Sunday, January 24, 2010

Forest Haven Insane Asylum

Forest Haven Insane Asylum-24Jan'10

While on Military orders at Fort George G. Meade, MD., a few friends and myself went to scope this so-called creepy insane asylum out. I was ecstatic as soon as I heard the word abandoned and had to go! I wanted to go multiple times because I knew I was going to have a tendancy to take some "touristy" images my first run through. Good thing I planned on going more than once because I was so excited and in thrill mode because we had to be sneaky that I had left my ISO at 1200. Yeah, I was sooooo bummed with myself. Anyhow, We had to park way far away near a bar called Remmingtons and hike up and behind the bar and cross a road then hike through the woods for a good, eh, mile or so before we got there and had to keep hidden from patrol cars.

The second day I had gone, I went after work and the sun was setting that is when I got the outside image of the main building. That night I had only gotten a couple images because it had rained and the sun was setting too fast and it was pitch dark inside and kinda scary to be at in the dark.

The third time I had went was my last chance before I left to return to Minnesota and it was blistering cold and I didn't have anyone that could go with me. So I went with a pocket knife in hand, camera around my neck and a tripod in the other, haha. Yeah, it was creepy cuz I am not an ugly girl and it's a great place for someone to get raped and killed! Anyway, I went inside and was always doing tactical movements and clearing rooms with my little knife before I entered, haha. After about 2 hours my fingers were frozen, even in my gloves, and when I would hit the shutter I would shake the camera, getting camera shake. So I had to call it a day after just a couple hours. Then I drove 20.5 hours straight to Minnesota to sleep in a comfy bed.

I wish I would have found the place sooner to take more images or different views and angles, but that I will leave for the next time I visit the East coast. Thanks for visiting!


An old shut down mental hospital and insane asylum. It was a costly reform effort for the mentally handicapped: dispersing Forest Haven's 1,100 residents, and the other people subsequently committed to city care, into small, privately operated group homes scattered throughout the District. This new, community-based system would provide sensitive, individualized care in homelike settings -- care monitored by a large network of city and federal protectors. The haven consists of multiple buildings, including a church, classrooms, an office building and more.
In the 1990s, District and federal taxpayers had unwittingly financed a system marked by municipal ineptitude and private profiteering: a system that had fostered abuse and even death.

  • More than 350 incidents of abuse, neglect, molestation or stealing have been documented in group homes and day programs in the '90s, according to the records of four District agencies and federal and D.C. courts. Those serious incidents involved companies that collectively run 70 percent of the city's group homes. Yet in that time, the District government levied not a single fine against a facility operator for maltreating the retarded.
  • A convicted embezzler, a psychologist who billed the government for treating the dead and a man who paid go-go dancers as "group home consultants" were among those paid by the District to run group homes and therapeutic programs for the retarded.
  • In the name of taxpayer-financed "day treatment," some of the District's retarded wards were dispatched by the city to work for wages as low as 50 cents a week -- work for which their day-program owners profited through private contracts. Other retarded people, in the name of therapy, shoveled manure at a group home operator's private farm. One man was locked for months in a "private treatment room." Others languished with no day treatment at all.
  • The District official responsible for overseeing such day programs for most of the '90s ran a travel business for the city's retarded on the side and bought a private home for the use of a treatment program operator he supposedly supervised.

  • Some buildings are still in use by the army, for building tactical movement training.

    There is not a website dedicated to Forest Haven, but if you would wish to learn more please go to


    Brian Huxhold said...

    Your photos are amazing! You are such a fantastic photographer!

    Anonymous said...

    I'm so glad you posted this with the description of the location. Great photos!