The first sanitorium in the United States to focus solely on treating children with tuberculosis and other debilitating contagious disease, the building which came to be called Undercliff Sanitorium opened in 1910 at the base of South Mountain in Meridan, CT. Over the years, the sprawling facility also served as a mental hospital, and what many would refer to as a long term care mental asylum. As did so many other mental health facilities in the mid-1970’s, Undercliff closed its doors for the last time.
In addition to children and later adults separated from their families while being treated for diseases that slowly and painfully claimed so many of those inflicted, Undercliff also was the setting for horrific abuse inflicted in the name of treatment of those with mental health disorders. Some forms of treatment for mental health disorders included painful electro-convulsive therapy, lobotomy, immersion in hot or cold water, and isolation in small, dark, stimulus free rooms. At least one patient was purported to have been murdered by other patients. Convicted cannibalistic serial killer Hadden Clark lived in the area in his early years, claims to have buried at least one of his victims on the grounds.
Common belief is that many of the former residents and other victims have never left the abandoned institution. Children who had to be away from their families as they suffered and subsequently passed from tuberculosis, German measles, etc. are heard laughing as well as crying. Their shadowy figures and apparitions are seen in the halls or in the windows. Likewise footsteps can be heard running through the hallways. Some claim that these are hospital staff running to emergences or after mental patients; others claim they are actually mental patients running away from staff. Their screams can be heard inside the facility. The patient allegedly murdered by peers is reported wandering the grounds. Although entering the abandoned facility and its grounds was forbidden, EVPs and photos can be found on the internet. In 2010, one of three teen aspiring ghost hunters was killed when he jumped from a cliff while running from police when they were caught trespassing.
The former Undercliff Sanitorium, after sitting vacant for decades was demolished in 2013.