Reading zen's journal

Aug 25, 2006 16:15 # 43368

zen *** tells about...

Norwich State Hospital for the Insane

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Norwich State Hospital for the Insane is its original name when it was granted its charter in 1904, when it opened its doors to the emotionally unstable.
**This is a link to some of my photos of Norwich State Hospital (NSH), c. 1999.

I was going to post a quick link to a previous post I'd made about Norwich State. However, going through my 14 pages of journal entries since I've been here, I was amazed to learn that I haven't made one single post talking about the Norwich State Hospital (NSH), (as it is currently referred.)
Knowing what an important part the hospital played in my life to this point; this discovery is amazing.

I'm not going into specifics about the history of NSH. That can be found here: History of Norwich State, for those inclined to know more about it. More pictures, taken by a different photographer, are also seen. This site also gives a map where one can see the relative size and scope of this "sprawling cottage style" layout of the 500+ acres constituting the grounds.

My story starts in June 1992, when I was court-ordered to the care of Boneski. Eugene T. Boneski Treatment center at Norwich State Hospital, formally, was a rehab. It dealt with any and all manner of chemical dependency: alchohol, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, et al. Mostly, it handled individuals who were court-ordered to attend treatment, or those who had no money with which to have their addicitions treated. I fell into both categories.
Those who had money, or insurance, would have checked themselves into Elmcrest in Portland, or Stonington Institute in North Stonington.
People who commit crimes while under the influence, or claim they have, especially when young, will be usually given a chance to go through treatment. Depending on the severity of said crime, this may be the only punishment, or it could be coupled with probation. Some people will end-up at the rehab as their last step before a prison sentence. These are usually people who've shoplifted, or stole in order to support their habits.

In my case, I broke into cars. For the record, if I'm going to be honest, I'll say that I never burglarized the cars to support a habit...I only told the court that I did. I really just did it to show I could. Kinda like a rite-of-passage, if one will.
Mostly, I stole car audio. After getting caught, one of my neighbors labeled me as having an "electronics fetish." I think he might be right.

The stay in Boneski in '92 was indirectly related to the rash of car stereo thefts. That happened in 1985-6. It was that, in addition to all the Disturbing the Peaces, Drunk and Disorderlys, other larcenies, and various sundry misdemeanors that I did in my teens.
At a certain point, regardless of the individual crimes, nowadays, if the court sees a pattern, it will label one as a "habitual criminal." The next step up from that is a "career criminal," and that is a REALLY bad thing. Despite the relatively minor nature and value of the offenses themselves, by the time 1992 rolled around, the court was tired of my routine. Having been arrested every year--like a dysfunctional, fucked-up clock that would ring once a year, in late Sept, or early October; (coinciding, oddly enough, with my birthday on Oct. 1), it was decided that i needed more than just probation. I needed "special" help. It was after whatever f*cked-up thing I did in May I think it was, 1992, that i was sentenced to a stay in Boneski, the rehab.

It wasn't simply the crimes, or indescriminate drinking that led me there. It was all the above, and the fact that I'd tried "cocktails," taking the Geranimals approach to self-medication, and mix-and-matched various chemicals at the same time, that really worried the evaluating clinician.
It was determined that I should be sentenced to 90 in treatment to dry out, and get some order back into my life. Truth be told, I really was wreck at that point. Even though I wasn't using "heavily" at that time, my brain was pretty fried.
Sometimes I think that they really sent me to the wrong part of the State Hospital. I think that I probably would have fit in perfectly into the Kettle building, the one housing the patients hearing voices, and seeing things coming out of the darkness aiming to sweep them into a dimension of one of the seven rings of hell.

Driving onto the grounds of the Hospital was an experience I'll never forget. The main enterance, at that point, was past the Kettle building. A 6 story behemoth dominating the grounds, like a resting giant ready to swallow all those who can not answer the question of their sanity correctly, I rode past it, my mom driving, knowing, just knowing that this had to be bottom. I'd finally hit it--or at least thought I had. I was now at the State hospital. I was going to be living, for the next 90 days at Norwich State Hospital for the Insane.

