Shay Loves Horror

Fueled by Coffee and Horror Movies.



Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018)

Exploring the Haunted Fortress of Suomenlinna

A few years ago I was lucky enough to travel to Finland for an internship studying marine seagrass ecology through the San Diego State University Research Foundation with Åbo Akademi University! While there, I was able to explore the beauty of the wonderful country and one of the incredible places I was able to see was the Fortress of Suomenlinna in Helsinki. It was an incredible experience to see the ruins of something that old, way older than anything I have seen before! On the day that we boarded the ship across the water, it was cold and raining and simply added more to the experience of the place.


“Suomi” means Finland and “Linna” means castle. It was constructed in 1748 and has defended the Kingdom of Sweden, the Russian Empire and most recently, the Republic of Finland. Also known as Sveaborg, it sits on the Susiluodot islands near the Helsinki harbor, originally built by the Swedish and later falling to the Russians in 1808 who expanded the base, added barracks and an Orthodox church and renamed it Viapori. Finland achieved independence in 1918, taking the fortress and renovating it, naming it Suomenlinna, “The Castle of Finland.” It was used to defend the country during WWII.


Stepping off of the ferry was like stepping into a whole new world, another time and place. Most of the fortress was renovated back to its original form and you could just sense the history coming out of that island. We, my adviser and I, decided to wander on our own and try to take in all that we could. Luckily, almost everything was written in Finnish, Swedish, French, English and Russian, so we could navigate ourselves pretty well without a guide.


We started by circling around the outer perimeter of the grounds, as most of the middle had been transformed to tourist attractions and museums, and the outer walls were still very original. We went up first, following the reinforced edges surrounded by turrets, battlements and some of the coolest underground storage facilities I have ever seen, disguised from the air as mounds of dirt. We weren’t able to go inside as the doors were very unsteady, but what a cool design!

We then moved downward into the tunnels below the walls. Most of them were open to the outside, as you can see from the image above, and were only used for shelter and to remain hidden. However some of them veered off into the ground, some down into the ground, until it either caved in or was blocked off and deemed “condemned.” We still went into most of them. And I have to say that throughout the entire experience, the feeling I felt in the tunnels was the eeriest out of the entire grounds. You could almost sense how many feet had traveled those corridors. How many battle were fought in those tunnels and how many people lost their lives over the centuries that it has been standing The fortress has seen so many souls pass through it, and I definitely got a sense of that down there.



After leaving the tunnels, we started inward to the inner grounds of the fortress. This is where you could tell a lot of renovations occurred, but this is also where we were able to get a better sense of the history of the place. Travelling under decrepit archways and around stone walled buildings, we were able to see just how much these old structures have really stood the test of time. What continued to get me was the fact that everything had a thick layer of dirt and vegetation on it. It gave it all such an old, antique look about it, and really showed it’s age.


We spent the good part of the day just roaming. Looking at every stone, every mound building, walking through every tunnel and reading every sign that we could understand. Even though it was raining, it didn’t seem to faze us. As I said before, it actually added to the atmosphere of the whole place. The clouds and mist looming overhead just gave everything the authentic look that I only would have expected coming from an island like this. The history of the place still has me in awe and I can’t believe I was lucky enough to be able to travel all the way to Helsinki, Finland and witness the greatness that was the Fortress of Suomenlinna!



Exploring the Haunted Northern State Hospital Farm

I’m finally doing it! I’m trying my hand at exploring some haunted places! I have a list ready of some local places that are either haunted, run down, or just plain creepy, and with the help of my amazing, not so enthused about being haunted, husband, I am going to visit them all!


First on the list is actually not that far from me. The Northern State Hospital Farm located at the mouth of the Cascade Mountains in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, now transformed into a recreational park, is managed by the state in order to preserve the buildings and land that used to belong to the Hospital.

The Northern State Hospital for the Mentally Ill was a very large, self-sufficient facility with a number of production facilities spanning across a 700 acre farm. Not only was it self-sufficient, but it was also productive enough to be able to feed other hospitals in the state, raising livestock from chickens to cows, managing a canning facility and processing food and crops on site. The farm was very beneficial to it’s patients, giving them a great way to socialize and work, and becoming the largest farm of it’s kind at it’s height this side of the Mississippi. The hospital is still in use, however the farm, closed in 1973, is now a great place to hike, pay Frisbee golf, and explore the empty, decrepit, decaying barns and milking houses.


We started at the parking lot and as we were walking towards the place, we realized very quickly how many people were exploring at the same time we were. Although it would have been more of an experience to be just my husband, father-in-law and I, it probably wasn’t a bad idea to have it not only be a high traffic area, but also be daylight .. and our dogs were with us to round out the numbers.

Among the first few buildings were what appeared to be milking, meat processing, and delivery facilities. There was a large loading dock near another building full of gated stalls with a long pit underneath. I’m still not quite sure which purpose this building served, but it was a little unsettling none-the-less.



Past these buildings were a number of large, empty buildings that could have been used for storage or for housing livestock. Along with the debris, the “empty” buildings were also filled to the brim with graffiti of all kinds, from the amateur to the artistic, and was even in some impressively hard to reach places.



Once we felt like we efficiently explored every square inch of these old buildings, we took to the trail to find some more structures along the 700 acres of land that were utilized. While we searched, we found a very intricate Frisbee golf course, winding in and out of buildings and housing platforms, around trees, and through streams and ditches. Along with finding this course, I also found a NEED to participate in a Frisbee golf game at some point in my life.

At the end of the trail, before it looped back to the main buildings, we found the remains of what looked to be an old food processing center, completely suffocated by Blackberries and almost completely obscured by the twisting vines. Although it made it hard to see and explore, it made for a very cool looking picture.


And with that, we decided to not make the dogs withstand anymore torment of us jumping around these old buildings like children and we went home. It was an incredible experience and one that I hope to do again! I would recommend to anyone who likes to explore the abandoned to make the trip out to this “middle of nowhere” treasure.

It has definitely caused me to want to do this again and find more old buildings, abandoned to time, and be able to explore them and find what secrets they might hold and what stories I can learn from them!



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