The Ridges is located in Athens, Odio and was also know as the Athens Mental Health Center. It was there for the criminally insane and opened it’s doors 9th January 1874. It was brought by the State and Federal Government from the Coates family; it was over 1000 acres of farmland.
The main structure was built to resemble a home which was unusual when most of the asylums were effectively a house of abuse and torture with their given conditions. It was built on the familiar plans of the Kirkbride design. According to Wikipedia one of the leading causes of male insanity in 1876 was masturbation! Concerned yet? During the first three years of the hospital being open fifty six men and one women were diagnosed with this problem.
The Ridges was one that did not use bleeding, freezing and head kicks to try and shock their illness away, the more violent patients were kept away from others and until the 1900’s did not suffer too much from overcrowding. The decline of treatment however went alongside the overcrowding and without this came the fall back into the old ways.
The Ridges reverted back to a place that used shock therapy, lobotomy and physical abuse to control its patients. By 1993 the Ridges had becoming a place to shut it’s doors for good and all the patients left, well apart from one of them.
Margaret Schilling went missing 1st December 1978 and 12th January 1979 her body was found in the abandoned top floor ward N 20. The ward had been closed down for some time and despite a check of the hospital they had not thought to go into that area.
The official cause of death was heart failure, she was found by a maintenance man who found her cold, lifeless and unclothed several weeks later. Apparently you can still see a stain in the shape of a human figure, on the spot she died. It is also said that she is seen peering from the room and that voices have been heard, lights are seen and shadows, and more eerily the noise of squeaking gurneys.
A note on the body mark, I found some information whilst surfing to say that there was indeed some thought placed into the strange body shaped mark that is most definitely present. So they decided to try and work out what the mark was by determining if there were any traces of old fat deposits, owing to the lack of anything else on the site.
The site is now owned and used for OU, however the portion where the mark is has not been opened for use or to the public. It had not been chemically tested or explained, perhaps better left to myth rather than fact however they decided that this could be of forensic use to try.
The Body Farm in Tennessee has been a useful earmark in the continuous investigations about how the body deteriorates after death and the conditions under which these things change speed. Most bodies are found at the scene and have some evidence about their origin; this was a chance to try another study about remains and their effects.
Samples were collected from the light stain area, the dark area around it and the concrete in the room as a control test. They collected samples from soap, a small piece of skin from a volunteer and a cleaner called Franklin Blu-Lite which had been used on the stain.
So what did the tests show? The samples from the light area showed the human stain was produced by a degradation of a skin or fatty tissue and chemicals from the cleaner. So what they can establish is there was a body on the floor, so most likely Schilling’s retrieved corpse.
What it can’t seem to explain however is the shape it is in, if a mop or scrub has been used to clean up after the body was moved it’s been cleaned in a strange manner of following just the body shape itself, as a more general clean of the area would have left an irregular set of marks. So that’s the mystery I took from this one, less so than the rumoured haunting.