While our Tech worked on the Tinkerer’s box, the rest of us set out to attack the front door. We’d considered it once before and gone in the back, but it was time to tackle this building head on. And we were going to work on it during the daylight.
This door was built with a singular purpose: keeping the patients inside. As such, it was built to be impressive on the outside, but like so many things in life – the true beauty lies within. The front stairs are broad and spaced for easy access and the two lights on either side of the double doors offer an almost home-like front porch light to reduce the stigma of coming to such a hospital in the first place. But the doors themselves – those are impressive.
The double doors are set up between two brick columns on either side. Based on the plans we read when we started, those columns hold the secure bar locking mechanisms that slide into and through the steel-core doors. Once we pry off the boards, which are largely to discourage hoodlums from trying to get into the place, we have to find a way, without power, to dislodge the steel bars running side to side through the doors.
We started by removing the nailed up boards and the bricks on the columns themselves. That took the better part of nearly four hours with sledgehammers and pry bars. And when we got inside the columns, we quickly found a mess of wires we would need to sort through to figure out which ones provided power to the retraction mechanism. Gas-powered generator at our side, we worked our way through the ancient construction until we got something to move. We couldn’t just bulldoze our way in – and pulling on the doors would be next to useless.
Let’s face it – these doors would have been at home in a super max prison!
We left at nightfall, not wanting to rile the spirits further. And came back the next day when we had more luck. The guards were doubled to cover the front and back of the building.
The next day we got the left side of the door structure to release, but in the process we managed to fry the mechanism on the right side. With two of the four heavy steel bars out of the way however, we could go with some brute force methods.
With what was left of our operating budget for the shoot, we rented a heavy dump truck from a local construction company. The demolition company would appreciate the extra help, I’m sure. By securing chains from the first bar to the dump truck, we floored it in the direction of the front gate. It was touch and go for a time, but eventually the bar gave way. We did the same with the lower bar and had clear access from the front door all the way to the stairwell where our friend perished less than a week before.
It took less than a couple of hours and we cut the truck loose before checking in with our techie friend…
Lately there has been quite a bit of interest in “die drop tables” (like this one from Dyson Logos), so I attempted to use the worksheet from Brick-by-Brick: Doors to do something similar… Though it didn’t quite work as expected, I did end up with enough details to help flesh out the front door of the asylum. Who knew it would be such a Fort Knox-style affair?
I do find it amusing that our intrepid ghost hunters have started doing things during the day to avoid ticking off the ghosts… 🙂
But I’ll be curious to see how the rest of their plan goes… Guess we’ll have to keep watching the 31 Days of Halloween challenge to find out!