The Psychopathic Building
In the heart an active hospital center in Maryland, surrounded by neatly mowed lawns and busy roadways, sits the neglected remains of one of it's founders and originators. A boldly cut cornerstone on the face of the weathered building proclaims proclaims it's purpose in no uncertain terms - “Psychopathic Building”. Below that, in the same pronounced print, one finds it's birth date: 1914. Like many buildings hailing from this era of American architecture, the 'Psychopathic Building' radiates character. You simply do not see these kinds of buildings anymore. Obviously, the primary reason for this is due to expense, but we also wonder if perhaps no artisans remain in the modern day who could craft such an edifice. High walls of stone frame a pillared entrance akin to the kind one may see at a grand estate. Outstretched to the left and right lie the wards. All of it is beautiful, and also sadly forgotten... even in the midst of a busy campus.
It was 10am and the day had already reached 103 degrees. This was not something we were particularly thrilled about, and as we walked across the sticky sun-softened pavement toward the building we braced ourselves for what was surely to be an exceptionally warm welcome inside. We were correct. The stone walls, sealed windows, and dark roof of the asylum combined to create what was, in essence, a giant sun-oven. An near-solid wall of unmoving humid air hit us within moments of entering the massive building. After taking a moment to adjust the best we could, we unpacked our equipment and began our work. Almost immediately a kitten appeared, perched and staring from right outside a ground-floor window. As we approached in an attempt to film it, the kitten leapt from its perch and darted out of sight.
We were with company on this day, by way of a local resident and fellow photographer. He informed us that there are many feral cats who now call this old asylum home. As our day wore on we observed more and more signs of a decent-sized cat population. We continuously noted twisting paw-print trails leading down the center almost every hallway and corridor in the facility, clear of dust and debit from heavy use by the cat populace. Another clear sign of the cat population was an upper-floor bathtub which had been turned into a giant litter-box of sorts (It was every bit as majestic as you can imagine). Though we never saw another cat during our three hours inside, we couldn't shake the feeling that they were watching us from some dark corner or long shadow. Just out of eyesight.
Cats aside, the facility was filled with an array of interesting relics left over from the facility's days of being a mental hospital. Wheelchairs abound, many left forgotten in strange and hauntingly picturesque locations. This actually brings us to a good topic regarding the photography of abandoned locations: What is it about lonely chairs that people find so captivating? They are an incredibly popular subject matter, and one we too have found impossible not to film. Is it that they now sit alone and silent in these places which had been full of life? In a strange way, the chairs in this old asylum did seem to be contemplating all the things which they bore witness to throughout their lives... Though perhaps the notion of sentient furniture was just an effect of the severe heat on our minds.
Unlike some old hospital campuses, which can quickly become popular hangouts for kids, or photography fodder for people such as ourselves, this building had an almost complete lack of human presence. Scarcely a footprint was seen on the dust covered floors, nearly every single window was intact, and most amazingly of all - There was a complete lack of spray paint. Cats aside, the only visitor who frequented these halls was time.
The temperature increased with each floor of the building.
This book was rock hard. It almost seemed fossilized.
The sun parlor, as it were around 1920.
Not a terrible lot of sun in the sun parlor nowadays.
The hospital prior to the construction of the West wing.
This is an older video of ours. When watching, you may notice that it has a different "feel" to it than our current-day films. This is because the style of our cinematography has progressed over time, and our equipment has changed and improved throughout the years. We have chosen to leave our older videos available for viewing online to illustrate the evolution of our work.