If I grew up in Suffolk County, specifically in or near the hamlet of Kings Park, I would have made Kings Park Psychiatric Center my stomping grounds.
As much as I love the idea of urban exploration I really don’t venture out enough. In our neighborhood in Queens we had the Hammerstein Mansion, a favorite haunt of Whitestone kids, but that ended in 1995 when a suspicious fire damaged enough of the abandoned Tudor to keep it from being landmarked and developers went ahead and turned the house into condominiums. I bet games of manhunt were epic inside KPPC, just as they were in Hammerstein’s creepy abode.
Established in 1885, Kings Park was a departure from the cruel and neglectful asylums of its day, a self sustaining farm colony intended to relieve the stressful overcrowding of the mental hospitals in the city with a sprawling landscape for patients to tend to animals and agriculture as a form of therapy. A “lunatic farm,” as it was referred to by some asshole, sounds like a low budget slasher I probably wouldn’t watch, but Bryce would.
It reached its resident pinnacle in 1954, with almost 9,300 patients, but the introduction of psychotropic drugs made longterm residencies for the mentally ill unnecessary. I wonder what affect if any, the Willowbrook scandal had on these facilities nationwide. Nine years after Willowbrook shut down, after 111 years of operation, KPPC followed suit in 1996, closing its doors and either releasing or transporting its remaining patients to Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, one of the few remaining mental facilities left in Suffolk.
The area once boasted 150 buildings, some were torn down, leaving the remaining structures abandoned and in disrepair. There are also seven miles of tunnel beneath the hospital. Nothing creepy about that. The Team made a pilgrimage to Kings Park and ignored the signs, trespassers will be prosecuted. SATE, FM, MES, Mikey C, Cevallos, C-GUL, and TRATOR consumed forties of Olde-E and a case of Corona while they explored Building 93. Building 93 was erected in 1939 and housed patients. They even took it upon themselves to help spruce up the place by adding a fresh layer of paint. Complimentary art, if you will. Rumor has it that Cevallos was more afraid of tetanus than apparitions, but all in all, fun was had.
Sadly, I was unable to take part in that expedition. I was away on a family vacation. Though I had visited KPPC once before, a few years back I migrated out east with RAMS and YIKES. Ghost stories and detailed accounts of sightings are bountiful, and it is irrefutable that the atmosphere absolutely feels haunted. If ever there was a place that should be haunted wouldn’t an abandoned insane asylum be the perfect spot? No brainer. While we didn’t enter the more popular Building 93, we sought out a low key building to inspect and snoop around, and still cops rolled passed while we were inside undetected.
The three of us basked in the asbestos, in the unsettling feeling that we were not alone there, allowing the prospect of something supernatural to make the hair on the back of our necks stand at attention. It is undeniably eerie. I can’t quite pinpoint the building number which has caused me some mild frustration. I thought maybe it was the power plant but it doesn’t match the photographs I’ve located online. The building we ventured into was a relic of a lost time, it had a large main room, spacious like a warehouse of sorts, possibly one of the maintenance facilities, but then it also had three floors, and stubby corridors with rows of dilapidated rooms. Those rooms might have once been offices or housed patients, or it could have been operating rooms where they performed shock treatment or lobotomized inmates. I can’t help but think of Randle Patrick McMurphy. Maybe people were tortured there or worse, my mind enjoys wandering, so I let it.
Some people might have spent the bulk of their existence there, tilling soil, hand feeding animals, assisting in any number of day to day operations only for it all to be forsaken and fade into obscurity. How easily we can toss things aside and forget they were ever there in the first place. The deserted machinery, the discarded furniture and all the random objects that were cast aside, once mattered to someone, once had purpose and function, but now, worthless.
We stumbled into an austere room that was tucked away, filled to the knees with balls, bounce balls of various sizes, tennis balls, handballs, etc. A room full of shunned playthings for children. Not creepy at all. Who gathered them? Who decided that this was the right room to store them all? It seemed like a punishment.
We had a great time wandering around the building, whatever fucking building it was, and I loved the experience. I often bug the Team in the chat about returning, It is a mission for some of us, but I’m sure it will happen at some juncture. While I might not subscribe wholly I’m a sucker for paranormal shit, aliens, true crime, you name in, I want to know. Tell me a story. I snobbishly love horror movies and I appreciate a good scare, and visiting a place like KPPC is pretty close to feeling like you’re starring in one, if you’re willing to give it agency. I want to see something that I can’t explain. Maybe next time.
I’d love to hear anyone else’s experience at KPPC or any other spooky abandoned location, tell me anything you experienced that would be difficult for a rational mind to believe. I’m all ears.