my passion for a grand old lady

i want to share a passion for a grand old lady that i cannot figure out...

for some reason as emotionally sad, and overtaken with sudden grief and fear, being in her presence sometimes causes me, i am none the less curiously and seriously drawn to her. 

perhaps as they say; it takes one to know one.

meaning either i am a grand old lady or a certifiable loony toon... 

you can make that call.

May i present to you; The former Northern Michigan Asylum and/or The Traverse Regional Psychiatric Hospital.  Also formerly known as "The 11th Street Academy" and of course;  "The Loony Bin."  Today she is however transforming into;

The Northern Michigan Asylum in Traverse City was the third (of four) Asylums established in Michigan - does that tell you something about my fair mitten state or what?!? - in 1885 and is the last of the original four "Kirkbride" buildings in the state.  Kirkbride designed mental institutions as "a special apparatus for the care of lunacy" and expected their grounds and buildings to be extremely beautiful.  

The Hospital closed to patients in 1989 - some of whom were released into the care of no one and had no place to go and are said to have continued living in and around her structures.

Her buildings remained standing for several years before being deemed uninhabitable and highly dangerous due not only to disrepair and decay but the lead paints and asbestos they contained.  Slowly the structures began being torn down but a Traverse City area resident who was also a respected historic renovator & builder - Ray Minervini  - stepped up and negotiated with the city to register her as a historic landmark.  In 2005 the Minerva Group began to restore her to her original glory as something other than a mental institution.

damn did that not sound like a news reporter?  "Annie, get your pen!"    

Though i will be posting a few photos of her new appearance, most of my photos are of her current debilitated state.  If you see happen to see ghosts in them bid them a safe journey will you?

This stone at it's entrance has been here since i was a child and the main highway into Traverse City went right past it.   I was enamored - and filled with fear - even then.

never can we drive by it without having some one ask if i wish to be dropped off here "at home." 

and here i am...  note this is during the day.  i don't believe i would survive being anywhere near it at nightfall or after... just  thinking about it makes my hair stand on end.

that being said, is that a solar camera flare or a?.....

and in case you were wondering;  due to the condition of these buildings though numerous well established paranormal research groups and television crews - like Ghost Hunters - have asked to study and/or film here, their requests have been denied.  walking the grounds however has not yet been prohibited. 

 the interior photos were snapped with a small kodak digital camera through broken or boarded windows;


the following three photos were taken through cracks just small enough for my hand to fit through with a small camera.  the nearly windowless rooms were boarded up and too dark to see much when i peeked through the cracks.  i thought if i could fit the camera in i might be able to take a photo with a flash - oddly enough when i put my camera anywhere near opening the view screen lit up with the rooms just as you see them here with no flash involved whatsoever.

(if any camera buffs/experts know why these rooms became visible on the view screen before the photos were snapped - without a flash -  please let me know because i have not been able to replicate this phenomenon and it truly has me stumped)

could be why this set of photos still scares me, in all seriousness, i am currently feeling cold and the hairs on my neck are standing...

of course it could be that first time i put my hand in the crack to take a photo of this interior a rush of cold air ran over my hand, up my arm and chilled me to the bone.  i seriously dropped the camera (which thankfully remained attached to my wrist by the strap) and needed to step back to regain my composure.


i called for back up from my mr. and then showed him how the camera was reacting...

he scratched his head but, like me, assumed that there was some kind of explanation. 

then again maybe the spirits who still remain here because they had no place else to go wanted to be seen...

do you see anybody here?

and lastly...  through lots of love and labor,  a few photos of her restored majesty;

If you get the chance and are in the area, make it a point to visit her - you can even enjoy a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, ice cream or fresh baked bread from one of her many new tenants while you stroll...  and, if you pick me up first i will spring for it.  ;)