Friday, June 17, 2011

Glore Psychiatric Museum (Missouri)

The year 1872 was a year of growth for westward expansion.  Due to a boost in both population increase, as well as traffic from points east coming West, the need for an additional psychiatric facility became a concern for the state legislature of Missouri.  The location for the hospital was chosen as St. Joseph, and a sum of $200,000 was approved to begin construction.

The new hospital, the State Lunatic Asylum No. 2, opened its doors in 1874 to 25 patients, bed space available for an additional 250 patients.  George C. Cattlett was the first superintendent of the facility, and oversaw the burial of the first two deaths on December 12, 1874.  Because the ground was frozen, one hole was dug for both patients in what would later become the severely neglected asylum cemetery.  In the 1960s, it was more cost efficient to simply push over the tombstones and mow on top of them, as opposed to mowing around.  Out of over 2000 estimated burials, only a few hundred stones remain, many of those marked with nothing more than a number, as it was a common practice for travelers west to simply drop off unwanted family members, never to return for them.

In any event, in 1879, the facility burned to the ground, but was quickly rebuilt.  In 1903, it was given the more politically correct name of State Hospital No. 2, and in 1952, the name was once again changed to St. Joseph Hospital.

It was around this time when a young professional came to work in the state's psychiatric program, and who would later become a director of the hospital.  The man was George Glore.  By 1967, Glore had opened his collection of historical artifacts pertaining to the study of mental health to other professionals and the public.  The small museum, known as the Glore Psychiatric Musuem, was housed directly in the asylum.

During this time, the hospital began gaining a reputation for being haunted...basic run of the mill type activity.  Staff would see images in their periphery, mainly in the museum area, and feelings of being watched/not alone were prevalent.  One patient in particular was known for her interaction with the spirits...she would often write poems and songs, and create artwork based on her impressions of the paranormal activity she witnessed in the building.

By 1994, the state legislature again approved funding for a new, downsized and modern building for the psychiatric facility, located across the street.  Ground was broken that year, and formally opened in 1997 under the name of Northwest Missouri Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center.  The former building, which housed the museum and the hospital, was taken over by the Missouri Department of Corrections and turned into the Western Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center.  Today, it holds slightly under 600 criminal offenders who are in treatment for substance abuse.

The Glore Psychiatric Museum was moved into another building on site.  Its current home was built in the 1960s and served as both an admitting building and health clinic for hospital patients.  It was also where the hospital morgue and autopsy rooms were housed.  For whatever reason, it appears as if the paranormal activity associated with the original hospital followed the museum to its new location.  The Missouri Department of Corrections reports no activity in their occupied space, but the museum, as well as the rest of the building is ripe with paranormal phenomenon.

Almost naturally, the morgue area is claimed to be the most haunted.  The apparition of a man is seen often near the elevators running and screaming "Get Out!"  A woman is heard whispering, and people have heard their names called when no one else is around.  Moaning and whimpering sounds are common, as are the feelings of not being alone.

George Glore, who remained curator of the museum until his retirement in 1996 has also claimed to have witnessed much of this activity, and can only offer possible explanations for the many reports that have come to his attention.  

The museum is still open today, and operates under the St. Joseph Musuem, Inc. network.  It is listed as one of the Top 50 Most Unique Museums.  In addition to ghosts, it offers a variety of medical treatment devices from over the years, collections of objects pulled from a patient's stomach, and much much more!

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