Aradale Lunatic Asylum
Perched on what was formerly known as “Mad-Man’s Hill” is one of the most notorious asylums to ever exist within Australia. Aradale Lunatic Asylum was a psychiatric hospital built in Ararat, Australia during the 1800s, which operated within the community right through to the 1990s.
Aradale was constructed at a time where other asylums were also being built within the state of Victoria. They were thought essential to deal with the crisis of increasing numbers of so-called ‘lunatics’ in the area. This mainly consisted of people suffering from an array of mental health issues, other ailments or who were deemed to be criminally insane. Individuals could be institutionalized within an asylum, such as Aradale, for the most minute and what we would deem in our modern world today as petty reasons. This saw thousands of men, women and even children pass through the doors of Aradale.
Conditions within the hospital were less than desirable for both staff and patients. The building was uncomfortable, crowded and treatment methods were particularly barbaric. Both electroshock therapy and the lobotomy were performed, on mass, at Aradale. Death was another factor that contributed to the dark history that cloaks Aradale. It is estimated that at least 13,000 deaths occurred throughout Aradale’s many buildings during its 130 years of operation.
Although the halls of Aradale Mental Hospital are today empty, some believe that former staff and patients linger, making this one of the most haunted places in Australia.
Australia’s Most Haunted Asylum
Given the brutal nature of the history that surrounds Aradale Mental Hospital, a ghost story or two can be expected, and Aradale has many. One of the best-known ghosts to roam the halls of this abandoned hospital is that of Nurse Kerry. She is known to haunt the women’s wards and is thought to be continuing her nursing duties, looking out for her former patients in the afterlife. Her ghost has been seen by many and heard by even more. There have been many reports of hearing the disembodied click of a women’s high heels throughout the empty ward, as well as the soft sounds of a women’s voice, something that Kerry was known for in life.
Some of the other spirits to roam Aradale are not as friendly as Nurse Kerry. Many people have encountered dark shadows throughout the asylum, or been physically affected by unseen forces. This is particularly common within the former men’s wings where people claim to have been bitten, scratched and pushed. This seems fitting given that this would have been the area where the most dangerous patients were kept.
Other paranormal phenomena to occur throughout the buildings that make up Aradale are hearing voices when no one is around, being overcome with dizziness, nausea or headaches, as well as encountering phantom smells, strange noises, apparitions and having electrical devices interfered with.
Visiting Aradale Mental Hospital
Aradale Mental Hospital is a must-visit place for anyone who is interested in the paranormal. It exists in Ararat, a charming town, less than 3 hours outside of Melbourne. Ghost tours and paranormal investigation events are run here by Eeerie Tours, and I highly recommend both. The tours give a comprehensive view of life within the Asylum and cover many areas of interest, while the investigation events are also informative they allow participants to use a range of equipment and to conduct their own paranormal investigation throughout many of the asylum’s most active areas.
If you are interested in learning about other haunted asylums within Australia, I highly recommend checking out Z Ward for the Criminally Insane.
Thanks for reading!