Day 1, The Entrance: 31 Days of Halloween 2015

Though we had to deal with the picketers outside the asylum grounds, security managed to open up a large enough hole to get us through the gates. We’ll let them deal with the sign-carrying worrywarts while we spend the first night inside the building proper. Our goal is to spend every night this month inside, so we’ll see how that goes. Definitely one of the larger expeditions for the Crunchy Ghosties crew, so we’re excited to get started.

the-asylum-dramascapeOur researcher did a great job getting the building plans for us a few weeks ago, but we noticed a few strange things right off the bat. Though the original news stories spoke of illegal experiments going on in the attic, the county clerk’s office didn’t have a copy of the plans for that floor in the archive so we’ll be flying a bit blind once we get that far. But our first order of business was to actually gain entry into the facility.

According to the plans, we had three possible options. The front doors. A back door for the servants. And a door beneath the main stairs that passes near the boiler room.

After the incident in the 1990s, the front door was not only boarded up but chained and barred about three ways from Sunday, so we knew that wasn’t going to happen without some serious tools and a lot of time. The door passing near the boiler room was ruled out by our producers as being too near a part of the facility that could explode. We tried to talk them out of their decision to disallow it, but the lawyers wouldn’t budge. So that left the back door.

We drove our van and trailer around back and began to set up. First order of business was to start our generators. No electricity had been on in the building for decades, so we knew we had to bring our own. The generators could run for a full 24 hours on the fuel we had on hand and they fired up quickly.

Once we had power, we set up all the monitors for our recording equipment. Our technical director was planning on staying in the van with all the monitors. He would keep in contact with everybody over the wireless and switch to cell phones if we needed to. Everybody was hooked up with Bluetooth earpieces and microphones, so everybody was wired for sound. We also set everyone up with some portable cameras and extra memory cards. We’d broadcast with a couple of transmitting cameras inside, but wanted ot make sure anything freaky was caught if those went down. Lastly we all had a good old 35mm camera. Sometimes ghosts were camera shy and good old celluloid was the best way to capture their good side.

A quick communications check later, we were ready to head inside. At least we thought we were. That door was built for security and though the holding company somehow had no keys to give us, we thought we could just break in. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

This area had been flooded a few years ago and the wood in the door frame swelled to the point where none of the corners were plumb, which locked the metal reinforced door a different way than the builders may have intended back in the 1950s. Add to that the fact that the lock itself managed to rust solid, it took our demolition crew about three hours to figure out how to get it open with hand tools and a ton of elbow grease.

It was well after midnight by the time they got it all sorted out and we were going to have to deal with dawn before long, so we closed the entrance up again as best we could and decided to return the next night… We placed a pair of guards (paid for by the production company) there to keep an eye on things and headed back to the hotel.

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I decided to use Brick by Brick: Doors to help me figure out some of the details of what the Ghosties crew would face when they got to the asylum proper. It turned out to be a bigger hassle than they thought. I only focused on the one door they’d be entering… But the Doors product turned out to not be quite what I needed.

Only two tables turned out to be useful: Door Condition and Door State. I got “Rusted” and “Stuck” and came up with the thought about the potential flooding in the area causing trouble over the last 40 years. I’m sure that same flooding will cause some difficulties once the crew gets inside as well…

As I mentioned earlier in the week, this year I’m exploring The Asylum map from DramaScape — a fantastic map full of interesting nooks and crannies to explore. Be sure to check out all the amazing maps available from the DramaScape crew!

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