Abandoned Insanity

Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, formerly known as Pilgrim State Hospital, is a state-run psychiatric hospital located in Brentwood, New York. After World War II, Pilgrim State Hospital experienced an increase in patient population that made it the world’s largest hospital, with 13,875 patients and over 4,000 employees. In the 1950s more aggressive treatments, such as lobotomy and electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) were implemented. As psychiatric medication and community care became an increasingly viable alternative to institutionalization, large mental institutions began to decline. During this time, Pilgrim downsized, with parts of the campus closing throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Those closed buildings remain there today as if they just walked out and locked the doors.

After I moved to Long Island in early 2010, I heard about this place and needed to see for myself. My cousin and I made our way onto the property and I managed to capture these images of a few abandoned buildings throughout the ominous campus. Eerie filled the air with the lost souls of the “insane.” I captured these images with my Canon 5D using only the natural ambient light available. It was around 5 in the evening in early spring on an overcast day, so the light was subdued adding to the mood of the images.

The images are printed on metal for more of a cold, uncomfortable feeling.