Mansfield Training School, Mansfield

February, 2016 by Ray Bendici
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Courtesy of the National Register of Historic Places

The Damned Story: Although there are thousands of state residents who have attended the University of Connecticut, very few are familiar with the story of the Depot Campus, and how it was formerly the Mansfield Training School. Or how the buildings belonging to the former mental hospital are believed by some to be haunted.

In a demonstration of how political correctness is a 21st-century invention, the Mansfield Training School originally started in 1860 as the "Connecticut School for Imbeciles," and was located in Lakeville. As hard as it is to believe, that name eventually offended someone, and in 1915 it was re-christened the "Connecticut Training School for Feebleminded." (Yeah, that's much better.) In 1917, it was merged with Connecticut Colony for Epileptics in Mansfield, where the new 350-acre campus was opened under the official banner of the Mansfield Training School and Hospital.

With its isolated location and bucolic setting, the Mansfield Training School was an ideal place to treat those afflicted with mental disorders. For the next 60 years it was home to residents who suffered from all sorts of mental afflictions. At the height of its use, it housed over 1,800 residents and featured over 50 buildings, most of which were devoted to patient treatment. It also had a small farm that provided occupational therapy for some of the epileptic patients in addition to food for the facility.

Sadly, like other hospitals that dealt with mental illness, there were allegations of poor conditions and abuse, although many, many more people were helped rather than hurt during their stays. Overall, the facility appeared to have a dedicated, caring staff and a good reputation.

After numerous lawsuits and concerns about the conditions, however, the Mansfield Training School was closed in 1993; patients were sent to more modern facilities and institutions throughout the state. A few of the most dilapidated buildings were demolished while others became part of the University of Connecticut as its Depot Campus. Another part of the original campus was annexed by the Bergin Correctional Center, a level-2 minimum security facility for male offenders.

In 1987, the Mansfield Training School was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Again, despite the mostly positive, caring work that went on here (and at other similar facilities), there seems to be a story or two of negative incidents, any one of which is enough to initiate stories of restless souls and troubled spirits.

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Consequently, there have been reports of spirit mists and orbs here, as well as experiences involving unexplained voices, sounds and shapes. The building of the former Knight Hospital is one place where unexplained phenomena is still allegedly observed.

Courtesy of National Register of Historic Places

Paranormal groups have also investigated a few of the buildings, and claim to have found evidence confirming paranormal activity, for what it's worth.

Our Damned Experience: When we visited UConn's Ballard Institute of Puppetry in 2010, we mentioned that the museum was located in an old, seemingly abandoned area on the Depot Campus, which as it turns out, was part of the Mansfield Training School. So we were there without even realizing it!

As we mentioned when we visited, that area of the campus feels a bit like a forgotten part of the campus. Now we have a reason to go back and explore a bit!

If You Go: The grounds of the former Mansfield Training School are now part of UConn's Depot Campus on Route 44 in Storrs, and thus are open to the public. 

On the other side of Route 44 is the Bergin Correctional Center, which also features some of the former training school campus, although it's not exactly open to the public in the conventional sense.

On the UConn side, some of the old structures remain empty, and have been overgrown by weeds and ivy. Obviously, visitors are vigorously discouraged from entering these buildings.

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Comments

Hi everyone, this is Amy Moore. I just finished reading all of your comments and thought I would reply to some of them. First off, Raw Television decided not to use the evidence that P.R.O.O.F. had gathered from my home. I found out later that they did not want to upstage another paranormal show that they represent. I will also let everyone know that National Geographic World was here filming for 3 days at my house and are currently editing a documentary on my house which should air the first of the year. This documentary will have a lot of evidence which P.R.O.O.F. has recorded. Second, I will tell all of you, even though the show mixed up the order of events that everything I stated was true plus much more that was not shown. There was not enough time for everything to be on the show. I also continue to research the Training School and a lot of documentation is at the Hartford Library. I recently heard documentation was at the Mansfield Library. For those of you who stated an interest in staying here I will, as that as soon as my son and his family are in their own apartment (which should be in the next couple of months) be willing to let that happen. When new people come into my house the activity escalates here, a lot not good. My son and his family were put up in a motel during the recent filming at the house because I do not want anything to happen to any of them. I still live in this house and things still happen here but my ultimate goal is to seek justice for all the children who could not get it on their own. They had no voice, so I will be theirs.

