Bartonville State Hospital

BARTONVILLE STATE HOSPITAL
THE LONGEST LIST OF THE LONGEST STUFF AT THE LONGEST DOMAIN NAME AT LONG LAST

The story of Bartonville State Hospital.

Hospitals are notorious places for haunting, simply because they are buildings that see many deaths. However, there is one hospital, Bartonville State Hospital, who has a resident ghost that felt so strongly for the place and its patients that he decided to stay around long after his time to mourn the deaths of past patients.

In 1885, construction on the Bartonville State Hospital began. As it progressed, it became evident that the castle-like design was too dark and sinister for such a place, and there were structural errors, and the work that had been completed up to that point was torn down and construction began once again. In 1902, the hospital officially opened its doors and Dr. Zeller was one of the most well-known and well-liked doctors who worked there. He was a kind man and good to his patients. The main building was a much more contemporary structure with 33 separate cottages that would be used for patient residences. Although it was the 1900s and insanity was viewed as a much more twisted condition than it is today, there were still no bars on the patient’s windows or bed restraints. At the time, this would have been considered extremely cruel.

Dr. Zeller was responsible for this kind of patient care as he could see that his patients were actually people, whether they were of the right mind or not. It was Dr. Zeller that designed the four cemeteries in the back of the hospital. These cemeteries, which started as just one cemetery, were to be used for patients who had no family to come claim them once they died. The first cemetery that was built was where the first haunting occurred and Dr. Zeller himself witnessed and recorded it.

To help with burying the bodies of those that had died, Dr. Zeller assembled a team to help him with the task. One of these men that helped him with this work was known as Bookbinder. Bookbinder was a very sensitive fellow and whenever the team had to bury someone, Bookbinder would become very emotional. He would go lean against an old elm tree that was in the cemetery and weep loudly. Bookbinder was well-liked by everybody, staff and patients alike. When he died, the staff and patients held a funeral for him to say goodbye. Four hundred people stood around and watched as his casket was lowered into the ground. At the same time, they were also all present to hear the low moaning.

Shocked, everyone turned towards the direction of the sound, only to find that it was coming from the old elm tree and that Bookbinder himself was standing there, weeping as he had done for all the funerals before his own. Many of the witnesses turned and fled out of the cemetery, too spooked to stick around to see what would happen. Dr. Zeller was shocked as well and ordered that Bookbinder’s casket be opened immediately. Just as the guests were seeing Bookbinder’s body in the casket, they also saw the apparition of Bookbinder disappear before their very eyes. Once the elm tree seemed to be crying a short time later, it was decided that the tree would have to be removed.

As the axe was being swung to cut down the old tree, a low moaning could be heard once again. Being spooked by Bookbinder but not wanting to upset him, it was then decided that burning the tree may rid the cemetery of the creepy haunting. But as the tree was being burned, Bookbinder’s sobs could be heard very loudly. If one chooses to visit the cemetery today, they will still be able to see the old tree, long since dead, standing in its original place. And if they’re very lucky, Bookbinder himself may be seen standing next to it.


Bartonville State Hospital

Bartonville State Hospital

Bartonville State Hospital

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