Dead Inside - Preakness Healthcare Center
Our first visit to this location did not start out unlike many of our other excursions. Things tend to be a bit trickier for us in the winter months, as it is with any activity that takes place in the outdoors. Luckily we had the assistance of a friend on this journey, by way of Vacant New Jersey. His familiarity with the grounds and building made our time there that much easier, and we were able to make our way inside without much of a hitch. We had been told the day prior that the location we were setting out to had come to suffer from pretty severe water damage. This is typical of most abandoned locations, especially those with big flat roofs such as the one on this building, so we assumed that we would simply have to watch our footing during our stay, and being as it was below freezing the night prior, to keep an eye out for ice patches.
In an attempt to make the most of the situation we decided to document the location through photography on the current trip, and to return in the near-future to focus on filming the video. The thought of a return trip did not sit well, as the place only became more damp, pungent, and dark the further we ventured into it's decayed anatomy. This was not one of those abandoned locations that people hope to one day revisit, or even think a photo of which would look good framed on the wall above the mantel. This is the kind of place that wakes you up at 3am in a cold sweat, or calls you late at night and breaths heavily into the phone until you get freaked out and hang up.
By the blessing of some higher power we lived through our trip though, and upon exiting all we wished for was to bask in the sunlight and fresh air. The hike back to the Jeep was a pleasure, though on any other day we may have been complaining about the cold or the steep inclines, on this day any activity taking place outside those walls were a gift. A heaviness hung in our chests for a few days after our trip -A real, physical, discomfort that very slowly went away. We chalked this up to being shut in with untold species of mold and mildew for several hours. Between wheezes we vowed that when we returned it would be with proper respirators.
The inevitable day finally came, and we once again found ourselves on our way to the old hospital. This time we were being dropped off on the property by a good friend, thus eliminating a lot of hiking, and making the trip a little less painful. We knew what to expect this time, and we were prepared. We even brought along those respirators we swore to never travel without ever again... or at least we would have, had we not forgotten them back in the Jeep that was now some several township lines away. Due to censorship reasons I will not transcribe exactly what was said when we realized this fact. Suffice to say we were upset... but we were able to eventually put that aside and got to work.
After several months the infection did indeed go away, but it was a slow and painful process, with the unpleasant bonus of sometimes waking up with dried blood upon my face and pillow. Additionally, after the initial infection cleared up, I was left with post-traumatic tissue on the lower eyelid, which often caused my vision to fuzz over, and is a real hindrance when using a camera, or just dealing with daily life for that matter. It too eventually went away on its own, but all-told my eye was in bad shape for roughly 8 months.
On a short serious note – Though the tone of this writing may have been a lighthearted, mold spores present a very real and serious danger to people, even the most healthy of us. In some instances they can even be fatal. Honestly, Christina and I are very lucky to have walked away from such a place as well off as we did.
Idealistic murals decorated several security doors.
The peeled paint bore an unsettling resemblance to dead flesh.
The salon in less moldy times...