The old tuberculosis ward is the sole abandoned building remaining on the grounds of the Ridges. It was built in 1924 on top of a large hill, totally isolated from the rest if the facility. In the late 70’s, the building became the “Beacon School” for mentally challenged students and young adults. It was abandoned in the early 1980’s. Over the years many of the other buildings have been renovated and are now being used by the University. Some are used for classrooms while others are for storage; the large main building (formally the old Athens Lunatic Asylum) is now the Kennedy Arts Museum. The TB ward is the only building that remains untouched and abandoned. It stands alone on top of the hill, just above the cemetery.
Butch, Jeff and I revisited the old Tuberculosis Ward this past April. We were able to get into the building via a cellar window that had been removed. Athens is a city full of college kids so it is not surprising that Ohio University keeps this abandoned building locked up tight and closely watched, with every door, window or entranceway sealed. I wouldn’t bet on finding a way in on most occasions. The back fence to the courtyard gets cut occasionally by vandals but it always gets replaced along with any boards that have been pried off the windows. The building is larger than it appears from the outside. There is an extensive basement with boiler rooms and an old locker room that must have been used by employees and what looked to be a music room that still contains the piano. Butch and I entered the cellar first and then went up a flight of stairs to the first floor. Each and every room we passed through seemed to hold its’ history and stories. Butch showed me the isolated room where he had been pushed on his previous visit. Although he wasn’t pushed again we still entered with caution. Some of the rooms are very dark due to the lack of electricity. Luckily for me while Butch was leading us into a very dark room he kept his flashlight on the floor, well, what was once was the floor. After taking two steps in, we discovered that the floor had collapsed into the cellar. After investigating each first floor room, we headed up to the second floor. As I continued on, I wondered to myself what the rooms may have been used for during operations. Maybe it’s best we don’t know, some memories may be better left in the past. Butch and I concluded our investigation of the second floor and returned to the first floor and searched again for the stairway leading to the cellar where we had entered the building. On the way down we entered a really dark room that had bizarre quotes painted on the walls, “Leave before they harvest your corpse” and “They will consume you” Although we didn’t think we encountered anything particularly scary while investigating this abandoned building, you could feel an energy, both positive and negative throughout each and every room. Once we analyzed our findings, we think we may have captured a voice from the piano room. Below is some more information on the old Athens Insane Asylum, The Ridges including the Tuberculosis ward from our friends at Forgotten Ohio. http://www.forgottenoh.com/Ridges/ridges.html
1 Digital Audio recorders – Nothing Captured
1 Sony Digital still cameras – Nothing Captured
1 K2 meter – Nothing Captured
1 Panasonic hand held camera – A small voice answering Butch at the 18 second mark
Personal Experiences – Butch and I heard the small voice at the time it was recorded