Submitted by Annoymous (not verified) on
I just watched this episode on Netflix. OMG is all I gotta say! Just wanted to throw in that I work for a company in CT that has several group homes. Some of our clients were in fact in Mansfield as children. One particular client, which I cannot disclose a name, was treated HORRIBLY. Said client had their teeth forcefully removed so the staff there didn't have to worry about their dental hygiene. Also this said client was raped so many times that they smear feces on their genitals to "ward off" anyone they are unfamiliar with. I was also told that when it came to them being "showered", the staff there would line them all up in a room the size of a gymnasium and spray them down with a fire hose!! God only knows what else happened to them but it makes me want to cry every time it gets brought up! I It's very sad how these poor people were treated there ;(

Submitted by stallion (not verified) on
Just want to note: "imbecile" and "feeble-minded" were not considered offensive at the time; they were actually psychological jargon for distinctions between mentally challenged levels of functioning. An "idiot" had an IQ below 25; "imbecile" between 25 and 50; and "moron" between 50 and 69. Of course these terms are most definitely considered offensive today, but to paint the hospital in a bad light for using words we consider offensive today, which were medical terms in THEIR day, is ignorant. Paint the hospital in a bad light using whatever else you have, but laughing at the terms seems petty.

I have spent the last hour and forty-five minutes reading the slanderous remarks and bashing of the Moore family and of P.R.O.O.F. Might I say that it is clear that 60 percent of the people commenting on this forum are purely jealous of the Moore family’s haunted house and of P.R.O.O.F's recent and prolonged notoriety for their hard workings. People need to take a close look at what exactly P.R.O.O.F's job was in this case. P.R.O.O.F's objective as it would be with any other paranormal society is to provide validity to the claims of "paranormal" activity, which this is, what they have clearly done! I am not an expert in the field nor do I know P.R.O.O.F as well as I wished I did. Nevertheless, I have been to ALL of their events and lectures in and out of state and might I say these people are not in it for the fame or for the fortune. In fact P.R.O.O.F takes what they have earned in their events and lectures and has donated more than 48 thousand to charity. As for the Moore family mansion, P.R.O.O.F received a call for help and simply responded as I am sure they would have in any event. From what I have read and have heard, television networks contacted P.R.O.O.F, they did not venture out seeking fame. I suggest that people on here stop their bashing and really look at the big picture. It is not fair for P.R.O.O.F to be chastised for simply performing their job and as for the Moore family, give them a break and try to understand what hell they must have endured.

Submitted by MSTS Curator (not verified) on
@Richard She should be listed in the state death registry if she died here in the state. @anon A number of the allegations you wrote about seem to be cobbled together from different institutions in New England. We have no documentation to support the practice of tooth extraction at MSTS. Not saying it wasn't done in extreme cases, but the DOJ reemed the institution for a number of terrible human rights violations but that was not one of them. Tooth extraction was a common practice at a facility in RI and was exposed by the state monitors there. The group showers may be an exaggeration of an act which was less egregious. Overworked staff would group a number of patients in showers and wash them together, but not in the manner you describe. There simply is no facility at MSTS that could accomodate such a action. The DOJ report is quite startling. I have images of what some of the monitors discovered. I will post these at the MSTS Museum when it launches very very soon with a very detailed report on the violations discovered and timeline of the shutdown.

