutinizing the property, hoping to uncover more of Metropolitan’s troubled past.
This massive abandoned institution stands frozen in time, encapsulating decades of often controversial psychiatric practices. But stepping through its dark passages and wards is not for the faint of heart.
Address: 77 Warren St, Waltham, MA 02453
4. Camp Titicut
Location: Bridgewater, MA
Camp Titicut was a Native American internment camp active from the 1670s to as recently as 1945 on the borders of Bridgewater and Middleborough, Massachusetts. It was the first Indian reservation set up in British America and over time expanded into a self-sufficient colony housing over 1000 people by the early 1800s.
In the 20th century, Camp Titicut became a detention center for those judged socially dangerous or insane, with residents living in squalid conditions. After reports of abuse and neglect, it was finally closed in 1945 and most of the structures dismantled. An unmarked cemetery is all that remains amidst the dirt roads crossing the woodlands that once comprised bustling Camp Titicut.
Today the site exudes a heavy atmosphere stemming from centuries of subjugation and suffering. Mysterious dancing orbs of light known as the Bridgewater Triangle phenomena are also frequently sighted here. A larger police presence has reduced accessibility in recent years, but Titicut’s dark energy continues pulsing within its now silent forests.
For an impactful look into a traumatic period of local history, the overgrown roads of Camp Titicut provide a poignant experience. Just be careful not to disturb its dormant spirits, known to follow trespassers home from this unsettling spot.
Address: Titicut Road, Bridgewater, MA 02324
5. Medfield State Hospital
Location: Medfield, MA
Medfield State Hospital was founded in 1896 as the Medfield Insane Asylum, housing thousands of psychiatric patients across its sprawling 458 acre campus. As treatment shifted from institutionalization to community-based care, Medfield’s population declined until closing in 2003.
In the decade since, many of its 60 red-brick buildings have been demolished or renovated into residential developments. Yet several structures remain intact but abandoned and increasingly dilapidated. Windows are shattered, interiors vandalized and roofs crumbling. Explorers can still uncover equipment, records and personal effects left behind by departing hospital staff.
Sightings of ghostly figures at windows and unexplained sounds permeate Medfield’s abandoned wards. One building – the Taunton Hall infirmary – is notorious for paranormal occurrences stemming from deaths during a devastating fire. Visitors describe an uneasy atmosphere plus apparitions and floating lights in the decrepit interior.
While primarily off-limits, Medfield State’s grounds can be discreetly accessed from the neighborhoods built after its closure. For a spooky look at the facilities where lobotomies, electroshock and questionable experimentation occurred, the remains of the hospital do not disappoint. Just be alert for the souls still wandering its empty passages after dark.
Address: Hospital Rd, Medfield, MA 02052
6. Gardner State Colony for the Insane
Location: Gardner, MA
The Gardner State Colony, originally known as the Massachusetts State Colony for the Insane, was established in 1902 as an asylum for the mentally ill. It operated for over 70 years until closing in the 1970s, with its main buildings abandoned and left to deteriorate.
Stories of patient mistreatment, unusual medical experiments and traumatic procedures like lobotomies performed here live on as chilling reminders of Gardner’s history. Facilities include housing wards, an infirmary, cafeteria, bowling alley, gymnasium and more, many still containing equipment, records and personal items. Tunnels run beneath connecting the various buildings.
Officially off-limits, the complex requires discretely bypassing secure fences and patrols to explore. The atmosphere alone is deeply unsettling even in daytime. Screams are said to echo from the empty wards at night with slamming doors, apparitions and shadows seen within the grounds. Professional paranormal teams repeatedly conduct investigations here.
For an intensely disturbing look at the state’s asylum history, Gardner offers a terrifyingly immersive experience given its relatively intact condition but horrific past. Just be cautious not to wake the anguished souls still clinging onto this forsaken place.
Address: 316 Brooks Station Rd, Gardner, MA 01440
7. Lyman School for Boys
Location: Westborough, MA
The Lyman School for Boys was founded in Westborough in 1846 as a reform school for troubled youth. For over 150 years, it operated as an often brutal facility focused on punishment and hard labor rather than rehabilitation. Reports of abuse were rampant, with 11 student deaths officially reported along with rumors of many more unaccounted for.
After closing in the early 1970s, most of Lyman’s 60 buildings were demolished, dismantled or burnt down. A few structures still remain in a heavily dilapidated state, strewn with rubble and the charred remains from suspected arsons over the years. These include a large meeting hall, gymnasium and dormitory buildings.
