An abandoned medical institution, compared to a normal abandoned house introduces an entirely different level of curiosity and intrigue to the hobby of Urban Exploration and photography. While the abandoned house is small with two-three floors and a handful of rooms -- medical hospitals, mental asylums and tuberculosis sanatoriums are vast. Built with multiple wings, several buildings, dark creepy basements and usually at least three stories of rooms to explore.
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Peppered all over the United States and Europe and a few in Canada are decaying and forgotten insane asylums, full of a history and secrets that many would prefer remain within the basements and padded rooms. Hospitals built back in an age where seemingly no expense was spared on details and architecture, grand staircases, tall pillars that grace the façade, large and spacious balconies attached to each room from a time when it was determined that rest, fresh air, good nutrition and isolation was the cure to tuberculosis.
There are also deep and dark secrets to be found, a morgue in an insane asylum in the USA that would have processed the bodies of the 25,000 plus patients who died during its time. More than half of the 50,000 patients admitted to the hospital would be buried in unnamed graves, marked only by a number. Some 25,000 patients who arrived with their suitcases full of their possessions and belongings -- suitcases that would end up forgotten over time, only to be found decades later in an attic where they were left.
In this asylum slouching floors, crumbling ceilings and heavy medical equipment have fallen from the second floor down to the first floor and soon to fall into the basement -- one must use extreme caution while navigating the rooms.
Inside this asylum sits a beauty salon for her patients, like a spa getaway to break up the monotony of life within the walls of this institution.
Many other haunting reminders of the life inside of an asylum can be found while exploring the hallways and rooms.
In a small town in the north eastern USA sits a former tuberculosis hospital, opened in 1912 and closed in 1995. Long waiting to be restored by the local committee determined to preserve this large historic landmark. This property jumps right out at you as you drive past through the sleepy town, its large pillars and terracotta roof gradually crumbling with time and the elements. The inside of these buildings, while hidden from the outside elements have succumbed to the elements inside. Water damage, mould, heat and humidity has peeled every later of paint, smashed floor tiles, holes in every wall, almost every window smashed -- it will cost millions to preserve this place.
The highlight of the visit to this location is what seems to have been a cafeteria area. The room is domed and capped with a gorgeous stained glass oculus, rumoured to have been salvaged from its former location where a US president had been assassinated.
Also in the North East sits a large and gothic looking castle-type structure, hidden up in the hills accessible by a long and winding road that the patients would have driven up years ago on their way to be treated. In its day, it would have been an incredible site, now it sits like a bruise on the valley in which it stands. Crumbling more and more with each day, fire and decay have claimed each wing on its ends; the mid-back brick walls have completely crumbled, exposing a massive wound exposing the main lobby and staircase. Every item inside has been removed and fires have torched the basement. A thick layer of years upon years of dust coat every floor and every step.
On each end of the building, the walls are gradually pulling away from the main building, eventually to join the other wings on the ground. Few items remain that show a subtle reminder of those who were treated here. In the basement sits a tub that the patient would sit inside and only their head would be exposed, in one room on the second floor sits a bed frame and in some of the rooms there are still curtains and blinds.
The roof, which was once a vast spa complete with exercise area and a pool, is now overcome by natural growth, weeds that have crawled their way up the brick and tiles. Walking on the roof requires careful navigation as at any time it could give way, dropping me down to the fifth floor.
As with abandoned houses, every derelict hospital, institution and asylum has a story. A look through whatever paper work is still onsite reveal names, ages and reasons for admission. Gracing the doors of the rooms at the top floor of an abandoned Canadian hospital are the names of the last patients to have rested there. This Canadian Tuberculosis hospital, with it's three wings and five levels of rooms sits on 70-plus acres of land on shoreline property. Opened in the late 1800s and closed in the mid '90s, the site served many purposes. It is now a prime location for playing cat and mouse with the security who guards it and the provincial police who use it for training.
Walking the decaying hallways of an abandoned hospital and even more in an abandoned asylum, gave me a raw and very real perspective of psychological and medical treatment. A fluctuating realm of emotions from chills and awe, to an overwhelming feeling of sadness has given me a new fascination to learn, explore and share these kinds of facilities further...
More great abandoned photos by Freaktography