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Inside New Jersey’s Abandoned Greystone Psychiatric Hospital with LightFoot

January 30, 2014


(Photos by LightFoot)

Amazing, AMAZING photos today from photographer LightFoot exploring the soon-to-be demolished Greystone Psychiatric Hospital in Morris Plains, New Jersey.

Check out more photos, and some background on the buildings, below…

“Built in 1877 to clear some of the overcrowding at the Trenton based Lunatic Asylum, Greystone was quickly afflicted with the same problem. In the beginning, it encompassed over 40 buildings split over two massive wings. The newly built hospital even had employee apartments, and the finest furnishing for the patients including wool rugs, pianos, and fresh flowers in all of the wards.  Following the Kirkbride Plan, a list of ideals pertaining to hospital design created by Thomas Story Kirkbride, Greystone was supposed to be an ideal rehabilitation center for the insane and mentally challenged.

By 1895, the hospital was almost 150% over capacity housing an additional 325 patients in cots set up in hallways, empty rooms, and janitor’s lockers.  By 1901 new dorms were built, and by 1903 the overcrowding problems were back again. The sheer number of patients stuffed in to every available piece of space left led to unsanitary conditions and the hospital population was ravaged by disease, most notable of which was an outbreak of Typhoid fever.

The years after World War I saw increased funding being funneled in to state institutions partially to help treat returning soldiers with PTSD.  The hospital added new dorms, social services wings, and greatly expanded it’s treatment options including opening a TB Treatment Center and a facility for it’s senile members.  By 1935, almost 5,000 patients called Greystone home.

After World War II Greystone once again saw a huge surge in patients afflicted with PTSD, growing it’s population to roughly 7,600 residents – the largest number of residents the complex would ever see.  Despite tons of new buildings, the “golden days” of the hospital were long behind it as the 70’s saw a movement to deinstitutionalize America.  Two factors caused this sudden change. New psychological drugs were able to control patients much more effectively than previous methods ever could, and suddenly dangerous patients were capable of existing in their community in a less harmful state. Secondly, laws were passed in the 1970s forbidding patients to work unless paid fairly, which meant at least minimum wage. Suddenly hospital costs skyrocketed, as patients were no longer able to work in order to defray fees.

From that point on, Greystone saw a slow death that dragged on from the late 70’s to the very early 2000’s when the last of the buildings was finally shuttered and the remaining patents were transferred to nearby hospitals.  During this time, abuse cases and patient escapes skyrocketed, leaving Greystone with a permanently tarnished reputation.” -LightFoot


Find more explorations into Abandoned Philadelphia HERE!

78 Comments leave one →
  1. Erica Nagurney permalink
    January 30, 2014 3:06 pm

    awesome photos!! i hope those flowers in the vase are fake or whoever took the picture staged that bc if not that is freaky!! :-)

    • January 30, 2014 6:54 pm

      The flowers were fake :) There was plenty of freaky enough stuff in there naturally.

      • February 15, 2014 4:33 pm

        Lol…ya the freshly cut flowers seemed a little peculiar

  2. February 10, 2014 11:53 am

    Creepy and ghoulish!!!! Wow.

  3. February 10, 2014 12:30 pm

    These are some moving photographs! Just wow!

  4. February 10, 2014 12:35 pm

    Reblogged this on emilyaclayden.

  5. vkluiters permalink
    February 10, 2014 1:10 pm

    Reblogged this on Virginia Marie Photography.

  6. February 10, 2014 1:28 pm

    It’s like it’s asking to be investigated for hauntings or made the set of a horror film.

  7. February 10, 2014 1:43 pm

    creepy . . :/

  8. February 10, 2014 2:32 pm

    such haunting images

  9. February 10, 2014 3:01 pm


  10. mgpogue permalink
    February 10, 2014 5:01 pm

    Reblogged this on The TV Media Junkie ReBlog Blog.

  11. February 10, 2014 5:36 pm

    Reblogged this on corakuykendall.

  12. February 10, 2014 7:04 pm

    Wow. I am strangely intrigued by things like this. Scary but also full of rich history. I’m sure that the living arrangements were chaotic. I’m glad the days of the lobotomy and other torture methods are over, just wish we had a better grip on mental health as a whole. Cue the creepy music… Dun dun dun.

    • February 18, 2014 5:55 pm

      There is a similar empty old psychiatric institution near Vancouver BC, Canada “Riverview”. Your comment “we had better get a grip on mental health as a whole”, I agree with. The scary thing is how the mentally ill are crowding jails, and that cherry picking pro-posed mental health patients may be taking place.

      • February 19, 2014 2:25 pm

        Scary times! Its definitely time to start fixing these problems.
        Though, I do enjoy this haunted history!

  13. February 10, 2014 7:12 pm

    Nice post. Kinda sad that one of the first things that comes to mind about such an institution is a horror movie… Although the building itself certainly isn’t inviting!
    And moving into my role in mental health I’d like to think of psychiatric medication as less of a mechanism of control, rather a way to give people more freedom in life (possibly idealistic, but so many people can manage their own illnesses now with minimal intervention in their own home surly that’s a positive impact?)

