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An Unexpected Connection

Saturday 03/26/2005 2:48 PM

Alright, let me cut to the chase. I've drawn this out long enough.

To give you the proper perspective on the connection I discovered about a month ago, I'd need to write for another week or so on Sunland, the old abandoned mental hospital in Tallahassee.

Here is the super-short version.

Sunland was built as a tuberculosis ward decades ago. Once TB was no longer a threat, it was converted into a mental hospital. In the early 80's it was shut down for several reasons (to be discussed later). As it fell into neglect, it quickly became notorious around town as a haunted place not to be visited at night (or any other time for that matter).

It is a scary looking wreck of vacant and forgotten institutionalism.

In the early 90's I started walking the dogs through the woods behind the hospital. Most people don't realize there is even more acreage available to explore separate from the building — the former grounds.

As to the name... many folks around town have come to call it Sunnyland instead of its actual name of Sunland. Around the house, years ago, we just it The Asylum. I don't care which you prefer, but I've got a handful of stories about me and the boys there that will appear in the book.

I figure I walked the grounds at all hours of the day probably at least a couple thousand times over a ten-year period. I know a lot about the place.

And now for the denoument of my short-circuited presentation of the surprise that struck me like a bolt a month ago.

For the last couple of weeks I've been talking about the potter's field near our home in the woods. Well, according to the research reported on this web site, the pauper's cemetery was used to bury people from Sunland. I've been in contact with the woman who wrote that and she got her information from City of Tallahassee. I've yet to follow-up to confirm.

So the obscure cemetery I discovered as a teenager was used to bury former residents of the abandoned mental hospital I discovered as an adult and visited almost every day for ten years so I could walk my dogs.

Wow, huh?

I'll be talking more about Sunland in about a week, but first, I want to tell you about a truly abandoned graveyard on the outskirts of town.

More tomorrow.

File Under: Asylum, The; Cemeteries; Potter's Field
Music: William Orbit "Web Site Samples"

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