View Full Version : Official Danvers State Hospital Thread

03-12-2005, 11:51 PM
I figured this heading would ensnare our newest initiate, Dr. Walzer (lots of doctorates here). And I'm sure he and I are not the only ones with more than a passing interest in Danvers and Session 9 -- I recall first being told of said movie - and thus, said hospital - in the TLO message group.

I've just finished watching the "Palace Of Shadows" exhibit, and I must say it was quite ... invigorating; I shan't be needing the coffee this morning, that's for sure. After the most minimal of googling, I found this site, www.ookami.co.uk/index.html, and it's about as cool as they come, although I have no idea what Mr. Gavin's affiliation is with it. The artwork throughout the site is amazing, and I haven't even cracked into the writings yet. Joy of joys, so much to explore these days.

Anyway, on Danvers: first off, anyone who is unfamiliar with it can simply google it to receive a plethora of information. It's the asylum in which Session 9 was filmed, and it is, in a word, creepy (that's such a weak word, really). Supposedly it either is or was being threatened with partial demolition, and I have no idea what that status is, but for a lot of us, I'm sure, Danvers has a meaningfulness that's pretty difficult to communicate to Joe Q. Public, and thus will live within us no matter what happens (or happened -- I'm ashamed to say I haven't been following the saga).

The big question I have for Dr. Walzer is: have you made the trek to Danvers? I myself haven't, especially after learning that the offered tours don't actually penetrate the building itself (speaking of weak), but I have to wonder if perhaps you haven't let your fascination get the best of you. Furthermore, I suspect there are other ways to investigate the place -- ways that don't necessarily rely on officialdom.

For those who share that kinky fetish for abandoned asylums, but who haven't acted on it, the aptly named www.abandonedasylum.com is a great starting point.

Seems like there was another reason I made this post, but the hour and my insomnia are making it hard to recall. I'll return later, hopefully with a greater degree of lucidity.

Again, though I enjoyed the "Palace Of Shadows," but since I have no idea if it was posted on the "ookami" site with permission, I suppose I shouldn't post that particular link.

Red-faced edit: I am thoroughly, spectacularly embarrassed to add that I had never before visited Michael Ramseur's Danvers' site - www.ramseursdanversstatehosp.com - but now am making up for lost time. And this notion that Danvers may have inspired Lovecraft! Everything seems to come full circle in the lives of we Ligottians.

Dr. Valzer
03-12-2005, 11:52 PM
Greetings DeathfareDevil,

I greatly appreciate your seeking out some of my work. You posed a couple of questions, which I shall know answer:

Sadly, no, I have not yet visited Danvers State Hospital (though I plan to at some point). The film SESSION 9 was my introduction to the historic asylum. It was during the course of researching the SESSION 9 locations that I came upon Michael Ramseur's website. He is the living authority on Danvers; not to mention a true gentleman and a damn fine artist. In 2002 I approached Michael to see if he would be interested in collaborating on a comic book that centered around Danvers. He was indeed interested, but admitted that his hectic schedule would most likely prohibit him from being able to create the number of original drawings required for a full-length comic.

So, we compromised. Michael couriered a package of twenty or so drawings he had made of Danvers, and I attempted to write some type of linear narrative based on those pre-existing illustrations.

The result was "Palace of Shadows": A first-person narrative told from the perspective of a crumbling mental hospital. Since this type of creation was difficult to market to comic book publishers, Michael and I decided to create an internet "movie" instead. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

If any of you are interested in visiting Danvers, I strongly urge you to visit http://www.angelfire.com/id2/DanversStateHosp/
Here you can obtain more information on the guided tours Michael offers. I'm sure this would be a tremendous experience.

Thanks again, DeathfareDevil.

Richard Gavin

04-20-2005, 11:08 AM
I remember seeing "Session 9" on a kind of fluke when it was first released to video, expecting it to be a stupid USA movie with David Caruso in it. A friend and I were in the movie store, and our tastes were different; he likes bloods and guts, I like psychological horror. He assumed "Session 9" would be a hoky movie about a mental hospital with the patients killing the people who worked there, and since he was paying, I figured what the hell. Was I in for a surprise. He hated it.
I watched it three times in a row afterwards, rewinding the VCR during certain scenes to the point where I had the whole "Simon" dialogue with the doctor nearly memorized. The horror genre wasn't dead after all.

Ever since I've wanted to sneak into Danvers. The special features on the DVD, when they interview the actors and everything, let you see the real place, and the dry reality of the place is far more frightening than how it looks during the film.

