St John’s Mental Asylum in Lincolnshire, in the East of England, was built 1852. The building was then known as Lindsey & Holland Counties & Lincoln & District Lunatic Asylum.
The Asylum has also been known over the years as Lincolnshire County Pauper Lunatic Asylum and Bracebridge Heath Asylum. Finally, it was given the name St John’s during the early 1960s. It was originally built to house just 250 patients, but by 1902 the asylum grounds covered 120 acres and this extended across the road to where the Homestead Pub is.
The hospital had male, female and children’s wings and used some of the traditional medical techniques in that day to cure insanity, including electric shock treatment. Conditions such as depression and post natal depression were classed as a mental illness and treated the same as someone with schizophrenia. Brain surgery was believed to cure mental illness and was commonly used in asylums such as this and is believed to have been carried out here and if brain surgery wasnt recommended a common procedure to undertook to cure depression was drilling at the skull of the person.
The grounds of the asylum were cultivated by the inmates as they grew their own vegetables. Within the grounds was a cemetery for the hospital which covered 1.5 acres. St John’s also had its own mortuary chapel. After the outbreak of World War II during 1940, the patients were transferred to other nearby establishments as the hospital was turned into an emergency hospital. In 1948 the administration of the hospital was passed to the National Health Service.
The asylum grounds also included the hospitals own burial site for those unfortunate enough never to escape from its intimidating walls. Whilst surveyors were excavating the grounds, work had to come to a stop when human skeletons were uncovered. It turned out they had found the burial site.
The asylum finally closed its doors during December 1989 with all the patients being transferred to other nearby hospitals. The site was then sold to developers who have converted a lot of the site into new housing. All that now remains is the main asylum buildings which are Grade II listed and cannot be demolished. However, work is now well underway to convert the main buildings into flats.
When the hospital was closed, two removal men were employed to clear the building. They did not stay for long as the blood curdling sounds of screaming made them flee from the building. It is said to be a regular occurrence to walk past the asylum and hear screams emanating from within the solid walls.
The fire brigade has even been called to the building when residents have reported sightings of small fires being lit, visible from the windows. On arrival, there were never any fires to be put out. Although some of the firemen have reported seeing strange lights in the corridors. Some think it could be intruders or squatters starting the fires, others believe it’s the work of the paranormal.
In September 2010, a photograph taken by a group who snuck into the property was printed in the Lincolnshire echo. It shows the outside of the building from a distance, but when magnified, a white figure can be seen stood looking out of one of the windows.
Another team who stuck in reported hearing whistling and ghostly footsteps surrounding them.
The Homestead public house has had several reporting’s of ghostly activity itself. Many staff and customers have reported seeing ghostly nurses and patents roaming around the pub and customers have also asked to move tables within the pub after seeing ghostly bodies hanging from the asylums windows.