This former prison, mental hospital, and sanatorium is haunted by every chapter of its history
Ghost Stories at
- Motion sensors are activated in the tunnels
- Unexplained bangs and knocks are heard in the tunnels
- Phantom footsteps have been heard in Building F
- Unexplained sounds have been recorded in Building E
- Apparitions and shadow figures are often reported throughout the complex
- Sounds of slamming doors have been heard
- Many potential EVPs have been captured by past investigators
Cresson Sanatorium’s Dark Past
Tucked into the woods just outside of Cresson, Pennsylvania, is a complex of long Tudor style buildings and sprawling modern prison blocks that look about as eclectic as its storied past.
Over the years, Cresson Sanatorium served as a tuberculosis hospital, a mental hospital, and a state prison. And, ghost stories suggest the old complex is haunted by spirits from each of its different lives.
Tales of apparitions lurking through the halls and ghostly sounds echoing through the tunnels have helped make Cresson Sanatorium one of Pennsylvania’s most well-known haunted places.
And there may be more hauntings yet to be discovered there…
Timeline of Cresson Sanatorium's History
Swipe or use timeline points to see Cresson Sanatorium through the years
Cresson Sanatorium began as a tuberculosis hospital following a land donation by steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie in 1910. In the years before modern medicine, tuberculosis ravaged the world and treatments were few. The most common treatments were fresh air and sun, which the land for Cresson Sanatorium had in abundance.
The complex was completed in 1913 and started work as a long-term care facility. It soon gained a nickname amongst patients and staff: ‘the San.’
Cresson Sanatorium operated for over four decades as a tuberculosis hospital, but by 1956, treatments like streptomycin were quickly making tuberculosis a treatable disease. This left no need for large hospital complexes like Cresson.
The complex integrated into the Lawrence Flick State Hospital that same year and became a mental institution. The property continued to operate as a state-run mental hospital until it closed in 1982. A short while later, the state’s prison system breathed new life into the old Cresson Sanatorium.
In 1987, the state reopened the property as State Correctional Institution – Cresson, a medium security state prison. The complex was expanded during this time to accommodate a full prison. This included new cell blocks and a tall, razor-wire fence, costing over $20 million.
The now expansive complex continued to operate as a prison for over 25 years until closing down in the early 2010s due to the complex’s age and its maintenance costs.
After being officially closed in 2013, the property was acquired in the late 2010s by the company Hydroponic Life. The company opened some areas of the abandoned complex for tours. Since then, tourists have gotten their first opportunities to explore the complex for themselves.
Many visitors have left their tours with ghost stories to share, as reports of paranormal encounters in Cresson Sanatorium have mounted and ghost tours have become more common. But just who is haunting the halls of Cresson Sanatorium?
Cresson Sanatorium’s Terrifying Tunnels
A reported haunted hotspot in Cresson Sanatorium is the tunnel system beneath the complex. Since being opened to the public, Cresson Sanatorium’s tunnels have become known for strange sounds echoing through the darkness.
These sounds range from unexplained bangs and knocks to distant voices. Investigators have also noted that motion sensors will be triggered by unseen forces when placed in the tunnels.
Cresson Sanatorium’s Haunted Campus
But the tunnels aren’t the only place to find unexplained noises around Cresson Sanatorium. In Building F, the sounds of phantom footsteps have been heard and even recorded. In Building E, mysterious sounds have similarly been reported. Previous investigators recorded unexplained knocks and mysterious tapping sounds throughout Building E.
Disembodied voices and moans are also said to be common in the complex. And sounds of slamming doors have also been heard in many buildings.
Some suggest they slam in response to certain questions from investigators.
Cresson Sanatorium’s Phantoms
Will Follow You
Though it has its share of hotspots, the entire campus of Cresson Sanatorium is said to be haunted. Visitors often feel like they’re being watched while touring the grounds. Others say they feel like a ghostly entity is following them as they go through certain buildings.
And while these phantoms are often invisible, plenty of people have had encounters with shadowy figures around Cresson Sanatorium. Both moving shadows and stationary apparitions have been spotted through the complex.
Ghostly Evidence from
New paranormal reports continue to materialize throughout the property as more people and investigators tour the complex. Along with reports of personal experiences at Cresson Sanatorium, plenty of people have collected EVP recordings of reported paranormal voices.
Others still have supposedly captured intelligent responses via ITC (Instrumental Transcommunication) devices like the Spirit Box and Ovilus.