Trenton Psychiatric

Author ElIntruso - Last updated: 06.07.2017

So I wanted to share a story about this weekends exploration of Trenton Psychiatric aka The NJ Lunatic Asylum. It was by far the wildest exploration of my life. Let me start by first saying that this site is not completely abandoned. A good portion of it is still being used. Half of the Kirkbride is still being used for administrative purposes. Additionally, there are assisted living facilities that house patients onsite. Add to that that there are several other buildings that house patients who aren’t capable of living on their own. Moreover, one of the original buildings now house the criminally insane of the state . . .large fences, razor wire and the like. The police and department of corrections presence (DOC) is immense on site.

We arrived at about 7 am and drove around the neighborhoods surrounding the facility. Noticing that in all of the backyards of the homeowners there were high fences, we decided against trying to go that route. So, in the spirit of hiding in plain sight, we attempted to drive right on to the facility. As we drove up to the gate, the guard just smiled and waved us through. I guess he thought we were visiting loved ones. As we continued down the road, we observed all of the buildings . . .some of which were completely abandoned while others were clearly being used. We noticed two guys walking down the road. I thought that maybe they were facility workers. So I stopped my vehicle and called them over. I figured I could ask them about the Kirk to see if any part of it was still being used; from what I had read in my research, it was supposed to be completely abandoned but the cars parked out front of it implied otherwise. They walked over. My girlfriend, a psychologist herself, told me to just drive on. I probably should have listened. I spoke with the first guy who had asked who we were here to see. I leveled with him. I said we were here to take photographs and not visit anyone. He couldn’t understand how we were able to get on site and I wasn’t about to explain the ineptitude of the guard. I asked about the Kirk. He said, “well, I know that part of it is still in use because that’s where we go to church on Sundays.” FUCK!!! It’s a patient. His friend just stared at us never saying a word. The first guy then pointed to a few buildings and told us they were abandoned. Quickly, I thanked him. He wished us good luck and we drove on.

We drove to another building and proceeded to park. We were only 50 yards from another large building that we knew was abandoned. However, this building was right next to the criminally insane facility. We decided to get out and just walk around without our gear. As we started walking around the large building looking for access, I happened to look over my shoulder and noticed that there was a cop driving right behind us very slowly. I prepared my girlfriend to be stopped and questioned. The cop drove past us. As we continued to walk around the building, he circled around. SHIT!! Thinking he was coming back for us, we once again prepared to have to explain ourselves. He made a left and went down a different road. WOW!! We couldn’t believe our luck thus far. We searched the building and found an access point. Quickly, we went back to the car, got our gear and went back to the access point. As we were walking back another law enforcement official drove by, this time a DOC employee. She looked at us and kept driving; no incident. We made it to the access point and quickly entered the building.

We were now in the basement of the building. The basement was extremely confusing because of the shape of the building. Eventually, we found a spiral staircase that lead to the upper levels of the building. Not even 10 minutes into the explore, we heard an operator over the loud speakers (coming from the criminally insane facility) say, “all officers report back immediately, we have a situation.” Holy hell!! What is going on? Did they see us? Is there a riot going on? A siren went off and we could hear cars driving by. We ignored it and kept exploring. I mean, what difference did it make? We were already inside. We knew they weren’t going to come in if it was us that set off the alarm. Either way, if we were caught, we were going to jail . . .might as well make the best of it while we were there. A couple of hours went by and we finished up with that building. Eventually, we found our way into the massive network of tunnels. We followed them for what seemed like hours. We had no maps of the tunnel system and our GPS didn’t work underground. There was no way to know what direction we were facing.

Eventually, we came to an area that had utility lights hanging from the ceiling. We stopped and looked at the well lit area. We were clearly under an area that was still in use. Water rushed through the pipes, the pressure made them knock which only made the experience more nerve-wracking (and exhilarating at the same time). We decided to press on after watching for five minutes and not seeing anyone. We entered the area. It was hot as hell. All the steam coming from the pipes made it feel like we were in a sauna. We found another connector and we were back in the access tunnels going in a different direction. At least we were out of the light and back in the darkness. After what seemed like an hour, we found a doorway leading to stairs. I knew we were under a building but had no idea which one. I asked my girlfriend to stay put while I investigated. I gave her the keys to my car and said that if I wasn’t back in 10 minutes to get the hell out of there and I would meet up with her later. I slowly ascended the stairs. I checked the door on the first floor; it was locked. However, I could see that the floor was abandoned. Okay, that was a relief. I checked the other four floors; all locked. I headed back to my girlfriend. I explained the situation and we moved on. Eventually, we found another staircase that led back up to the first floor. We got to the door and SUCCESS . . .it was open. We entered the hallway. We were in an unused portion of the Kirk!!

We explored the Kirk for a couple of hours knowing that not more than 200 yards, there were employees working in other wings of the facility. Because of this, our access was limited. We had made it this far and weren’t going to risk getting caught from being too curious. We finished exploring what we could in the Kirk and headed back into the basement/tunnels. We eventually made it back to the area with the pipes and lights. We followed them and it led to a different network of tunnels. We followed these for a while until they opened up to a different area with a different lighting set up. It was fluorescent lighting. SHIT! This is indicative of activity. I saw that there were Staples (an office supply store in the States) boxes piled against a wall. We discussed turning around and heading back. But curiosity got the better of me. I asked my girlfriend to wait in the tunnel while I went into that area to check it out. I left my bag with her and quickly moved to where the boxes were. I kneeled behind them using them for cover. I tried looking for a packing slip so I could look for a date as to when they were delivered. No luck. All I knew was that the boxes were in good shape and in that kind of environment, that meant they couldn’t be that old. I happened to look to my right and noticed another room. It appeared to be storage as I was able to see a little bit of the room that was exposed through the doorway. I heard several noises coming from that room. I wasn’t sure if my mind was just playing tricks on me but I decided to get the hell out of dodge. I went back to my girlfriend and explained my findings. Being that it was going to get dark soon and there was no guarantee that we weren’t going to run into anyone if we proceeded forward, we decided that it was time to bone out of there.

We backtracked through the tunnels. It took us a little while to get back to where we started as we became sort of lost in the tunnels. That said, we did manage to get back to our point of origin and made it out of the building without incident. We surfaced topside and breathed a sigh of relief. We had done it! While we didn’t get to see everything, we were quite satisfied with what we did see. As we walked back to the car we passed some patients on the road. We smiled and waved to them. They did the same. We got in the car and drove past the security gate. The guard looked up and gave us a wave; we returned the gesture. As we drove off the property, we now understood why there are very few photos of this property online.

If there was one photo that summed up the explore, it would be this.


More images to come soon.


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