The Ladd School

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This place had a truly haunting history and is notable for its numerous human rights violations. A home for the early 20th century’s “feeble-minded” it quickly became a warehouse for petty criminals, “wayward girls” and other people considered to be of low character, persons whose removal from the population was deemed a benefit to society. Forced sterilizations, incarceration without trial and acts of criminality by staff and patients alike have soaked the walls of this school in horror. The school weathered several scandals before finally closing its doors for good in the early 1990’s but local residents claim to hear cries coming from the building to this day.

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    Geographic Information

    162 Main Street
    Exeter, RI 02822
    United States

    Get Directions »
    41.552221, -71.54309899999998
    Washington County, Rhode Island
    Nearest Towns:
    Exeter, RI (1.8 mi.)
    North Kingstown, RI (4.0 mi.)
    Kingston, RI (5.1 mi.)
    Wakefield-Peacedale, RI (7.7 mi.)
    West Greenwich, RI (8.4 mi.)
    Wyoming, RI (8.6 mi.)
    East Greenwich, RI (8.7 mi.)
    Carolina, RI (9.1 mi.)
    Narragansett Pier, RI (9.4 mi.)
    Hope Valley, RI (9.5 mi.)


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    Comments (23)

    1. I was there…. the place is really messed up. It is HANDS down haunted. Honestly I was so shocked by it that it was surreal and just felt normal.

      This is gonna sound INSANE but…. we went through the basement and walked up the stairs, and it was either the third or fourth floor that we walked out into the hall from the stairwell and it was literally like 20 degrees colder than anywhere else. we could see our breath, not one single phone worked. there was ALOT of medical equiptment on that floor. It was utterly haunting no pun intended. And thats not even all of it, it was a very very very eerie place.

    2. former employee  |  

      My uncle worked there for about 4 days and transferred out when he witnessed the staff continually abusing patients in every way possible. Uncle john was a former marine medic so for him to feel squeamish has to say something. Maybe when the Ladd staff die and go to he’ll they will see first hand what it was like to live at ladd school

    3. I worked on the construction of the new fire fighting training facility that now stands where the Ladd school was…Place still gives off weird vibes.

    4. I grew up in Exeter, RI i have been in many of the buildings predemolition it was extreamly haunted and chilling place to wander around. I have travled to many “haunted” places in the us and this place is the only one to make me feel ill while i explored. Screams, voices, changes in temp, and apparitions this place had it all. The best thing that ever happened here was its demolition.

    5. I currently live at Exeter Job Corps in the dorms. We still use the recreation and education buildings (slightly renovated) but my dorm room is hands down haunted. It is me and two other females in my room but we constantly hear male voices whispering when we are trying to sleep, one time my roommate heard a whisper of her name right in her ear. I wake up with hand print shaped bruises around my ankles and scratches on my arms, chest, and collarbones. Our bathroom lights flicker, our shower room light is a safety light you have to push it in then down, but after I turned it on the other day I ran to grab my towel and it clicked off almost immediately after I left the room. When I walked back in the light switch was down, which can’t happen unless someone shuts the light off. We hear knocking on the walls next to us but there is only a stairway there that we are not allowed in because an alarm will go off. We hear stuff fly across our room at night and when we turn on the lights and look around nothing is there. One day we were all laughing and talking about ghosts and all of the sudden my cigarette pack flew across the room. This place is CRAZY.

    6. I have never been to the Ladd School, But I use to work for a company that had some of the patients that were freed from Ladd. They position it had left them in and the state of mind they have behind there experience there was unbelievable. I use to witness the ticks that would set them off do to there experiences, the sounds they heard would set them off and remind them of there very unpleasant time there. Unfortunately there were not able to communicate to share stories, but there horror on there faces was more than enough.

    7. Iv been to Ladd School many of times you just have to know how to dodge police. Last time i went we explores the whole building i even climbed through the vents and were actually clean inside they led me to the roof! Iv never seen any ghost there or had any bad expierences although there was still a lot of machines desks beds and kitchen still there papers all over the floor its not a safe place either. I had a blast though looking through the past you do get a feeling something is there or telling you stories but i was comfortable walked a lot of it alone and witnessed nothing. Im pretty sure they tore the all the building down now….havnt went back to check. But sitting in the old chairs that looked like it was from a hair dressers to dry womans hair it was so wierd i wonder if that was a type of punishment.

    8. Ladd School is not haunted! I practically grew up here. My dad and other family members worked here is the 70’s and up until it closed. The patients that were here were severely mentally retarded and didn’t really know what was going on around them. It was sad to see that most outlived their parents and legal guardians and were placed here because no one was left to care for them. They were not abused and I think the people caring for them were the abused ones. I remember one time a patient grabbed a table and pushed it super fast across the floor and pinned my step-mother up against the wall with it. It reminded me of a daycare for adult sized 2 year olds. I’ve been in all the buildings, even the abandoned ones after it closed down. I’ve roamed the grounds, even at night when I was a teenager and never saw any paranormal activity. There is an old cemetery at the back of the property that butts up against the Veteran’s Cemetery that they buried the unclaimed patients after they passed away. Most don’t even have their names listed on the stones… Sad really… Not once did my friends and I see any ghosts here or at the cemetery, so don’t waste your time.

      • The LADD school and everything related to it ( but the cemeteries ) is allllll torn down now. I got to the Veterans cemetery to pay my respects to my grandfather and my uncle…..and sometimes go to the back where some of the LADD school recipients are buried. It’s very sad to see,also very eerie,i only go to the LADD school cemetery when I get the “departed permission ” …..there’s more than one cemetery for the LADD school but unfortunately I don’t know where the one is….one of them is located in the back of the veterans cemetery though ( veterans cemetery began in 1976 ) my neighbors dad was one of the first to be buried there ( the other few graves were from same year just different month ) if you look up on the hill you will see old grave stones some have just names on them some don’t ….it’s very sad up there though 🙁

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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.