Living Legend of Letchworth Village

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Living Legend of Letchworth Village

Letchworth Village

Letchworth Village of Rockland County New York is a residential institution.  Providing housing and treatment for the physically and mentally ill, Letchworth was initially opened in 1911 with over one hundred and thirty buildings.  In 1850 the first polio trial was held on the grounds, bringing much notoriety, and also plenty of scrutiny to the growing facility.

(images:91218010@N08/flickr)

(images:[email protected]/flickr)

The hospital had a long run and met its fateful end in 1996 when it was permanently closed.  Inadequate funding was the least of the hospital’s problems, although that was the primary reason cited for the closure.  In reality, the facility was overcrowded and cited for concerns of inadequate care.  On an expose published by ABC News’ Geraldo Rivera in 1972 came forward, patients were found to be malnourished, unclothed, kept in unhygienic conditions, unbathed, and neglected.

Even more concerning, there was evidence that the patients had been subjected to experiments and trials of unapproved treatments.  There was rampant abuse of the patients, and even amongst the staff, with several allegations of rapes that occurred while the facility was functioning.  Rivera’s report helped unearth some of the ongoing concerns with the facility and after published, Letchworth struggled to shake the reputation that followed.

Despite the hospital closing down, concerns of the grounds continued to manifest.  Some speculate that the horrible treatment of children who lived at Letchworth as patients resulted in their energy staying on the grounds and causing the multitude of paranormal reports that have stemmed from visits to the property.  Certain energy can be felt in various parts of the abandoned hospital.  Screaming, knocking and voices can be heard, with no source of origination.  Phantom sirens can be heard and even more alarmingly, apparitions have formed and attempted to run individuals out of the hospital.  Some have reported demonic creatures or seeing unidentifiable lights.  Visitors have been pushed or shoved, despite no one else being near them.

(images:g-mark/flickr)

(images:g-mark/flickr)

Another active place on the property is the small cemetery called Hollow Road.  With a marker indicating, “Those who will not be forgotten,” there is a littering of small t shaped markers indicating the places where nameless victims perished and were buried.  They are designated simply by a number, the one used by the hospital to identify patients while they were receiving treatment at Letchworth.  They have been all but forgotten as their anonymous bodies decay in the ground.

The cemetery is not easily found as from Letchworth a small, unmarked trail leads hikers into the woods and opens into a clearing surrounded by trees.  Crossing a small brook the cemetery seems to appear out of nowhere.  A large headstone sits at the entrance of Letchworth’s abandoned cemetery, listing the names of some of the nine hundred individuals buried within its boundaries.  Historians were able to identify some of the nameless individuals and their names were forever engraved in memoriam.  It is not uncommon for reports to surface of visitors hearing disembodied voices or seeing shadow figures moving amongst the small placement indicators.  It appears that the ghosts guard their final resting places.

Megan Borchert
Megan Borchert
Lover of all things unusual, Megan is a staff attorney for the state of South Dakota. When she's not stuffed in an office writing case synopses, you can find her at home with her army of Schnauzers, snuggled up with some strong wine and a good book.

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