Is Cresson Sanatorium Haunted?

Cresson Sanatorium

This former prison, mental hospital, and sanatorium is haunted by every chapter of its history

Paranormal Activity at
Cresson Sanatorium

  • 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

The Dark History of Cresson Sanatorium

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 transformed many times – from a tuberculosis sanatorium, to a mental institution, and finally, a correctional facility


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.’

Paranormal investigators claim to communicate with the ghosts of former patients at Cresson Sanatorium frequently


Cresson Sanatorium operated for over four decades as a tuberculosis hospital and treatment center. But, by 1956, rapid advancements in medicine and treatment, including the development of curative streptomycin, made tuberculosis fully treatable. For countless people impacted by the disease, this was a miracle. For massive hospital systems like Cresson, however, these developments spelled doom.

For these reasons, Cresson Sanatorium was integrated into Lawrence Flick State Hospital in 1956.

Spirits of lonely patients are not uncommon to be spotted by investigators and tourist alike


The Lawrence F. Flick State Hospital, operated by the Department of Public Welfare, changed the name Cresson Sanatorium to Allegheny State School and Hospital. This reflected a broader reach and coverage throughout the Allegheny region of the country.

During this time, the hospital also expanded its care to include patients with intellectual disabilities. But, despite these changes, further development would soon consume the property.

Care within the facility was said to be questionable, perhaps this caused the rumored hauntings


The Allegheny State School and Hospital was renamed yet again to the Cresson Center in 1970. Despite the name change, little else was altered around the swiftly aging campus. Cresson Center ceased operations twelve years later in December 1982.

Though threatened with total abandonment, the Cresson property soon got a new lease on life. Ownership of the property was transferred to the Department of Corrections in 1983, who would go on to convert the facility into a prison.

The Cresson Sanatorium Chapel was renovated in the mid-1960s and has long been rumored to be haunted


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.

The dark halls of the dilapidated sanatorium house paranormal evidence waiting to be captured


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 have mounted and ghost tours have become more common. But just who is haunting the halls of Cresson Sanatorium?

Disembodied Noises in Haunted Tunnels Beneath Cresson Sanatorium

A reported haunted hotspot in Cresson Sanatorium is the tunnel system beneath the complex. Since being opened to the public, the tunnels have become known for strange sounds echoing through the darkness.

The halls of Cresson Sanitorium echo with the voices of spirits

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.

The disused courtyard of the haunted Cresson Sanatorium

Cresson Sanatorium’s Haunted Campus

But the tunnels aren’t the only place to find unexplained noises around the 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.

Building E where unexplained noises and EVP has been recorded by paranormal investigators

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.

Shadow Figures Witnessed in Pennsylvania’s Haunted Cresson Sanatorium

Though it has its share of hotspots, the entire campus 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.

Paranormal Evidence from
Cresson Sanatorium

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.

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Explore the grounds of Cresson Sanatorium yourself

Start planning your paranormal investigation at Cresson Sanatorium using this interactive map of the campus

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The dark halls of the dilapidated sanatorium house paranormal evidence waiting to be captured

Paranormal Investigation and Tours at Cresson Sanatorium

Though only open to the public for the past few years, Cresson Sanatorium has already built up a substantial reputation as one of Pennsylvania’s eeriest, spookiest places. And it only seems to get more popular as more ghost stories creep out of the woods and more visitors are drawn in by the complex’s eerie allure.

Appearances on popular paranormal programs like Travel Channel’s Destination Fear and YouTube’s Paranormal Quest have only further driven the location’s popularity. So, while you might find haunted hospitals, haunted asylums, and haunted prisons elsewhere, you’ll only find one place that’s all three: Cresson Sanatorium.