*Photos by a lean and mean abbreviated Stooge crew, CaptJack and arntzville*
This place sounded like it was right in our wheelhouse, a largely active campus with some abandoned tidbits, enabling us to effect an air of utmost innocence until darting suddenly into an overgrown area and infiltrating a bewwdin. So, imagine our surprise when we pulled into the parking lot where we intended to blend into the vehicles with legitimate business, only to find it completely barren of cars (maybe they've closed the whole main building already?)... we cruised back up the hill to a fully active facility, parked, and endured a somewhat nerve-racking 2 minute walk down to the gate in the empty parking lot leading to the brambles concealing the entrances.
The whole place was deadly quiet, and the supposedly active building next door seemed to be deserted, at least today, so we did our thing, made our way in, and commented extensively on the picturesque wealth of springtime blossoms enveloping the place.
Once inside, we found ourselves in a cool ass lab room, with lots of cool shit to check out. We talked amongst ourselves for a few minutes.
All of a sudden I heard a voice. A wicked close voice, like within 25 feet (or so I thought), obviously within hearing range. The Captain had moved into a small room to explore, and I rushed to go and tell him. As I stepped into the room where he was, I crushed a glass test tube under my boot with a resounding CHINNNNKKKK!!! We hushed up good for a few minutes and heard nothing, and our best guess was that our noise had scared off some weakling n00b explorer(s); if the voice had been security-related, it would have been followed up with more authoritative noises. So we carried on.
The Captain stumbled upon the morgue/autopsy room just as we were headed upstairs, and it was a really good one. No tags or vandalism, very basic no-frills one drawer cooler and autopsy table. Even the head rest was just a flimsy piece of metal.
We moved up to the second floor and got a better feel for the layout of the building. Basically it is a super narrow building with a windowed corridor on one side and a bunch of patient rooms on the other, all with double doors opening onto airy porches with blossoming trees everywhere you look. This was a TB ward, and so there was a lot of glass, a lot of light, a lot of fresh air. Now there was also a lot of overgrowth and decay.
Normally the Stooges thrive on grey, dismal, drizzly days where no one is looking out the window, but I really think that we hit this place on the best possible day of the year. The blossoms on the trees and vines were almost garishly vibrant. I don't think I've ever experienced such a peaceful, happy abandoned building as this one on this day.
Back inside, this place kicked all kinds of ass as far as there being all kinds of shit left behind and heavily decayed.
As I was taking one of the above shots of the blossoms outside the porch windows, I heard voices again, and looked over at the supposedly active bewwdin next door and saw a pickup truck and a golf cart pulled up to a rear entrance, within earshot. A couple of guys were talking, and one was saying how it had almost sounded like someone was walking around in the abandoned building. I let the Captain know what I'd heard, and we endeavored to step quietly for a while, which wasn't too hard since much of the wall plaster was now forming a soft cushion underfoot. A few minutes later I overheard the same guy telling someone else that he'd been in the abandoned building "plenty of times." I jogged as quietly as I could to opposite end of the floor and told the Captain that these guys might be coming inside. Since they were clearly not security, we weren't super concerned, but we hung out in a closet for 5-10 minutes to see if we heard anyone approaching. We did not.
About ten minutes later, I walked out of a room into the corridor, and immediately found myself less than 6 feet from three guys who had just (SILENTLY!) come up the stairs. The closest one to me literally jumped about a foot in the air. He was holding a stout stick about 4 feet long. The guy behind him had a baseball bat, and the last guy, much younger than the other two, had one of those lunchbox-sized plastic flashlights. Apparently the reason that it had taken them so long to come inside was that they had started picking their way through the honeysuckle briars and come within about 20' of a black bear, upon which they retreated and armed themselves before starting back in. They were basically cool and didn't really give a crap about us being there (CaptJack gave them his standard schtick about being with a historical research group, which I swear I could not do with a straight face), and so we basically shot the shit for a few minutes before they left and said they'd never seen us, which sounded good to us. The younger guy said that this building had been closed since 1972, forty years!
After they left, we explored at bit more at ease... lots of good shit to see.
13. Willa Mae