Lake Alice Hospital – Manawatu

Lake AliceLake Alice Hospital was once a rural psychiatric facility situated in the Manawatu region, catering to the full mental health spectrum, from troubled youth and the criminally insane to the elderly with dementia.

The sprawling complex, opened in August 1950, spread out across 56 hectares of land consisting of ten two-level villas, each with eleven beds for patients, four two-level villas housing 50 beds, a maximum security wing, morgue, chapel, library, staff quarters, administration building, landscaped grounds complete with vegetable gardens, sporting areas and two swimming pools. The hospital even had its own fire station.

The facility slowly shut down during the mid 1990s, with plans to assimilate patients back into the community. It was an idea that divided many in the community, as public safety concerns came into question. Full closure of the hospital was implemented in October 1999.

Former patients of the hospital’s child and adolescent unit have made allegations of abuse that happened at the hospital during the 1970s, including the use of electroconvulsive therapy and paraldehyde injections as punishment. The New Zealand government issued an apology in 2001, and has so far paid out a total of $10.7 million in compensation to 183 former patients.

Auckland accountant and property developer’s group Lake Hicks Ltd purchased the buildings and grounds in July 2006, though redevelopment plans came to a halt after the new owners fell into financial difficulties and could go no further with it.

Lake AliceLake Alice was sold on once more in December 2008 with plans to demolish most of the buildings to make way for farmland after plans for a subdivision failed. At this time, only a handful of buildings remain, abandoned and derelict, having been vandalised by trespassing urban explorers and thrill seeking teens looking for a spooky place to party. Much of the complex has gone and the remaining villas, which had asbestos roofing, are being carefully demolished one by one.

 

There are many stories that have circulated through the generations of the Lake Alice Hospital being actively haunted by spirits. Staff working their shifts have told of mysterious apparitions, voices, being touched by invisible hands, surgical equipment moving without human interaction and figures seen wandering the halls.

One Comment

  1. Matt

    My father worked in the maximum secure unit from the early 90s until closure, he’d always maintained there were some things that happened out there he couldn’t explain, he was not one to exaggerate or form an opinion without the facts.
    Anyway, after it closed I pinched his keys which included the master keys. This was well before the place had been vandalised, in fact I think we were possibly the first people in after closure.
    Myself and 3 other friends (all around 17-18 at the time) took a box of beers and a pack of smokes and vowed we’d spend the night in the hospital to prove how tough we were. So after exploring we each picked a cell in the isolation wing, basically solitary confinement, the doors on these cells were all wide open and to move them you really had to put your back into it, heavy iron doors. So as we bunked down for the night we all lay in our own cells calling out ghost stories and talking up our expertise with the ladies, just good banter, it was a boiling hot summers night with not a breath of wind and sleep wasn’t coming easy to any of us. As the conversation was slowly dying down as we were running out of lies to tell, the temp dropped, and when I say drop I mean went from what felt like 20° to about 2° in about ten seconds.
    Then, with no warning every door in the corridor slammed shut in quick succession one after the other, keeping in mind, fit healthy teenage lads struggled to move these doors, these slammed like the force of a door in a gale force wind.
    Each of us absolutely crapped ourselves each having the overwhelming sensation of a weight upon us or the doubling of gravity, we got our things and got out as quickly as possible, as we ran up the corridor towards the main entrance we could hear a mix of voices echoing behind us, all jumbled together, laughing, yelling, crying out.
    It wasn’t until we got outside in the cars on the way out that we were started warming up again, all nervously joking about how we weren’t scared.
    Worst part is I came back the next day to lock the doors back up so nobody would know we were there had the overwhelming sense of being watched, couldn’t get out of there quick enough.
    I told my father about this only about a year ago, because at the time I was to scared he’d tell me off for going out there, when I’d finished telling him he just sat back, took a drink and just said “yeah, that sounds about right” didn’t elaborate, just sat quiet for a few minutes then changed the subject.

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