Explorers report feeling an unsettling presence permeating the Lyman grounds, as if the tormented souls of past residents still linger. Shouts and phantom footsteps are often heard alongside more menacing growls and snarls from the surrounding forests. Apparitions appearing and vanishing are commonly sighted around the decrepit dormitories.
With a cruel past and otherworldly atmosphere, the remnants of the Lyman School are best visited in groups or daylight. But for a uniquely disturbing experience, this is one of Massachusetts’ most ghostly abandoned spots.
Address: Lyman St, Westborough, MA 01581
8. Worcester State Hospital
Location: Worcester, MA
The Worcester State Hospital was a psychiatric hospital established in 1833 housing over 2,300 patients at its peak. As a self-contained campus spread over over 200 acres, this city within a city included its own farms, bakery, transit system, firefighters and police force.
Worcester State closed in 1991 amidst changing mental health practices and scandals around patient mistreatment. Today most of its 70 buildings have been destroyed or redeveloped for commercial use. A few wards, maintenance facilities and the abandoned nurses building still remain.
These structures emit an intensely heavy ambience, with frequent reports of disembodied screams, cries and whimpering sounds. The aura worsens at night, with apparitions and ominous growls encountered by urban explorers. Interest in the paranormal has led to increased security, but parts can still be accessed discreetly.
The haunted history embedded in Worcester State’s crumbling walls offers a chilling look at the asylum’s scandalous past manifesting in the present. Just be sure to pay respects to its lingering inhabitants from the shadows.
Address: 305 Belmont St, Worcester, MA 01604
9. Fort Revere
Location: Hull, MA
Fort Revere was a military fortification built in the early 1900s defending Boston Harbor, seeing action in both World Wars before closing in 1947. It included barracks, gun batteries, observation towers, underground bunkers and a military hospital within its 70 acre grounds.
In the decades since, Fort Revere was repurposed for public use but large sections have been left abandoned. The water tower, hospital building and several bunkers can still be explored. Their derelict condition coupled with isolation near the rocky coastline provides an intensely creepy ambience.
Odd noises like disembodied footsteps along with sudden cold drafts permeate the underground bunkers. The hospital building’s long corridors stretch into darkness with reports of ghostly nurses still making rounds. Fort Revere’s location and wartime past seemingly has allowed restless spirits to linger within its decaying walls and passageways.
Brave explorers willing to seek out the decaying remnants of Fort Revere after dark may just encounter more than expected in this oceanfront former military base.
Address: Hull, MA 02045
10. Shaker Mill Ruins
Location: Shirley, MA
The Shaker Mill Ruins are the remains of a thriving 19th century Shirley textile mill and village built by members of the Shaker religious sect across 35 acres. After the Shakers departed in 1908, investors attempted restoring and expanding the property including adding a luxury hotel.
After a destructive fire in 1961, the mill and hotel were left abandoned. Today the extensive stone, brick and wood ruins weave through scenic forests and ponds, creating an enchanting yet eerie backdrop accessible to hikers. The remains of walls, wheelhouses, chimneys and foundations emerge amidst the trees like glimpses into the past.
When exploring here, many report sensing an otherworldly presence watching from the shadows. Disembodied whispering, footsteps and singing also manifest around the mill’s ruins leading into dusk. Apparitions and strange glowing mists have even been captured in photographs.
Whether paranormal or not, the Shirley Shaker Mill ruins exude a palpable sense of mystery and loss among their crumbling vestiges. For a haunting walk back through Massachusetts’ industrial heritage, this forgotten site immerses you in the past in more ways than one.
Address: Shaker Rd, Shirley, MA 01464
The abandoned asylums, hospitals, military forts and more profiled here reveal disturbing yet compelling insights into Massachusetts’ history and the paranormal forces potentially lingering at these locations.
Urban explorers must always exercise safety, ethical practices and discretion when accessing any ruins or abandoned sites privately owned or protected. Yet the lure of the unknown will continue drawing the bold to uncover these hidden time capsules before they disappear forever.
Beyond just eerie photographs, these locations provide glimpses into faded eras still impacting our present. And by recognizing this heritage respectfully, we ensure the forgotten tales, mistakes and spirits of the past gracefully fade into history instead of remaining trapped in the shadows.
So for those intrigued by Massachusetts’ haunted history, bookmark this guide to intrepidly explore the state’s most chilling abandoned locations in 2024!