Anoka State Hospital

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Anoka State Hospital has been known by many names in its past, including First State Asylum for the Insane, Anoka State Asylum, Anoka State Hospital and most recently Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center. It was originally opened in 1900 and is said to be haunted by spirits of those who have died here over the years. Like many old mental health facilities, rumors abound of neglect and abuse, but add to that stories of underground tunnels through which patients tried to escape. Many patients are said to have escaped another way–by hanging themselves on the premises. Witnesses say they have heard phantom footsteps, noises, whispers and laughter and felt cold spots within the building and the tunnels, which reportedly have been closed to all but maintenance workers and security guards.

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Geographic Information

N 4th Ave
Anoka, MN
United States

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45.214530917036925, -93.38388258227496
Anoka County, Minnesota
Nearest Towns:
Anoka, MN (1.2 mi.)
Champlin, MN (1.9 mi.)
West Coon Rapids, MN (4.1 mi.)
Ramsey, MN (4.5 mi.)
Andover, MN (4.7 mi.)
Osseo, MN (6.6 mi.)
Dayton, MN (6.7 mi.)
Ham Lake, MN (7.0 mi.)
Coon Rapids, MN (8.0 mi.)
Blaine, MN (8.1 mi.)


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Comments (45)

  1. There are TONS of wild cats in the nearby woods. Shine a flashlight out there at night. It’s said that the cats are the reincarnated patients who killed themselves,

  2. I drive passed here everyday on my way to work and it is so creepy! It gives me chills just thinking about it. One day there was road work and I missed the turn and had to drive through there to turn around and it was so creepy!

  3. I pass by there weekly, no bad vibes or anything. I have no plans to go up to any of the buildings or to look in the tunnel windows.

  4. went into one of the buildings tonight with friends and it was for sure creepy. First of all you need 2 people to even reach the door and get in unless you’re spiderman and can imb walls. Once you get in through a back door you’re just walking on broken light bulbs and the ceilings leak. When you turn into the first room there is boxes of baby toys and more broken stuff furthur down the halls are showers with blood and rust and containment rooms with belts on the walls. We decided going downstairs rather than up and let me tell you every room you went in it got colder and colder until you got to the basement and there is a breeze and smells like pure mold. We scooped out the tunnel doors and the lights to the tunnels are on and there is holes in the walls until you reach dirt. The doors are welded shut and read “doors must remain closed” once we started here footsteps we bolted out of there… Definitely an adrenaline filled experience

  5. Does ANYONE know the current owner or how to get a hold of them via number or e-mail? Friends and I are looking to do some ghost hunting and this place is especially close to our headquarters. Home town haunts, so to speak. I would greatly appreciate it!! is my main e-mail.

  6. I worked there for 3 years. The tunnels are the creepiest!!! A group of us went down one night and put a digital voice recorder in a small room that had stairs, but at the top of the stairs it was closed in with blocks. Any who, as we walked away you could hear us on the recorder. Then was a very clear voice saying GET OUT… That was enough for me to leave the tunnels alone. This place is very haunted.. I could go on and on with more stories.

    • I was in and out of building 1 when it was still there and u would hear screams coming from tunnel across from laundry room. At night the rooms would go cold in certin Areas and u could see shadow people. I was also in building 10 and that place is haunted too.

  7. I’ve been in the tunnels. I had a friend that knew a security guard that took us down there. I broke off the main group that consisted of all high school girls and the security guard who was trying to scare them. I saw lots of pipes and was able to look into a few of the unused buildings. All of them creepy looking. Super dirty and dusty, mostly old wheelchairs, looked like maybe they just left everything as it was when they stopped using the buikding. Thinking back that is a bit odd. Anyhow I didn’t feel anything was off I didn’t feel watched I don’t remember cold spots. I did find the old grave yard interesting, no names only numbers. People who had no money and no family.

    • My father has worked on the property in the past. The Graves have numbers because most of the families who put people in there wanted nothing to do with the patients. I want to say there is one grave that has a name on it

        • the vail building named after dr vail who hung himself in there is the workhouse..he is said to wonder the 3rd floor in a doctors coat with a clipboard and been seen by onevof the guards

    • Samera Graves-Lambert  |  

      Do you know how to get in? My boyfriend went in a few years back and got something attached and we are trying to get rid of it, it’s controlling its life and it’s been trying to get him back inside for the past few weeks. I’m scared I will loose him if we can’t get this thing back where it came from before it gets any worse.

  8. Check with the courts who own it. Anoka county has one building set up for probation and another building is their workhouse. I spent a week there…. SLEEPING… EATING… LIVING…. and what you feel, hear, see, and smell is unfathomable. Whoever is there… definitely doesn’t want anyone there. I think it’s the sick patients wanting to be left alone!

  9. I worked there for 19 years and people who believe it is haunted and creepy must love drama. It is but I have to say that you are safer anywhere on the grounds of that facility than you are anywhere else these days.

  10. Beth mortimer  |  

    My mom used to work here as a records keeper and told me when she would go into the tunnels that she would feel like someone was always watching her, along with cold spots and disembodied laughter. Wanna work here so bad.

  11. I believe it. I wouldn’t be inclined to do so — I’m skeptical and analytical by natuure and professional traing — but for something that happened to me personally in 1983. I lived not far from the site and bused to work in Minneapolis, picking up the MTC bus at the stop on Seventh Avenue — just across an open field from the hospital. In order to arrive at work early, I arrived at the bus stop before dawn one November morning. As I waited, I glanced back toward the hosptal and saw several figures dressed in white institutional garb walking slowly across the field from the hospital toward my bus stop. At the time, I just “accepte” that these were “flesh and blood” patients, although even at the time it occurred to me that institutionalzed patients ought not be out for a stroll in the dark alone and unsupervized at 6:00 a.m.!! Needless to say, I was never so happy to see that bus arrive. I know find myself wondering if this mayn not have been a paranormal sighting . . . .

