Northampton State Hospital was the first place I went after discovering Urban Exploration as a hobby and the first abandoned building I ever entered. I still remember the giddy feeling of entering the North Infirmary for the first time and the fear I felt at thinking I heard police coming in after me, despite being out in the woods where no one was likely to have seen me. I went to take pictures with my new digital SLR but it was the beginning of a hobby that would quickly change my life and even become an obsession.
I made sure that I went with a friend my first few times, to back me up and make sure there was someone around in case I fell through one of the rotten floors. On our third trip, though, we finally got into the main part of the Kirkbride and went all the way back through the theater and into the dining area and almost found the morgue. That was the trip that changed it all. Sitting here writing this, I am remembering for the first time since it happened how I remarked when we got back to the car that "something was different". The giddy excitement of really conquering a place which was both dangerous and off limits was intoxicating and I knew I wanted more. When I said it it seemed like an adrenaline buzz but the truth is something WAS different. It was the beginning of a hobby that would take me to many new places and introduce me to many new and interesting people. After that trip there was no more waiting around for someone to go with me. I was driving the 2 hours out to Northampton every single weekend.
My most memorable trip here was my first predawn trip. The hospital was due to be demolished and the state cops were keeping a close eye on the place. Stories of people getting busted were troubling, but not even close to enough to keep me away. I got a 95mph speeding ticket trying to beat the sunrise to the hospital. I didn't make it in time, but the morning light on the wards was...transcendent would probably be the best word. I also climbed out on the roof for the first time and sat on the very peak of the administration building watching the sun climb higher over the cathedral spires of Northampton.
I spent quite a bit of time there in the morning light and shot some video which youtube has muted. Once I get the movie put on a less corporatized video hosting site I will link it here.