Central State Hospital (Milledgeville, GA): Part 2

Back for more? Good! Hope you enjoyed that feature image. Did it feel like someone was staring out at you from the door? Well, let’s look closer.

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Hmmm…interesting capture. Is it a play of light, or is there really a giant eye staring out at us from the door? You decide. This wonderfully creepy old building is the Jones building. We drove over to this area around the pecan grove after leaving the Howell Building. This wasn’t the first building we saw, but it was certainly the most imposing. It seems to draw you toward it from across the grove.

Now, I haven’t discovered much about the history of each individual building on the campus, but in general, I have found some interesting history about the hospital. In 1904, there were 121 deaths due to tuberculosis, which ended in a cry from the staff for a facility to be built especially to treat this disease. And that same year, there was contamination in the water supply from Camp Creek resulting in an outbreak of typhoid fever. Also, throughout the years there were several deaths under suspicious circumstances and questionable practices such as electroshock therapy and lobotomies. Then, of course, with overcrowding and under-staffing, many a patient led a miserable existence behind these doors. So is someone hanging around, watching from the door, waiting for someone to return to take them home, waiting to warn others of danger, waiting to exact revenge, waiting to be seen and heard and known? Anything is possible with a history such as this.

But, like I said, this was not where we started, so let’s move back across the pecan grove to the Walker Building.

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The Walker Building is magnificent. It looks like a vine-covered castle. I could only get so close though as there were signs everywhere warning of unstable building and grounds. Alas, I was confined to the sidewalks, and even then only up to a certain distance.

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I did manage some photos of the vines creeping up the walls, some weathered windows, and some broken windows where you can see how the roof of the building has caved in and left the upper floor exposed to the elements.

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The front porch has also become weathered and worn over the years, and I’m sure serves as a wonderful backdrop for a spooky story or two.

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As you can see from this cornerstone, this building was erected in 1884. It served as the facility for white male convalescent patients. It was abandoned in 1974. It had a sister building across the grove that served as the facility for female patients. That facility has since been torn down and replaced with an auditorium. Only the front entrance portion of the building remains due to a cornerstone listing the names of some of the original founders of the institution. (There will be photos of this later.)

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A few photos through the windows give an idea of the rooms inside of this stately structure, as well as a glimpse of the damage of the elements over the years.

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The entrance to this facility, even though worn and overgrown, still maintains a welcoming appearance. This must have been one of the nicer facilities to be admitted to.

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Some of the other entrances, however, are maybe a little less inviting. We’ll leave those to the ghosts.

The building next door to the Walker building is the Green building. It is a large structure with enclosed porches along each side of the building.

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I included a color photograph here to give an idea of how the porches were constructed.

A curious thing I noticed when examining this building was that the glass in the windows at the apex of this building were shattered and gone. I’m not sure if this was due to storm damage or some other phenomena, but it gave the building a rather ominous appearance.

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There was one that remained, however, giving us a taste of the stately beauty of a bygone era.

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Today, however, the vines creep up the walls and within those walls the plaster peals.

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Next to the Green building is the chapel. The chapel is beautiful and appears to still be in use today. Service times are listed on the sign outside of the front of the building.

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After exploring the Walker building, the Green building, and the Chapel, we headed across the grove to the Jones building. Just as we were reaching the road, a security guard was driving by and stopped to chat. He had a lot of interesting stories to tell and offered suggestions of places to photograph. He also told us that this building was used by the crew of “The Originals”. Of course, living in the town where they film “The Vampire Diaries” (the show “The Originals” is a spin-off from), I had to hear about this. Apparently, the crew got permission to use the front entrance of the building for filming. The main entry and just beyond, where the building was more stable, was renovated for filming. The signs outside still remain forbidding entry beyond the sidewalk, however. The building and grounds still aren’t safe enough for the general public to walk around.

After chatting with the security guard for quite a bit, I got a few photos of this magnificent building…

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After visiting this building for a minute, we headed over to what was left of the female facility where there was the promise of a really interesting cornerstone.

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And this was the cornerstone bearing the name of the Georgia Lunatic Asylum. There was an event going on in the auditorium behind this building, so there was a good bit of foot traffic around the building. One man even asked if I thought the place was haunted…proof there are stories! This building, the name of which I cannot remember, had a lovely porch with impressive molding (no, not the fungus type…though I’m sure there was a fair share of that too).

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There was also an interesting spot to the rear of the building where a single brick was dislodged. I wonder why…

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And then around the corner…an eerie vine-covered staircase that led to a door in the basement. I venture a guess that the children that hang out at the auditorium have their imaginations go a little crazy with that one…

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The next building we came to, and we started moving fairly quickly due to losing daylight, was the museum. I only took one picture of this fairly new building.