Submitted by Annoymous (not verified) on
Well that's nice to know those accusations about the teeth extraction and showering are mostly untrue. I cried the first time I heard about it!! I am pretty sure, it's just exaggerations on other people's parts, ya know how rumors go...thank you for clarifying that, I feel a tiny bit better knowing that at least that wasn't going on! On another note, as Mark stated concerning the treatment of the Moore family and P.R.O.O.F.- I find it really messed up that people are going to flat out act like Amy and her loved ones are blatantly lying about this situation. Where you there? Did you experience the horror they have had to deal with? No, and until you have, be quiet. It's the WORSE feeling possible to be put in that situation. As a child my mother was attacked by a poltergeist in my grandparents home. There are pictures to prove whatever it was, it put deep welts/scratches up and down her back! So to Amy, I believe you!!!

@Anonymous I agree with you on the previous comment, the Moore family went through hell and the last thing they need is to read nasty comments from people on here that weren’t there and know only what was shown on television. I personally attended an event at the Moore family home and was witness to a slideshow proving the horror within the mansion, pictures, video and audio of Amy’s claims. I also was witness to the attack footage and documentation from the emergency room were Gallant received treatment. His and Amy's story was heart pounding and frankly sad. I am associated with a family member of the Gallant family and according to her, after this case Joseph isn’t the same, he seeks guidance from a social worker whom is apparently assisting him with the aftermath of the attack. So for people who think that this was for fame and fortune your wrong. To Joseph I am sure that this was initially an ordinary case turned horror. As for Amy, leave her alone!

@Sue I really appreciate your kind words and comments concerning the Moore family haunting. Nevertheless, it would be greatly appreciated if you would not share personal information about me or my family on this forum. I have worked long and hard to keep my personal life out of the public eye. I am not blinded to the fact that people have questions that remain unanswered. However, the continuous bashing and outlandish assumptions concerning this case and its background must stop! The airing of Raw televisions "Haunting of Mansfield Mansion" was horribly fashioned and told a story that doesn’t exist. On January 3rd (Thursday) the National Geographic channel will air the true story of the Mansfield haunting entitled paranatural oddities. The show will focus on "actual" documentation, evidence and first person testimony from EVERYONE that was involved. Hopefully, this show will end the madness surrounding P.R.O.O.F and the Moore family haunting!

Submitted by han (not verified) on
Does anyone know were Mr. Gallant lives or his address!?

Submitted by Amy Moore (not verified) on
Who wants to know and why might I ask

Submitted by levi cleary (not verified) on
was there really a ghost in the bedroom or was the mom gettin it on wit becuz the daughter heard moaning coming from her moms bed room and then that cpeepy ass door flew open and she set a trap and didnt even get down the stairs b4 the nail hit the ground and the old hatch on the door flew open and she got terrified and ran down stair i olny know this cuz i just got done watching 'paranormal wittnesses' and it scared the shit out of me.And my most favorite part was wen the mother wen this is the house 4 me and she claoed like a retard!!!!! but lol dont get me wrong the story was terrifing.

Submitted by Andrea Booth (not verified) on
For Amy Moore: I have been intrigued by your house long before you moved in. It appeared lonely. When the state put the homes up for sale I was very happy and even considered buying one myself but we had our first little one and no $ money to speak of. I am also a believer in the paranormal...didn't used to be, but after my mother passed away, we have been in contact with electric lights, coins, occasional voices, etc. It is actually very comforting. I am sorry that your spirits are obviously trapped and feel they possess your home. Be very clear that it IS your home now. If they are staying, it will have to be on YOUR terms. I, too, live in Mansfield, not far from you, and I do believe you looked so familiar to me on the show (which just happened to be on) because I have seen you around town (like at the supermarket, perhaps?) and I said to myself, "Jeez, why does that woman look so familiar?" Would love to meet you sometime and share experiences, although there is no way I can top yours. You are very brave and I admire you tremendously. Feel free to email me at andreahbooth@gmail.com

Submitted by LoL (not verified) on
I am sorry to say proof reminds me of a wanna be taps driving around in thier suvs saying proof lol

Submitted by han (not verified) on
I am sorry too, but you sound as if you maight be a bit jealious? Wanna Be's? Hmmmmm, why is that? Perhaps because they have the money to purchase three big black SUV's an office property, a legal repersentative and a team of professionals? The only difference between the TAPs team and P.R.O.O.F, is P.R.O.O.F actually produces evidence and cares about what they do! Your a Mouron "lol".

