Quando o enterro passou
Os homens que se achavam no café
Tiraram o chapéu maquinalmente
Saudavam o morto distraídos
Estavam todos voltados para a vida
Absortos na vida
Confiantes na vida.
Um no entanto se descobriu num gesto largo e demorado
Olhando o esquife longamente
Este sabia que a vida é uma agitação feroz e sem finalidade
Que a vida é traição
E saudava a matéria que passava
Liberta para sempre da alma extinta.
The mental asylum in Romania was a warehouse for the mentally insane, the physically handicapped and even for some Christian pastors that had been drugged into insanity during the dark years of Ceaucescu’s reign of terror. A year after his assassination, little had been done to help those closeted away in the mountains of Transylvania.
The Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry, or known simply as Byberry, was the poster image for patient maltreatment. The hospital, in its most popular form, was founded in 1907, and known as the Byberry Mental Hospital. It exceeded its patient limit quickly, maxing out at over 7,000 in 1960. It housed everything from the mentally challenged to the criminally insane. Due to its atrocious conditions, and the sub-human treatment of its patients, the hospital was closed and abandoned in 1990. It had since become a nuisance for the neighborhood, as it was a breeding ground for vandals, arsonists, Satanists, and urban explorers. It was demolished in 2006, in spite of the fear of spreading asbestos, (which is what kept it standing for 16 years).
The terrifying aspect of this location isn’t so much it’s hauntings or the unsavory characters that lurked after dark (although you would have been wise to be wary of both while exploring the building). The terror here comes from the facts of the how the hospital was run. Human excrement lined the hallways, which were also where many patients slept. The staff was abusive, and frequently exploited and harassed patients. One patient had a tooth pulled without Novocaine, while another killed and dismembered a female patient. Although the killer, Charles Gable, was never found, the victim’s body was found strewn across the property. Her teeth were found being played with by another patient. Even as the hospital was in the process of closing, two released patients were found dead in the Delaware River, two successive days after their release.