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Now the next building to greet you around the corner I found to have a rather haunting presence about it. I do believe it rivaled the Jones building in the creep factor. This building is known as the Brantley building.

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I’m not quite sure why, but this particular building was not left open to the elements like many of the others. It’s windows were carefully boarded up. Are they trying to keep people out, or something else in? Hmmm…

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And the spider-like vine cover was hauntingly amazing!

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Fantastic!

And the last building we happened upon was the Powell building. This is a large white building that is still in use, and from what I understand was the first building on the campus.

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After this we headed out to one of the cemeteries. The acreage of the grounds was rather impressive; however, what struck me most was how scattered the few actual headstones were. I suppose the metal stakes we came upon at the head of the cemetery were once marking various graves throughout those grounds. Many of the remaining headstones had fallen into rubble and decay, but they were interesting nonetheless and at least marked the existence of the few who can still be identified.

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And on this All Hallow’s Eve…I leave you with a lovely photo of the moon…

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Oh, and you might want to check out some of these sites for some more history, information, and photographs…

Central State Hospital (CSH), Milledgeville, Georgia

http://themoonlitroad.com/milledgeville/

(use the custom google search bar on the left of their page to google central state hospital for even more stories)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_State_Hospital_(Milledgeville,_Georgia)

Also the Atlanta Journal and Constitution has some very good archived articles on this institution, one of which has quite a bit of interesting information: ¬†Judd, Alan. “Asylum’s Dark Past.” Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Sunday, January 20, 2013. A1.

Payne, David H. “Central State Hospital.” New Georgia Encyclopedia. 03 September 2014. Web. 27 October 2014. (http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/science-medicine/central-state-hospital)

http://kingstonlounge.blogspot.com/2009/09/central-state-hospital-milledgeville-ga.html

Click to access cshmap.pdf

Central State Hospital (Milledgeville, GA): Part 1

Milledgeville, GA, once the capital city of our fair state, had by the time I came into being become known as the place where the “loony bin” resided. Now, I know that’s not politically correct, but it’s what people in these parts called it. The last thing you wanted was to be sent to Milledgeville. As a little girl, I was always curious about the place and frightened of it at the same time. I often imagined a town full of crazy people. As I grew older, I became aware of the fact that it was also the home of a good college, then Middle Georgia College (I believe it is now Georgia State College in Milledgeville or something like that). Over the years, I have driven by the city once or twice, but until the first part of this month, I had never really taken the time to explore. Now that I have, I will definitely be going back.

So what prompted my recent exploration? Well, my father-in-law has been doing some work out there, and after looking through some of my photography, he realized that I might really enjoy checking out the campus of Central State Hospital. And he was right!

One particularly beautiful Sunday afternoon, I went outside and told my husband, who was cutting grass, that my camera and I would like to go for a drive. He decided that he would go with me, so he put away the mower and off we went. But where would we go? Well, remembering the stories his dad told us about the hospital out in Milledgeville and knowing there were some great old buildings to photograph, we headed to Milledgeville.

Now, we headed there before I did the actual research on the place, so I didn’t realize that the campus consisted of over 1700 acres of land. That being said, the GPS found it a bit of a challenge to locate this place called Central State Hospital. Of course, one would assume that it would take us to the currently operational portion of the hospital or perhaps the museum, but good old Google Maps must know where I like to hunt, because where it took us was the Howell Building. (It must be familiar with my ghost hunting search history.)

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Now imagine this being the scene that greets you when you drive up to a spooky old abandoned hospital…behind a prison no less! My first thought was, “Patients go in, but they never come out.” Little did I know how true that thought was. Many a patient entered the walls of this institution only to spend the rest of their days there. Then, abandoned or forgotten behind the walls of this institution, left by family who didn’t know how to care for them or simply desired to be rid of them, many died with only a patient number, a file, and simple metal post to mark their existence.

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Approximately 25,000 souls lie beneath the grounds of this institution in the six cemeteries that dot the landscape. Between overpopulation and underfunding, it didn’t take long for this institution, originally named the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum, to begin losing patients due to disease, lack of care, and unfortunately mistreatment.

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So if you happen to be wandering around these grounds and feel like you’re not alone, it wouldn’t be surprising. Now, I can’t say that I saw any apparitions on this trip, but it certainly was a good place for haunts to hang out. That being said back to…

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While this was certainly not the oldest building on the site, it was quite interesting. It was also one of the few buildings you could walk all the way up to and really get a good look at and take some really great photographs. I decided shortly after arriving that black and white would be the way to go for this old place to add to the somewhat creepy ambiance…especially with Halloween coming up. Drawing from my memory bank of creepy horror stories about asylums and hospitals, you can only imagine the stories I was coming up with walking around this place. Especially when greeted with creepy scenes like this…

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Now, before you start thinking I broke into this old building, let me assure you, these photos were taken from safely outside through this bygone relic of vandals past…

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Unfortunately, broken windows were quite common with many of the buildings here. Also, due to the buildings being left to the elements and decay, completely missing windows and collapsed roofs were quite common as well, making many of the buildings unsafe to be entered. I hear there are portions that you can tour with permission, however, so I shall be making inquiries into that very soon.

