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The Padded Cell



I belong to a local group of what are called urban explorers. Basically we explore old tunnels, abandoned buildings, stuff like that. When you become a member you're privy to some of the groups inner knowledge. Most of it is probably made up, but there's one story that's been passed on for years and it has always scared me. We're supposed to keep this stuff secret so please don't print my name or email.

I'm not very good at re-telling stories, but basically it goes like this. In a certain area of the country there used to be an abandoned insane asylum. Supposedly this occurred back in the early 90's, maybe late 80's. Anyway, these two college guys who like my crew, enjoyed exploring buildings decided to take a couple girls they were sweet on to the place. They thought they'd smoke a bit, chill out, and maybe have a scare or two.

The way the story goes is that the two guys had previously explored most of the asylum and wanted to take the girls to one particularly spooky place called the “Acid Hole.” This was basically a cell block in the lower portion of the asylum lined with padded rooms where the most violent patients were kept. It was called the acid hole because the corridor leading between the cells was narrow like a hole and lined with graffiti The acid part came from kids going there to do drugs and freaking themselves out.

So these guys had the great idea to bring their dates down there. I don't know if they thought the girls would get scared and stay closer giving them a better chance to get some action or what. Pretty dumb if you ask me.

So it's night, they've got these flashlights and they're checking out the corridor, peering into the cells. It's pretty creepy as you can probably imagine but the girls are giggling and they'd had a few drinks on the way there. Remember, they'd been there several times before but never at night. About midway through the corridor they notice a cell that looked different than they remembered it. The cell had soft padding on the walls and floor with strange markings on the walls. There was a large hole that had been torn through the padding on the floor in one of the corners. The padding had been pulled away from a pair of heavily rusted metal doors set into the very floor itself.

They of course thought it would be fun to check the place out. The cell door was open, the room itself being moderately large with a very tall ceiling. The walls and ceiling appeared to be covered with strange markings written in a blueish chalk, similar to hieroglyphics. The padding lining the walls and floor was used to keep patients from injuring themselves. It was decaying and moldy in places which gave the room a sweet, musty smell. The guys tried to pull the strange doors on the floor up but they appeared to either be locked or rusted shut. No amount of effort would get them to budge.

That's when one of the guys, we'll call him Bob, noticed something wedged in between the floor and padding. It was adjacent to where the padding had been torn up and away from the metal doors. There was a bundle of sorts wrapped in what appeared to be old clothing. Upon unraveling the bundle out fell an old notebook and a wooden Ouija board.

So what do you do when you find an Ouija board hidden in a really scary place at night? Naturally, you decide to use it right then and there of course. The story goes that Bob didn't want anything to do with the board but his friend and the two girls sat down and messed around with it. Bob being the smart one pulled out a smoke and thumbed through the journal.

Again, I'm just recounting the story of which there are several variations, but apparently the notebook was a journal of sorts that a psychology student had taken down there along with the board for a school project. His goal was to take notes on the psychological effects of using a Ouija board in a frightening environment while alone. Bob grasped from reading the journal that the student had tried the board first in a non-threatening environment during the day, and later in the cell. He was to note the differences between the two experiences, what types of things his imagination would conjure up, physical changes, heart rate, overall nervousness etc.

So Bob starts reading this guy's journal while his buddy and the two girls are using the Ouija board. As Bob gets further into the journal the student's writing begins to transform from being purely analytical to emotional, eventually becoming nearly hysterical. Apparently the student was becoming rattled by whatever it was the board was telling him, but being a psychology student he assumed it was his subconscious mind playing tricks on him due to the creepy environment.

So there's Bob reading the journal and getting kinda spooked out while his friends are asking the Ouija board various questions. This entire time Bob hasn't been paying any attention to what his friends are doing having been focused on the journal. Midway through the notebook, the student's handwriting seemed to become more and more frantic and it appeared that he finally decided to end his little experiment. The last notation in the journal was barely legible and said, “I'm in the dark, something moved the pointer, the door won't open. I don't know..” And then it simply ends. The student's name was Paul.

Bob then hears his friend say in a nervous voice “Are you angry Paul?” Bob looks up from the journal to see his friends staring in horror at the Ouija board. His buddy then tells him nervously that after talking to a spirit named Paul, the planchette flew off the board by itself into the corner of the room. Then according to the story their flashlights (in some versions they have oil lamps) immediately went out turning the room pitch black.

Above the shrieks of the two girls Bob heard the cell door slam shut. Then from the corner of the room he could here what sounded like heavy metal doors slowly opening. Everyone jumped up and tried to leave the cell but being enveloped in darkness they were basically stumbling all over each other and running into walls.

According to the story, somehow Bob was able to open the cell door and make it into the corridor where he ran as fast as humanly possible to the stairs from where they'd entered. Not being the hero type Bob raced up two flights of stairs onto the ground level. Just before exiting the asylum he described hearing peculiar noises, similar to rusty metal scrapping on metal which were followed by ear piercing screams rising up from the lower level.

Bob waited by the car that night for nearly two hours hoping his friends would return. One of the girls had driven and he didn't have the keys. This is back before everyone had cells phones so he had to hike along the road for several more hours before a car finally picked him up.

His friends never returned home that night, so eventually the police were summoned to the asylum. Upon reaching the room, blood and tissue samples were found plastered everywhere in the cell, even up on the ceiling. The two metal doors that Bob insisted had been there were nowhere to be found, nor were the strange markings, the journal, or the Ouija board.

After his trial Bob was eventually found innocent of the foul act that took place in that room due to a lack of evidence. No bodies where ever found, nor was any real motive given. Story has it that he took his own life a year or two later.

My urban explorer crew comes into play because the founders actually explored that place after the event happened. One of them was a classmate of Bob and had listened to his account of what transpired first hand. According to their stories the room did in fact exist. They describe the padding lining the walls as being soaked with dried blood. In the corner was an area where the padding had indeed been pulled up. The cement underneath this area was blackened and recessed in an oval like shape, almost like molten lava or acid had eaten up 1/4” of the floor.

The guy leading the group was no coward. Despite that fact, they remained in that room for no more than a minute or two as the the place literally made their skin crawl. And this comes from a guy that would allegedly pass through sewer pipes with bad air to explore inaccessible urban locations. He's also been through the catacombs in both Paris and Naples. This guy was fearless.

Soon after, the place was torn down being labeled a safety hazard. Local news columnists speculated that the kids had been attacked by some transient high on drugs. If you look hard enough you can probably read about it in an old newspaper, of course Bob's version of events were never mentioned. But the local community knew and rumors were rampant.

They say that a series of underground tunnels dating back to the civil war era are all that remains of the asylum. That's one area I have no desire to explore.






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