By Rebecca Drew
HAUNTING pictures reveal the crumbling 190-year-old remains of one of the first lunatic asylums in America that has been left to rot after it was slowly emptied of its patients.
The chilling images show a sprawling white corridor with doors still flung open, a desolate rocking chair with an arm missing posed beside a window and a piano with its misplaced keys scattered across its top. Another image looks down on the hospital’s tired and rolling grounds which were once occupied by more than one-thousand patients in 1900.
The incredible shots were taken at the South Carolina State Hospital in Colombia, South Carolina, USA, by an urban explorer known only as Abandoned Southeast who described the dangerous conditions faced whilst exploring the facility.
“After reading about the asylum online, I decided I wanted to visit and see it in person,” he said.
“This is an abandoned state hospital that predates the Civil War, I love the historic aspect as well as the architecture in these old asylums.
“There were no real issues whilst shooting other than watching where you step. The wooden floors were extremely rotten in some areas.”
In 1821, the state passed legislation to make South Carolina Lunatic Asylum one of the first in the country. In 1828, the hospital had its first patient through its doors.
By 1900, the asylum had more than a thousand patients but around 30 percent of these died each year. The discovery of phenothiazine in the 1950s allowed many patients to roam freely and the launch of social welfare programmes in the sixties saw patients relocated to community based mental health centres.
By the 1990s, the wards were slowly being closed as patients were discharged to homes or placed in local care facilities.
“I’ve been exploring for years, I got involved in photography about three years ago. I wanted to capture the abandoned places I was visiting since most of them were being torn down or renovated,” he added.
“I love to explore and discover what could be left behind in many of these abandoned places and I want to share my explores with others through photography.”
For more information see www.abandonedsoutheast.com