Laurel, Maryland

Forest Haven Asylum

Urban exploration is something that gets my whole family excited and when I heard there was an old abandoned asylum near by I knew this would be a great family outing. But first I had to do some research on it.

The Forest Haven Asylum opened in 1925 and was home for intellectually disabled or (ID).

The massive 200 acre complex spread out through the trees creating a cultivating environment for patients to develop.

Forward thinking and optimistic care showed patients how to farm and benefit the community.

Many spent their days milking cows and harvesting crops. These once thought of hopeless souls had a purpose and hope for once. For a time it was a haven in the forest before it became a hell in the woods.

During the ‘50s & ‘60s, many institutions began to suffer from funding cuts. Instead of environmental therapy, they were given drugs. Experimental neurological procedures replaced extra curricular activity. States packed in more than just mentally ill patients until the national peak of 560,000 people.

This illustrious Arcadia for the ill eroded into an understaffed internment for the unwanted.

Staff focused on just keeping patients alive vs rehabilitation. Voids were filled with unqualified and sometimes state declared incompetent doctors.

Frustrated staff abused the patients. Some patients we not even impaired enough to be there, yet became disturbed from their time at Forest Haven.

Some patients and staff never had the chance to leave Forest Haven.

Abuse turned to neglect which led to death. Many of which were buried in a shallow unmarked mass grave of the property.

While looking around the grounds and taking photos we stopped to set up a light. It was so cold you see our breath. We didn’t expect to see figures inside our breath.

Lawsuits and investigations piled up. Forest Haven eventually closed its doors for good in 1991 after countless deaths.

Left to decay and waste away, those who dare to sneak past security may encounters the souls of Forest Haven.

Forest Haven Asylum

An urban exploration of a time when our mentally ill were discarded as irreparable.

Credits: Photos by Joseph , Donna, Joe & Lillea Story facts from:

#urbanexploration #asylum #ForestHaven #offthebeatenpath #mystellerstory #stellerid #stellerstories @ExploreSteller

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  • petebryant

    Eerily fascinating story! Keep (urban) exploring, I’m least on following your pursuits!!

  • Metropolian_VP

    Thanks Pete! Much better than sitting on the couch! ❤️ exploring with the family!


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