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Manteno Asylum

Manteno, Illinois

     It was contracted in the 1920's, with the purchase of 1,000 acres. The buildings were constructed at a cost of $1,172,073, and included an administrative building as well as 100 1 and 2 story cottages for the patients, with a mile of underground tunnels that connected the buildings together. On December 27, 1930 the first patients arrived to the facility. Over the years, the buildings which were designed to house 5,000 patients swelled to 5,385 patients in 1939, 6,926 patients in 1949, and 8,185 patients in 1954. Many different therapies were utilized in this building, including shock therapies and lobotomies. With the continued advent of modern medicine and treatments, the declining patient population, and budget constraints, the building closed in 1985. Many of the cottages have been torn down. Some of the buildings were being remodeled for use by other businesses. The cemetery that is located on the property holds the remains of 4,000 patients, and is still used for burials of VA patients, now being called the State of Illinois Veterans Home Cemetery.
     One of the saddest stories is of a patient named Genevieve "Gennie" Pilarski, who was committed in 1944 at the age of 25. She had completed 3 years of college, but suffered from depression. Gennie was subjected to over 187 electric shock therapies and hydrotherapies. She was lobotomized in 1955 that left her unable to speak, read, and even feed herself. She passed away in 1998 at the age of 80.
     Members of our team were part of an investigation at this location in 2009. Ten different teams from around the area had joined forces for this investigation. Even though it was a chilly night, the fires were burning, hotdogs were roasting, and friendships were being made. During the investigation, team members heard disembodied voices, haunted screams, and saw constant movement of shadow people. One shadow figure was chased into a small room, and the room itself had a horrible feeling in it. We had the pleasure of meeting Dan Norvell for the first time here.
     There were very few buildings that we could enter. A new owner was attempting to renovate at that time, and we are not certain of the fate of the property at the present time.
The administrative building
Information obtained from

An entrance way


Inside the building

The inside of the building
Long hallway on the outside

Defacing on the walls


Teri, under full spectrum light
 Where water therapy
was preformed
Inside wall

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