  14. February 10, 2014 7:21 pm

    Reblogged this on Creative thinker – scientific mind – free spirit and commented:
    Nice post I came across on Freshly Pressed.

    I’m quite fascinated by pictures of a decaying or abandoned structure, and these pictures – as the original poster rightly points out – have some great imagery in them.

    I do think it’s kinda sad that one of the first things that comes to many people’s mind about such an institution is a horror movie… Although the building itself certainly isn’t inviting in this state.

    Moving into my role in mental health I’d like to think of psychiatric medication as less of a mechanism of control, rather a way to give people more freedom in life and that deinstitutionalisation, and grwater choice for the patient is a good thing (possibly idealistic, but so many people can manage their own illnesses now with minimal intervention in their own home surly that’s a positive impact?)

  15. February 10, 2014 7:24 pm
  16. February 10, 2014 7:46 pm

    Reblogged this on earthshare.

  17. February 10, 2014 8:11 pm

    Reblogged this on thesecretprincess2013's Blog.

  18. February 10, 2014 8:38 pm

    Wonderful photography

  19. poutineandprada permalink
    February 10, 2014 9:06 pm


  20. February 10, 2014 10:07 pm

    Reblogged this on The World's Chronicle.

  21. February 11, 2014 12:21 am

    I’m always amazed when places like mental hospitals and similar buildings are abandoned and things like cabinets, desks, beds, stretchers, etc. are left behind. It’s almost as though they are waiting for unseen patients to return.

  22. Denise [But First, Live!] permalink
    February 11, 2014 12:31 am

    woa! those are great photos!
    kinda creepy, might i add :-D

  23. February 11, 2014 1:40 am

    Reblogged this on karlinarin and commented:
    This even more looks like Insidious.
    It is.. creepy.

  24. February 11, 2014 1:43 am

    Amazing images
    Imagine the lives of those who found themselves here …

  25. February 11, 2014 5:42 am

    Truly amazing photography! The unpopulated corridors create an imaginary visual of what life this place must have seen. Specially the picture with the doll hanging upside down, a sad reminder of how we corner and forget about those who do not belong to “normal” world.

  26. February 11, 2014 6:17 am

    wanna fight bruh

  27. heart2brain2words permalink
    February 11, 2014 7:06 am

    The story behind these pics makes them that much more amazing and fascinating

  28. February 11, 2014 9:59 am

    Reblogged this on BLOGGING BAD ~ DICK.G: AMERICAN ! and commented:

  29. February 11, 2014 1:09 pm

    So incredibly, beautifully creepy!

  30. February 11, 2014 1:53 pm

    these are amazing.

  31. February 11, 2014 2:40 pm

    wtf is this bro this scary shit

  32. February 11, 2014 9:55 pm

    Wat I find interesting is the total contrast between US (people) then & now. The things we will do to each other. Humans can be brutal.
    I’m real disappointed the author/photographer didn’t provide any sort of captions or info on the photos. Or did I miss them? I did look. Those photos tell stories beyond imagination, would be nice if we knew some of the history. But still, great photos, moving, haunting. Thanks.

  33. robingirlwonder permalink
    February 11, 2014 11:17 pm

    Reblogged this on Chronicles of a Clumsy American and commented:
    Creepy but cool. I’m fascinated by abandoned buildings. :)

  34. February 11, 2014 11:31 pm

    Wow. Interesting. Thanks for sharing. Always prayingfor those with afflictions. They need healing and mostly love

  35. February 12, 2014 10:43 am

    Reblogged this on mintvalf.

  36. 5e5emott5e5emott permalink
    February 12, 2014 3:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Mott the Hoople and commented:
    Really good story and photos.

  37. February 12, 2014 9:03 pm

    Reblogged this on Big Blue Dot Y'all and commented:
    Welcome to your nightmare. GOOD LORD.

  38. February 13, 2014 12:31 am

    Reblogged this on zig_zag_cia.

  39. February 13, 2014 2:53 am


  40. wibiyana permalink
    February 13, 2014 3:43 am

    Reblogged this on Wibiyana's Weblog.

  41. February 13, 2014 7:32 am

    Reblogged this on Between Stimulus and Response and commented:
    Interesting showcase.

  42. February 13, 2014 9:26 am

    Reblogged this on Secrets for no one.

  43. Sam G. permalink
    February 13, 2014 3:52 pm

    It’s a nice snapshot of medical history! I wish it wasn’t going to be torn down.

  44. seemslikeilostit permalink
    February 13, 2014 11:44 pm

    the photos are…well not scary…but i have a hollow feeling in my stomach now. I have been thinking of checking myself in and i know mental health hospitals are not, (especially since i am not planning to check myself in an abandoned one :))what they used to be (well at least most of them).
    but the photos (even though i’m pretty sure some have one or two deliberate additions) are beautifully heart breaking.

