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Lifestyle and Portrait Photography in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe


7017 S. Priest Dr., Tempe AZ 85283

© 2020 by Dave Bentley Photography

Forest Haven Abandoned Asylum

About Forest Haven

The 250 acre compound was occupied by roughly 20 buildings, including cottages, a kitchen, a theater, gym, hydrotherapy building, dorms, and various other hospital and educational buildings. As time elapsed, this place’s promising beginning crumbled and it a reputation as one of the worst places, where the only way out for many of its patients was a tiny basement morgue which was the last stop before an unmarked grave onsite. Today a monument headstone markes the site where almost 400 people are buried, and has been reported that the very same graves are occasionally uncovered by flooding and erosion.

Between 1989 and 1991, the Justice Department began to monitor deaths from aspiration pneumonia, a condition that can be caused by improper feeding procedures (e.g. feeding a patient who is lying down). There are also accounts of rampant physical, mental, and sexual abuse at the facility. Many of the patients who died were buried in a mass grave, unmarked until a headstone was erected by some of the patients' families. Some of the graves have been uncovered by erosion.

The asylum was closed in 1991 by the Federal Government after a lawsuit reported hundreds of incidents of abuse, neglect, molestation, and theft. There were also reports of experimental medical testing on helpless patients who were forced into trials as human guinea pigs. There was pressure since 1976 to shut the doors, amid all the reports of abuse, neglect, and theft.