  12. Almost a half a year ago I a stupid teenager thought i’d be cool and go to these so called haunted asylums ya know i looked on every website about it being haunted and became very intrigued. So i came to the asylums a couple times felt a sick feeling in my stomach maybe because i was scared who knows. My ex friend and i were the only ones this time and we were just taking pictures before we left but the she goes kayla in a scared voice look exactly where the opening of the tunnel entrance thing and this head turns slowly to us and has glowing eyes and just stares. We then moved to the other side where the back road is and took pictures of that exact spot later that night we were analyzing every aspect of the pictures and found a clear face with an open mouth and horns, i forgot to mention we were not allowed to take videos each time i would try it would shut off my phone. Then my friends and i decide alright lets come back tonight but bring boys that was our bright idea at the time. I know it was dumb. Well what was suppose to be a fun risky night turned into a ER visit. Ya know we were walking around a light was on in the asylum that has the fence around it. Then my friend who completely thought the whole thing was a phony said “um guyssss!!!!!” and we were scared and she said “I just heard loud footsteps directly behind me” immediately i bolted and for some odd reason i don’t remember running but had ran into a sign so hard i was gushing blood and had a severe concussion. That place has evil presences in there I don’t care what anybody says

  13. I have been in these buildings as a delivery driver for a local food delivery place a few years ago. As a teenage growing up in the area, this place was a legend. you heard all the stories, would visit “cat town” nearby and drive by at night wanting to break in but only to be deterred by a vigilant patrol of local cops and security guards. When I got my chance to go in, I decided to take a detour before I delivered my food to the customer. I entered one of the buildings, and went up to an open foyer area that was dimly lit. I explored a floor and I saw a small girl with long dark hair in a white gown. The girl was young, maybe 4 or 5 if I had to guess, I couldn’t see her feet. She was half hidden behind a soiled and aged curtain. I stood there in disbelief for what felt like a long time but was actually about 30 seconds or so. I tried to speak to her and when I attempted to approach she turned away behind the curtain and disappeared. I walked over to the curtain and immediately got goosebumps from the cold spot. She was gone. I then delivered my food to the customer who asked what took so long. Sorry about the late lunch ma’am, but this was worth it

  14. Just an update: More of the buildings are being used now, still feeding cats, and people, please stop letting your dogs run off leash. They scare the cats and eat the cat food.

  15. I work in one of the newer buildings, I haven’t really experienced anything that couldn’t be explained away. But other employees say they hear voices, and creepy feels especially in the basement. This pic is of the tunnels thru the doors.

  16. What do you see in this window? Rumors say if you ask out loud to take a pic (we did), you’ll get a verbal response (we didn’t) or images will appear in the windows. I see an image poking around the wall staring out at us. Also, when it was darker we were exploring the back where 1 light was on, and we noticed in the next cottage over (the workhouse where actual people were) a prominent pitch black shadow figure in a window staring at us, standing motionless. B got scared immediately, I looked and said it’s probably a lamp shadow or something. We stared back at it for awhile, not one movement. We then went back around to the front and we decided to then go investigate “the shadow” closer. It was 2 windows on the 2nd level to the right of the exterior side door. (Wanted to be positive it was the same window) When we got much closer….it was gone! I mean, nothing could have caused it, the room was empty…I spent a few minutes trying to analyze what it could have been? Then looking at our pics before bed we saw this image in Cottage #8…and read people’s comments online about spotting “shadow people.” Who knows…but gives me goosebumps just remembering it! What was watching us from that window so intently?????

  17. U know between 6-8 it is know that there are two people. There is the lady in red that is looking for her boyfriend but when u see her all you see is a red mask then there is a dude named Gorge that hung himself in between 6&7 in the tunnels and I was told that is who the lady in red is looking for. Then if you go in to the old gym and to where the pool is or they may have filled it in u can hear people playing around and of the ones that died in the pool. When I was on miller north u could always hear some one walking up and down the halls. I was in there from 02-03 I was in the new buildings the only part of the old buildings they used was miller north and miller south. But when I was in the new building in 02 I was on E one night there was a “Doctor Black unit D” that means all men on deck we have a shit fit and unit D was for the most dangerous. I was looking out my room window because I could see room windows of D and I look to see Russell hanging dead from the bathroom door in his room and for weeks after at 9:30pm even night u could still see him walking in the room. Oh I know a lot about this place

  18. My aunt used to work here and chose to because of all the paranormal experiences but her herself never saw any. She said a fellow coworker would wander around the building and stoped at one room and just stared in like she was looking at something. When my aunt would call her name she snaped into reality and looked confused. When my aunt looked in the room the coworker was looking in, nothing was in there exeped typical mental hospital things.

  19. My Aunt lived at this asylum back in the 1960’s. She was born mentally retarded and when she was a teenager my grandparents couldn’t handle or control her. She would run away, she had gotten raped, she was constantly after my dad whom was just a baby so my grandparents decided to give her up to the state. The state placed her at cambridge mental hospital. As far as being mentally retarded she was higher functioning, could feed herself, and could talk. My Aunt passed away in 2009 but when she was alive I remember her mentioning things once in awhile about being at Cambridge and how awful and scary it was there. She would say that bad people were there but she never got to into detail.

  20. I have and am currently spending some time living in one of the buildings. ( My third “visit” in five years). Last year around October I was there, On my first night there was a huge storm outside & the blinds on the windows in my roon started going up & down, then opening and closing! That was a bit creepy. This time, I was explaining to a new person the history of the place, and when we were all in the bathroom, the water in the sinks suddenly started to run black!! The ghosts don’t like to be talked to or about.

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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.