The Greystone Park Psychiatric Center was opened in 1876, prompted by the efforts of Dorothea Lynde Dix, a nurse who tirelessly lobbied for better health care for the mentally ill.
While the hospital had good intentions, the center was soon overcrowded, swelling to more than 7000 patients by 1953, primarily due to an influx of World War II veterans who returned with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Lacking modern medications, archaic procedures such as electroshock therapy and insulin shock therapy were used, which typically only made things worse for the patients.
Patients enduring insulin shock therapy were treated to daily injections of insulin,with the dosages being increased over a six week period. Once the brain was overloaded with insulin, the patient would go into a coma, some suffering a series of seizures in the process. Often, the patients would be given electroshock treatments while in the induced coma, just to top off the torture. Doctors at the time applauded the 50% success rate for treating schizophrenia, but the ones this didn't help were left with irreversible conditions, including brain damage, severe obesity, restlessness and constant sweating, if they survived it at all.
One of the hospital's more famous patients was folk-singer Woody Guthrie, who was a patient at Greystone from 1956 until 1961, suffering from Huntington's Disease, an inherited degenerative nervous disorder. While there, Guthrie jokingly referred to Greystone as "Gravestone," a name that was fitting for the institution. The hospital closed in 2003, amid reports of sexual abuse, suicides and the well-publicized escape of a convicted rapist.
Paranormal investigators have reported seeing dark shadows in the tunnels below the buildings, along with a sense of being watched. The hospital was the inspiration of the 2009 movie Greystone Park, filmed by Sean Stone, son of legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone, based on their terrifying experiences while filming there.