English 100 ****
12 November 2001
Word count: 1087
This past summer, a few friends and I went to an abandoned insane asylum. I originally heard about it from my then-girlfriend. She heard about it from a friend that watched a video-tape of her friend's trip there. One day in May, we decided to go check it out. We were told that if you sign a waiver saying if anything happened to you it was not the owner's responsibility, you could go anywhere on the property.
The night before we went I stayed up and did some research. I found out, after hours of searching with the wrong spelling, that it was called Western Pennsylvania Asylum for the Insane at Dixmont. There were various other names that it had, but that was the original and most common. It was built around 1862 and named after Dorothea Dix, the woman that funded it. At first there was only the asylum, but there ended up being several buildings including nursing schools that covered 406 acres. As of 1998 there were 26 buildings still standing.
When we (my girlfriend and I) first got there, we went to the caretaker's house. The guy that was there looked like he should have been locked up in the asylum. We asked him if he thought it was haunted (we had heard it was) and he said he went up there once at night and would never do it again. But, we signed the waivers and went on our way. About fifty feet up the road was the morgue. It was a red brick building with chains on the doors and boards on the inside of the windows, which were almost all broken. We continued up the path to the main asylum. We made our way through the overgrown shrubbery to an open door that we found. There was broken glass all around the outside of the buildings from the windows being knocked out. Just before entering the building, we heard what sounded like a faint scream coming from the one of the upper floors. It was a long, drawn out scream that sounded like a man in pain. Now, a little nervous, we entered the building. We walked through the doorway cautiously. The air was very thick with a dusty smell. You could also smell smoke from when the building caught fire a few years ago. It looked as though nobody had been there since then. In the first hallway, all of the doors looked new. Most of them had stickers on them with the date they were installed. They all had been installed in 1984, the year it had closed. The springs on most of the doors still worked. After a few minutes, I had heard something off in the distance. After listening a little closer, it sounded like it was a music box or a wind-chime. My girlfriend thought that I was just trying to scare her. I insisted that I had really heard it. After that it stopped and I could not prove it. We continued through the hallway looking through every room. We found a room with what we guessed were doctor's mailboxes; there were shelves on the wall with names engraved on little metal pieces. There was no mail however. We found a set of stairs, but we didn't have any flashlights to go through the dark so we only stayed on the first floor. After this was the middle section, the part that had caught fire. We did not realize that we had walked through it until after we left the building and walked around the outside. As we walked through, I heard the music box again; it was closer this time. My girlfriend heard it this time as well. She apologized for her previous accusation as we decided to look for it. We looked in every room on both sides of the hall on the way down. As we approached the end of the hall, the music got louder. We had checked all of the rooms except one. We walked up to the door. As I opened it, the music stopped. The room was completely empty. There was no music box, no speakers for it to have been a prank, nothing. While we were looking in the room, the door to the non-burned section that was left open had slammed shut on it's own. We started to hear some other doors shutting. We ran through the room to the window. We looked down to the ground. It was only about a two foot drop, so we jumped. After this visit, we concluded that there was something going on there, but were not sure if it was just a hoax set up by the caretaker. But, we think that it is haunted.
A few months later, I went again with my friends Ken and Regis at night. This time we went prepared. We bought three heavy-duty, water-proof flashlights. We all wore heavy-duty boots and carried extra flashlights as well as various weapons, "just in case." We searched the basement this time. We found a set that the boards blocking the steps down. I had heard from my girlfreind that her freind's friend found chains on the wall of the basement that were used for toruring patients. We didn't find anything like that. We did find a storage room. It contained some Christmas decorations, including a tree, and some ole nurses' log books. We looked through some of the log books. I found one that had patients' names and the possessions they had upon checking in. Ken found one that had patients' medications. He later told me that he found one entry saying that they accidentally gave one patient a double dose of his medicine and he died from an overdose. We found a few spots with circles of candles that looked like somebody was trying to contact some spirits, or something like that. We decided to leave after about half an hour because we were all getting claustrophobic. The cieling was only about 5 feet high and there were pipes hanging down in some spots making it smaller. The walls were about three to foor feet apart. Other than a few old chairs here and there, we didn't really find anything interesting while down there. If I could spend more that just an hour or two there, I might be able to find evidence of it being haunted, but until then I'm pretty sure that it is haunted.
I lost the sources that I used, they are all internet sources that will be posted a.s.a.p.
Not a source, but it is a death record from the old assylum
The Shadowlands - also not a source, but go anyway