Thursday, June 25, 2009

Welcome to your new condo--complete with shock treatment

The Cemetary of the Danvers Hospital for the Criminally Insane | Atlas Obscura
Danvers State Hospital for the Criminally Insane opened in 1878 to serve some 600 mental patients under its imposing gothic spires. While it was built with a surprisingly caring and modern attitude toward the mentally ill, by the 1930's the site was crowded, falling into disrepair, and was using shock therapies and lobotomies on a regular basis. The addition of criminals, alcoholics, and the mentally retarded to the overcrowded hospital made it very difficult for the hospital to help cure any of its mental patients. The hospital was shut down in 1992.
The building, with its gothic style and series of underground tunnels, inspired H. P. Lovecraft's Arkham Sanitarium, in turn inspiring Batman's Arkham Asylum. Besides the horror of H.P. Lovecraft there is yet another more modern horror story here. As of 2007 the beautiful, if decaying, building was mostly torn down and turned into a bright and shiny condominium. "Avalon Communities" is complete with swimming pool and nary a reference to the sites fascinating past. While, thankfully, some of the facade remains the rest of the beautiful building has been replaced with chinsey condos, elliptical machines and ikea furniture. That would have scared even H.P. Lovecraft. However there is one piece of the former insane asylum that still exists; it's cemetery.

Reminds me of Poltergeist.

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