At my intake, the attendant asked if i'd had any drugs or alcohol lately.
I made the very stupid mistake of joking "Yeah, at my going away party last night." Bad mistake.
As a reward for my poor judgement, I was treated to a week in the detox unit. Truly hell-in-a-box, it's the place that all the homeless people at some point, I'd found out, would be taken to dry out. They'd stay for 3 or 4 days, a week or so, then be released to the streets. The people surrounding me smelled bad. They had poor hygiene. We were allowed to go to our rooms, or the day room. There were 5 or 6 channels on television. The books and magazines were old. I wasn't allowed anything off the streets. Noone at that point had visited me.
That truly, to that point, was the lowest that I'd been. It was exactly like prison, with the exception that there we could only wear our pjs, and foam rubber booties.

During this time, I couldn't help but look out the windows for long hours. It was during that point that I truly became enamoured with the surrounding architecture of the surrounding buildings, many built during the 1910-20 expansion.
The external architecture was incredible examples of institutional styling. But seeing how I was treated, in 1992, I could only imagine what happened in those buildings which had been close many years before I was even born. What type of barbaric experiments, and trials had gone on in those buildings?
I resolved that if I ever got out of there in one piece, I would come back to the Hospital grounds, and snoop around. I would see what went on in thos buildings, or at least look for clues.

Once Fred Neitszche declared God is Dead, f*ck became the most important word in the English languag

Aug 25, 2006 17:25 # 43369

null replies...

Re: Norwich State Hospital for the Insane

Wow. Is this story to be continued? (I certainly hope so)

When life hands you a lemon, that's 40% of your RDA of vitamin C taken care of.

Aug 25, 2006 22:26 # 43370

zen *** replies...

Re: Norwich State Hospital for the Insane

Yes, it will be continued.
I wrote this while in class, and it ended as i Got to this point. I'm debating whether or not to make it a part 2, as a separate entry...

Once Fred Neitszche declared God is Dead, f*ck became the most important word in the English languag

Apr 03, 2008 01:01 # 45663

Renee * replies...

Re: Norwich State Hospital

Howdy Zen, 04~02~06~~Wednesday~~8:57 PM

My Name is Renee
I wanted to bring to your attention about a picture you took & Posted and not sure if you saw what I see and im somewhat have knowledge with the spirit paranormal and you have a spirit figure on your picture which is # 16 has 2 full trees in front of the building with some red mark on the front door and if you look to your right on the 1st floor you will see a white spirit figure standing there, just zoom it in and you will see,I just saw it from not zoomed in but wanted to make sure I saw what I see so if your looking to continue your search on Norwich state hospital Part two
theres another story you can check into if your up to it.

Goodluck and if you like to e-mail me back my e-mail addy: is,

rmmnlp@midmaine.com

Not sure if I can leave personal information like this 1st time here, so forgive me if I was not too.

Thanks.

Sincerely,

Renee

Renee ( My Nickname friends call me) NaeNae

Apr 03, 2008 02:14 # 45664

Renee * replies...

Re: Norwich State Hospital

Hi Again,, 04~~02~~08~~Wednesday~~ 10:07 PM
If you can Like I did once about 14-15 years ago, which now Im 38 yrs, young :) ,theres a building behind the kettle building not the lab~canteen is where I use to work at as a cook, building across it there is a dungeon underneath the building that I explored once and only once because I felt sorrow and also knew there were lost souls,talking about spirits and boy it was very eerie down in that long walk dungeon. it looked like jail but worst. chain harnesses, Etc... just wasnt right how challenged people were treated.Not sure what all was in the dungeon is all there that was used on patients.

I dont know if it still exists in the lab where the resteraunt above it but when I did work there many years ago downstairs at the bottom where the resteraunt canteen above I did see in jars looked not right that was in those liquid jars. Not kidding either a person dont forget that, eyes dont deceive a person.I kind of freaked and bailed my kaboose out of there.never told anyone til actually now here to you.

where people were used for elecrtic shock therapy, Etc.... and never was good outcomes for most people who 1st entered the NSH when I beleive it 1st opened up.I did alittle history homework myself but not all that much though.cause back then everything was confidental couldnt talk about what took place there at NSH.

After I was a Pateint and released nothing could ever be told to me because I was a patient once so confidentiality I couldnt know too much about the history of NSH. I wasnt technically a staff person just an employee working at the canteen not working on the hospital wards.

Go to ur local library for that town or Town Hall and information about what your looking for the history of NSH and if not im sure someone at one of those places can stir you in the right direction for you history information.

