Downey Insane Asylum

By: Samantha Perez

The “Downey Insane Asylum” is often used to refer the abandoned building located near South Gate. However, this name often paints a negative picture of what this hospital once was. Originally named “Rancho Los Amigos”, this facility was built in the year 1888. It served as a safe place for all the homeless, disabled, mentally ill, and the elderly with no home or family. 

Patients were able to work in the gardens, tend to the small animals, create crafts and woodworks, and also receive therapy.     The hospital flourished and became well known until the Long beach earthquake of 1933 hit and changed everything forever. Many victims from the earthquake flooded to the hospital, urging the staff to allow them in. After so many people’s traumatizing 

stories, Grace Wagner, the secretary of the establishment became emotionally unstable and committed suicide by jumping out of her office window.     As World War II approached in the year 1939, the U.S. army turned Rancho Los Amigos into Camp Morrow where soldiers were stationed. Slowly but surely, the hospital began to gradually move into another location. Up until 

1988, 100 years after its initial opening, the hospital turned into a storage space and an area used for U.S. Marines to train in an open field. One day, as the marines participated in drills, a group of troops opened a freezer and they discovered a box of amputated body parts. It was confirmed by Judy Hammond, an L.A. County spokeswoman that the box was in fact filled 

with 10 legs, some feet, and bits of brain matter. It is unknown exactly what occurred within the facility while it was opened, but it is suspected by locals that satanic rituals were performed within the facility.    To this day, many locals claim screams were often heard, and they feel a sinister presence as a they pass by the abandoned facility.

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