Long Island may just be a small island, but its history is rich. Long Island was originally home to indigenous tribes, such as the Lenape and Merrick. The population of the indigenous tribes was eventually replaced by colonizers and immigrants in the 1600s. As time passed, Long Island was split into two counties; Suffolk and Nassau. Now, this plot of land is home to over seven million people.
Throughout the years, establishments like Kings Park Psychiatric Center have opened and closed. Roads like Sweet Hollow Road and Mt Misery Rd in Melville and Huntington, NY have become the subject of paranormal investigations. An old mini golf course, Village Green, in Ronkonkoma, is now abandoned, becoming the place for photoshoots and late night hangs.
My friend, Melissa Reiner, and I decided to go explore these places on a warm night in mid-September.
Kings Park Psychiatric Center
Photo: Jennifer Corr
The first place we checked out was Kings Park Psychiatric Center (KPPC). KPPC was a psychiatric asylum which held thousands of patients. Some of the patients suffered terrible conditions.
Which was once among the largest psychiatric centers in the U.S., is now a park. Many of the buildings still stand. Hospital beds and patients records are still left in the buildings, collecting dust since it was last used in 1996, when KPPC closed.
The weather and curious visitors have taken a toll on the buildings, however. Most of the windows in Building 93, the largest building, have shattered. The walls are covered in graffiti. Asbestos has contaminated all the buildings.
According to the documentary film, Shadows of Kings Park: The History of a Long Island Asylum, by Bryan Sansivero, KPPC was originally located in Brooklyn,NY and opened in 1895. However, the asylum had to relocate because of overcrowding. The state took ownership of the hospital and moved it to Kings Park in Long Island.
KPPC became a self sufficient community. Patients were given jobs, such as working on the farms that produced livestock and crops that would feed the community. Staff would put on carnivals and other events to make the patients feel at home.
Children also lived at this hospital. A good portion of the children, according to the documentary, were abandoned or homeless. Others suffered mental disorders.
In 1954, the population at KPPC reached almost 10,000 patients, making it one of the worlds largest psychiatric facilities at the time. Doctors and the federal government began to take interest in treatment and research. Medications were given to patients to change brain chemistry. For serious disorders, doctors began performing lobotomies, which involves severing connections in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, and electroshock therapy.
All in all, KPPC was a nightmare for many of the patients.
Walking around the abandoned hospitals ground, you could almost feel a dismal energy.
“I find it very intriguing how the island I live on has so many places that make you think: What happened here?,” Melissa said. “The vibes are sad, actually–mostly with the asylum, as I know a lot of what went on when the place was open, due to the fact my mom had worked there at a point in her life. Any spirits stuck there are likely not very happy ones.”
Melissa and I did not have much time to explore, as the sun was setting and this abandoned hospital is not a place you want to be when it gets dark out.
We interviewed a security guard, who wishes not to be named since he did not have permission from his department to engage in interviews. He told us that KPPC is a major tourist attraction. According to him, people come every night from New York City to explore the grounds and even go into the abandoned buildings. Of course, the park also attracts curious teenagers.
However, he said, the downside to this abandoned psych center’s popularity is that it attracts people with bad intentions. There have been cases where people wait inside the building for teenagers or explorers just to beat them up. There are people who also set off booby traps, planting bombs and milk cartons filled with knives to hurt security guards and those who want to explore the buildings.
“This place attracts all different kinds of people,” the security guard said. “We have some very interesting circumstances once in a while. We had a guy who actually climbed a tree in front of building 93 [the tallest building at the abandoned hospital] and he kind of wasn’t allowed to be up there. The police had to come in. He wasn’t coming down under anyone’s authority.”
The security guard has not been in any of the buildings himself. Ghosts are not the reason for the security guard’s hesitation. According to the guard, the buildings are infested with fleas, snakes and rats. He also told us about how the park has been overcrowded with deer who will attempt to attack people if their young are nearby.
All in all, ‘ghosts’ are not the scariest part of KPPC. Any explorer can be terrorized by confrontational deer, crazy people, an after-effect of asbestos and fleas. Those who trespass into the buildings can also get a mean ticket if caught.
As we explored the property, Melissa told me about an experience her friend had exploring inside KPPC buildings when they were in high school. According to Melissa, the friend witnessed several doors slam by themselves. The friend felt as if they were being chased out of the building.
Michael Cardinuto, the founder and head of Long Island Paranormal Investigations (LIPI), said that him and his team has investigated the abandoned building and catched a few electronic voice phenomenon (EVPS). EVPs are sounds found on an electronic recording.
“We have investigated KPPC many times and had a few unusual experiences such as banging sounds from within the building, a few Class D EVPs [electronic voice phenomena], but over the past few years I feel that it has been extremely quiet there,” Cardinuto said. “Probably due to the many people that go in there destroying the building.”
