Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Waiting for Inspiration & Greystone Park Insane Asylum


Someone once told me she was waiting for inspiration to come knocking on her door before she submerged herself into her novel.  She was, and still is, a very good writer and storyteller; has been for years.  She also has hands-on experience to write her book but as I already mentioned, she is waiting for a revelation to beam down from the Heavens, run through her veins, and write the story for her.
 
I simply told her this… "If you choose to wait, you might be waiting for a very long time.  Your story isn’t going to write itself, nor is inspiration going to stalk you until you do.  You have to find the time, dedication and dig deep within your mind and heart to let your novel unfold.  The mind and heart will battle each other constantly.  It’s going to be gut wrenching and frustrating at times and you are going to want to CRY or PULL YOUR HAIR OUT.  You are going to fight with your plot until you get it right.  Your characters are going to set up their camp inside your head until the story is completely written, edited and sent off to the publisher or agent.  Literally, they will talk to you even when you aren’t writing. “



“BUT, this is the raw and unfiltered beauty of your story.  Inspiration will start to show its face when you least expect it because you have the fire lit inside your soul.  And this fire is going to burn so bright, by the end of your first finished manuscript, you are going to be a different person, a better writer… someone who didn’t wait for a lightning strike carrying a river of visions behind its tail.” 
Sometimes, we have to pull the ladder out and climb up it ourselves in order to reach for our dreams.  Inspiration comes and goes, but perseverance will always be there to get us through the dog days of our writing as well as the untamed highs of our story. 


AND NOW, A HAUNTING IN MY BACKYARD! GREYSTONE PARK, located in Morris Plains, New Jersey.

 
We literally live a few minutes away from one of the most haunted places in northern New Jersey, Greystone Park.  This haunted asylum was famous for electric shock, insulin therapy and lobotomies.  It sits on the lavish green hills of Morris Plains, nestled amongst 1000 acres of land.  Greystone hospital opened its doors in 1877, housing 342 mentally ill patients.

 
Geystone Park is known for having one of the largest continuous foundations in the Kirkbride building which was built in the Second Empire Victorian style.  The Kirkbride building has been used in numerous shows and films, including House and Marvin’s Room.  The only other building surpassing Kirkbride is the Pentagon built in 1943.
The Kirkbride Building
 
The main building had 40 wards which were split into two wings; one to house men and the other for women.  There were also dormitories built to accommodate the growing number of patients.  Two people occupied each patient room. 

 


Greystone became so massive that its grounds included staff housing, a chapel, a post office, fire and police stations, a working farm, recreational facilities, ponds, green houses, morgue stables, and its own quarry as well as gas and water utilities.  A trolley line connected Greystone to the New Jersey transit.
 
Train depot at Greystone
 
While mental abuse was accredited to demonic possessions, some doctors believed these patients could be cured by kindness and the comfort and care of their surroundings.  Sadly, tales of abuse and neglect of patients grew in the later years.  And the population peeked in the 1950s with the return of soldiers from WWII suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

It’s even speculated and stated in an article in the magazine, Weird New Jersey, Jack the Ripper may have died here.  Rumor has it a Norwegian sailor named Folgema (thought to have been Jack the Ripper) was committed to the Morris Plains lunatic asylum for fits of rage and insanity, describing scenes and incidents clearly connecting him to the gruesome murders in London.  But no one knows if there is any truth behind this story.



Once Greystone was abandoned in 2003, tales of ghastly hauntings grew among the teenagers who trespassed (including my dear) and those were worked there.  A lot of these hauntings occurred in the frightening underground tunnels which connected various buildings and was used to transport patients.  People who have worked on the grounds have claimed, “feeling watched,” or “not able to get out of there quick enough.”

Ghost Adventures visited the asylum after hearing about the hauntings during their first season of filming back in 2008.  I believe it was episode six if you are interested in looking it up!


Greystone Park tunnel

When my dear was in high school, he and a group of friends visited the grounds.  They claimed to have seen a disturbing image in a window of one of the buildings.  They were so horrified they ran as fast as they could to get back to their cars. 
 
I drive past Greystone all of the time but because it resides far back from the main road, I can hardly make out any of the property.  Maybe one of these days, I will get a group of people together to scope it out but until then, I will share with you a clip from the movie Oliver Stone’s son, Sean Stone, filmed on the grounds in 2009. 



Apparently, he and his crew got a lot more than they bargained for!  Here is a trailer from the movie based on their experience in the asylum, Greystone Park.






That’s it for me!  Have you heard about Greystone Park before?  Will you be checking out this movie?  Do you prefer paranormal or gory?  I have an interview tomorrow with an award winning author on her radio show!  More about this next week=)  Happy Wednesday!



40 comments:

  1. I've never been there, though I've been to Morris Plains. I try to stay away from haunted places because I do believe in ghosts but try to tell myself I don't. ;)

    Good luck with your radio interview!

