Traipsing around in abandoned mental hospitals has become trendy. [See some of the other sites listed at the end of this post for examples
] Yet I, along with my now long distance pal Chad Kleitsch
and I did this with some measure of official sanction before it became a "thing"
Actually, Chad has done this for some time, not only at old asylums, but through empty factories, and a trip to India. It was he who gave me my first official taste of the phenomena known as "Urban Adventuring" ...not that I had never done this sort of thing, more that I'd never known there was a name for it. And, actually, I'd kind of forgotten about my adventuring around those empty buildings with Chad until the past couple of weeks ...until after the kamakazie style crash bombing of the jumbo jets into the World Trade Towers.
It was pictures from the World Financial Center, such as the one of the right from the New York Times
, after the September 11 "bombing" which took an eerie, albeit, deja vu tone
photo: Jeff Mermlestein, © 2001 New York Times
for me, bringing back a series of weekends a few years back when I was assigned to escort a fine arts photographer ~that was Chad~ around the empty buildings where I work. We later became good friends, and also went on to work on a similar project at another ~completely abandoned~ hospital grounds.
The experience is at once exhilarating and psychially draining. You are at the same time conscious of the thrill of discovering dramatic images
remaining photos on this page and subsequent pages © 1999, 2001 | will brady or chad kleitsch
of light but they coincide with the grim recognition that you are at the nexus where something both devasating and horrible has taken place.
Now, the similarities between our trekking about the buildings and grounds of two different [largely] abandoned facility campuses and those at the World Trade Center quickly end. WTC took place before an audience of literally billions of people, it was swiftly condemned and examined almost as the buildings (and the souls trapped within them) were collapsing to the streets below. Already the destruction of the WTC towers stands as a massive cultural symbol for the brutality mass murder and acts of public terrorism.
In comparision, most have never known about, nor heard of the plight of literally hundreds of thousands of people who were intentionally locked up and ~yes, terrorized and tortured~ in places that some naievely supposed were there to help them.
With this page, we stop ignoring these lesser known institutional acts of terrorism ~a forgotten part of this planet's (not just America's) history. For if we are to truly combat terrorism, it must be done on all fronts, and exposure comes first.