The lunatics are taking over the Asylum (again)

The lunatics are taking over the Asylum (again)

Well, that was one helluva weekend 🙂

It’s always good to get back to Tooele, Utah, to visit our Asylum 49 family. For those that don’t know, this is a former hospital that is now a haunted house-style attraction run by some very good friends of mine. I first heard about the place when I was writing The World’s Most Haunted Hospitals for New Page Books, and after a single overnight visit in order to conduct research for that book, I soon realized that there was a lot more to the story of this location than could be contained in a single chapter. Thus was born The Haunting of Asylum 49, also published by New Page Books and co-written with Cami Andersen.

Along with some fellow paranormal investigators, I have spent the last two Halloweens living at Asylum 49, conducting research and documenting the haunting as best I can. One piece of the puzzle has always eluded us, however, because the rearmost part of the old hospital has been a nursing home for many years, and therefore inaccessible for investigation.

All that changed in February of this year, when the residents of the nursing home moved on to a newer facility and the owners of Asylum 49 took custody of their building. Ghost stories abounded from that side of the building; viewers of the Ghost Adventures episode which was filmed there heard all about a mysterious “man in black” who is said to walk into patients’ rooms at night (sometimes without bothering to open the door first) and is said to be a harbinger of death. Another shadow figure has been seen (and heard) walking around up on the roof, an apparition who has been spotted by one of the building’s owners, Kimm Andersen.

Usually, I like to spend four or five days at the Asylum, getting used to the rhythms of the building: The ways in which drafts of air flow through the place, the noises which sound ghostly at first but often turn out to be nothing more than the clanging of pipes or the sound of shutters brushing against window frames; and those areas of the structure that send our EMF meters off the charts, and therefore make the taking of measurements practically useless.

This time, the best we could manage was three days. You can get a lot of done in 72 hours, and the main reason that I wanted to get in there now rather than waiting until October is of course the opportunity to be the first team to properly investigate the nursing home side of the building.

The double doors shown in the photograph above are as far as we’ve ever been allowed to go…until now. This stretch of corridor has been nicknamed “The Green Mile” (thanks to the color of carpeting) and it was tremendously exciting to finally go beyond those doors and see what delights the rest of the building had to offer.

Settling in for the weekend, we were very fortunate indeed to be given the opportunity to live in our own rooms. After asking us whether we preferred haunted or not-haunted rooms (haunted — duh!) our good friends Cami and Cathy were generous enough to clean them from top to bottom, prior to our moving in. A former night shift employee had reported seeing a shadowy apparition with glowing red eyes in one of the rooms, so Jason, Sean and I snagged that one for ourselves and quickly turned it into our “man cave.”


Bed sorted out, ready to investigate. Just need to unpack the kit…


The breakfast, lunch, and dinner of champions…


Gear unpacked.

It turned out to be a fun and rewarding weekend. We used a variety of techniques to investigate, hitting hallways and corridors, operating rooms, laundry rooms, the therapy gym, patient/resident rooms. Even the kitchens didn’t escape our attention. We also took the opportunity to revisit some of our favorite rooms on the other side of the hospital, such as the chapel, The Guardian’s area, and of course Room 666. There was even time to take some bad taste photographs…

I can’t even begin to caption this one…


…not to mention the fact that Jason managed to find the world’s largest wrench…

Totally not a perspective shot. The wrench really IS that big.


…oh yeah, and Shaun “The Crush” Crusha made a new friend…

Two gentlemen of leisure heading out for a night on the town


…and my met my next wife…

The future Mrs. Estep


..who proceeded to cheat on me with Sean…

Sean displays his dating skills.

But what about the evidence?

For many, the AM/FM radio frequency scanners known as “Spirit Boxes” are contentious devices. Some believe that they truly are capable of allowing discarnate entities to manifest their voices by somehow modulating radio waves; others say that their results are nothing more than audio pareidolia. Personally, although I’m mostly on the fence, I’ve heard things come from Spirit Boxes that it would be very difficult to explain away, including my own name (first and last).

My colleague Randy Schneider employed a computer application known as the PhasmaBox at Asylum 49. In addition to creating some obviously pre-programmed phrases and sounds, several responses from this software managed to be both unique and hard to explain. During one such session in The Guardian’s area (so-called because of the violent entity that haunts it) we began to receive increasingly belligerent responses, which quickly took a turn toward the obscene. After a voice coming from the speakers told us to “f*** off,” Randy responded by telling it that it, too, could f*** off. The reply to that was a single word which managed to be even more profane, so if you are easily offended, you might want to avoid listening to the following EVP clip:

One of the ward doors seemed to close itself. Perhaps just an old door, we thought, but all of our attempts to get the damn thing to close required us to physically touch it. Even six hundred pounds worth of human beings jumping up and down next to it didn’t create enough of a vibration to shut it. Here’s some video, courtesy of Jason Fellon, of the door in action:

Posted on: March 11, 2017Richard Estep

One thought on “The lunatics are taking over the Asylum (again)

  1. I’d love to participate in something like this! A few chills would be well worth proving irrefutably to myself that such things are real (I lean very hard in that direction already.)

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