Mental Health Hospital or Lunatic Asylum?

Recently there has been a touch of controversy in the paranormal community where a ghost hunting group advertised a hunt at a local “Lunatic Asylum” which really stirred up the pot.

The Towers Hospital


According to the article, the hospital started off life called “Leicester Borough Lunatic Asylum” in 1869. The name changed over the years to “Towers Hospital”. Understandably, the locals are a bit annoyed that the ghost hunting group called their hospital a lunatic asylum, but I have to wonder if they are getting their panties in a twist over semantics.

The hospital was originally a place where the physical and mentally disabled and ill were put. It was called a Lunatic Asylum, it was a descriptor, not an attempt at causing offence to the public. A lunatic was a person whose actions and manner were marked by extreme eccentricity or recklessness. An asylum was classed as a secure retreat.

Historically, those words are an accurate representation of the function of the building.
It is only in present times, these two words have come to mean something more degrading and vile.

Ahh, enough about words and history.


I get why the group is calling it an Asylum. They are there to contact the spirits of the past, the spirits of the original patients. The original patients would have known it as an Asylum, not a hospital.

However, I do have an issue with how the event was advertised:

In a posting on Facebook, Simply Paranormal UK used the term when announcing an event in May this year.
The posting said: “We are pleased to announce another Mental Asylum.
“The Towers Lunatic Asylum in Leicester – Ghost hunting never got even more exciting.”
– Source

It’s a very infantile way of advertising an event, (which suggests to me that this is just another woo-woo, ‘in it for the money’ company) the language is hokey and the advert could simply be written better. The name of the building is actually “The Towers” and the Lunatic Asylum part should have been left for the blurb.

A piece of advice to companies is to write it with a modicum of respect and a liberal use of grammar.

Ghost hunt event companies really need to think about the people who live there still and those who may have had friends or family in the building, and how they may feel.

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