Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital – Gwangju-si, South Korea - Atlas Obscura

Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital

Gwangju-si, South Korea

The abandoned hospital whose elaborate ghost stories cover up the dirty truth - an uneventful sanitation issue and other mundane reasons for its demise. 


The Gonjiam Psychiatric hospital has been called one of the most haunted places in South Korea and CNN has claimed it was one of the freakiest places in the world, but the truth of this place isn’t the supernatural hotbed that makes for good media fodder.

The media likes to repeat legends of mysterious deaths, mad doctors that were as crazy as the patients in the asylum, and other “fakelore” to hype the creepy factor of the place, but the hospital was closed in the 1990s and abandoned for more mundane reasons than their tall tales would have you believe. Gonjiam was forced to close mainly due to economic downturns, unsanitary conditions, and problems with the sewage disposal system, not due to insane doctors or murderous patients. As the sewage problem grew, the owner left the country and did not leave documentation behind about the land or the buildings on it. Eventually, the hospital just closed its doors and it has been abandoned ever since, unless you count the numerous tourists, camera crews, and ghost hunters who come to stroll through the area, looking for evidence of paranormal activity or the proverbial skeletons in the closets of the asylum.

The hospital is technically closed to the public and locals do not encourage tourists or give directions to the asylum willingly but roughly a thousand people break in and roam the grounds of Gonjiam Psychiatric hospital every year. The buildings stand complete with rusted out machines, hospital remnants, trash, and filthy mattresses, adding to its creepy and haunted reputation.

In 2018, they released a horror film called “Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum” about the Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital.

Update: This was demolished in May 2018.

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