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26 June 2008 @ 11:41 pm
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?


I feel: amusedamused
Pakapaka on June 27th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
1. Huh. A while back I'd been thinking about something like this, and even had a dream about it - you know, Innsmouth is now this trendy upscale suburb, replete with an oceanographic institute (that was the dream part), and your players have just found out there's something really nasty about their privileged bourgeousie sprawl. In a way I'm surprised that this is real, but in another way, I'm not really that surprised.

2. The building that's Amazon's HQ, up in Seattle, used to be a hospital. The top floors, where I wound up working, had been the psych wards. The basement floors had been the morgue but after Amazon moved in, wound up being the mailroom.
Your Obedient Serpent: Eye of Agammottoathelind on June 28th, 2008 05:49 am (UTC)
When I was first kicking around the Gotham-Is-Boston-In-The-Middle-Of-Lovecraft-Country idea, I consulted Former Bostonian rikoshi to get a feel for the Greater Boston Area and how it compared to the urbscape of California.

During the course of our conversation, I said, "So... all of those creepy, isolated little towns that Lovecraft wrote about are now strip malls and fast food joints."

He answered, "Pretty much."

I shuddered. "Is it just me, or is that even creepier?"

Innsmouth Oceanographic Institute... OMFG. Now it's tempting to move Innsmouth south of Boston, to Woods Hole, instead of north, in Newburyport (where Lovecraft scholars put it).
Hats!i_id on January 19th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
A pizza place where I used to work was once the city morgue. Rumour always was that they'd never changed the ovens.

Having been inside those ovens to clean them, I'd believe it. With the shelves out, it was about 7' long and 4' high.