Its weird too because I ended up there NSH and ended working there, myself like yourself read your bio but for personal reasons why I went there treated me for personal continous harm that happened to me back then and I lost myself for ahwile and found my way back that was many years ago I was there.
true survivors we both are and many more out in public who are survivors themselves that was in NSH..

Too bad such a beautiful grounds of beautiful buildings are wasting like that.Too bad beauty like that should be kept up. Can I ask you something, the last time I heard about 3 years ago that it may end up as a ash land. I hope not that would be terrible.

If you know could you pass it my way if you dont mind and thank you.

thanks for taking ur time to read what I wrote, If you need to ask me anything that you may not know and I may I be glad to help you with information if I know ot myself dont mind at all.

Well have a great night and hope you reply to me if you like.

Sincerely,

Renee

Renee ( My Nickname friends call me) NaeNae

Sep 10, 2010 08:29 # 46790

kemdog1982 * replies...

Re: Norwich State Hospital

Hi i was wondering if theres anyway i can legally gain access to these buildings for photography and research as im in the early stages of interviewing and researching for a book i an writing about Fairfield Hills and Norwich State Hospital entailing employee and patient interviews, detailing the different therapies, how much the psychiatric practices have changed in connecticut since Norwich opened in 1904, deinstitutionalization and its effects on the two hospitals and doing then and now photos. my email is nbhskendog1982@aol.com feel free to give me any input needed to help me with this mammoth project. Kenny.

Oct 06, 2011 17:24 # 47211

zen *** replies...

Re: Norwich State Hospital

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I'll be glad to help with your project, as I'm able. As you can see, I'm not on NAO as much as I was. To answer your question, it's extremely difficult to get legal access to the site, as it's now fenced-off, and they're apparently starting some phase of de-construction.
I know that a television crew (of a show dealing with the paranormal) was allowed access, but there's a process to it. I know that you have to get written permission from the Department of Health Services (in Hartford or Wethersfield) as the first step. It may take 6 months or more for that, due to all the red tape.
I've done research on the hospital grounds. A trip to the library in Norwich (Otis Library) is a good place to start, if you haven't been there already.
Good luck with your project.

Once Fred Neitszche declared God is Dead, f*ck became the most important word in the English languag

Oct 02, 2011 19:22 # 47207

70sThea * replies...

Re: Norwich State Hospital for the Insane

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I was in Kettle North 5, in 1970. I was there for a couple of month. In 1971 I was back to the Kettle building, only this time North 2. It was the new "adolescent" unit. I was there for depression and to help me find the way not to hurt myself anymore. They kept me until school was out, (I went to their school) and then helped me find a job and get a room in a rooming house in Norwich. A couple of years later I scared myself and checked myself in and was on Kettle North 3.
The north side was the women and the South side was the men.
I learned a lot but I lost a lot there. I only learned a year or so ago that the hospital had been closed. I do hope they were able to place the patients who needed it. I was told by a friend who is a resident of Norwich but was never in the hospital that when they closed the hospital that they left many of the patients on the streets. I just can't believe that. Or maybe I just don't want to believe that.
I'm sure most of the staff I knew and a few I loved are all retired if alive now. Time marches on.
I've been thinking about writing about my experiences there. I do hope you write more. Do you know of any pictures?
By the way, I moved with a friend to California at the end of 1976, and never looked back. I met and married the love of my life, have been married for 28 years. We have 2 grown kids and one grandbaby. Life is good. I hope it is for you as well.

This post was edited by 70sThea on Oct 02, 2011.

Oct 06, 2011 17:31 # 47212

zen *** replies...

Re: Norwich State Hospital for the Insane

There's a few places that the patients of Norwich State went when it close. (1) Whiting Forensic (or Conn Valley Hospital), in Middletown, CT (This was more for the hardcore insane), (2)Somers Correctional Facility, (now called Osborne) Psychiatric Dept, (3)the streets.
There were a number of low-level patients who were deemed "safe" for release into the community.

Once Fred Neitszche declared God is Dead, f*ck became the most important word in the English languag

Dec 26, 2011 02:23 # 47239

Syd * replies...

Re: Norwich State Hospital for the Insane

I went there in 2005. Place is pretty much under demo now.
http://wacots.org/tiki-index.php?page=Norwich+State+Hospital


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