Submitted by Barb (not verified) on
@LOL, Your a Mouron and frankly, people on here make me wanna slit my wrists with thier nasty comments and ridicule. You all should be ashamed of yourself. Eitherway, everyones comments are just added to P.R.O.O.F growing reputation! So keep um a coming "LOL"

Submitted by Bill (not verified) on
If PROOF's latest ghost hunting evidence is an example of their work, consider me unimpressed.

Submitted by barbmun (not verified) on
@ Bill If u are refering to their latest FB POST I suggest you reconsider your hastey comments! if proof where to get the"perfect ghost photo every time there would be no excitement in the art of ghost hunting. You show me another team that has gotten as many amazing ghost pics as proof and I will rightfully apologize your just looking for a way to demean these people and frankly its pathetic. get a hobby!!!!

Submitted by Kurt (not verified) on
this blog is an evergrowing sensation. All these comments b very cool! both good and bad very interesting. @Bill, for a team that u are "unimpressed" with you still take time out of your schedule to think about them and talk about them lol! Get a life dude hahahaha! go teamproof!!!!

Submitted by Bill (not verified) on
@barb I expect a good researcher would be able to tell the difference between a reflection and an unexplained shape. They were not able to do that. This demonstrates very poor skills. And their orbs?........seriously, weak.

@Bill there are a few things that I think you should understand. First and foremost, our recent FB posts of our most previous investigation outlined a few photos inwhich showed strange formation. At no time did we say "THIS IS WITHOUT A DOUBT PARANORMAL" Nor did we say "EVERYONE THIS IS A GHOST". We merely shared with all of you what we considered to be the potential for paranormal phenomenon this is why we had asked "what do you see". Secondly, in 99% of all "orb" related photos what you are seeing is natural moisture, dust, bugs and/or airbourn protoplasm. Being a critic as you obviously are, you should know this. Thirdly, if you haven't already noticed this comments page concerns the mansfield mansion and MTS not P.R.O.O.F this shows me that you are demonstrating "very poor skills" When it comes down to it Bill, P.R.O.O.F is confident in their abilities and regardless, of what comments may be thrown around it only makes us that much stronger. Have a great evening!

Submitted by Karen (not verified) on
@ Joseph Hello Joseph I just happened to come across this site and have been reading the comments. I would hate to be in your position and have to deal with the scrutiny of opinion. I stopped by and viewed your website and Facebook and looked at the three photos you posted. Not your best work. Yet all the rest of your photos are without a doubt remarkable and unlike anything else that I have seen from any other paranormal group. I am a principle at a private school in northern CT and if it helps everyone including student and faculty knows who you are and what P.R.O.O.F is. You guys are an inspiration to a lot of people and you just have to ignore the negative personalities of certain individuals. Keep your head up and stay strong!

Submitted by Walter (not verified) on
Because people are not fallible, do not lie, nor embellish the truth for any personal gain. Just like the Lutzes. If there is something there, I am not shocked this ghost group hasn't tried to get UConn involved since such a discovery would rock the foundation of all the physical sciences.

Submitted by Walter (not verified) on
Sorry, that should read If there is something there, I am shocked this ghost group hasn't tried to get UConn involved since....

Submitted by Molly (not verified) on
@bill you seem to wanna think that you know more about the paranormal and review of findings! Why don't you try and attempt to capture spirit manifestation on film or in audio as PROOF has so diligently done so for the last three years that I have been following them!? Most likely, your attempts to do would be a fail! Why? Because your a "know it all bigot ". Your ignorant and an undoubtable instigator! Your most likely one of those individuals that sits at home in front of the computer alone and destitute, trying to find company for your evident misery! Get a life loser!

