Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My night in the Asylum

A while ago, a group of around 10 people and myself decided to explore the Claremont Abandoned Mental Asylum. We gathered at Josh's house in our exploration gear before setting off. Only Josh had a expensive enough camera to be able to take decent pictures in the almost pitch black of the Asylum, but in his flurry to gather protection from crackheads and 'ghosts', he completely forgot to take it with him. Because of this, all we have to show of our visit are a few small phone camera quality pictures, though in their lack of clarity they really help to bring out the eerie atmosphere.

All in all the trip was quite successful, as someone had obviously been there not long before us and left a side window broken wide open. We all clambered in and discussed where to go from there, as no one really felt like taking the first steps down the long black halls.

 The place shouldn't be reffered to as "abandoned", however, as there seemed to be a large number of pigeon nests throughout the entire building. It made me wonder how they found a way out once the regular repairman does his rounds and patches all the windows back up.

Something was quite strange about the pigeons, though. None of us could really put our finger on it, but they all seemed very sedated whilst also on edge. Instead of them fluttering away as we approached, which would be the usual response, they all just twisted their heads in our direction and stared.
It was quite unsettling to turn a corner and just feel hundreds of eyes all staring at you. Even when our brightest torch was shined in their direction, they just stared back at the light, as if challenging it.

I knew that my experience should be expressed in some form of artistic way, though turning our trip into a story had its challenges, as the night itself, other than us each jumping out at each other as pranks, was quite uneventful from a supernatural perspective. The feeling of disappointment did start to sink in as we left the building, not that any of us knew what we were really expecting.

One of the rooms had a strange writing on the wall. It stated "This is our own" and was written in what appeared to be feces, though i'm sure it wasn't, as it didn't smell. This, as well as the pigeons, caused a lot of discussion between group members that night.

As expected, a group of ten or so teenagers in an abandoned building attracted too much attention. We weren't sure if it was the light from the torches shining from the inside of the bordered windows, the overall noise of the many pairs of feet on wood and glass, or the girls' singing... All we know is that we were spotted by neighbors and chased from the scene, who obviously assumed that we were vandals as opposed to artists and photographers. And fair enough, too. Judging from the amount of graffiti and broken bottles, it seems they often have cases of people using the asylum as a hangout, which unfortunately ruins it for people such as us.

Visiting the Asylum with this large group instantly took away from the claustrophobic and uneasy feel of the place, though it also allowed us to fully explore the front building properly without being scared or on edge. I am glad that I went with these people, though now that I have seen the place and know what it beholds, I would like to visit the place again with less people, so that the atmosphere may add to my experience. Next time we go back, of course, I will make sure Josh brings his camera and tripod, too.


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