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! I'm a bit nervous but hey, we have to put ourselves out there, right?=)
      I am such a scaredy cat when it comes to haunted places, though I do love them! When I was younger, we would venture into the Pine Barrens where local legends dwelled. I remember one time, we saw something like a light in an old abandoned soldier post and went running back to our cars. I think that was the last time we did something like that other than visiting graveyards in college around Halloween. The things we put ourselves through!

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  2. Gina, I so agree with you that writers can't "wait" for inspiration. We have to sit our butts down at the computer (even when we don't feel like it) and make that magic happen! And about Greystone. Whoo, honey! Bet you won't catch me there, lol! Have you watched American Horror Story, Asylum? If you haven't, catch it on Netflix and let me know what you think. I LOVED it.

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    1. I watched a little bit of Asylum but never got the chance to really binge on it. I think they have a new one premiering tonight? American Horror Story Freak Show? Now that is going to be a doozy!
      Lol, I can here you say this Quanie... "Whoo, honey! Bet you won't catch me there!" I'm laughing to myself! Yea, I don't know if I could sum up the courage to visit Greystone... not after watching that movie or hearing my boyfriend's ghost stories about it!

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  3. Great talk about going out and finding your own inspiration, your own "fire," if you will. I don't believe writer's block really exists—at the very least, it's more helpful to pretend like it doesn't. Even if all you can write about is the stain on the wall.

    Greystone looks like a perfect place to wind up on Halloween! Love it! Let us know if you ever do go check it out ;)

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    1. You know, Kiersi, I do agree with you. Although sometimes we have moments where we struggle with our stories, I truly believe if you sit down and surround yourself with your favorite surroundings (silence, music, photos, etc.) ideas are bound to come. And even if we have to step away for a few days, that is fine too. BUT, we MUST try, no matter what the excuse. If we don't write, our books are not going to write themselves.
      I will totally keep you guys posted if I ever mustard up the courage to visit Greystone!:)

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  4. Ooh! Awesome pictures. I'd love to go check that place out.

    You know, I think when writing, it starts with the lightning strikes. You write only when you are inspired. As you get into it (and especially after you have a publishing contract), you figure out how to build a rod and stir the clouds. You may have to build your own storm, but you learn how to bring the lightning when you need it.

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  5. I love your thoughts on this, Crystal. Sometimes, I think people get the inspiration but sadly let it go because they just don't feel like writing the story. There have been tons if times where inspiration has flooded through me but as you mentioned, I had to keep the storm going through my own dedication to finish my work. I only wish my friend would write her book because she's inspired so many others with her story. But for now, she is waiting...
    Greystone is spooooooky! When I hear the train at night outside of my window, I often think about the days when people used it to go to work there. Whew! Goosebumps!

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  6. "she is waiting for a revelation to beam down from the Heavens, run through her veins, and write the story for her." - wouldn't it be fabulous if that DID happen??? Wouldn't it be so amazing? Sigh. I wish it would. But I so much agree with your tough love words and advice. You have to just write. Even if it's hard. Especially when it's hard.

    YIKES, that is creepy! I like paranormal but I'm not good at all with gore :)

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  7. I sooo wish we could have inspiration constantly running through our veins, Liz. It would really make things so much easier!
    I'm learning even more about Greystone since blogging about it this morning. I think I might have to get a group together, even if we just walk by there:)

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  8. Has Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures been there? If not, they should!!! The Jack the Ripper part makes it especially interesting for TV.

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    1. Ghost Adventures visited Greystone Park during Season 1, episode 6. It originally aired in November, 2008. Must be pretty haunted for them to explore their during their 1st season!

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    2. I probably saw that episode. I watched all the first season when it was on YouTube. My husband gets a kick out of that guy. If you ever get a chance, watch the movie he did that inspired the TV series. He was a normal, kind of dorky guy that seemed more like a documentary filmmaker than the douchebag he is now. The muscles and spiky hair and arrogant attitude were all created for the show, you can tell. I would say fame created it, but he changed completely from the documentary to episode 1.

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    3. Really? I had no idea! I always wondered where the spiky hair, muscles and attitude came from. I totally have to check out the documentary now!

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  9. Stories of these old creepy asylums are so horrific, but also morbidly fascinating. I can't help but read them and listen when someone's telling a story ... and watch things like American Horror Story: Asylum. ;)

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    1. I still have to watch AHS, Asylum! I loved Coven but was too horrified after seeing a couple of episodes of Asylum. I should just invite a friend over, curl up on the couch one weekend during this month and binge on cheese, brie and Asylum!

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    2. Good idea - maybe watch it during daylight hours if you want to minimise the creep factor? :P

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    3. Absolutely! I watched American Horror Story Freak Show the other night and it gave me the creeps! I can't imagine what Asylum would do to my dreams.

