The Damned Story: Opened in 1931 to help alleviate the overcrowding at other state mental hospitals, Fairfield Hills housed "mentally ill" (aka "the criminally insane") patients from across the state. Built on over 770 bucolic acres, the 16 buildings -- all connected by underground tunnels -- were home to over 4,000 patients when filled to capacity. Like many of its patients, Fairfield Hills projected an outward image that seemed quite pleasing; what was happening inside behind closed doors and out of the public eye, however, was much darker and disturbing.
As you might expect, Fairfield Hills was like many hospitals in how the mentally ill were treated -- with electric shock therapy, hydrotherapy, psychosurgery and frontal lobotomies, as well as a few suicides and "mysterious" deaths. Stories of abuse and cruelty were rampant. In short, it wasn't a happy-smiley, fluffy-kitty and shiny-rainbow type of place.
With less and less patients being treated there, Fairfield Hills was closed by the state in 1995. And that's when it seems the troubles began.
Because of its classic stately hospital look (red brick buildings, tall white columns, etc.), and its long, cruel history, it was used as a setting for the movie Sleepers as well as for MTV's "Fear." And as any abandoned mental hospital that's been on TV will do, it's brought a bevvy of paranormal investigators, psychics, abandoned-site explorers and other trouble seekers, who have claimed to have found evidence of hauntings, although no specific ghost/spirit/story is synonymous with the place.
Old hospital, underground tunnels, cruel history -- must be haunted, right? Right? As with many hauntings, no definitive proof or evidence, just a lot of odd experiences and unusual claims.
If you're interested in reading more, there's an interesting site -- fairfieldhills.com -- that seems to have a lot of history of the site, along with numerous images, plus interviews with former employees and patients.
Our Damned Experience: Are the Hills alive with the sound of patients past? We have yet to be checked in for an examination.
If You Go: After so much national exposure, Fairfield Hills has drawn a little too much interest from aspiring paranormal groups and locals just looking to get into trouble, so the town of Newtown now actively and stridently patrols and enforces the "No Trespassing" rules, and are very quick to arrest. So don't go.