Recently two of us went on an early morning adventure with the intent of snapping a few pics and quickly leaving two hours later. As we pulled onto the property the fog still lingered around the buildings and deer were walking around undisturbed. Everything laid silent as the sun just began to rise above the tree line. Our original plans were quickly changed as we gazed upon one of the buildings we hadn't yet explored laying in wait; a building that years ago housed the patients that were classified as "violent."
Adrenaline always fills my veins when I approach a new building searching for an entrance. Once we maneuvered through the overgrown bushes and vines to climb inside, and after grabbing our headlamps from our bags, the only sounds to be heard for quite some time were our quiet footsteps and the shutter of our cameras. In these moments the walls almost seem to speak as I slowly step down the halls shining my lamp into their dark corners.
What have these walls seen over the years? The lead paint now chipping and curling away from time and exposure proves how long it's been since operation. Twenty years of abandonment after decades of questionable medical practices and abuse are now represented here in the decay. The dark history feels almost like a weight on our shoulders, but amidst it all, I can't help myself from finding these forgotten places to be beautiful.
My companion that day once wrote these words:
"Some see beauty in the decay, a symbol of the suffering of those patients who walked these halls. They find a poetry and perhaps justice in the internal deterioration. It is beautiful because it is not manufactured or produced, it is real, it is raw, and it is true. It is their human experience glimpsed through the decades of abandonment."
When left alone for so long and spared from vandalism or demolition, time takes its toll on these buildings in a uniquely intricate way, and it causes me to wonder at its very existence. As explorers we seek after these places that have gone untouched like they are treasure because it is all too common to find graffiti and destruction taking form. The true heart and soul still lies beneath however, and with the time we still have left, I urge the adventurous to join with us in preserving this beautiful decay.