The most we noticed on this adventure was a bright light shining through the window all the way at the top of Building 93. Was it people getting high? Was it a ghost? Only the spirits (or the rats and snakes) wandering around the hospital will know.
Sweet Hollow Road and Mt Misery Road
Photo: Jennifer Corr
Sweet Hollow Road, located in Melville, NY, is known for being a very eerie place to drive through. The roads are narrow, dark and surrounded by trees. To make matters worse, there is a cemetery located on the road and an eerie bridge with several legends around it.
According to the website of LIPI, there are a few legends associated with this road. The first legend was that there was a boy who commited suicide on the bridge, and if you look up while driving underneath it, you can see three corpses hanging from it.
Another legend is about a ‘lady in white’. According to this legend, a woman named Mary and her boyfriend got into a fight while driving when he pushed her out of the car (other versions of the legend suggest she jumped out of the car). Tragically, she was hit by another oncoming vehicle and killed. The legend says that if you drive down Sweet Hollow Road you will see Mary either on the side of the road or in front of your car.
The saddest legend is that a bus full of children fell off the bridge, killing everyone inside. Supposedly, if you leave your car in neutral under the bridge, the spirits of the children will push your car out from under the bridge to safety. It should be noted that there are no record of this bus crash and that there is an incline under the bridge, which would explain any movement of the car.
Adjacent to Sweet Hollow Road is Mt Misery Road in Huntington, NY. According to LIPI’s website, it got its name from early settlers who were frustrated by the road for being steep, rocky and impossible to farm on. Native Americans warned them that the grounds were cursed. There is a legend that there was a hospital on the grounds in the 1700s. It is not clear if there are any records of this hospital. One patient, Mary, set fire to the hospital three times. After the third time, the owners of hospital decided not to rebuild. Legend has it that Mary is buried on the grounds.
Photo: Jennifer Corr
Today, Mt Misery Road has a dead end that leads into a trail through the woods. Many who have explored Mt Misery Road and the trail have seen shadow people and glowing orbs. People have also heard sounds of laughter and screams of terror and felt a sense of dread exploring the sight.
Melissa and I started out by exploring Sweet Hollow Road around 11 P.M. The road, which has not lights and is surrounded by trees, was dark and I had to put on my brights.
It was not my first time there. One time, my friends and I saw three cars parked on the side of the road and when we got to the end of the road, my radio went static at the red stop light. Nope. We were out of there.
After driving down Sweet Hollow Road, not really seeing anything too creepy, we began looking for Mt Misery Road. That’s when we stumbled upon an abandoned bright red school house, called the Old West Hill school. There was a light on in the school house. When Melissa got home she looked it up. Turns out, that school house has not been active since 1912. It could be a museum or a house now, but there are no online records that I could find of what the building is used for today.
We drove around for a bit more, looking for Mt Misery Road, when we decided to use the GPS on my phone. The GPS took us on a long haul, making us drive for about ten minutes. Eventually, it did something quite weird. The GPS told us to park on the side of the road and walk through the woods for 17 minutes. We were not doing that. Then I remembered that you could cut through the nearby park, which worked fine. It only took us two minutes to get there.
We drove down the dark and mysterious MT Misery Road, which ends with a dead end surrounded by forest. We were going to explore the woods, but when I got out I felt a really bad energy. My instincts were telling me this was not a good idea. We also heard a scream in the distance, which is part of the legend.
“I can’t say for sure if the rumors are all true or not,” Melissa said. “A lot I’ve read about it seems like myth, but the roads do give off that ‘something bad happened here’ feeling.”
Cardinuto said that him and his team has investigated both roads for over 15 years.
“Over the past 15 years we have had many unusual things occur at Mt.Misery road not so much Sweet Hollow,” Cardinuto said. “It’s mainly in the woods where the road would have kept going.”
Village Green Golf Course
Photo: Jennifer Corr
The Village Green Mini Golf Course in Ronkonkoma was a childhood staple for anyone who grew up on Long Island. I personally remember going with my summer camp. It was the coolest place. The mini golf course was Wizard of Oz themed and there was always the best birthday parties there.
According to the secretary of the Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce, Kevin Hymes, a new owner purchased the golf course in 2013 and abruptly closed it in 2014. Melissa believes some of his business choices, such as making the golf course more suitable for little kids rather than teenegers could be the reason for its sudden closing. Hyms personally remembers going there for fun since the 1970s.
Today, many parts of the golf course still remain there, but it has become overtaken by nature. Other parts have become home to spiders.
It is a sad, but eerie, place to be. An abandoned memory of mine and many others’ Long Island childhood laying abandoned out in the open.
“I also had a lot of memories attached to the miniature golf course–and seeing it in shambles was a depressing sight,” Melissa said. “That place was a landmark of the island.”