Urbex Insane Asylum – Sheer Horror

Author sophos9 - Last updated: 04.08.2009

Horror [hawr-er, hor-]

an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear: to shrink back from a mutilated corpse in horror

Tonight I’ve experienced the true horror of urban exploration – please be under no pretense when I share this story with you, I share it explicitly sobered after an event that was truly horrible.

I left work and went to walk around a very large asylum that I’ve been unable to get into. I’ve checked all over for underground access etc however not been able to find a way in. Did I say how big the site was? Its seriously large, I would expect at least a day to go through the entire site.

After scouting, I saw a potential access point however would need climbing gear to get in and out – no big deal, its an access point after all and this asylum has NOT BEEN SHOT before. I wanted so bad to pioneer this one – to experience it first! After walking around, I found a another place – this was the only way in and out, one I exploited…

So lets recap, straight from work with only my camera and tripod, no lights, no nothing and I was about to enter an uncharted asylum – the opportunity over rode rationalism

And I was in…

eu⋅pho⋅ri⋅a [yoo-fawr-ee-uh, -fohr-]

–noun Psychology. a feeling of happiness, confidence, or well-being sometimes exaggerated in pathological states as mania

I was in the monster now, my initial thoughts were about a quick scope around then out – that way I could initiate more planning and make a return visit. I wanted to at least shoot the tower….

Abandoned IT system with CO2 coolant

Abandoned IT system with CO2 coolant

I wandered, hallway after hallway, room after room using only the focus light from the camera as a burst. I must have walked about a quarter of the site before I realised I should turn back, get some shots on the way out then start the planning.

On the way out, I saw huge trunk hallways which I walked – often pitch black however trusting some long established techniques.

One of 2 curved asylum corridors in the UK

One of 2 curved asylum corridors in the UK

I had just walked down the main trunk hallway, set my camera up (exposures were wild long in the dark) to take a shot of room – the camera echoed 9 clicks, it was time to get out.

Derelict asylum architecture

Derelict asylum architecture

Back to the trunk hallway, you could hear a pin fall, the entire mission has been silent, I started walking – steps increasing… then…. an urban explorers worst nightmare – a door slammed shut

Trunk hallways runs the entire length of the asylum

Trunk hallways runs the entire length of the asylum


I fuckin froze dude, heart racing, adrenaline pumping, mind going insane… I started making my way to the exit which was close, stop, fuck me I can hear foot steps, just around the corner now is the exit point… faster, less noise go, go, go.

Time stood still as I realised the unthinkable – I was nowhere near the exit, my bearings were all screwed and there I was with one way in/one way out of the building with someone coming closer. Self preservation kicked in, cat and mouse, I found a room and hid in the corner, judging the angle – would they see me if they passed – jesus christ I hope not…

Lets recap, me alone, in a derelict asylum, straight from work, nothing for self defence, lost with someone or something closing in on my location

pet⋅ri⋅fied [pe-truh-fide]

–verb (used with object)
to convert into stone or a stony substance.
to benumb or paralyse with astonishment, horror, or other strong emotion: I was petrified with fear.
to make rigid or inert; harden; deaden: The tragedy in his life petrified his emotions.

Cat and mouse, cat and mouse – who was the cat? I wished it was me, do cats hide in corners of rooms? Who knows, the situation had become very real, from outside the room I heard foot steps, shuffling, getting louder then stopped, nothing for 10 mins – the game continues, a small noise, more footsteps, coming closer and closer – they are outside the door now, why are they waiting – are they as scared as me?

One hour passed, the noises were still there until finally, foot steps shuffled away, a door closing – 15 minutes later a noise from further away in the asylum – time to move, do or die, get the hell out! I went through several dark corridors only to realise I was far from the exit point – to get to the exit point I would have to travel back down the trunk, suicide for sure…

Womens segregation with cell doors

Womens segregation with cell doors

It was on, I was in the trunk, through the darkness, more light looking behind doors left and right, heart pounding, legs giving out.

Thanks fuck I thought as I reached a place I know, the room I entered, the exit was there, tripod out, camera on, two last shots before I was out…

Fresh air and daylight had never been so sweet. I will never know who or what was in their with me and lets be honest, I dont want to. I’m intact, with my trusty Nikon d300 although fully admit I’m still stressed 🙁

Main block for male segregation asylum

Main block for male segregation asylum

Enjoy, 🙂


–verb (used with object)

1. to convert into stone or a stony substance.
2. to benumb or paralyze with astonishment, horror, or other strong emotion: I was petrified with fear.
3. to make rigid or inert; harden; deaden: The tragedy in his life petrified his emotions.


#1JenniferAugust 5, 2009, 1:14 am

That is so awesome! Im totally jealous, we have nothing that awesome in North Carolina. Beautiful shots!

#2manof2worldsAugust 5, 2009, 10:00 am

How cool – your pain, stress and fear make for excellent reading dude, keep it coming!!!

#3sophos9August 5, 2009, 10:52 am

Thanks for your comments! I’ve been watching over this site for ages, security is still very tight thus taking the opportunity to drop straight in.

The asylum is fantastic inside, lots of period features against a modern but derelict backdrop

I’m glad my pain and stress make good reading lolz 🙂


#4Frits VrielinkAugust 5, 2009, 3:05 pm

Damn you have written one hell of a cool story my friend! My compliments!

