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Sandia Ranch | Photo journey through an old haunted insane asylum

Sandia Ranch Sanatorium is one of Albuquerque’s local urban legends. An old abandoned insane asylum which was known for performing lobotomies and using electro-shock therapy is reported to be haunted. Several rumors exist including those of murder in addition to how the staff would store the bodies of the “batched” lobotomies in the crawl space in the boiler room.

I am not a ghost-hunter, nor do I follow the occult – I just love taking pictures of old abandoned places, especially with history.  There are several occult symbols tagged throughout the asylum, as well as a lot of gang graffiti and tagging.  Some very talented work, too.  I will admit, though, the place gave me the creeps – especially the main room with the large fireplace.

The photos are separated into three volumes on my photo site, Motley Photos, in order to minimize loading time.  You may find the links to all volumes in each posting.

Volume 1:  Click here

Volume 2:  Click here

Volume 3:  Click here

A few samples…

The crawl space in the boiler room where rumor states the staff would store bodies from lobotomies gone bad...

Some taggers have a sense of humor....


  1. Your photos are just so good. I’ve told you before, you have a great eye. I’ve lost mine over the years. My hand pulled prints from my own darkroom were once shown in galleries, and I’ve been published in Texas Architect magazine, but that was years ago. When my life changed, I no longer had room for my darkroom or time to keep working with my second love… my cameras. It’s been nearly 10 years and this was my first serious outing without my trusty film cameras, just the digital. Some nice ones are among my bunch, but I’m tellin’ ya, you have out-done this one time pro. Very nice job!

  2. Michelle, these are great and very eerie and atmospheric. I did see them shortly after I joined WP in early December, but at the time, it wouldn’t let me comment, which is kinda like deja vu all over again. But obviously, no problem this time around. Very cool!

  3. Hi! I’m Alex, Director of Endless Diaries Productions LLC, I’d love to use some of these pics for some logos/art for a new band on our roster, Isles In Asylums. We will attribute your art appropriately wherever used. Excited to hear back from you, These pics are sick.

  4. Hi Michelle, well I actually worked there about 1961 when I was a young 15 year old, looking for employment and was hired by a MR Jenkins as a nurse aide trainee an worked there until I was years old, saw a lot of strange patient behaviours, but learned some early nursing skills and it feels a bit eerie to know I walked thru hose Corridors and rooms, we had a dormitory for the nurse aides and nurses past a small tree lined creek.I remember the doctor was a Dr. Myers, who administered he shock treatments.

  5. i worked there from fall1964 to spring 1966 for dr.myers. it was a small mental health facility. I also lived on the property. never witnessed any ghostly experiences. it was a well run hospital and I never witnessed any mistreatment of patients.

    • Thank you for sharing that. I imagine some stories are completely fabricated, others are exaggerated. But lobotomies were common back then as was looking down on the mentally ill as “lesser” beings. I’m sure there was some pretty horrid treatments going on somewhere at some point in time. Thank gawd we’ve grown beyond that (for the most part, anyway).

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