Dr. Locrian
04-20-2005, 05:19 PM
Just a quick reply: I absolutely loved Session 9 and watched it once the first night and twice in a row the next morning (first time I've ever watched any movie two times in a row). Incidentally, TL very much enjoyed and admired this film, too. Highly recommended.

Doctor: And where do you live, Simon?
Mary Forbes (as Simon): I live in the weak and the wounded... Doc.

04-20-2005, 08:45 PM
I came across it one night on IFC...I got 3/4 of the way through the movie and turned it off out of boredom (I guess I'm hard to satisfy and need to watch it again, eh?)

yellowish haze
04-21-2005, 03:03 AM
I guess I'm hard to satisfy and need to watch it again

I think Michael, you should see the whole movie without stopping through it. I myself found the ending quite predictable, but very unsettling. The unease which one can find after watching it is, in my opinion, the strongest point. As others have remarked, the viewer is left so puzzled that finally he has to watch the whole thing once again.

Doctor: And where do you live, Simon?
Mary Forbes (as Simon): I live in the weak and the wounded... Doc.

Oh, yes! I loved that quote as well.
Generally speaking, the director, Brad Anderson did a great job. Has anyone seen his newest movie - "the Machinist"?

04-21-2005, 04:09 AM
You can add my name to the 'loved it' column for SESSION 9. I recommended it to a few people who were less than thrilled about it. How about the scenes with that lobotomy tool? Also, when that one guy came back at night to search for that money and saw someone move... that scared the bejesus out of me.


I waited and waited for THE MACHINIST to come out, but it never played where I live. I would have had to drive all the way to Cleveland, which is an hour away. It is wonderful to live in such a cultural wasteland. Now if you want to talk about FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.....me neither.

08-12-2006, 01:07 AM
I still wonder if Anderson intended "Simon" to be
simply another one of Mary's personalities or some
kind of demon. He was certainly distinct from the
first two, which sound more "realistic" in the sense of someone with multiple personalities.

"The Machinist" was fantastic. Not nearly as good
as "Session 9", but still great. He really loves
twist endings.

G. S. Carnivals
05-21-2007, 04:55 PM
I just happened to catch "Session 9" a few hours ago at my parents' house (their dish didn't run away with the spoon) while doing laundry and cadging a meal. (Thanks to yellowish haze, I've had the film and nine others on discs which he sent me for nearly a year now, but some technical obstacle allows me only video on this disc and audio on that disc, with a couple-three others telling me that there is no detectable content, alas.) At this point, "Session 9" is still working on me, so I can't say whether or not I've joined the ranks of the film's enthusiasts. Two things are certain: 1) I squirmed and squealed audibly during the scenes featuring the psychiatric swizzle stick, and 2) Danvers State Hospital stole the show...

yellowish haze
09-12-2008, 03:06 PM
ex-Danvers State Hospital, Revisited (http://www.oddthingsiveseen.com/2008/09/ex-danvers-state-hospital-revisited.html)

Just read this and thought I could share it. :-)

09-12-2008, 05:49 PM
I actually work in a very notorious psychiatric hospital in Connecticut, The Institute of Living, which is even older than Danvers and is different in that it is actually (obviously) still operational. The IOL is a huge "campus" that has a subterranean tunnel system that connects all the buildings on grounds. Oddly enough, even though the facility is primarily modernized, with many newer buildings having been added in the last 100 years or so, there are still areas of tunnels that are dilapidated and "off limits" that most people would not even consider entering. Me, being the resourceful and curious person that I am, have gone on many excursions down into these areas and let me tell you; they are filthy, disgusting, and creepy beyond belief. I used to go down to these space at night, years ago when I worked second shift on the in-patient units, and it rattled my cage a few times being down there. I actually have some pictures from excursions down there taken with my digital camera. Some time I'll have to go through my archives of thousands of digital images and find them, and maybe I can post them here. Anyone who loved Session 9 or the whole Danvers vibe would find them quite compelling, I am sure.

06-26-2009, 05:59 PM
I still wonder if Anderson intended "Simon" to be
simply another one of Mary's personalities or some
kind of demon. He was certainly distinct from the
first two, which sound more "realistic" in the sense of someone with multiple personalities.

"The Machinist" was fantastic. Not nearly as good
as "Session 9", but still great. He really loves
twist endings.
My interpretation was that Simon was a demon, and the trauma that turned the little girl into an MPD case was the night Simon made her murder her brother.

This film is excellent. A slow-building terrorizer.