Haunted Mental Hospital in Illinois Reopens to Public This Weekend

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A supposedly haunted mental hospital opened in 1902 in central Illinois will reopen to the public again this weekend for paranormal investigations.

Peoria State Hospital, originally named the "Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane," will start welcoming the public back for tours on Saturday from 7-10 p.m. Paranormal investigations will also be available Aug. 6 and Aug. 20.

The guided tours include three Peoria State Hospital buildings, the monument area, four cemeteries and the Old State Mine Haunted Trail, according to the museum.

Tickets are $50 per person and available here.

As of July 12, the Peoria State Hospital Museum started offering private tours of the asylum, which are provided. On those walk-throughs, guides take guests to paranormal hotspots inside the building and the team is then left alone to explore the property for the remainder of the tour.

Dr. George Zeller, an area surgeon, was known as the "father" of the institution, and believed in a new kind of institution back in the 20th century where people with mental illness could be treated humanely, according to the museum.

Zeller notably took all bars off the windows, removed all forms of restraint and began a new, holistic approach to therapy, which made others consider him "mad."

Peoria State Hospital was considered No. 1 for curing patients for 69 out of its 71 operating years, the museum noted, as well as No. 1 for its nursing program for 30 of its 31 active years.

In 1973, the hospital closed due to a lack of funding and staffing, according to the website, though employees protested the termination. When the hospital closed its doors, 63 buildings stood on the grounds. But because a "taboo" surrounding the property, most were torn down with 12 left standing.

Though doctors and nurses stopped treating patients in the 1970s, visitors continued to return to the grounds after paranormal activity was reported.

According to Illinois Haunted Houses, the property could be haunted by Manual A. Bookbinder, who was reportedly a patient at the hospital who worked with the burial crew.

At the time of Bookbinder's funeral, Zeller allegedly said 400 staff and patients saw his ghost. The website said they even opened the coffin to confirm his body was still inside, which it was.

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