It was impossible to tell when my friend Chris and I actually stepped onto the grounds of the vacant Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital. We had parked about a half mile from the campus, but almost the entire district we passed through was also abandoned. People still lined up at a bus stop and the roads were filled, but the industrial brick structures were all boarded up — a populated ghost town. We walked deeper into the industrial wasteland until we found a sign informing us that, yes, we were on the hospital campus. More than 100 structures existed before the hospital started being demolished, and many of them were still intact. We found a door that had been graciously left ajar on the first building we passed and shoved our way in. This part of the campus hadn’t been abandoned until 2008 when the hospital permanently closed, so it was at least structurally intact, but the large rooms we passed through had been completely stripped bare. The only things in them were water fountains that had been ripped out of the walls. People had liberally marked the rooms with graffiti of varying quality, including someone who was a massive Odd Future fan. The four-story stairwells were caged in, presumably to keep patients from throwing themselves down them. Most of the dozens of buildings still standing were inaccessible. It was beginning to rain, and we hopped from building to boarded-up building, trying to find open doors. The turning point came when we came upon a pair of boltcutters some other adventurer had probably jettisoned. They weren’t the most innocuous thing to be carrying in public, so we either stuffed them in our pants when between buildings, or, as time got tight, just ran with them. We finally came upon one of the older buildings that had been abandoned long before the hospital had completely closed. Chris acted as a lookout as the boltcutters made quick work of the chains holding a 25-foot gate shut. We trotted in, glancing around nervously. There were half a dozen vehicles strewn within the gate, some some with their their license plates removed. We got into the building’s horrifying basement, which was pitch-black and inexplicably covered with several inches of mud. We made it up a staircase to the ground floor, which featured a real-life actual coffin, though we found after close examination that it was unused. Chris had to be back for a show in the city, so we ran back to the car, still lugging the bolt-cutters.
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