Part of me wanted to refrain from naming the location of today’s blog post. I always use discretion about who I share locations with. Trusted friends will always get the full information. Even friends of friends who demonstrate common sense in the hobby will get my help in finding locations. It’s the people who have never contemplated exploring abandoned buildings before finding out about it through a Vice or Buzzfeed article that I am protective about locations. You don’t want someone unintentionally (or intentionally) ruining the party. We are all newbies at one point in time, and in many aspects, you need to prove yourself dependable and mature enough to pass through the proverbial and literal gate.
With that said, the place I am writing about today is well-known to EVERYONE from Koreans and expats alike. It’s been covered on CNN. According to Atlas Obscura, “thousands of people break in and roam the grounds…every year.” Atlas Obscure offers the GPS coordinates for you to go check out the “haunted’ grounds of Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital. It’s there for anyone with enough curiosity to go out and find for themselves. I have been aware of the location for years, but only recently (June 2017) made the bus out to rural Gyeonggi-Do to find ghosts, or mostly just find fascinated artifacts from a former psychiatric hospital.
First, I must apologize from no external shots of the building. If you must see what it looks like from the outside just Google “Gonjiam” and you will find some compelling images. The ones I got were not that great. Also, I wasn’t obsessed for external shots because I wasn’t willing to gamble coming across a guard in the front. My main interests lied what was inside the building.
I entered a round-about way through the woods. A small building on the edge of a meadow and the woods was the first thing I explored. Not a bad way to start off an exploration! Finding catalogs from the 1980’s in still decent condition? Wow! This small building appeared to be living quarters for some people, possibly staff. If there was anything creepy about this place, it’s the sheer amount of shoes that I encountered while exploring. It’s easy to imagine that the shoes once belonged to patients living at the hospital. Now off to the main building.
The most interesting room belonged to someone used the walls as a canvas. An artistic soul that needed to express themselves by painting landscapes and geometric shapes. I wonder if this was a form of therapy for a former resident; possibly a way to cope with being locked away from the outside world.
Walking around I found other artifacts that caught my attention. Calender that date back from late 1995 and early 1996 provide clues to when it was shut down caused by financial mismanagment and irrigation problems. Personal items are always intreging, but I was completely captivated when I discovered the sheets of paper with squiggly lines. It appears they measured the brain waves to ensure the stability of patients.
With all the hype surrounding the place, you might think Gonjiam Psycheatric Hospital is not worth a trip by itself. Despite the vandalism and arson that has taken place over the years, the building still has enough interesting artifacts worthy of a visit. In fact, I highly encourage you to be one of those thousand people that break in and wander the grounds.