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  10. Gina, Is this a preview of October fun, yet to come? Wow! Can't wait for what's next. I must be out of the movie loop. I didn't hear about this one. Looks like a guaranteed nightmare, after watching this one! And please don't dare ever go prowling around that place!!! Love U!

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  11. I don't know mom, maybe you , Ellen & I should go take a peek this weekend... Skip the Thai food & comedy club and hang out at Greystone!! Buahhhh

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  12. That Kirkbridge building looks familiar, so I might have caught it on HOUSE, and that train depot appears so desolated and beautiful. (I know, I know, this is supposed to be horrifying!) Besides those two, the other pictures did make me nervous. The stories of the patients and hospital staff, and those working at the post office, police station and more ... it sounds like a village rather than an asylum. I'm spooked, but also fascinated, so I might search if the DVD is available and rent it soon. (Gina, are you interested in writing horror? Ask your boyfriend to bring you there for research!)

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    1. The more I learn about Greystone, Claudine, the more I am fascinated by it. It was originally supposed to house only 600 patients but when it accommodated 1,600 patients at one point, they expanded. It peaked with a population of 7,674 patients in the 1950s so you can imagine the things that went on in there.
      My boyfriend, who has seen it, says it looks like an enormous college campus. I should get him to take me there to get some research and inspiration going! I never thought about writing horror but my novel is a thriller/crime=)

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  13. I wanted to mention that when I go to your Google+ profile, I can't find any links to this blog there. I have my blog linked from my "About" page in G+, so maybe you can do the same? Unless I'm suffering from a terrible case of domestic blindness, and there is a link somewhere on G+ for you already. ;)

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    1. Thank you so much, Trish! Someone told me about this before but I have since forgot about fixing the issue. I will definitely look into it either after work today or over the weekend=) Thank you!!

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  14. I LOVE this! That building is so horribly creepy! Thanks for all the detailed info and the tale from your "dear." The movie looks fascinating and reminds me of "Grave Encounters." I prefer both paranormal and gory - but only if the characters are realistic and the book's well written. Have a great week! :)

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    1. I keep bugging him to take me there for a closer look, Lexa. If he ever does, I will definitely be keeping everyone updated!

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  15. Awesomely Creeeepy!!!! In November my hubby and I are staying at a haunted Inn. I ain't afraid of no ghosts!!!

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    1. Wow, are you serious? You have to keep me posted about what happens during your stay!! That is scary yet so cool!

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  16. Inspiration is great, but you can't always wait for it to strike. You have to search for you.

    I love learning about haunted places! I like to watch Ghost Hunters and other shows like that. When I was a kid, I was the only one to saw Bloody Mary three times in a dark bathroom with my friends because everyone else was too scare. This movie looks creepy and I love all the background information you gave us.

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    1. Thanks, Chrys. I loved doing the research about this place. It has actually inspired me to think about writing a short story or maybe even a paranormal novel someday=)
      I was too scared to say Bloody Mary back when I was little. I was such a scaredy cat but now, I love everything paranormal.

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  17. Well, this was nicely creepy. It gave me the chills just looking at those interiors, but there's tons of stories to be told about Greystone, so that's a real positive.

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    1. This is why I want to drive closer to the abandoned buildings and have a better look. My boyfriend says everything is pretty much gated off but still, I'm absolutely curious!

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  18. No gore for me. You always have the most intriguing historical trivia.
    Great interview, bud!

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  19. Awe, thanks Sandra. I was so nervous and you can tell just a bit. When my boyfriend and I were listening to it together, he pointed out some things to prepare me for next time. He's the head honcho at his advertising company so he is an expert at interviewing. I am debating on whether or not I will share it just so I can offer advice to others. The radio host emailed me and said I was great and she really enjoyed our conversation. Soooo I guess that is good, right?=)

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  20. You did a great job, Gina and didn't come across as nervous at all. Sharing it would be fun. Hugs,

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    1. Thank you, Sandra. I think I just might=)

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  21. Thanks for sharing the info about Greystone! I had never heard of it and usually don't like scary movies but this does look really interesting. What an ideal spot for ghost stories, and the idea that the stories are based on real events makes it worth checking into, especially since your friend is a firsthand experiencer.

    As for waiting for inspiration to come from heaven - I find that sometimes it does but is most likely to happen if I am already committed to writing, and am in fact, already in the act of writing.

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    1. Very true, Carol. I find when I'm really absorbed by a story I am writing, inspiration comes easily. I truly believe it's because I do most of my writing in the early morning when the world is still sleeping. I've tried writing later in the day and at night after work but I don't find the inspiration I am blessed with in the morning. Strange.
      Maybe we just have to find the right surroundings and timing for enlightenment to come.

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  22. I'd like to visit a haunted place. I went on a ghost tour once and saw nothing.

    I've met people who've waited a long time and continue to wait.

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    1. Try Greystone, Medeia. I'm sure you won't regret it if you are searching for a true paranormal experience=)

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