Your Obedient Serpent (athelind) wrote,
Your Obedient Serpent
athelind

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The Real-Life Arkham Asylum

Okay, now, this is one for the list of Places To Go Because Of Their Literary Connections:

The Avalon Danvers Apartments in Danvers, MA.

What the Avalon web site doesn't mention is that this lovely, mid-19th Century "castle" used to be Danvers State Hospital, a mental institution. Originally built to be a pleasant, peaceful setting to help treat the mentally-ill degenerated over the years into an overcrowded bedlam, complete with lobotomies, electroshock treatments, and cemetaries with numbered graves. It was also the setting of Session 9, a horror movie I now have to hunt down.

The blogger who was so cheerfully disturbed by the graveyard and the movie also failed to mention a few delightful facts about this place:
  • It sits on Hathorne Hill, where once stood the residence of one John Hathorne, the "hanging judge" of the Salem Witch Trials.
  • Danvers, you see, was once known as "Salem Village" (to distinguish it from nearby "Salem Town") -- and much of the drama of said trials played out right there.
  • Danvers was mentioned several times in the works of H.P. Lovecraft, both by its real name and as "Arkham Sanitarium".
  • HPL's "Arkham Sanitarium", in turn, inspired Denny O'Neill to incorporate "Arkham Asylum" into the Batman Mythos.

That's right, kids. Live near Boston? You can rent an apartment or buy a condo in Arkham Frakkin' Asylum!

I am so using this in the Legacy 2020 game. Asylum full of lunatic supervillains? Overused to the point of tedium. Yuppie condos built on the former site of an asylum full of lunatic supervillains?

Creeeeeeeepy.

Tags: comics, creepy, fnord, hoard potato, travel, yog-sothery
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