  45. octoberlotus permalink
    February 14, 2014 2:49 pm

    Reblogged this on Withholding Nothing and commented:

  46. parrisjwilliams permalink
    February 14, 2014 3:58 pm

    Reblogged this on – Parris J. Williams and commented:
    I love Asylum stories!

  47. February 14, 2014 7:02 pm

    Amazing. Absolutely deep and thought provoking. The bit of history was interesting as well.

  48. thepianist1221 permalink
    February 15, 2014 9:11 am


  49. thepianist1221 permalink
    February 15, 2014 9:12 am

    Reblogged this on An Article Writer's Blog and commented:

  50. February 16, 2014 6:49 pm

    Amazing images….

  51. February 16, 2014 11:33 pm

    Excellent photos although the location is creepy. I only wish you had uploaded them in a gallery so we could click and scroll through.
    Superb pics!

  52. February 17, 2014 5:40 am

    I think when you see photos like this, your immediate reaction is to put them into the perspective of how society might view them through MSM.

    Do you think you’d have had the same visceral reaction had you not been told that it was a mental institution? Is it possible that one too many episodes of Ghost Hunter’s has tainted your view?

    I saw an amazing look into the things we as society think of as “permanent”. I see something that was once utilized on a daily basis, and thought of as almost being an eternal thing, the building, the facility. We made it. But look at how quickly time and the elements, as well as human vandalism sets in. I wonder what life you’d find making it’s home in this forgotten shell.

  53. February 17, 2014 5:42 am

    Reblogged this on zeroBelief and commented:
    It’s interesting to see the impact of time on the buildings we seem to think that because we can feel them, be secure within them, are somehow forever.

  54. February 19, 2014 5:40 am

    I like your intro its so thrilling in this article! nice to share with us! collection of photos was good especially the 1st one!

  55. February 19, 2014 10:55 pm

    Reblogged this on Neverland Adventures!.

  56. February 20, 2014 2:21 am

    My God! It seems like someone is going to have nightmares tonight! Very scary!

  57. February 20, 2014 7:29 pm

    Makes me think of the North Princeton Psychiatric Hospital. It was originally built as a village to house TB patients. After it closed down it just went into a state of decay. I drove through there once having to take a detour. The architecture was amazing but it was quite eery. It’s been demolished since.

  58. February 21, 2014 1:04 am

    very well work done…keep going…i liked it…its nice…as am a new blogger in this world and i wrote just 1 blog (story) ( and unable to find my viewer as like you, can u please help me by reading my 1st blog what wrong with my writing…is really something wrong with my writing or am just expecting too early…your helpful comments will really inspire me… and please follow me…

  59. openureye permalink
    February 21, 2014 7:58 am

    Nice post ! Quite creepy but very moving pictures.

  60. alittlebitofeverything11 permalink
    February 21, 2014 11:39 am

    Amazing, And creepy at the same time.

  61. February 22, 2014 3:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Gems favourite things.

  62. February 23, 2014 12:29 am

    as this country turned the mentally ill outside into the streets the prison system is now the state institution of choice as the need for constant care facilities never left us. to help the mentally ill and challenged we must face a new age of care going to their homes and group homes that are placed in towns and cities unbeknowst to their neighbors and goodness knows it is unregulated and life for them is ever a challenge whereever they live and reside. i was
    impressede with the ghosts and the comments you made. keep up the journalistic attempts to educate this society of lost and needed functions of the past.

  63. Cupcake permalink
    February 24, 2014 8:01 am

    I am left without words…

  64. Cupcake permalink
    February 24, 2014 8:03 am

    Reblogged this on Psychic fairy cupcake shit :) and commented:
    Just no words…

  65. February 24, 2014 9:45 pm

    Reblogged this on Sassy With a Side of Classy.

  66. unidentifiable123 permalink
    February 27, 2014 8:57 am

    Reblogged this on Unsung Agony.

  67. March 5, 2014 1:12 pm

    Thank you for writing this–the pictures just show how nice this place must have looked like—for an asylum. The photographs are wonderful!

  68. Mandy permalink
    March 7, 2014 11:06 am

    Great photos. This is my favorite explore. Did you go in January? I just want to see it one more time. Thanks

  69. March 23, 2014 4:39 pm

    Wow, these pictures are amazing! I would never in my life enter that building, but it’s super exciting to see the pictures. I don’t know why, but abandoned places always seem to fascinate me! Unfortunately for me there are no abandoned buildings in Holland, at least not that I know of…

  70. April 21, 2014 5:52 pm

    Reblogged this on hiddenintheshadow's Blog.

  71. May 15, 2014 12:42 am

    Awesome. Photos

  72. May 18, 2014 10:39 am

    I’d spend the night in there. Nice and spooky

  73. May 22, 2014 3:15 pm

    Reblogged this on The Angel Above Us and commented:
    Some of these photos are haunting, yet intresting… echoes of the past always make me think deeply.


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