|The Eye of Danvers A
History of Danvers State Hospital
By Michael Ramseur
|Danvers State Hospital is one of the most creepy,
beautiful buildings in the world. Located 15 miles north of Boston, situated on top of a
wooded hill, Danvers State Hospital juts its many pointed steeples out above the trees
like a witchs castle. It is the location where Judge Hawthorne of the famous Salem
Witch Trials lived and also the site filmmaker Brad Anderson chose for the ultra sinister
film SESSION 9.
The Kirkbride Building, which is the main part of the hospital has 350,000 square feet and is shaped like a bat with its wings out. It is three floors high with underground tunnels running underneath. The massiveness is only truly appreciated when you see the place in person. As good as SESSION 9 is and its a great intellectual horror film, you still dont get the scale of this giant abandoned place.
Michael Ramseur is about to change that for people all over the world with his excellent book The Eye of Danvers. Ramseur first saw the building in 1986 and has converted his fascination into stunning, highly artistic paintings and has gathered enough research to make him one of the experts on Danvers State Hospital. This is a man who has transformed a passion of a unique place into energy that he shares with others.
The Eye of Danvers, Ramseur covers the history of Danvers from its construction from 1874 to 1878, to becoming fully abandoned in 1992. The book features glossy hard pages that are a perfect host for the gorgeous color paintings. Ramseur does an amazing job at representing the feel of Danvers present condition as well as the spirit of the patients who lived there.
What is most fascinating about Ramseurs approach is that he gives the same sensitivity from all perspectives. He speaks with equal care about Danvers from the patients point of view to the doctors and mental health practitioners who worked there.
There is no question that Danvers State Hospital ended up deteriorating on the inside, like it has on the outside. Unfortunately, Danvers wasnt exclusive to this problem, as mental hospitals all across the country had budgets and staff reduced. The result of course was that hospitals became overcrowded, unkempt and were for the most part shut down.
If you have any interest in the history of one of the most spectacularly designed buildings in the world, a place that even influenced H.P. Lovecrafts imagination, then do yourself the favor of purchasing The Eye of Danvers. This labor of love will open your eyes and senses to the power of the place New Englanders call The Castle on the Hill.