Photo Essay

Abandoned in NJ

NJ State Lunatic Asylum

Abandoned locations have been a huge interest of mine forever, but no more so than when I went to see the abandoned New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum in Morris Plains, NJ. I was a bit scared by the whole thing. Not because I thought it was haunted, but basically because all the other photographers and visitors had said how watched this area was and that they will arrest you for trespassing on the property. However, I convinced my husband to go adventuring with me .

At the end of its service, it was called the Greystone Psychiatric Center and even after seeing this place on TV (it was the location they used on "House" when Wilson dropped him off at the psych hospital) you can't be prepared for how massive the main structure is and the surrounding buildings that made this its own little zip code with their own post office. According to what was written about it when it opened in 1876, it was built to hold about 600 patients, yet after a few years of overcrowding, in 1914 it had over 2,000 patients. Even decayed and crumbling, this place is beautiful and it makes me very sad to think that it's too huge and costly to renovate and maintain, and too expensive to tear down. So it sits here and crumbles more day by day. It's also not one of a kind unfortunately. Many of the old insane asylums across the country sit crumbling and abandoned.

It's also amazing once you get inside, that when it was abandoned back in 2005, it seems they just got up and walked out and left everything there. All the furniture, office desks, bookshelves, computers, printers, phones, file cabinets.. certain files. It's all still there, it's all been smashed and strewn about by vandals.. but all still there. Old record players, smashed albums, smashed tvs, even all the huge kitchen equipment. It's very creepy to walk around and see all that was left behind.

Another strange thing is that for a Saturday afternoon, the lights were still on sporadically around the complex. Most all the windows in the entire huge complex were broken out. Probably why the peeling paint walls are so dramatic. All the bottom floor windows are boarded up with "no-trespassing" signs, which makes the bottom floor very dark in unlit locations, and very creepy walking around.

My husband got a bit creeped out on the second floor and decided to return to the car. I went on myself down the very long second floor hallway... just snapping away. Then I heard a door open and close far behind me. I thought my husband had returned, but he wasn't there and looking out the window to the back, I could see him outside by the car far down the back lane. So I was a bit creeped out! Then I heard a stall door in the bathroom open and close.. and being determined not to be scared even though the hair was now standing up on my arms... I walked back down the hall, looked in the bathroom, saw nothing, but took pictures anyway. Then exited the building as soon as I could.

One of these days when I'm better equipped (flash lights, face masks, an interior map, etc.) I'm going back to find those rooms I was specifically looking for. Hopefully I can do this before its deteriorated beyond being safe.

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3 responses

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh   said (2 Apr 2012):

    Very nice, voted.

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (5 Apr 2012):

    really nice!!!vote

  • Kelly Nichols

    Kelly Nichols   gave props (20 Sep 2012):

    I, too, love abandoned places. The speak of so many past lives and experiences. Some are truly gems. I'd love to explore this place. Great story and photos.

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