Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital was a hospital in Marlboro Township, New Jersey which was operated by the State of New Jersey. Construction of the hospital began in 1929. It first opened in early 1931. According to the site plan, the hospital’s campus was on 468 acres (1.89 km2). There is a perimeter fence which completely enclosed the property. The land was mostly a rural environment. When it closed, the hospital was on 594 acres (2.40 km2), having enlarged the grounds over the years. It opened with a capacity to accommodate 500-800 patients. The grounds which became the hospital were largely rural farms. However, there was a rather large distillery on the property which was torn down to make room for the hospital. The grounds construction continued after opening and when completed, the hospital was expected to have a capacity of 2,000 patients. However in 1995, the hospital served an average of 780 adults per day with a staff of 1,157 employees and a total budget of $55.5 million (Fiscal Year 1995). The budget in 1998 was $68 million.
The hospital was composed of 17 “state of the art” cottages and central buildings. The hospital treated adults and children but in 1978, a decision was made to only admit adults and adolescents. The youth were transferred to other hospitals. In June 1980, adolescent patients were also phased out of treatment at the hospital. The cottages were Tudor style dormitories which housed as many as 55 patients each. Additionally, a small cemetery was established for patients who died in residence and were unclaimed by family. The cemetery, with 924 marked graves is open to the public. The cemetery is located across the street from the hospital main gate on County Route 520.
Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital had a history of problems. For example on November 2, 1979, 131 patients became ill and four patients died of food poisoning. The suspected cause was Clostridium perfringens. On May 9, 1987, the eighth probe was conducted by the Public Advocate’s Office into patient deaths.
A woman who disappeared 48 hours before the hospital noticed her missing was found frozen to death outside. A woman was restricted to liquid food due to an eating disorder, choked to death when someone gave her a peanut butter sandwich. A patient died from brain swelling caused by a sodium deficiency noted in her charts 6 weeks earlier yet left untreated. A man was strapped to a bed for 80 hours over 5 days died from blood clots caused by the restraints (which must be loosened every two hours). The hospital closed in 1998 following a 1993 investigation by Richard Codey, during which he went undercover at the hospital and found rampant patient abuse, wasteful spending, and other illegal practices.
Senator Codey had gained access to the hospital by applying for employment using the ID of a convicted felon/possible sex offender. His background was never checked and he was assigned to work on one of the most regressed cottages at the hospital; Cottage 16. This cottage housed patients on two levels; first floor and basement. The basement level, all male, housed patients who were often speechless, incoherent or actively psychotic and included those who had murdered outside or inside the hospital. Senator Codey used his experience at the hospital to advocate for stricter rules of employment, including fingerprint checks.
Since its 1998 closing, the abandoned hospital has become the focus of numerous local legends. An abandoned slaughterhouse on the property fueled legends of a murderous farmer. It was said that the farmer would lure you down “death row,” as he had to two slain hospital guards. Trespassing at the slaughterhouse became a frequent problem, and the township publicly stated that trespassers would be prosecuted. According to an issue of Weird New Jersey magazine, and the book “Convergence,” shadow people were often spotted in, or around, the slaughterhouse. The slaughterhouse was razed.
The hospital buildings themselves are also said to be haunted, and security at the buildings has been tightened to deter trespassers.
Marlboro was informed by the U.S. Military would be using the property for military training. This training exercise includes using explosives in and around the buildings on the property.
When the hospital closed, the water treatment facilities still serviced some of the buildings in the community. Currently, there is only one functional facility left. Its water facilities still serve an adjacent building, the addiction treatment center; New Hope.
As of June 2013, the hospital buildings have been ordered to be torn down. Destruction of the buildings can be seen currently happening from the main road route 520.
On November 18, 2011, New Jersey state officials announced that the hospital site will become open space for recreational use. It will no longer be under state jurisdiction. Instead, the Monmouth County Park System will oversee the property. Demolishing buildings and cleaning up the property to meet environmental standards will be necessary for completing the $27 million project. The project was slated for completion in 2013 but currently looks like it will be pushed back to 2014. The park system has reclaimed some of the hospital land and has opened “Big Bear Park” in 2011.
More Background Info
Abandoned slaughterhouse holds legend of old farmer
Here is the urban legend:
The state government decided to build a psychiatric hospital in the area and they chose Mr. Allen’s farm as the location where they would build. The only problem was that Mr. Allen refused to sell his land. This did not stop the government and they seized the land, forcing the poor farmer off of his own property. This essentially robbed the man of his livelyhood, because without his land, he was unemployed.
In 1933, construction of the Marlboro Sanitarium was completed. It was a huge mental hospital, containing many buildings and over 1,300 mental patients and staff. The old farm buildings were abandoned and left to fall into ruin.
Having lost everything he owned, Mr. Allen began to lose his mind as well. He was often spotted wandering aimlessly around the hospital grounds at night, muttering to himself. He kept trying to get back into his old house and began stalking and threatening the hospital staff. He got crazier and crazier and his behavior became worse and worse.
Eventually, Mr. Allen was arrested and evaluated. He was found to be insane and the government had him committed to a mental hospital. The Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital. Ironically, he was locked away in the same mental hospital that had taken his land and driven him crazy in the first place.
