Orig. Published 4/8/05: Karli takes us on a fascinating tour of the weird asylum otherwise known as “The Ridges”:
I was viewing your website and came across the part about “the Ridges,” the old mental hospital in Athens, Ohio. I went to school there for 5 years and am big into exploring forgotten and haunted places in SE Ohio.
Anyway, I wanted to clarify some things on the hospital. I was given permission to use the facility for one of my projects. I was a photography major and wanted to use the inside as a setting for one of my projects. I had to go through a bunch of BS to get permission to tour it. But a fellow classmate and myself were given a private tour of the main building and the men’s ward by the groundskeeper to scout out locations for the photo shoot.
The groundskeeper filled us in on some interesting things. First, he said that the building isn’t haunted, but every night before he leaves he shuts all the doors and every night people break in and open every door so in the morning when he gets there, they’re all open. I figure whatever he has to tell himself to get him through the day to explain why the doors are open, but to me that seems a little weird that people come in every night and open the doors, not likely. Second, if you look at the window ledges in every room on every floor in the men’s ward (which is to the left if your facing the building) there are a bunch of carvings. Every window has mostly crazy math equations covering the whole ledge and every N is carved backwards on every ledge in every room on all 4 floors, weird. Also, there is this weird star-shaped carving on most window ledges.
In the isolation rooms, you can see finger nail scratches on the plastic windows on the doors and in the wood door, as if patients were trying to claw their way out. I was there twice: once to scout out the location with the groundskeeper and the second time I was their by myself to take my pictures. Both times nothing out of the ordinary happened, but it was quite cold in there.
There are a lot of strange things in the basement (tracks that the food service ran on, weird utensils, not sure I really want to know what they were used for, and weird markings on the walls). There were a few floors that reminded me of “The Shining,” the way the decor was and the architecture. The other floors had been torn apart because they were talking about redoing them, but stopped because it cost too much.
The fourth floor is where the patients went that had contagious diseases and that is were the “stain” is. There are only 6 -8 rooms on that floor and when you get to the only stairwell that goes to that floor it smells weird and gets stronger once you get to the landing with the stain on it. The building was built kind-of like a maze and it is hard to find your way around. Only certain doorways and stairwells go to certain floors and rooms. It’s like a maze. In fact that is what the groundskeeper told us, it was built to keep people in. It’s really cool.