Trenton Psychiatric Hospital's Dark History
The Brutal Methods of One Doctor, the Mistreatment of Many and the History of One Hospital
The Trenton Psychiatric Hospital was founded in 1848 by Dorothea Lynde Dix, who was a mental health advocate. It was the first hospital to take on the Kirkbride Plan, this plan promoted patient privacy and to showcase a welcoming and naturally lit environment. Dr. Henry Cotton was named the hospital's medical director in 1907, at the time he seemed like a perfect fit for the hospital. He however instituted occupational therapy programs and went on to eliminate mechanical restraints that were used to subdue patients.
But, as time went on, Cotton took a barbaric approach to mental health and this turned the forward thinking hospital into a hospital of horrors.
Dr. Cotton believed that infections were the main cause of mental illnesses, this caused him to use surgery as a treatment for patients. Dr. Cotton and his staff cut out patients' teeth, gallbladders, stomachs, colon, testicles, and ovaries. He studied the right side of the hindgut in particular, he thought that this was the source of depraved impulses.
The doctor claimed to achieve many cure rates, reaching up to 90 percent, during his time, however the death rates were disturbingly high and many of his victims were dragged into the operating room against their will.
Dr. Cotton died in 1933, but his practices continued on into the twentieth century, soon the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital ended the methods and certain wings of the hospital stopped operating.
Now the hospital is an active care facility, and leaves ghost hunters wondering how haunted the hospital is. Security guards patrol during the day and night, so not just anyone can go onto the grounds, unless permission is granted from the superintendent.
However, some paranormal researchers have captured or seen some paranormal activity while they researched the grounds. They reported an apparition of Doctor Cotton, ghosts of patients with missing limbs, disembodied voices and orbs in photographs. However, since the buildings are old and decaying, orbs can be a number of things, there will be lots of dust and bugs flying around all the time. Ghostly orbs should have a solid white, gray, blue, green, or pink color. If they are transparent and seem to be textured, then it is pollen, dust, or a bug.
EVP evidence often gets classified as B or C classes, no one has captured any Class A samples. Since it is an active care facility, voices from security guards, patients or guests in the yard may be captured. The best way to capture good EVPs is to run extended sessions in hot spots and to do it after operating hours. Most investigators have had subjective experiences on the site, including cold spots, paranoia, uneasy feelings, and phantom touches.
The hospital now has a special treatment center, called the Anne Klein Forensic Center, this is where the most criminally and violently insane patients stay. The facility has had the most patient-on-patient assaults of the five New Jersey mental hospitals. Since the building is new, there is difficulty capturing paranormal evidence, so there is more focus on the abandoned buildings along the site.
There really isn't a clear hot spot for evidence or activity, but there is a lot of focus on the Frost Building, the lab, and the buildings in the Women's Ward.
The lab is the obvious choice, since this is where Cotton committed his many malpractices and the trauma many endured would be imprinted on this space. Along with the Women's Ward, since many women were chosen and operated on by Cotton. The Frost building really has no reasoning for how highly active it is.
As for now, the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital is a 400 bed hospital, they are a Joint Commission accredited health care facility and is one of five hospitals in New Jersey. The CEO currently is Teresa A. McQuaide, she was appointed the position in 2006 and had 26 years of State service under her belt. She previously held positions at Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital and Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital.
Care for Mental Illnesses has improved greatly since the opening of Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, and now the hospital has Treatment Teams. These teams are composed of multi-disciplinary group of clinicians. The team works to develop the patients individualized comprehensive treatment plan in collaboration with the patient and any family or significant other the patient may have with the patient's approval.