Old Central State Hospital

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Central State Hospital, previously Central Lunatic Asylum, was the first institution in the country for African Americans of “unsound mind.” In the 1840s, if slave owners could pay the fees they could have their slaves committed. Some of the old grounds still operates as a hospital; other buildings have been abandoned. Locals say they have seen and heard many odd phenomena in the area.

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Geographic Information

26317 West Washington Street
Petersburg, VA 23803 ‎
United States

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37.210235400428466, -77.44622755024466
Dinwiddie County, Virginia
Nearest Towns:
Matoaca, VA (2.2 mi.)
Ettrick, VA (2.3 mi.)
Petersburg, VA (2.7 mi.)
Pocahontas, VA (3.1 mi.)
Colonial Heights, VA (4.5 mi.)
Fort Lee, VA (6.7 mi.)
Prince George, VA (8.7 mi.)
Chester, VA (10.1 mi.)
Templeton, VA (10.2 mi.)
Enon, VA (10.7 mi.)


Please note: It is your responsibility to acquire appropriate permissions before investigating any location listed on this site. Private property should be respected at all times, as should all posted signs concerning trespassing, hours of operation and other local regulations. Many "ghost hunters" have been arrested because they failed to contact property owners and/or local authorities ahead of time.

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Comments (21)

  1. I actually grew up in a neighborhood right down the road from there.This is my phone number 804-638-4528 I would love to fill you in on my experiencing with Central State Hospital

  2. I spent time at central state as a police officer. Upon patrol of the grounds, especially at night, I had a chance to explore the buildings and explore the possibility of paranormal activities. I was not disappointed. I had pictures that clearly had faces in windows, orbs, and full figures that appeared to be of human form. Unfortunately that phone is no longer in operation, it to is another ghost of central state. But I assure you this place, mainly building 1 and 37 have some stuff going on.

  3. Hi–I am very interested in exploring and photographing this place –how easy is it to sneak in ? Or is it even possible? I have explored the abandoned Western State Hospital in Staunton and am totally fascinated with the architecture.

  4. I worked at central state back from 2008 to 2011. Worked on the hvac equipment, had keys to enter most buildings. Had to stop early one morning on my way to a job site at another facility, used the basement bathroom and when I arrived and entered the basement was hot a heck, once in it got cold fast. Went to the bathroom and heard people talking in the hall, it was 3:30 am and no one would have been in the basement let alone the building (can’t remember the building # but it’s the admin building next to the civil war fort. After leaving the bathroom I saw no one and the walls had ice crystals forming on them. As I passed through the mech room I saw a shadow figure over by the water source heatpump I serviced every three months. It’s eyes were white and it had a coat on, it ducked back behind the unit. I went over to see who it was, nothing there but more ice crystals where the feet were. I quickly left and as I went to the back lot from the front of the building I could see a regimen of soldiers walking to the fort. I froze in place and was shaking, once I finally got to my truck, I left and had an funny feeling all day. Asked guys I worked with about it, they said it’s common place to see civil war soldiers on this campus. I really enjoyed working there from then on. Had many other weird stuff happen there too.

  5. Who do you contact to get permission to investigate? I belong to a small group of investigators and have been looking for new places to go to. Thanks for any information I can get.

  6. During the time I’ve worked at CSH (2006-2007), I’ve seen ghosts roaming in buildings 39 and 96. Some of the patients said they’ve seen ghosts also.

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