Great stuff also, the first one hitting this asylum! That’s so cool!

Great shots as well, i really like the 2nd the 4th and the last, those are just stunning mate!

Looking forward to your next exploration in this asylum!


Frits Vrielink

    #5sophos9August 6, 2009, 12:40 pm

    Frits – thanks!

    I’ve got 2 x 8gb Sandisk CF Extreme III’s specially to fill up on the next mission – I really need to get awesome at post processing automation 🙂

#6Der_FalkeAugust 6, 2009, 11:26 am

Wow – that´s really a great story. I can comprehend how much stress you have been exposed to.

One time as i was exploring a sanatorium in Germany – Beelitz i had a similar experience. But we were 2 guys. You heard doors slam again and again. First we thought that there must be someone there. But after examination the rooms we determinded that it was just the wind that was opening and closing the doors. Pretty scary 😉

Thx for sharing this great story with us and stay healthy for further explorations…

    #7sophos9August 6, 2009, 1:00 pm

    Der_Falke, glad you enjoyed! I bet you had an excellent mission in Beelitz, I’ve only seen many of the pictures!

    One of the self preservation techniques I’ve found useful in urban exploration is to know what noises mean in respects to time delay. All the doors in this abandonment are heavy fire doors, they take an average of 10 second to close which means if you here one close, whatever came through it has 10 seconds head start on you 🙂 They are also double latching which means they cannot be opened without significant force, the sound of the latch is very distinct too, wind alone cannot open these.

    You comment made me laugh, you heard a noise then went hunting for what made it – thats brave, you were the cats… In this asylum, I was mouse 🙁


#8MaxAugust 6, 2009, 2:08 pm

Pure stress. I’d say “Nice story”, but dunno if “nice” is the appropriate word…
That’s the drawback of exploring alone… But that makes explorations far more intense. And well, that’s the kind of story fun to share later.

#9Der_FalkeAugust 8, 2009, 2:10 am

Totally right.

Exploring those kind of sites alone is more intense and sometimes a little bit scary. But it lets your senses stay alert every time you hear a strange sound.

With more people you feel more secure and for sure it is but when i explore a site on my own and leave it with good photos and without getting harmed then this was a great and intense experience that i wouldn´t want to miss

#10WinchAugust 12, 2009, 2:43 am

Looks like Fairmile?

#12TheTimeChamberSeptember 1, 2009, 9:26 am

This isn’t really a new find though, if it is the asylum I am thinking of it has been listed on other websites for a few years now – most notably in the Asylum list of Cornwells site…It didn’t take me long to guess which one it was (but for the sake of the page, i’ll keep it quiet).

But as far as I know, very few people have been in because of shit hot security and massive amounts of boarding – good job!!

    #13sophos9September 2, 2009, 4:16 pm

    I’ve looked through Simons pages, this asylum does not appear 🙂

#14MatthewSeptember 3, 2009, 11:00 am

You should create a photo book or something with stories like these, it was awesome reading! Collective scare stories + photos from Urbex explorers.

When you speak of self preservation, what do you mean? danger to yourself, legal punishment if caught trespassing? What do you think it was? a security guard? something paranormal? zombies? 😉

Id seriously be interested to know what was/is on your mind about what was coming. I thought you were going to say it was a cat/fox or something at the end but that doesn’t explain the doors.

This seems like a really fun thing to do, but id need to be in a group of 3-4 at least I think 😉

Keep it up..

#15sophos9September 3, 2009, 12:06 pm

Matthew, Hi

Thanks for the reply! God knows what it was – I seriously mean that. Was pretty bad experience if I’m honest!!

Zombies would have been cool though 🙂

#16harris10November 26, 2010, 9:21 am

i ended up at this place the other night by accident, we were driving round looking for bmx spots and found this, we just drove around the outside working out what it was. security is low now, in the sense there is none, so we may go back. amazing story man, i cant comprehend how scared you must have been

#17genApril 21, 2011, 12:06 am

well written, great composed photos, interesting story! I’d like to see more of your photos for sure! I hope you publish a book someday.

    #18sophos9April 21, 2011, 12:09 am

    Thanks for the comment – one day maybe I work out a book sharing a bunch of crazy stories 🙂

    Thanks again.

#19kayleighMay 12, 2011, 1:01 pm

Its 2011! is there no information on where this is now?.. 🙁

#20BoJune 25, 2011, 3:58 am

These “pictures” look like 3d renderings o_O

#21Lucia LoveJuly 17, 2011, 1:23 pm

Checked his place out on Friday….. Got lots of cool shots….
Wandered for hours along the trunk corridors… freaky.
Did you check out the loft? Goes right onto the roof… Beautiful view…
The basement scared the hell out of me… I was totally unprepared with just my phone for torch light…

    #22sophos9July 17, 2011, 1:57 pm

    Cool you checked this place out. Did you set out a couple of chairs where the trolley was at the end of the corridor?

    Check out a shot we done in there yesterday – it’s on my flickr photostream (search sophos9)

    Do you have your photos of this place online?

#23Lucia LoveJuly 17, 2011, 1:56 pm

Checked his place out on Friday….. Got lots of cool shots….
Wandered for hours along the trunk corridors… freaky.
Did you check out the loft? Goes right onto the roof… Beautiful view…
The basement scared the hell out of me… I was totally unprepared with just my phone for torch light…

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