Submitted by Bill (not verified) on
Again, I stand by my comments. The FB photos were not convincing and to say that one captured orbs, protoplasm, an apparition with a mouth is a giant leap of logic. Sorry, P.R.O.O.F. I am not impressed. Frankly, I've seen a lot better from a few of your colleagues. Yes, this is a Mansfield Training School board. Back to regular programming.

Submitted by Joseph gallant (not verified) on
@Bill thankfully, we could care less whether u are impressed with us or not! we have over 9000 plus followers not including family and friends! you are merely one voice against a leauge of followers Good luck and take care!

Submitted by Bill (not verified) on
@Gallant Because scientific legitimacy is based on the number of Facebook followers......I get it. btw 20,000 people signed a petition to secede from the US after the election. Just so you know, because based on the strength of your evidence and argument above, opinion, belief, and bias are not the same as scientific fact.

Submitted by Dana (not verified) on
The. Episode of paranormal witness only had personal accounts on this particular episode and its funny that sooo many people say that is not enough proof. Sorry but a few extremely scared peoples testemony is enough for me. The episode before this episode had a crap ton of pics and videos. Its real and its enough proof for me.

Submitted by sydney (not verified) on
I just watched the episode over this on Netflix and its really good. After I wached it I looked it up and found this site. It has some really good info.

Submitted by Kathy MacNamara... (not verified) on
'My family lived in this house for ten years. If there were ghosts then, they were friendly ones. Any abuse of Mansfield clients was done back in the early 1900's. In the years that we lived, there the employees will document the positive place it was.

www.the-atlantic-paranormal-society.com/ TAPS should investigate this site, My Great Grandfather is John Mansfield from Sharon Conneticut was believed to have work here at one point and time :)

Submitted by pcwarren (not verified) on
um has anyone seen the TAPS show in the last six years!? THEY SUCK. Although Im not to.familiar with the PROOF crew they were able to capture more paranormal evidence in one case than the.TAPS TEAM has in the entire television career. I mean, get real!

Submitted by Chelsea (not verified) on
Agreed! Taps is not a resourceful team not anymore anyways. I mean im sure in the beginning of there ghost hunting career they had good intentions yet today there just there to give audiences a good scare with thier"did u hear that" "omg did u see that" and of coursr people behind thier television screens see nothing even during the reveal! there just ratings now and they suck! Good work PROOF;)!

Submitted by Markietta (not verified) on
Did they really find remains in the basement of the house? If so, what is the story on that? Has it been identified?

Submitted by Bill (not verified) on
Something was collected and retrieved by the State police. Results: inconclusive. Therefore, your answer is no. Human remains were not found in the basement.

Submitted by Christine (not verified) on
I visit here today, it's really easy to get to and you can park anywhere. I walked around to the all the building, I didn't see any obvious ways to enter the buildings and I wasn't up for breaking in. Just from walking around the outside I didn't see/hear/feel anything abnormal. The buildings are in pretty conditions considering how old they are. It was definitely worth the trip. As noted, it is totally legal to walk around, there are no signs, not even on the buildings.

Submitted by Ricky (not verified) on
if bones weren't discovered in the basement why did paranormal witness tell the story of a murdered girls bones found by police in the cellar?

Submitted by Bill (not verified) on
Bones weren't discovered in the basement. The SyFy show lied.

Bill, it's nice to hear a voice of reason, so thank you. Your comments are funny. All these "ghost believers" taking themselves so seriously, yet there is no empirical scientific evidence coming from anywhere... just pseudo-science and paranoid speculation type blah. I feel I need to just shrug at it. And it is then that I remember the underlying theme of the website.... GHOSTS LOL

oops, i take that back.. the theme of this site is not 'ghosts', but it does not do anything to deny their existence. Just thought I'd be more clear. I personally do not believe in ghosts. I can't take them seriously enough to believe in them.