The Howell Building was one of the newest of the abandoned structures and only fell into disuse in the early 1970s, yet it had its fair share of vine growth, broken windows, and general decay.

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As you can see, the cornerstone of the building puts the date at 1939, and apparently it was commissioned in 1940, so it was only in use for 30 to 35 years before being abandoned to the elements. And the elements have certainly taken their toll…

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Now, I want you to click on that last picture, because it is interesting. There’s a little white looking object in the second window from the top that I first thought was perhaps a smoke detector. On closer examination (zoom in), I realized it was a leather sofa. What is strange is that the brickwork from outside is reflected even to the contours of the sofa. It is propped up on its end with the back toward the reflection of the window from outside. I hope you can see it because it is fantastic. What I couldn’t figure out, however, is why the brickwork is reflected on the sofa the way that it is. If you have any insight, please feel free to post a comment.

Ok, now back to the rest of the photographs…

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And these last three of the Howell Building give a glimpse of some of the places where the roof has started collapsing…

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This was the start to a great adventure…however, this post has gotten long, so I leave you with piqued interest and those three dreaded words…

…to be continued….buahaha!

The Joys of Autumn…and Butterfly and Moth Collecting

Autumn is a beautiful time of the year. The leaves change colors, the air gets cooler, and all the colorful harvest time vegetables grace our senses. One of my favorite things about fall, however, are the swarms of butterflies that visit my butterfly bushes in the backyard. Today, after the rain storm, the bushes were teaming with life, and I found yet another butterfly I haven’t photographed and identified yet.

Years ago, I remember seeing a butterfly collection. It was a board with dead butterflies pinned to it. I found that quite horrific, as I love these beautiful creatures. I lamented over this terrible thing while my father listened one evening. I’m not sure he found it quite as horrific as I did, but he loved these creatures too. He had a lovely butterfly coloring book that he worked on from time to time. Now, when I say coloring book, I don’t mean a children’s coloring book but one of those nice ones with the waxy pages that you color with color pencils. He had carefully colored in some of the species he had looked up and colored them with accuracy. I’m not sure what happened to that old book, but I have taken up the butterfly quest. I, however, have chosen to collect butterflies and moths in photograph. So far, I have collected 22 different butterflies and moths.

There’s not much story behind the collection other than what I have told in previous posts, so I’ll just share my butterflies and moths and their names with you.

American Lady

American Lady (4) American Lady Butterfly American Lady-1

Bumblebee Sphinx Moth

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Cabbage White

Cabbage White-3

Cloudywing Skipper

Dun Skipper-1

Common Buckeye

Common Buckeye Common BuckeyeCommon Buckeye

Dun Skipper

Dun Skipper (2) Dun Skipper

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

watermarked edits-33 watermarked edits-21 watermarked edits-2Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (30)

Fiery Skipper

Fiery Skipper (1) Fiery Skipper-2 Fiery Skipper-3

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary Great Spangled Fritillary Great Spangled Fritillary

Gulf Fritillary

Gulf Fritillary (1) Gulf Fritillary (5) Gulf Fritillary-2 Gulf Fritillary sipping nectar

Long Tailed Skipper

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Monarch

Monarch Butterfly Monarch-4 Monarch-6

Pearl Crescent

Pearl Crescent Pearl Crescent Pearl Crescent

Red Admiral

Red Admiral-4 Red Admiral-6 Red Admiral-9 Red Admiral-11 Red Admiral-13 Red Admiral-15

Red Banded Hairstreak

Red-banded Hairstreak Red-banded Hairstreak

Red Spotted Purple

Eastside Trail-18 Eastside Trail-22Red Spotted Purple (22) Red Spotted Purple (23) Red Spotted Purple Butterfly Wing

Regal Moth (Royal Walnut Moth)

Regal Moth (face and legs) Regal Moth (Royal Walnut Moth) Regal Moth (side view)

Silver Spotted Skipper

Silver Spotted Skipper (1) Silver Spotted Skipper (5) Silver Spotted Skipper (6) Silver Spotted Skipper (8) Silver Spotted Skipper (10)

Spicebush Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail in Flight Spicebush Swallowtail Spicebush Swallowtail Spicebush Swallowtail Spicebush Swallowtail Spicebush Swallowtail

Spring Azures

Spring Azures (they are purple on top when they are flitting about) Spring Azure

Zabulon Skipper

Zabulon Skipper Having Dinner Fiery Skipper Fiery Skipper Fiery Skipper

And here are a few caterpillars:

Luna Moth Caterpillar

Luna Moth Caterpillar's face You can see all the fuzzies on this guy in this pic

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Fort Yargo (Part 2: Critters and a Few Other Things)

Welcome to Part 2 of my Fort Yargo hiking adventure! If you haven’t read Part 1, go back and read that now.

