Agnews Insane Asylum Site

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In the Great Earthquake of 1906, over 100 patients were killed and buried on this site. The hospital itself was said to be a place full of negative residual energy from shock treatment leaving the patients catatonic. Guests have been shoved and report the feeling of being watched. Objects have also manipulated themselves to move around.

(Submitted by Chris Berglund)

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Geographic Information

1250 Hope Dr
Santa Clara, CA 95054
United States

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37.4010223, -121.95318070000002
Santa Clara County, California
Nearest Towns:
Milpitas, CA (3.2 mi.)
Santa Clara, CA (3.2 mi.)
Sunnyvale, CA (5.1 mi.)
San Jose, CA (5.3 mi.)
Burbank, CA (5.5 mi.)
Buena Vista, CA (5.9 mi.)
Fruitdale, CA (6.3 mi.)
Cupertino, CA (6.9 mi.)
Mountain View, CA (7.2 mi.)
Alum Rock, CA (7.3 mi.)


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  1. I was walking toward hospital, and suddenly heard a noise, me n my friend and i were confused and looked toward the sound (it was coming from the church). We started walking toward the sound, and then we heard what sounded like a man yelling HELP or HEY, not sure which, but seconds later i heard a door slam shut… fuckin spooked

  2. My great grandparents (maternal paternal side) were committed in 1920. My great grandfather was James Alvin Hall – he went by James, Jim or Alvin. He died of a “heart attack” in 1934. His entrance records show he had a complete break with reality. My great grandmother, Lottie May Jess, died in 1938 of “angina” – most likely from too many shock treatments. Anyone who investigates, see if you get any responses on your EVP’s from them.

  3. I lived across the street on Bassett for several years and not only was my house haunted it was a scary experience going through the grounds of Agnews.

    After WW2 many scientists came to the Bay Area with full amnesty. Many were specialists in rockets and many were in mental “health” under Project Paperclip. My gf used to walk through there and here music coming from the maintenance area. At night steam would come up through the sewer grates (no other place in Santa Clara did that).

    Now after most of it closed, the county opened up a homeless shelter there. and of course they put it in the building with all the round rooms. The doors used to fly open, hear screams at night and if you sat outside, you could see literally see beings running left and right in the abandoned buildings. And our building had swastikas embedded in the steps of this place.

    I really want to know what the employees have seen and what the homeowners next door are experiencing

  4. Agnews State Hospital, originally known as the “Great Asylum for the Insane,” finished construction in 1888 at a cost of around $750,000. Located in the area known at the time as Agnew Station, Agnews State Hospital was the premier California institution for assisting and treating the mentally ill. The hospital pumped $135,000 annually into the community purchasing local supplies and paying wages to its employees. The architecture of the Agnews’ buildings were designed to not only provide efficient practical patient care as it had claimed, but also to ensure good health and a positive state of mind by designing all rooms to be exposed to the afternoon winds and to be lit by natural light.

    Damage to the Agnews Asylum after the 1906 earthquake.

    Yet, early in the morning on April 18, 1906, residents of the whole San Francisco Bay Area awoke to a violent earthquake. While the destruction to San Francisco is well known, other cities like San José received a great amount of damage and loss of life. The downtown district was hit particularly hard with the near destruction of a dozen or so buildings, including: St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Phelan building, and the Elks Hall and stores in the heart of downtown. The greatest loss of life in the area however was at the hospital, where the 11 officials and 101 patients perished. News sources from the time stoked a little bit of fear by claiming that, “a number of insane having escaped from the demolished asylum, [were] running at random about the country.” While these reports were likely unfounded, the heightened fear of looters and criminals preying on devestated communities could be seen in numerous official documents and public flyers warning the public to be vigilant.

    After the earthquake though, the hospital was rebuilt in a more low-rise, Mediterranean Revival style similar to the State Normal School (now San Jose State University). The hospital was then reopened in 1911 as the Agnews State Mental Hospital. The state hospital continued its service to the community until the mid-1970s, when the passage of the Laterman Act (1971) transferred mental health treatment programs to local communities in an attempt to provide better care. This led the state to close many state hospitals throughout the state, including Agnews

    • Collette Demarais  |  

      Sarah – I’ve been doing research about Agnews and your entire post is a duplication of information I just read somewhere else word for word! Interesting.

  5. Collette Demarais  |  

    Stories that friends have told me about the bizarre experiences they had on the Agnews property sure sounded like the place is haunted. There are some small dwellings on land that was originally part of the Agnews Mental Hospital – it was all fenced in with security guard in a car posted there 24/7 even though the buildings were empty – it was on Zanker near Tasman. Anyway, one of my friends is a big guy who isn’t scared of anything but after the experience he had in one of those dwellings, he told me the place scared him badly. It was at night and he snuck into one of the dwellings to explore – it was a small one-story bldg. There was a small closet in the living room and looking inside the closet, he could see light seeping through around the bottom edges of the closet floor. Intrigued, he stepped into the closet and pushed on one of the walls of the closet and it slid sideways to reveal what appeared to be an underground tunnel. He lowered himself down under the closet and landed on a concrete floor and saw that it was actually a hallway – the light was coming from a bare bulb halfway down the hall. He proceeded down the hallway using his flashlight and realized there were a bunch of rooms down the hallway. He pushed the door open to the first room and was shocked to see 4 or 5 hospital beds in there and in the corner he saw a huge transformer type piece of electrical equipment that had wire hook-ups coming out of it. He said as soon as he stepped in that room, “they” grouped all around him, exuding desperation and fear. I said, “They?” He said he couldn’t see them but rather could “feel” them all around him. He ran back out of there and back up out the closet and never went back. He said he had never experienced a haunted place before but swore they were ghosts of the people that used to be there. I shudder to think of what those poor patients were subjected to in that facility – historically, people who suffer from mental illness have always been used for experimentation in places like Agnews.And I think the place is riddled with ghostly presences but not the ones who died in that earthquake story – I’d say the ghosts are from patients who were victims of human experimentation. Agnews was in business for about 100 years so you can only imagine the suffering that was endured from who knows what kind of cruel experiments they were subjected to. Once they get you housed in a place like that, they drug you down so you’re so drugged down you can’t stand – and the rest is history. There are many stories of folks who had relatives that went there who were never heard from again.I saw a video on youtube that showed them experimenting on a man by injecting something into him that sent him into massive convulsions that they allowed to continue then they injected something else into him and the convulsions stopped. Don’t ever let yourself get admitted to a mental hospital.

    • Joseph Benedetti  |  

      I have kept silent for a long period. I used to scrap metals. Although only going to Agnews maybe 3 times I could tell you many more things that I saw with my own eyes in the day time and at night. Also have done my share of investigative work on the sub levels (underground) however I would only confer with you in person.

  6. I don’t have a ghost story to tell but I did work there with my dad back in 1993 when I was only 15 years old. My dad was a cop there and I got to work in the xray department of the place. I will have to ask my dad if he’s had any experiences while he worked there.

  7. urbex explorers  |  

    place isnt haunted, went there 2024 june, at night 2 am, we went there and we barely saw anything scary, we saw a sub level but it was flooded and we went all the way to the top level, nothing scaring and no slammed doors, but the scariest thing of the night was definitely the hand cuffs to strap patients into chairs for shock treatment, not scary at all, but incase bring pepper spray, to clear the stairs, and bring knife with lots of flashlights, my tip, go in group of 4, bring knifes and long range weapons like pepper spray, other than that all the haunted stuff was on sub level where there are beds and other shock treatment equipment.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.