Sunday, October 17, 2010

A violent and frightening past...

This is a continuation of my blog posted over at the Wild Rose's Behind the Garden Gate blog. Please hop on over and check it out.

To me as a child growing up, insane people were the most frightening of all. One, because they are REAL. Other reasons are plain to understand. Most of the stories we hear growing up are about the crazies, whether real or fictional. People like Lizzie Borden, Michael from the Halloween series of movies, Freddie-Nightmare on Elm Street and many others. You get the picture.

I remember my mother talking about my great grandfather as a child whom now I understand had dementia but as a child her stories of him were fodder for childhood nightmares. He lived with us and she would tell stories of waking with him standing over her in the night just staring at her. At such a young and impressionable age you can imagine the images I had conjured up in my very over-imaginative mind! At the time, there was a song they used to play on the radio that went something like: They're coming to take me away! Ha! ha! they're coming to take me away, to the funny farm where life is happy all the time. They're coming to take me away, ha! ha!

Funny, after all these years, I remember those verses. We used to laugh at that song but deep inside the thought of crazy people with axes scared the bejeebers out of me.

As a teenager and once I aquired my driver's license my main activity was to go to scarey and what we considered haunted places. Places like Byberry outside of Philadelphia which was an old abandoned asylum, the Wharton track in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey--home of the esteemed Jersey Devil/Thirteenth Son. Or just into the darkened wooded roads of my home state and stare into the eerie night.

I recently followed some history on the very places I'd haunted myself as a kid and I have to tell you the reality of these places is horrifying but not in a paranormal sense of the word. These poor sick individuals were treated brutally. No wonder their souls continue to wander the cruel grounds of such barbaric landmarks and hallway.

I remember a movie I watched as a teenager called The Shuttered Room. It was the tale of twin sisters, one of which was kept in an attic her hole life because she was deemed crazy and uncontrollable. The normal twin comes home years later with her fiance and discovers after much buildup this poor soul who she never knew existed. She is able to get through to this poor soul and thus a HEA. Let me tell you aside the wonderfully gothic imagery that movie has as well stuck with me all these years in a frightening sort of way. Funny how something that is technically a medical disorder has ruled the paranormal imagination and created such fright through the years in movies, stories, images, etc.

Here's a clip of an episode of "Ghost Hunters" that I watched about an asylum located right in my home state of New Jersey. A place I know well. Enjoy!
Happy Halloween and a Blessed Samhaim



  1. My brother and I sang that same funny farm song to my grandmother when we were kids because she acted like such a goof sometimes. In a good way, though. She's also the one who got me interested in ghosts and the paranormal.

    Those asylum's are really creepy and it's sad to think what those people went through during life. It's no wonder the places are haunted!

  2. Hello, Tricia. LOL I had one of those grandmothers too. Sort of kooky and loved her to death! Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting


  3. Super post, Callie! There's no doubt in my mind that many insane asylums still harbour more than their fair share of tormented spirits. Can you even imagine what those poor people went through, especially in a day and age where mental illness was less understood and treated so...severely?


  4. Yes, Sky! I so agree. I've always been interested in the workings of the human brain. It is so amazing to imagine what can go so terribly wrong. The care for the insane was short of torture years ago. I can only pray for all those misunderstood souls and hope that someday they find peace.


  5. Boo!

    Been a while. Just wanted to say I enjoyed your post tremendously. Asylums are probably the closest thing to the gateway between earth and hell. The tragic life those people lived... and then relived.
    As odd as it sounds to this day, I really don't believe much has improved in institutions. May not be as horrid as the days Willow Brook was run, but with the lack of nurses and patient care, insurance running the show, things get missed, people get missed. Look at the state of nursing homes. People who are still able to voice their needs and yet go unheard...
    I'm in a mood. Sorry. I'll stop. Anyway...
    there's a graveyard in Troy NY we're going to visit next week. Supposed to be one of the top haunting spots in the country...
    Happy Samhain to you. I promise not to be so invisble in the future.

  6. Here's what I found on the web if you're interested. I'll let ya know if we get spooked or not next week. Or if I end up haunting anyone in the everafter....

    Forest Park cemetery (also known as Pinewood Cemetery is known to be in the top ten haunted cemeteries in the country. It is an old deserted cemetery no new bodies have been buried there for many years. Many ghosts have been sighted there, photos of strange things have also been taken and published in the local newspapers. A renowned psychic says the cemetery was build on an Indian burial ground, and the spiritual activity is very turbulent and malicious.

  7. Whoa! Jacke, seems like quite a night and something I'd love to do along with you. I love getting the old adrenilin(sp) going. Hmmm...thanks for commenting and have a very happy and successful haunting season.


  8. Thank you for the insightful post, Callie. I do think insanity is terrifying. I also think mentally ill people have been treated terribly since the dawn of time. Have a blessed Samhaim.