Did you finish Part 1? Very good…now on to Part 2, the really exciting stuff…

Sometime between noon and one, my husband and I stopped for some really yucky organic meal shakes and water. I noticed the webbing of some tent caterpillars and strolled over for a look. As I was examining the nest looking for signs of the inhabitants, my husband pointed out another web near the water on the other side of the bench. Being a bit nearsighted, it took me a minute to find what he was pointing to. As he was verbally directing me to the wonder, he held our bouncing furry companion at bay so that she would not inadvertently destroy said wonder with a swish of her tail. Eventually I too discovered the web and was both amazed and disturbed by the scene that I found…

Writing Spider with prey

It seems that a lovely Writing Spider was also enjoying her lunch…or perhaps storing the rest of it away for later. Either way, her feast of dragonfly was rudely interrupted by a crazy photographer lady (that would be me). As I maneuvered my way around the web to the other side to get a better vantage point (and being careful not to lose my balance and fall into the lake), I heard my husband shout, “It’s coming after you!”

And indeed she was! Apparently I had jostled the web a bit, and this beauty decided she was about to catch some dinner! Alas, her hopes were dashed when she viewed the size of her new prey. Rather than give up, however, she perched herself delicately on her strings of silk ready to be my model. And who could ask for a more terrifyingly beautiful model.

Her lovely black and gold body shone brightly in the sunlight.

Writing spider (top view)

With her head of silver fur and her many dark black eyes, she was both captivating and unnerving.

Writing Spider (head close-up)

Even more unnerving were the fangs she sported underneath these beady black eyes. But aside from the fangs, the underside of her body was fascinating. I captured a very detailed shot of her thorax where her eight long legs connect to her large shiny exoskeleton. And what the photos capture that the naked eye rarely sees (mostly because you aren’t going to dare to get close enough to view it) are the spiky hairs all over the spider’s body.

Writing Spider (close-up of thorax and fangs) Writing Spider (underside view close-up)

This lovely orb spider had woven her beautiful web next to the lake with the tell-tale zig-zag which is the signature feature of the writing spider. When we were young, my cousin and I were of the understanding that a writing spider could actually write. We offered many a paper with words on it to our writing friends one summer. Now that I’m older, I know that unless they are named Charlotte, they can’t really write anything other than z’s, but it made for a fun summer nonetheless. On this particular occasion, however, I was lucky enough to capture a photo of this lovely lady extruding silk from her spinneret to weave her web.

Writing Spider (abdomen close-up with spinnerette extruding silk)

These amazing creatures are both beautiful and frightening, and I feel privileged to have been allowed the chance to photograph one at such close range without conflict.

Writing Spider (side view with lake in the background) Writing Spider (underside view close-up)

The next little critter I happened upon was a nervous little tufted titmouse. He lit on a branch just long enough for me to snap a slightly blurred photo.

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Then there were the butterflies flitting about the edge of the lake drinking in the nectar of wildflowers. The most beautiful of the two that I captured, and the one I got the best photos of, was the Common Buckeye.

Common Buckeye Common Buckeye Common Buckeye

And the other little guy was a Red-banded Hairstreak. The pictures of him were not quite so clear, but they turned out okay.

Red-banded Hairstreak Red-banded Hairstreak

I also got a few scenic photos, two of which I displayed as the feature image for the posts. The rest of them I will show you now.

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Our hiking trip was cut a little short due to my sister needing a last minute babysitter, so we kicked it into high gear to get ourselves out of the woods and back to the car. This unfortunately proved to be a mistake as I tripped over an exposed tree root and went sailing across the path. No permanent harm done, though, just a bruised up knee and some minor scrapes.

When we arrived home, our hurry was for naught, as my mother returned home just in time to babysit. But the evening was not wasted. My husband went into the backyard and found a baby fence lizard which apparently had no problem sitting peacefully on his hand. He was also rather fond of the camera, so I got quite a few close-ups of this little guy.

Baby Fence Lizard Baby Fence Lizard Baby Fence Lizard Baby Fence Lizard Baby Fence Lizard Baby Fence Lizard Baby Fence Lizard Baby Fence Lizard

And I shall end my tale with a couple of rather good photos of my hiking companions…

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