On This Day in Freaktography History – St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital April 4th 2014
On this day 5 years ago I set off on a road trip with St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital in my sights. Two weeks earlier I was able to enter one small maintenance outbuilding, but that was all.
This time, accompanied by another explorer darkophoto.com we set out to see a few houses first along the way and then hoped to find more success at the big old Psych hospital in St Thomas.
After exploring one old farmhouse we made our way to St Thomas and I found the same door I used 2 weeks prior to be still open, but this time the access gates to the tunnels was OPEN!
In total surprise we made our way down the ramp and into the tunnels.
On our way inside, I noticed that there was a truck parked at the power building, an observation that would come in handy soon!
We roamed the tunnels and navigated stairwells, hallways, common rooms….to our knowledge we were the first explorers to see the inside of this institution and explore it, this was all new territory, we had no reference, no idea what we would find and our photos would be the first of many to come over the years.
Totally lost and having no idea where we were within the massive institution, we were beside ourselves with excitement to be inside and to have finally met each-other, we got a bit too comfortable and as we were walking and laughing through the tunnels we crossed paths with an older man who immediately stopped when he spotted us, he grabbed his cell phone and we both froze.
Thinking on my feet I asked “Hey, are you the guy with the truck outside?
“Yes”, he answered nervously
I responded “We have been looking everywhere for you, we’re a couple of photographers and we would love to shoot this building but we were looking for you to obtain permission”
The man, who I would later learn was named “Stan”, asked us how we got in and that we are not allowed to be in here”
One of us replied “No no, we just got here, we came in an open door at the maintenance building and have been searching for you to get permission to photograph” as we were walking to approach Stan.
“Well, you guys can’t be in here so I’m going to have to walk you out”
“Is there a morgue down here that you can at least show us first? I asked?
“No, I can’t do that, come on we have to go”
Stan was nervous, we could both tell, he was about 5’3 and Darko loomed over him at over 6 feet tall.
It turns out that Stan is the maintenance guy who comes buy frequently to check on the boilers, fire alarm panels and other things that keep the heat on and the water running inside this old building. We made conversation along the long walk through the tunnels, prodding for more information that would assist in future visits.
Once we arrived at the door we entered through we parted ways with a handshake, an apology for the misunderstanding and a “thank you” for his understanding.
This would be my first of several visits to St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital over the next 5 years, my last and final visit was in the summer of 2018 when I was able to photograph the one final group of buildings that I had not yet seen.
Here are some photos taken on this day in 2014