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.
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,