Ashmore Estates Featured in Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums

Jamie Davis and Sam QueenJamie Davis and Sam Queen are lifelong travelers and enthusiasts of the paranormal. While planning a trip to Western New York, they discovered by happenstance that a local asylum offered public ghost hunts. Jamie searched for a guidebook of other locations that offered public ghost hunts. When she couldn’t find one, she set out to write one herself. She enlisted Sam to accompany her on an adventure across the country to explore and ghost hunt along the way. The result was their first book, Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums.

Please tell our readers a bit about yourself and your interest in ghost stories and the paranormal. Why did you choose to focus on haunted asylums, prisons, and sanatoriums for your first book?

Jamie:  I had a natural curiosity. When I was a kid I would check out every book I could find from the local library on the subject, and watch every scary movie that I could.  I remember being obsessed with old, abandoned homes as early as the age of four.  I would make my father stop the car so we could go take a look at whatever house caught my eye.  If he didn’t, he would just be driven crazy by my constant chattering about whatever “spook house” had become my latest focus.  He soon learned it was easier on everyone to just go along with me the first time.  Also, at the age of four, my uncle Paul died.  He was the youngest of the Sanford children – in his early 20’s and still living with my grandparents at the time.  The first Christmas without him, my father caught me staring up at the balcony.  Although I don’t remember it, I am told that I was staring because Paul was leaning on the railing watching us open our presents (my father saw him too).

Sam and I focused on asylums, prisons, and sanatoriums because we happened upon a public ghost hunt at a well-known former poor house in Western New York. Before then, we never realized that the public could actually buy a ticket and explore these institutions! We were blown away by our experiences there. We loved the tour before the ghost hunt began, and we loved exploring the historic buildings. When we left, I wanted to find a travel guidebook for other locations that offered public ghost hunts, but there wasn’t one. So we set out to write one!

Sam:  I have always been a paranormal enthusiast. Growing up, I loved television shows like “In Search Of” and “The X-Files”. When “Ghost Hunters” debuted, I was immediately hooked. I never knew that there were people who actually “hunted” ghosts.  Of course, this fascinated me. Are ghosts actually real? You see the evidence that they present on all the shows. You really don’t know that it’s real, unless you experience it yourself.

What was the most compelling place you visited while researching your book Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums? Did you have any unusual experiences there?

Jamie:  For me, I would say that my experience in Tooele Hospital out in Utah was life-changing. I truly believe I was having a “God” moment out there. Whatever was happening to me, it was so real at the time that I was convinced I was in touch with something angelic. The flashlight sessions are on Youtube at: and

Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and SanatoriumsSam:  The two for me were St. Albans & Missouri State Pen. At St. Albans, I saw an apparition. At Missouri State Pen, a “shadow person” walked right up to me. As you can imagine, both of these personal experiences were beyond exciting. Actually, we enjoyed visiting, touring and investigating each location in the book. They all offered something different. They all have a rich, fascinating history, as well as a haunted history.

What is the style of your book? Do you focus a lot on the history and folklore (or ghost stories) of each location, on paranormal investigations conducted there, or a little bit of both? What kinds of sources did you use to flesh out the book?

Jamie:  The book is written in an informal, conversational style. The formula for the chapters is:  historical briefing on building/architecture/people of note; legends in news/media; highlights from ghost tours/staff members; my own personal experiences of what it is like to visit; and a stats page for the location.  Sources consulted included local newspaper archives, and several books pertaining to each location such as works by Michael Kleen, Sherri Brake, Jonathan Clemins, and Patti Starr.  General ghost hunting books were consulted as well by Troy Taylor, Michelle Belanger, and Christopher Balzona.

The first chapter of your book talks about Ashmore Estates, a place very familiar to our readers. Why did you choose to make it the focus of your very first chapter? What stands out to you about this particular location?

Jamie:  I think Ashmore went first by complete happenstance!  We were fascinated about the history of Ashmore being a county poor farm.  The characteristics of the building were very similar to what we initially found so fascinating up in Western New York.  It may sound hokey, but I think the history of sadness and struggling is still very much evident within the walls.  The energy resonated there still.

Tell us a little about your experiences at Ashmore Estates. Where did you first hear about it, when did you visit, and what did you take away from your experience there?

JamieAshmore probably first came to our attention from being featured on Ghost Adventures.  Our visit was back in February of 2012, and it was freezing cold out there!  Our tour guides told us about a room on the top floor that had a history of a child being seen standing in the window by those passing by on the road.  They opened the door for us, and we peeked inside.  Later that evening, we could not get the door to open for us again.  It wasn’t locked. It felt as though something very heavy was on the other side preventing us from opening the door and entering the room.   Our camera batteries were repeatedly drained throughout the night.

We were also told by one of our guides that after a personal experience of being touched by something in the boiler room, he would not go back down there.  The boiler room was where we got our best piece of evidence:

Reviewing our voice recorder, I said to Sam “The dark is playing tricks on my eyes.  You know why?  Because I’m looking at that light, and it seems to get dimmer.  Or just the area in front of me or something?  Blacker than black, I guess is how to describe it.”  I said out loud to whatever or whoever I thought I was seeing:  “Am I looking at you, am I seeing you?”  And then back to Sam:  “It’s too dark, I don’t like it.”  Within thirty seconds, Sam and I were gasping because the flashlight turned on, and Sam claimed that the flashlight was rolling back and forth.

Can you give us a sneak peek at your next project, America’s Most Haunted Hotels? Are any Illinois locations covered in the book?

Jamie:  I do not have any Illinois locations just yet for the book, but would certainly love to!  I am particularly captivated by The Congress Hotel and the rumor about inspiring Stephen King’s short story “1408.”

So far, I am focusing on the 1866 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, AK; Louisiana’s Myrtles Plantation; The Eldridge Hotel out of Lawrence, Kansas; and the St. James out in Cimmaron, New Mexico.

Sorry guys, this page is copyright Black Oak Media, 2013. You do not have permission to copy this for any reason. Please learn how to cite your work.



  1. […] By Jamie Davis, coauthor of Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums […]


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