More than two decades have passed since the Hollydale Mental Hospital in the city of Downey, in the southern region of Los Angeles County was abandoned, but the eerie feeling of ghostly presences watching you walk by hasn’t.
Some locals claim apparitions of figures looking through the rundown windows of the asylum, lights that seem to turn on and off by itself and even creepy laments from ultra tomb. Perhaps it’s all rumors, say some skeptical. Or is it that mortals deny fearfully the idea that certain spirits still roam this world begging for a prayer for their eternal rest?
“Whatever it’s in there, it is certainly supernatural, it causes shivers and it attracts daring live souls who dare to defy the unknown as police eagerly patrol the place located on 56 Descanso Street, just steps away from the court house”, says city Resident Maury Guzman. “Dare to trespass anyone?” he adds.
The history behind the Mental Hospital is where the “rumors” begin. According to city documents, the structure first served as a sanatorium to treat tuberculosis and polio, but years later it was converted into a psychiatric asylum, where many lives were lost due to the ineffectiveness of medicine and old methods to treat the insane; the lives of those who wanted to be cured and recurred to the hospital with hope, but never made it out, at least with a smile. In the 1980’s the building was shut down and replaced by the newly remodeled Rancho Los Amigos Hospital.
But that’s not what some locals say it truly happened at the asylum. Many rumor that the hospital was shot down after the gruesome dead of a priest by a patient.
One sunny morning, after the hospital priest finished giving a mass to the patients behind a room surrounded with iron bars, one of the patients managed to get near the priest and beg for a confession. The priest -guarded by the Hollydale securities- asked to be left alone with the mental male. Once the guards were gone, the patient took a knife out of his pocket and with no compassion slashed the priest’s throat. Then, he took the priest keys and opened the room freeing all the patients at the mass. The patients started running through the building, slamming doors, throwing chairs around and banging walls. Doctors, nurses and securities couldn’t control the insane as some managed their way out of the building to the nearby houses.
Ever since, authorities shut down the Hollydale, the building was fenced up and bungalow after bungalow was boarded up displaying signs that read “No Trespassing”.
Currently, the LA County Sheriff Department affirms the asylum was no longer needed, but assures that the structure is currently used as a training camp for sheriff officers, and that anyone trespassing will be severely punished.
When driving near the Hollydale, people can’t help but feel that something is watching them, daring them to look in the windows as it also demands them to respect the ground. Dozens of feral cats have made this place their home. In front of the property, a giant magnolia tree and the shadows it casts against the asylum warn anyone once and for all to leave, but would anybody dare to trespass?