Halloween Countdown with Molly Weir: Day 7

Oct. 7

There are so many ways to get into the Halloween spirit but what better than going to a haunted location? Luckily, Athens is home to the infamous Athens Asylum also known as The Ridges. 

The Ridges was purposed as a “lunatic asylum” from 1874 until 1993. During operation, the hospital provided services to many different people such as children, the elderly, the homeless, rebellious teenagers and even Civil War veterans (not only for their mental health but tuberculosis as well). Some of these patients were only diagnosed with “distress” while others were mentally and or physically ill. Over time, there were many buildings added to create its own small town. At the time, the Ridges was pretty well known that once you checked in, odds are you would not check out. Therefore, the grounds included three graveyards for the asylum’s patients. To account for all of the graves, only one death register has been discovered and it contains over 1,700 names. With this many known deaths–not to mention all of the undocumented ones–there are bound to be hauntings. 

One of the most reported ghosts is Margaret Shilling. She was said to have left a body print on the floor of the hospital. In addition, many people have claimed that her spirit appears staring from the window in the exact room her body was found. She is also seen roaming the halls in search of an escape. 

Another active location for ghost sightings is in one of the cemeteries on the grounds. Supposedly, you can see shadowy people roaming the grounds or even see strange lights appear and then disappear. 

Whether you choose to believe in ghosts or not, many can agree that it is still a creepy building with a rich history. If you are interested in touring the grounds of the asylum, there are tours held on the third Sunday of each month. 

As always, have a spooky day!

Photo courtesy of Legends of America

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