For those outside of the NY-NJ area, Letchworth Village was built in the 1930's (although it was conceived of in... 1907?) to house psychiatric patients in a sorta farming commune, which I guess was more humane than just dumping 'em in prisons. Obviously there were the usual unfortunate issues that arise with herding special-needs people into one location and putting them in the care of folks mostly just working for a paycheck.
Rumors about the location far exceed the norm and encompass an impressive range of dumb teen slasher movie cliches. My favorite: the ghost of a sadistic doctor, who cuts visitors with scalpels! Not... all of them, just, you know, all these people who know your... friend's friend's weed supplier. Okay, sure.
(Although Dr. Hilary Koprowski did use some of the Letchworth residents as guinea pigs for
Anyway, it closed in 1996/1997 and its patients were moved to smaller facilities (or let go from the system entirely; thanks, New York State). Some of the buildings are still used, mostly by Camp Venture, a local program for the developmentally disabled.
The best part about this location? It's totally allowed for the public to come in and walk around during the day. You aren't supposed to go in the buildings, but obviously it's tough to stop that. Because so many kids come in and out, a lot of the doors are just wide-open.
This picture was taken before my one-and-only spook of the day. It was kind of a relief-- up until I had to high-tail it out of this room I was worried the romance had gone out of my relationship with dark, moldy places.
Folks were squatting in this building, so they'd thrown a tarp over one of the holes in the ceiling. Hence the eerie glow, which is an effect I'm rather fond of.
One of the buildings burned down recently, which is crazy sad.
That's a deer, you can see its little hooves. I admit to being a little confused as to which of the local coyotes (or a bear, I guess, but that's mostly Jersey) decided to have its snack smack in the middle of Letchworth, which is surrounded by major roads.
The basements were mostly flooded, as you can see here.
Same as above, sans flash.
Jorge, my writer/co-producer/lead/scapegoat for our-- go ahead, laugh-- zombie movie. Shown here having totally given up on trying to stave off asbestos poisoning with the handkerchief in his hand.
Also: If anyone in the Rockland County area has any reliable information about Letchworth? Please share, yo. The rumors actually unsettled a couple of my friends to the point where they wouldn't check out any of the buildings, which is lame and I'd like to be able to reassure them.