We’re traveling to San Antonio for today’s “Spooky Place in Texas,” and, instead of the obvious San Antonio haunts such as the Alamo or Mezger hotel, which we might visit before the month is out, we’re heading to the intersection of Southton and Farm Road to a dilapidated series of buildings once called the Southwestern Insane Asylum.
Opened in April 1892, the state of Texas funded the project for a state-of-the art (at the time) mental institution that handled 500 patients. Over the years, as it became politically incorrect to label these patients as insane, the name of the hospital was changed to the San Antonio State Hospital. Eventually, the site was renovated and enlarged, and, by 1940, the population grew to more than 2,000 patients.
There are four structures still standing. According to locals, the property was permanently abandoned in 1996 for unknown reasons. And the staff apparently left in a hurry, leaving behind pieces of equipment and boxes of charts and patient information.
Rumor has it that figures have been seen watching through the second-floor windows of the main building. There also have been reports of screams, laughter and shadowy figures following those brave enough to visit the location.
But a strong word of warning: This is private property and well patrolled. There are the real threats of a neighbor who likes to fire his rifle to scare off trespassers and the likelihood of receiving a ticket with a stiff fine.
Why was the asylum abandoned and never torn down? Why is the property so heavily guarded? These questions might never be answered. Should you find yourself near the old Southwestern Insane Asylum, you just might hear the sounds of laughter carried on the wind. But you may want to keep it to yourself, just in case someone thinks you are a little crazy.