Spookiest Spots around DC: Glen Dale Hospital

I have a love hate relationship with Halloween. It’s my proclaimed favorite holiday. I listen to all the old timey radio spooky podcasts, check out ghost story books from the library, plan trips to haunted forests with masked actors and themed parties with punch in pumpkins. But as much as I love the weirdness of it I. Do. Not. Like. Being. Scared.

I watch about 1 scary  movie a year and am scared until the next year. I don’t believe in ghosts until it’s 3 am and I’m wondering why the hell I watched that movie about the evil doll, which I convinced myself is under my bed. I’m a grown adult and I let my imagination get the best of  me every time.

But going back to the weird – I love the weirdness of Halloween. It’s the season when places you recognize like the back of your hand suddenly has a different filter to it. You look at the world differently this season. You question your imagination and senses. It’s magical, even if it is just false fight or flight.

These DC area spots are extra fun and uncanny in crisp autumn air, but by all means can be visited year round. Started this post out I have a little to say about getting to each, so I’ll do these as a post by post.

Glen Dale Hospital Glen Dale

I visited Glen Dale in fall 2017 and it is stunningly and frightfully decrepit. The hospital opened in 1934, during the height of a tuberculosis epidemic that hit the capital area. Hospitals within the District were overwhelmed, so patients were moved to the outskirts of the city to rest and, well, die. The disease being very contagious (and the lack of treatment knowledge at the time) the hospital was purposefully isolated to contain its sick patients. The campus is enormous -216-acres and 23 buildings separated by expansive lawns. And the whole thing is abandoned.

The facility was finally closed in 1982 due to high levels of asbestos in the buildings, as well as spiraling costs associated with structural upkeep. Since then it’s remained unused, slowly being retaken back by nature. Police are known to regularly patrol the area, though there’s a lot of graffiti and signs of human activity from over the years.

I went by myself one morning, leaving about 6 am from DC. I parked in a neighborhood nearby and walked over the lawn, not seeing anyone throughout the visit. That being said, it’s easy to get in and out of any building, having the option to take the stairs to the roof gardens or basement tunnels. As a female exploring by myself I never went a few feet from any doorway I entered. There’s a lot of weird urban legends about this place and even more weirdness from its living visitors.


   glen dale   

Coming soon:

President’s Heads

Ok confession. This isn’t super close to DC but definitely cool and can be visited in a day trip. The infamous presidents heads lie on a farm east of Richmond in Croaker, VA. They were part of an odd theme park after its eccentric founders traveled to Mount Rushmore and wanted to make something similar on the east coast. Alas, the park didn’t kick off and the park was closed. A farmer bought the heads and put them on his farm while waiting to figure out what to do with them. Years passed and the heads have now become more famous since moving onto private land.



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