Northville Psychiatric Hospital

Northville Psychiatric Hospital was once considered one of the finest mental health facilities in the country.  As an early adopter of art and music therapy, patients of Northville were treated until the 1970’s with a program that allowed them to learn to play instruments and put on plays, study mechanics or home economics, and work various jobs around the hospital campus.  It fell into disgrace in the 1987, when the Detroit Free Press ran an expose on the abhorrent, cramped conditions, but didn’t close until 2003.  [x]

The photos in the gallery, and the exterior shot below, were taken in 2011.  I posted one on Reddit a few years ago, and I still get questions asking if it’s safe to go.  The answer is no, absolutely not.  The property’s been fitted with motion detectors and cameras.  You will get caught, and because it’s Northville,  they will prosecute you.  If it’s still gnawing at you in a few years and hasn’t been torn down, check up on it again.

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There have been periods during which the security lapses, and the campus becomes accessible again.  But, when this tower served as a location for the horror movie It Follows in 2014 (among a number of other bits of Detroit scenery and pockets of abandonment), all new equipment was added as a protective measure against the new wave of horror fans chasing adrenaline rushes.  Also worth mentioning, the interior shots of the hospital were actually filmed at the Packard Plant.

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Film still from It Follows, 2014

There’s something about abandoned psychiatric hospitals that has always had a unique appeal to thrillseekers even before the movie sets arrive.  Maybe it’s that they’re usually in small towns, secluded and enormous, enticing bored people from main stretches of highway.  Ultimately, when it comes to places worth getting busted over, this place might’ve had a spot on the list ten years ago, but safer ones are everywhere.  This explorer doesn’t mind waiting a few more years for the campus to be forgotten again.

8 thoughts on “Northville Psychiatric Hospital

  1. …and THERE it is! I love stories and photo coverage of these places. They were SO important to many people. I often wonder what sort of society we’ve become to allow ourselves the make-believe mindset to think that these facilities (or actually – far improved ones) are no longer needed in our country. All of a sudden everyone went mentally healthy? Or has it much to do with the pharmaceutical mafia that is taking over all of us? In any case, lovely post and FABULOUS photo spread. Thank you again for being here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you again! 🙂 I’m reading a really interesting book from another local (abandoned, now demolished) mental hospital you might like, it’s called the Three Christs of Ypsilanti, and is an incredibly interesting window into publicly funded mental health (and the foreward is entirely about deinstitutionalization). Check it out, I think you might like it!

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