Submitted by MTS Curator (not verified) on
You are talking about the SyFy show which has been established to be inaccurate. If you think MTS was a cruel institution, go back and read Sunday's Hartford Courant. The fate of many former MTS patients sent to group homes was investigated with ghastly statistics.

Submitted by Krystal (not verified) on
I am confused, so the documentary on tv, with the witness stories, is that fake? Cause they claim that they live/lived in the house but how could they have if it is part of the government or a campus ground now.

The TRUE story behind the haunting of Mansfield Mansion airs on the Nat geo channel this coming March! Please see sepcifications below. Paranatural: The Haunted In every culture and for centuries, witnesses report strange encounters with apparitions, or ghosts. Are they merely figments of wild imaginations? Showing: Friday 8 March 2013 at 21:00 - National Geographic Channel Repeats: Saturday 9 March 2013 at 00:00 - National Geographic Channel Saturday 9 March 2013 at 03:00 - National Geographic Channel For a teaser video of the episode please visit: http://vimeo.com/59340919

Submitted by MTS Curator (not verified) on
March looks to be a big month. The week of March 3 will be the launch of the Mansfield Training School online museum with video, photo, and historical content. The TRUE story of the Mansfield Training School beyond the sensationalism and mythologies will be available for you to explore with interactive content. Thank you. MTS curator. Facebook launch will be this Sunday.

I think this place was cruel because I actually saw a show that a lady was living there by herself and she heard weird noises but searched up mansfeild training school and it said that there were a lot of people getting abused plus she saw that it said they would make fun of you if you for example had downe syndrome and they even killed a little girl there for not washing her hands

Not to dive into the drama that seems to be on this page...but the "bones" found in the basement, were larger chunks from cremated remains. My family happens to work in the field. Cremations don't burn the bones. They have to be ground down. Today, we have machines that grind it into a fine sand, but during the time this girl passed, it was done by hand, and of course, left larger chunks. It's really gross when you think of it. Her ashes being spread in the basement, probably she wanted to be spread there, or who knows? maybe an urn fell and broke? Who knows, but I am not surprised by this existence of larger bone fragments with ashes of human remains. I live a few houses up from all this on route 32. I think the buildings are old and beautiful, but nothing bad is there. Yes, i do think bad treatment of patients was done there. I have taken music lessons in this old buildings, seen the Mansfield mansion, and seen the old building in the middle of campus. Not haunted, just creepy and old, and yet magnificent. And of course shows have to make these "haunted" places a bit more dramatic, otherwise no one would watch. It's not "lying" it's just show business. :)

Submitted by brenda burnett (not verified) on
i have lived in a haunted house so i know how the lady and her family feel and i had to move out but sill today i see ghosts but how ever i would love to go into this house in mansfield just to understand more of what go's on and why

Submitted by Ray (not verified) on
Since I only live about 10 minutes from the MTS site, I've ventured there a few times. The only time I drove through there at night, I got out at the main building in the front and walked around for a few minutes. Since I was alone, my fear got the best of me. I continued to drive around without getting out of my car. I went again this afternoon and had my video camera and wanted to get out and begin filming the buildings thinking that it was Memorial Day weekend and I would have no troubles. I actually didn't have any, but for some reason, I felt uneasy immediately. A car raced past me and that didn't make me feel any better. It truly is an uncomfortable place even to drive through during the day. Ultimately, I chickened out and didn't film anything beyond one shot of one of the buildings. I drove to where the car went that raced past me and didn't find it. Hopefully, someday, either I can get someone else to go with me (like Joey and his 16 friends) or I can stop being so freaked out about the place (NOT likely!).

Submitted by Ashley (not verified) on
I actually know the woman who lives in the superintendents old house. I've never had the opportunity to enter the house but from what I've heard from her and the people I know that have entered, it can e quite a terrifying place. The Mansfield Training Center was about 15 minutes away from my old house and I would drive by a lot. Every time I've driven by I swear I've seen people in the windows, shadows and things among those lines. I'd like to enter one of these days but if you ever have the chance to do so, prepare yourself. Happy Hunting!

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