January 22, 2017

The REAL Arkham Asylum, Or An Afternoon At The Danvers State Hospital For The Criminally Insane



Editor's Note: You probably expected a recap of Lifetime's remake of the classic movie "Beaches." Unfortunately, that will not be featured on my blog. I know, I KNOW. But, BUT, I could not stomach a remake of this film and, furthermore, it is my mom and my absolute favorite movie of all time to watch together. Since I am far away from mom, seeing our movie turned into a pile of absolute donkey dingleberries would make me incredibly sad. And who wants a sad Mili Wifey? Right. Let's press on.

On Sunday, I decided to find something for Military Husband and I to do around Boston that would be fun. You know, to really celebrate Sunday Funday. There are SO many options to choose from, but I decided to find something that would be totally free and completely scary as hell spooky. 

Friends, terrifying is to Mili Wifey like ratchetosity is to Love and Hip Hop Atlanta.

Grab a sippy cup of your favorite booze.
#letsbebesties

But truly, I digress.

After a little research a la Google, the window to this modern world, I discovered The Danvers State Hospital For The Criminally Insane in Danvers, Massachusetts. Built in 1874, it is rumored to be the birthplace of the frontal lobotomy. It was originally opened in 1878 as a place for modern treatment of the mentally ill, but quickly became overcrowded, full of alcoholics and the mentally disabled. Treatment of the patients demised into shock therapy and lobotomies. 

The Gothic architectural structure sits on Hathorne Hill in Danvers like a haunted castle out of a movie.


That is, what is left of the asylum. The property was sold to a real estate company in 2005 (with protest from many) and turned into an apartment and condominium community known as Avalon Communities. All that remains is the Kirkbride Building, a memorial and a graveyard. 

The building, incidentally, inspired H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham Sanitarium which was the inspiration for Batman's Arkham Asylum. The building itself was constructed with two staggered wings to resemble a giant flying bat and what remains standing today is the head of the bat. Get it, Batbrain?

Military Husband loves Batman and when I told him of the building he immediately wanted to travel to Danvers to see it for himself.

Arkham Asylum (from the Batman comics and game):




The REAL Arkham Asylum:

"When you take an insane person to the asylum, 
you're just taking him home. The very place he knows best." ~ The Joker

When we drove up and saw the structure, it was quite haunting. Just a bit down the road, to the right of the building, is a small "memorial" dedicated to the asylum.


Nothing much to see here! Sadly, this historical site really has been destroyed by the development. 

Military Husband and I walked a little further to find the graveyard of, well, the lunatics. Apparently, part of the deal when the property was purchased was to maintain the cemetery. We walked down a rocky path and first saw a small field that was pretty foreboding.


Up ahead was the entrance to the graveyard.


"The Echos They Left Behind." Chilling, right? One can only imagine the screams that resounded in that building, or in the underground tunnels (one of which still stands today).

The graves of the insane were simply marked by numbers, and researchers located the names of many, but not all, and placed markers on the graves. There are stones indicating the names of those they discovered buried in the graveyard.


The most famous patient, Marie Rose Balter, has a special memorial. She was a patient who later became a staff member and there is a movie about her life titled Nobody's Child.


The horror movie Session 9 was also filmed here. Mary Hobbes, a patient, was buried in 444, in the film.


And here are some unused tombstones and such that are just eerily hanging out in the graveyard.


After walking around for a little while, Military Husband and I headed back to our truck, the famed "Nick Fury Mobile." And on the way back, I SWEAR I heard a voice moaning. #chillsupmyspine

If you are ever in Massachusetts, I highly recommend a road trip to see this site. It was definitely a little on the spooky side, but mostly just sad. I really wish this had been declared a historic piece of land and not been developed into an apartment community. Such a shame!

How to find the graveyard if you travel to The Danvers State Hospital:

Face the Kirkbride building and the memorial is on your right (down the sidewalk/down the little road). Once at the memorial, head past the memorial to the right and look for a small rocky trail just as the apartments end and the condominiums begin. Follow that trail until you see a small field on your left. The entrance will be ahead straight ahead following the path (you will see the pillar marking the entrance).

Have you ever been to the Danvers State Hospital? Have you ever been to an abandoned asylum? Have you ever been anywhere haunted? Let me know where you've been that is haunted and creepy in the comments below!

