This leads me to my story:
It was a brisk autumn evening. I ventured to the dilapidated, worn, blood red brick building with two of my friends; Scott and Don, and Don’s then girlfriend Mindi. We were skeptics, so naturally we decided to test our luck at Dixmont.
Before Dixmont, we’d been to a handful of local haunts, passed down solely by word of mouth. Turkeyfoot public pool, Aliquippa slaughter house, the Shontz residence, and the abandoned house in Economy Borough just to name a few. Aside from just getting the goosebumps and mentally scaring ourselves, we never witnessed much at any of these supposed haunts. All of this helped lead us to being more skeptics.
I can’t speak for Scott or Don, but I’ve always wanted to find proof of some form of life after death. It wasn’t until Dixmont that I truly believed.
We pulled up, cautiously approaching the estate to avoid the security guard on duty. None of us realized how close to demolition the property truly was at this point. Don got scared early on; he stayed in the car with Mindi. Scott and I just shook our heads and headed up the steep slope to the west end of the asylum.
No more than a football field away Scott stopped dead in his tracks. He threw his arm out in front of me and glanced over to me. “You don’t want to do that,” he acknowledged a large hole in the ground.
My face went pale as I looked down. There were three large chunks of dynamite stuffed into this hole with wire pulled out wrapping around a nearby tree. I couldn’t move. “And I was expecting ghosts,” I attempted my dry sense of humor.
We continued up the hill. Scott placed his hand on the rusted metal door handle. The door was already halfway open as he yanked hard. Suddenly, multiple drops of a warm, thick substance fell on his outstretched arm. Scott jerked back.
I noticed, out of my peripheral vision, shadows jumped around behind us. I shuddered and shot the flashlight at Scott’s arm. It was blood! It was all over his arm. I slowly pulled the flashlight up toward his now shaking shoulders and neck line. His collar was soaked in blood.
Scott held his hand up to his nose. “It’s just a bloody nose,” he somehow calmly stated.
I just shook my head. I had never seen a bloody nose produce so much blood.
He simply pinched it off and attempted the door once more. The shriek of the hinges was deafening. There was no way the security guard didn’t hear us.
I was on the verge of cutting and running but Scott already jumped into the building. Naturally I wasn’t going to let him run into anything on his own. After all, I wanted to see something as well.
Scott pretty much ran down the hallways, shining his flashlight in each room, he just kept moving his feet past everything. I tried to keep up. I was so confused why he was moving so fast. I’m more of an explorer. I wanted to stop in every room, try to make some kind of contact with any spirit which was willing to speak to me. Instead we flew down halls and suddenly, when it appeared that Scott was about to run into a wall, he pushed a door open. Unlike the exterior door, this door opened swiftly and quietly. I paused, and was extremely confused how he knew where to go.
No bother, I thought, he had a better handle on this place than I ever could. Before he could enter the stairwell, I grabbed his arm tight. My head was spinning. I don’t know what hit me but all of a sudden I felt dazed and nauseous all at the same time. I let out a long stream of vomit and collapsed near the wall.
Scott was gone. He must have taken off down the steps. I tried to regain my balance with a hand along the stone block wall. Pieces crumbled off as I climbed back to my feet. Again, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a dash of light down the hallway.
Thinking it was Scott I followed it, crawling over rubble and left over asylum debris. The light flashed around violently. When I drew close enough I realized it was definitely a flashlight, but suddenly the beam stopped on me. I held my hands up to my face, the beam’s light cut through my eyes.
“You!” a deep voice echoed. “Stop right there!”
I paused, still unable to see past the direct ray of light. It grew larger as it moved closer. Finally it died completely. I felt blind. I glanced around to try to see past the spots in my eyes.
I managed to make out a large shadow just beyond the light’s location. Suddenly, a tight squeeze wrapped around my arm. The light flashed back on simultaneously. I tried to pull away but the grasp tightened.
“You’re coming with me, kid!” that same voice boomed again. The security guard’s badge flickered in the reflection of the thrashing flashlight.
He began to drag me behind him. I pulled as hard as I could until suddenly I slipped; my feet flew out from under me. From my upside down view I could see the guard struggle with his flashlight as it dropped behind him. I used every ounce of strength I had to shuffle back to my feet.
I sprinted away, hurdling wheel chairs, ducking under errant pipes, curling around corners. I finally paused to catch my breath. I gained the nerve to peer around the corner that I tucked behind. Nothing. I sighed a long, drawn out breath…until I realized how lost and alone I was at that point.
“Scott!” I yelled. There was nobody, nothing to track where he went. I spun back to the way I came. Or was it the other way? Did I get spun around? How the hell did Scott know where he was going?
The only response I heard was a muffled echo, most likely that security guard still searching for me. I couldn’t make out exactly what he was shouting but it all stopped abruptly. Strange as it seemed, I didn’t feel so alone when I could hear his inaudible shouts.
