The idea of an abandoned mental hospital attracted many people. But it takes a certain type of person to take an interest
in a place like Byberry. Unfortunately, the cavernous safety of Byberry attracted the homeless. Stories from early explorers
and authorities suggest that a number of these homeless were ex-patients with no where else to go. The first adventurers to
Byberry were copper salvagers and looters, followed by the explorer, ghost hunter, and kid playing hookie.
During the time since Byberry's closure, events of all natures have occured there, adding to the legend. Although many
of these stories have proven to be fact-based, they are highly exaggerated. There actually was someone who walked around with
a machete- one of the early Byberrian explorers with a great sense of humor. The truely scary part about Byberry is what had
happened there for so many years before there ever was a "legend". Although it may look, smell, sound, or feel haunted,
there was really nothing to fear at Byberry besides the police and the unsteady environment of condemned buildings.
|C-8 BUILDING; NOV 2003
The "Byberry Phenomenon" blew so far out of proportion that it became one of the country's most famous haunted places!
By 1993 the popular Philadelphia rock radio station Eagle 106 held a Haunted House in the old nurses' residences at Halloween
for three consecutive years, with a large percentage of the profit going to help the residents of Self Help. The original
building was abandoned at this point, leaving only the additions to be used by the self help movement.
By 1995, the east group and surrounding land now consisted of a new industrial/business park, save for E-6 building, which
has been refurbished. In 1997, the warehouses were demolished. In 2000, the west power plant and garages followed. Finally,
C-6 and C-12 (the twin cathedrals) were torn down by 2001, leaving the laundry building (S-8) as the only surviving building
south of Southampton road. The early explorers used the laundry building as an easy entrance to the rest of the property.
It's steam tunnels provided an easy underground walkway under southampton road to the rest of the remaining campus.
|C-9 BUILDING; JAN 2004
It wasn't until about 2002 that Byberry reached the peak of its celeberity status. Websites began emerging telling of the
hospital's exaggerated stories. Maps were available with hints on getting in, even the security company's shifts and driving
routes were documented. It didn't take long for even the painfully shy to show up with backpacks and flashlights. Before long,
patterns of explorers began trekking through Byberry's dank hallways, and a sub-culture emerged. Many of the "regular"
explorers used tag or graffitti names to identify themselves to each other. Byberry was probably as puzzled by this new life
within its walls as the people inside them were by Byberry.
By 2003, Byberry was overrun by a large number of regular visitors, as well as "newbies" pouring in every day.
Some remained loyal "Byberrians" and others couldn't wait to get out. It was an environment unlike anything else.
People's lives connected through the experience of going to "the berry" religously. It was a place with no law,
no church, no last call, and no admittance fee. Unfortunately this gave way, as expected, to countless cases of vandalism
and destruction by thrill seekers and just plain idiots who took full advantage of the un-governed metropolis. The patient
connecting hallways provided easy passage between all the buildings and the police rarely attempted to pursue trespassers.
It was a place the city and state wished would just disappear.
Byberry did however, provide years of joy for literally hundreds of visitors. Summer (and winter) BBQ's, birthday party
celebrations, paintball skirmishes, the infamous holy grail search game, and large fireworks displays are just some of the
tales of a different kind of fun. Who would have thought that a place which brought pain and suffering to so many, could also
bring so much meaning and enjoyment to so many others? I guess that's just Byberry for you...
|DRIVEWAY TO LAUNDRY AND GARAGES; MARCH 2004
The only photos of the "twin cathedrals', C-6 and C-12, that I've yet seen. These were
the Tubercular buildings for the female group. They were demo'd in 2000. Thanx to Mark Werner for the photos.