The farmer spent many years at the asylum, keeping pretty much to himself. Because he had been a farmer, Mr. Allen was allowed to do odd-jobs around the hospital grounds, cutting grass, tending to plants, and so on. One day, he escaped and was never seen or heard from again. A massive manhunt ensued, but after several weeks of searching, there was still no sign of him.
After his disappearance, the hospital staff began hearing mysterious noises at night. The noises sounded animals squealing and they were coming from the broken-down remains of the old slaughterhouse building. The squeals were so loud that they disturbed the mental patients, and many inmates had to be restrained or sedated at night to keep them from totally freaking out.
The hospital staff hired a security guard to patrol the grounds. One night, the guard was doing his rounds when he found messages written in animal blood on the wall of the old slaughterhouse.
The messages read “I see you” and “Tonight all will die.”
The guard returned to the hospital and reported what he had found. Then he went back out on his rounds. By morning, when the hospital had failed to receive any further reports from the security guard, some of the staff went out to check the slaughterhouse.
They called out the security guard’s name, but there was no answer. Then, they decided to open the huge steel door of the slaughterhouse meat freezer.
When they laid eyes on the grisly spectacle that lay within, some of them fled in terror and others threw up on the spot. Hanging from a hook, was the blood soaked body of the security guard. He was still wearing his uniform, but he had been decapitated. On his shoulders, someone had placed the severed head of a pig.
The murderer was never caught, but everybody in the area suspected that it was Mr. Allen. The crazy farmer was never heard from again, but according to the legend, his ghost still roams the grounds in search of trespassers. Some say that he sits in the attic of the old Slaughterhouse at night, staring out over his land through a hole in the crumbling roof. People who live close to the old farm still hear the faint sound of squealing animals coming from the ruins of the Slaughterhouse.
In 1998, the mental hospital was investigated and closed down by the authorities due to patient abuse. Sometime around 2004, the slaughterhouse was demolished and all that remains today is rubble.
Note: You should not try to visit the site of the old slaughterhouse, because the area is patrolled by security and police. Trespassers are prosecuted if caught. Another reason not to go there is that you don’t want to run into old Farmer Allen. You could end up hanging headless from a meat hook.
These events have been blamed on the vengeful farmer Allen, who was never located. Legend has it that Allen often visited the building at night, and his ghost still stares out from a hole in the wall over the fields he feels were taken from him unjustly.
Of course, officials assure, there is no farmer Allen. A reporter’s check of the succession of deeds that comprised the hospital properties, some dating back to 1816, revealed no record of any owner with the first or last name of Allen. Local historians also said they know of no farmer named Allen ever owning a farm in the hospital area.
“It’s been totally manufactured,” Gann said. “I’ve lived here for 48 years and nothing ever has happened out of the ordinary here.”
State Investigation of Fraud
After more than six decades of the hospital running under state funding, it was shut down after a state investigation, prompted by an undercover operation. On July 1, 1998, the state hospital closed its doors for good.
Closing the state hospital came 11 years after State Senator Richard Codey went undercover in the hospital, hired as an orderly. Codey chronicled his experience in New Jersey Monthly magazine, saying he witnessed “inhumane care and treatment of mental patients,” as well as poor living and working conditions.
Codey’s undercover work sparked a Senate Task Force in 1994, which investigated the inner-workings of the hospital, from environmental practices to the use of funds designated for patients.
The hospital, built in the 1930’s, came under scrutiny as the senate team found evidence of illegal environmental practices, bribery and a “range of irregularities,” that the task force reported had been going on since the late 1980’s.
The task force’s 1994 executive summary said, “The results of the investigation reveal a tableau of waste, fraud, thievery and corruption in which the squandering of taxpayer dollars virtually has become business as usual at this institution.”
According to the Senate’s executive summary, the Marlboro State Pyschiatric Hospital was one of seven state-run psychiatric institutions in New Jersey. In its final years, it served 780 patients per day and employed 1,157. The report cites the the hospital’s 1995 state budget, which was $55.5 million.
The closing of the hospital was the first in a series of changes, as the state re-evaluated its state-run institutions and investigated de-institutionalizing the mentally ill. According to Codey in New Jersey Monthly, many of the task force’s suggestions became state law.
But the closing of the hospital did not come without opposition. A July, 1998 New York Times article said unionized workers at the hospital as well as families of patients opposed the closing of the doors. Neighborhood groups also worried that patients that were not transferred to another hospital and instead determined they could live alone would be a danger to communities.
The Marlboro Township history book, published in 1999 by Arcadia Publishing, said, “Security issues for the facility were long a local concern. State mental health practice in the 1990’s focused on getting patients into ‘community’ settings,’ with a reluctance to maintain costly in-patient hospitals, regardless of the ongoing need.”
Marlboro Township documents cite more than 780 calls for police between 1988 and the closing of the hospital in 1998, many of which were reports of patients leaving the grounds without authorization.
(Next two photos are of the tunnel)
There is so much info and pictures I would have to make a another article and a gallery for everyone to look at..