Eventually, who knows how long I’d been paralyzed there, I felt my way down the block walled hallways. My eyes slightly adjusted, just enough to make out silhouettes. I still managed to step on and trip over the random debris.
Not far along my blind journey did I spot a, what at the time looked to be as bright as the sun, but in reality was a dim, flickering light right in front of me! This was not like the last light. It was not moving. It must have been the exit! Things were starting to work out!
My walking steadied. I may have tripped or stumbled once or twice but what are a few bumps and bruises to escape a haunted asylum?! I kept moving, until I drew within a hundred yards or so.
I slowed my pace to a tip toe. I’m not sure if I wanted to remain quiet or if I was in near shock. The light in fact was produced from a flashlight. This flashlight though was on the ground, in the process of dying. Above the flashlight, slowly swaying side to side in the dense breeze was the security guard. He was maybe five feet off the ground.
The noose was strung crudely around his neck up through the open rafters above the decaying ceiling. This was no accident! But how would anyone even climb that high without access?
Blood already began to collect around his neck; the guard’s eyes bulged out of their sockets, and his arms swung limp by his sides. A swab of bright red blood amassed around his belt beneath an open gap of his light blue button down shirt.
I grabbed the flashlight and swung around, not wanting to see any more of this gruesome scene. But I couldn’t resist, my curiosity got the best of me. My eyes popped open, almost as wide as the deceased security guards’ eyes. A large gash was dug into his lower abdomen. What’s more is that the wound was stitched back up! I had no words for this mind numbing sight. My legs grew numb; I hunched over and spewed over the dead man’s shoes.
I clenched the flashlight tight and started looking for signs. It was a hospital after all, even if it was decades ago. The hall was dark, pitch black. The light beam was faint and barely cut through the heavy air. I had a tingling feeling run through my spine so I spun back around. An even darker shadow (yes, darker than the hallway) brushed past me along the wall. It turned up the next corridor. I was paralyzed with fear. I got my proof, I don’t need anymore, and I needed out – fast.
But what if that was Scott? What if he lost his mind? I panicked but I followed the shadow. I was no longer curious; I was scared, lost, and alone. What choice did I have? I took a deep breath, swallowed hard and turned the corner.
A small boy ran past me, giggling. His laughter echoed down the hallway. I spun back as I heard more feet shuffling. I glanced up at a large window where I spotted a man in all white. It definitely wasn’t Scott. Were we getting pranked? Who else was here? Was I losing my mind?
He lurched close to the window; he couldn’t have been more than 6 inches away from it. He looked back over his shoulder then flew backward through the opening. He was pushed by someone…or something!
All I could do was stare at this horrific scene. I pinched my eyes closed then finally glanced back down at my trembling hands holding the flashlight, the battery was dying quickly. A dark mist grew from the floor. It manifested right in from of me. It was tall, it’s eyes red, and it moved toward me. I swear I could make a doctor’s black face mask.
I felt a tug on my shoulder. I stepped back; no I fell backward, through a wall? No it was a door! I was outside!
As I lay on my back, staring up at the starry sky, I couldn’t help but think: was I dreaming? Did I hit my head really hard?
The flashlight was still in my hand, the blood on it was still sticky.
“Scott!” He stood right above me. “Where’d you go?! I saw some crazy shit in there!”
His face was stone cold and pale. His eyes appeared dilated and the color in them seemed faded. He handed me a dark brown, leather bound book. I took it but didn’t even acknowledge it. I tossed it in my back pocket.
He started back toward our discovered entrance to the building. I grabbed his shoulder and tried to stop him. Again, he had that unnerving fast walk. I could do nothing but follow him. I was not going back in there though. In fact I wanted to leave…I needed to leave.
Scott stopped at the entrance to the west wing. I stood down the hillside and urged him to follow me. He reached for the door; again, his nose began to bleed. Scott slumped back and held his hand up to his nose, “Shit man, I’m bleeding! Let’s go back to the car.”
My jaw dropped. It was that easy? “Well thank God you didn’t want to go in again! Let’s get out of here!”
Now Scott was just confused. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I just want to clean this up real quick then we can head back.”
I practically ran to the car, avoiding that dynamite hole. I was out of breath by the time we got back. Don and Mindi jumped out at us trying to scare us. I didn’t even react. I got in the driver’s seat, started the engine, and sped out of there.
Even to this day Scott claims that we never went in that asylum. He still tells me that he regrets not pulling open that door.
I’ll never know where he disappeared to or why. I’ve never even brought up the book he handed over to me. The book he passed off to me that contained the detail of all of the deaths and barbaric operations that occurred in that dreadful place.
—-The Dixmont Mental Hospital Was Demolition in 2006—-