Mr. J is in control of the asylum, and you aren't going anywhere B-Man because I am,


41 comments:

  1. Oh that's weird that it's turned in apartments... Umm, I don't think I'd want to live there! Yes, they should have preserved it and made it into escape rooms. HA JK

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    1. That would be so fun! Haha
      And yeah, I've read online a lot of ghost stories there. It's so funny....or it's not...that graveyard had the strangest smell. Made me very uneasy!

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  2. Creepy! When we lived in Louisville, there is a famous asylum but I was always too scared to go.

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  3. Oooh. Gives me goosebumps. And somehow reminds me of Sucker Punch.

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  4. NOPE. Do people actually live there?!

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    1. Oh yeah! Place was packed with residents!

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  5. Who in their right mind would live in a place like this?! NO MA'AM. Pretty fun idea for a day trip though! Good thinking!

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  6. Oh wow!!!!! This is awesome!!!!! Kyle and I love places like this. What an interesting trip.

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    1. We do too!! It's so fun to get outside and do something too.

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  7. I would not want to rent an apartment in a former asylum. Those spirits are not only cray-cray but I imagine they are pretty pissed off! #JustSayNo ☺

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    1. I feel sorry for the families of the people who were once there. There were golf balls all in the graveyard as if someone had been hitting them off their balcony. So disrespectful! But again, it should not have been sold to a developer.

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  8. I ain't afraid of no ghosts

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  9. That architecture is stunning - I agree, too bad it got turned into apartments. I love to visit places like this. Our last house was haunted, but she was a friendly ghost. I need to tell that story sometime.

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    1. Please do!! We should do a ghost story collab! I grew up in a haunted house!

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    2. Let's do it! We can tell our stories and link to each other!

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    3. Email me, militarywifeandpuglife@yahoo.com
      We can figure something out for next month maybe? :)

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  10. This is TOOO cool!! I agree about the architecture, and love the way DC took the best details.
    Going on a gloomy day must have been great!

    It amazes me that it was developed into Apts...so very wrong!

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  11. I want to go. Actually I want to just rent an apartment and move in. I love haunted shit. The cemetery with just the numbers truly breaks my heart for these people who stopped being treated as people. My grandma had many stays at the mental hospital here. I applied for a job there but when I got it I just couldn't do it. It made me anxious. Anyway she had electroshock several times. No lobotomy though. Her diagnosis was Bipolar and anxiety. All things that can be treated with medication. It probably didn't help she had an alcoholic for a husband (loved papaw but when he was drinking he was a handful) and 3 very bratty kids.

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    1. I know! And people have been knocking golf balls into the cemetery. SO disrespectful. Hope they get haunted!
      I would live there too. But Military Husband is like nahhhh lol.

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  12. I love going to places like this. Me & my BFF used to go to old cemeteries because we loved all the really old gravestones.

    I can't believe they turned it into apartments. Who would want to live there?

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  13. What a tragically fascinating place.

    I could have SWORN TAPS went there once on Ghosthunters, but I just looked through all the episodes because I'm a nerd like that and apparently they didn't. I must be confusing it with one of their Waverly Hills visits.

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    1. Yeah I think the inside is just a boring apt complex now! I'd like to see the remaining tunnel though...

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  14. Wow that looks amazing. Asylums and old prisons make the best supernatural sites, shame no one had the forethought to preserve it.

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  15. This seems so scary! How are you liking your new home? Adjusting well?

    God bless,
    XO, Claire
    Http://www.littlemissfashionqueen.com

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    1. Love it girl!! Wish I lived closer to you tho!!

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  16. Oh wow, how creepy! I would LOVE to visit someplace like this. I like to scare myself. Plus I love Batman.

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    1. You would totally love it!! I know you love Batman!!

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  17. I used to love Batman and all this history is so fascinating! Also, I almost died at "terrifying is to Mili Wifey like ratchetosity is to Love and Hip Hop Atlanta" lmaooo, hilariious :D

    - Mwahaki xxx

    Mwahaki King
    It's a King Thing || www.itisakingthing.com

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    1. You gotta take a drive up there! It's super cool to see.
      Hahahaha they go hand in hand!!!!

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  18. That would be an interesting graveyard to visit! I find that kind of stuff fascinating. It is, indeed, sad that most of it got turned into modern development.

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  19. On Sunday, I decided to find something for Military Husband and I to do around Boston that would be fun.Kensington Greece

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