KINGS PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The abandoned buildings of the now-shuttered Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital in Suffolk County is a Halloween hot-spot, attracting eager ghost hunters drawn to the property with hopes of observing paranormal activity.
But this Halloween weekend, state officials are tightening security around the supposedly haunted property, hoping stop trespassers in their tracks.
According to NY State Parks spokesman George Gorman, access to the property will be restricted on Kings Park Boulevard starting at 4 p.m. on Friday and will continue into Saturday.
“We don’t want people coming in and going into these abandoned buildings,” Gorman said. “It is unsafe.”
Despite locks, gates and patrols, vandals still find ways to get on the grounds, leaving behind booze, litter and graffiti, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
One prankster even placed a hanging ghoul figure from the top of the ‘notorious’ building 93 — a large central structure that was formerly used to house patients.
Some residents think more needs to be done to cut down on the debauchery.
“I really think they should do a lot more and try to keep the kids out of there,” David Adams, of Kings Park, said. “Because there’s been some serious issues.”
Three teens were recently trapped in one of the property buildings when a door locked behind them.
The 300-acre, 47-building complex originally opened in 1885 to help ease overcrowded psychiatric asylums in Brooklyn. It closed in 1996, and patients were transferred to Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in nearby Brentwood. In 2006, outgoing State Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro persuaded officials to transfer the Kings Park property to the Nissequogue River State Park.
Many Kings Park residents hope that the psych center buildings will be torn down, toxic soil removed and the property converted into parkland or other developments — with the help of the community’s input.
And as for property’s haunted mystique? One former Kings Park employee had doubts:
“I used to work there, so I don’t feel that there’s any ghosts or anything,” Marcia Randall, of Kings Park, said. “But I can see how it would attract children.”