Last fall a group of friends invited me to run a 5k. It’s not too far away, they said, with barely suppressed grins. Just a nice run in the woods, they told me, their words covering barely concealed laughter. I knew to expect something but I never guessed the race would go through the grounds of an abandoned insane asylum.  Even before the whistle blew, I knew I’d be back with my camera for research.

A fairly recent bio-hazard face mask rests on the lawn in front of the aged wooden door.


A sign warns there’s video surveillance of the rusting hand rail and crumbling steps.
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The entrance to the laundry facilities, thankfully there wasn’t a load of laundry still waiting.
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A broken mirror reflects broken windows


Twelve foot high arching fence, because even the most dangerous patients deserve to see the sun.

Established in 1773 the old brick buildings gave off a sense of contemplative neglect. While the front of property showcases a brand new mental health facility, in the back acres the past lingers with crumbling steps, shattered windows, and broken refuse. Rat traps and a long slithering black snake were the only remaining residents.

A moment after I took this photo of the machinery the black snake sleepily slithered away.

And then there was a building, a place perfect for Night Vale, a curved bubble of white plastic. The only occupied building, hidden in the back, it gave off a quiet hissing noise. You couldn’t see workers, just hear them, voices bleeding through plastic as they talked about chemicals….


Signs told me it’s a pool, but I think I’m going to make it a covert research facility or the site of an alien landing. I’ll definitely add a few ghosts to the place.