A Ride to Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital

A Ride to Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital

Kings Park Psychiatric Center finally closed it’s doors in 1996. Since that time, the hospital grounds have stood largely abandoned, vandalized and partly re-purposed into a park. The remaining buildings are often illegally entered by curious urban explorers, teenagers and people with a penchant for inhaling peeling lead paint and asbestos.

Kings Park shot with Hipstamatic Kings Park shot with Hipstamatic during the day

In mid June, I hopped on the DRZ and headed over to Kings Park building 93 alone as nighttime settled in. In hindsight, I’m not really sure what I was thinking. I’m not brave and I have a pretty vivid imagination.

I pulled up in front of the dark tower of building 93. I took off my helmet and began to unpack my camera. What started as a few annoying buzzes around my ears turned in to a full-scale mosquito invasion around my entire head. I swatted and batted the annoying blood-suckers out of the way, trying to compose myself and avoid getting malaria.

During a respite from the attack, I came to realize that I was alone. In the dark. In front of an abandoned psychiatric hospital. Sometimes I am not gifted with forethought.

My ability to scare  the sweet bejeezuz out of myself is legendary at home.  There are moments when I will forgo reality and give myself over to the idea that anything is possible. You know, like say… zombies, looming serial killers, blood thirsty cult members.

As I stood with my back turned to the limbless hull of a once mighty tree, I got that creeped-out feeling that comes when the hair stands up on the back of your neck. In a complete suspension of reality, I decided that the Zodiac killer just might be lurking back there. Watching… waiting…

Old Tree at Kings Park Psychiatric

My brain went in to hyper-crazy mode remembering the details from Robert Graysmith’s book Zodiac in which the killer moved towards a couple at Lake Berryessa wearing an executioners hood. I spun around and searched in the dark but saw nothing.

I knew I was being ridiculous and I tried to get my imagination under control. I  turned back around and focused on building 93 again but not before looking over my shoulder once more for good measure.

I looked to the tall brick building and pretended I wouldn’t be dragged off into the dark trees by a creeper behind me. As I moved toward the tower, I thought I saw a small light in one of the right side windows on the top floor. It went out so quickly I couldn’t help but wonder if I really saw it or not. I stopped and stared in the silence of the night.

There it was again! This time the light had moved a few windows down towards the left. I was able to snap a picture of what was obviously the light of hell that shone in the ghostly eye sockets of a deranged lunatic.

Kings Park Light in the Window

The light quickly went out again and came back on having moved even further across the building. I stood in the dark street watching. Zodiac behind me, crazed lunatic ghost in front, attacked by bugs from all sides.

The nail in the coffin came in the shape of a mid 80’s sedan. It pulled up with the grill facing me about 20 yards away. It shut off its headlights – leaving only the little orange parking lights on – and sat there idling. Why? Why was it just sitting there?

What the hell was I doing there, anyway? Alone in the dark, I’d had enough. I didn’t need to know anything about the people in the car, or the tower ghost or to be killed by Zodiac. I needed to go home. So, I turned on my heels and briskly walked back to my bike. I don’t think I’ve ever packed my stuff up and put my helmet on so quickly before.

My original intent in going to Kings Park was to learn to use my camera at night. I haven’t the slightest idea what the dials and menus do, so I figured I could learn with an interesting subject. Next time, I will bring an assistant (that I can outrun).

There are many beautiful and interesting photos of Kings Park around the web. The website Opacity which showcases photos of abandoned urban ruins, has an awesome Kings Park gallery.

15 Replies to “A Ride to Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital”

  1. I will tell you this … being freaked-out in the dark in front of an abandoned asylum is much more respectable than me thinking that Molly Pitcher was reaching out from her grave to curse my camera in broad daylight 🙂

  2. Um… “the light of hell that shone in the ghostly eye sockets of a deranged lunatic”? LMAO. I love the way you write. And I love that other people out in the world think like me. If my Hubby and I were standing in that spot, I might’ve thought it was “the light of hell that shone in the ghostly eye sockets of a deranged lunatic” but he would’ve said it’s a reflection or something else completely rational and boring. Loved the post! Now I have to go look at that gallery…

    1. I’m glad to see i’m not the only one who has an overactive imagination. 😆 I wonder how badly we would scare each other if we went to such a a place as a group – like one of those ghost hunter show locations.

  3. Wow, Fuzzy, you’ve got courage! That is a spooky story.

    I visited the place when it was still open — and during the day. That was spooky enough for me.

    It was a memorable experience. The brother of a man who resided at the Center came to me and asked me to help him become appointed his brother’s legal-guardian. He said that his brother wasn’t really crazy; he just needed help dealing with the demands of ordinary life. I said okay and prepared the legal papers.

    To conclude the matter, I had to meet with the brother at the Center and get him and his doctor to sign off on it. The brother seemed a little worse than I expected and, when I mentioned that to the doctor, the doctor said, \Well… you know he killed his mother in a psychotic rage, don’t you?\

    That taught me that clients don’t always tell you the whole story…

  4. I hope that was for the Euro trekking crowd and not me…I only screamed at the sight of you in your _____. LOL 😉

    There was an old mansion that was abandoned at the time and myself and a few others let ourselves in through a lower floor window. Unfortunately, the exploring was limited as the interior doors were locked limiting us to a too small run of the place. I was really interested in checking the place out thoroughly. Beautiful structure.

    If you want to explore the house on haunted hill give me a ring. 🙂

    1. Oh, duh – Was P talking to you, Duc? Did you guys have a spider in WV? I was thinking I didnt remember any spider 😆

      I’m a huge chicken. I will happily drop you off to explore Kings Park next time you come up. I’ll even come back to pick you up at a specific time but based on this last experience I think I would freak myself out pretty badly if I were to ever venture inside.

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