Worcester State Hospital Ξ Camera Obscura

Hidden in a dark corner of a bathroom in the wings of the Kirkbride was something special. The tightly boarded wings did not allow much light inside, making photography difficult. However in a few spots, circular holes in the boards allowed light through, sometimes creating projections of the outside of the wings on the wall. This phenomenon is known as a camera obscura and is basically a huge pinhole camera. What you are seeing is an image of the wing of the hospital projected upside down on the wall.

Here is another shot that shows the hole and where the projection starts. We were not at all sure where in the wings this was, and were pretty excited to come across it. We almost missed it in the dark, hidden away at the end of a long hallway in an otherwise unremarkable bathroom, but luckily we did spot it. We experimented with jamming things into the hole in the board to sharpen the image, which actually worked pretty well!

This really was one of the cooler things I have ever come across exploring. To walk into this dank bathroom and see this huge projection on the wall...very clear and bright once you noticed it and allowed your eyes to adjust...was kind of magical. There were other spots in the wings where this phenomenon was also present (I'm not sure if other explorers noticed this) but none were as good as this one. The orientation of the hole and the walls and the light and the wings outside just happened to be perfect to create this. No one who was in the hospital when it was active would have ever seen this...it was a treat reserved only for those who were interested enough to access it after it was closed.