Formerly known as "Creepy-chusetts, Strange-chusetts".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bridewater State Hopital Cemetery 2-2, Bridgewater

From: Bridgewater State Hospital Cemetery 1-2, Bridgewater

From Titicut Follies (1967)

I visited Bridgewater State Hospital Cemetery to connect a patient -- who is coffined in the above picture -- and one of the 346 nameless, numbered gravestones in the cemetery.

Together with the cemetery, Bridgewater State Hospital was established in 1850's as a state run almshouse. Currently, the hospital is functioning as a medium security correctional facility.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bridgewater State Hospital Cemetery 1-2, Bridgewater

I went to Bridgewater State Hospital Cemetery for a specific reason. I wanted to connect one patient's story -- how he was treated in the hospital, the way he died, and how he was buried -- and a nameless gravestone. His gravestone is one of the numerous numbered gravestones in Massachusetts; I hoped to find what kind of life story could be found from those numbered concrete blocks. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Update on Whittemore Ave. Greenhouse

Please refer to: Whittemore Ave Greenhouse and Emerson's Iron Lung and Quonset Hut

Just yesterday, I received a letter from the City of Cambridge. I opened the envelope jokingly thinking "What? Did they finally decide hiring me as ... god knows what...wait, wait, did I pay too little tax?" Instead, it was a letter from the mayor regarding the redevelopment plan of the Fawcett Oil site.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What's "the Reversed View of Massachusetts"?

Originally posted on November 4, 2010.

 Since I lost my way in the mountain, I had been losing the sense of direction. I thought I went down to the opposite direction, but in reality, I came back to U town again. I usually go to the town center from the railway station, but this time I came from the totally different direction. I experienced another universe in the forth dimension (the reversed view) where every direction -- up, down, north, south, east, west, forward, back, right, left -- is reversed. I viewed the town with an upside-down compass, creating the opposite impression of the town. 
-- from Cat Town by Sakutaro Hagiwara, translated by Shuko K.

Cat Town (Neko machi, 猫町) is a short story written by a Japanese poet Sakutaro Hagiwara in the early 20th century. "I", a morphine addict staying in a countryside called U town, lost his way in the mountain and discovered a beautiful town. But as soon as he noticed the ethereal surface of the town, everyone turned into...cats, cats, cats !! When he realized he had wandered into U town from the opposite direction from his usual route, the town went back to normal, rather boring one again. He saw the town from a reversed view (Fuukei no uragawa, 風景の裏側) and experienced the unreal.

Was it hallucination or real ? It doesn't matter; he did see people turned into cats.

For last one year, I have been investigating various sites in Massachusetts, notably abandoned state hospitals and desolate state hospital cemeteries. Thorough the experience, I somehow developed a sense to detect significant stories behind those desolate, forgotten spaces. I began finding saddening, sometimes enraging, or even positively amazing stories thorough those pockets of space, those often surrounded by a familiar view of a myriad of new housing developments, busy highways, quaint nature trails, and cookie-cutterish strip malls. I began to see my familiar place, the state of Massachusetts, from a reversed view after having rather intense, "unreal" experiences; those pockets of forgotten spaces became an entrance to the upside down realm.

Have I ever seen people turning into "cats" after I visit those places? A good question, but no. However in a symbolic sense, yes. "I" in Cat Town viewed those cats with a sense of fear. Of course it's scary if you realize you are surrounded by people-turned-into-cats! But symbolically, he might saw a certain face of us human being that we tried to hide or confiscate from our everyday life. The stories behind abandoned state hospitals and state hospital cemeteries are filled with the history of neglect, shame, and stigma. Why did we facilitate numerous state hospital cemeteries of which gravestones were distinguished only by numbers?  Once you begin questioning so, you may find a certain dimension of human face that no one wants to confront.

But don't despair. I also witnessed countless powerful stories through my investigation. The stories of people who had experienced the neglect and indifference but overcame the burdens by demonstrating his/ her strength in their everyday lives.

So this is one of the numerous examples of the reversed view. After sharing my experience, I hope you may change the way you view the places surrounding you. And I'll assure you, no worry for people-turning-into-cats moments!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A greeting from Shuko K.

Dear Readers,

I'm changing my blog title from Creepy-chusetts, Strange-chusetts to The Reversed View of Massachusetts!

The new URL will be: It'll be great if you could add this new address to your bookmark or whatever way you keep your things. Anyway, I'll be arranging to automatically relocate from Creepychusetts to here once I settle in this location well.

The essence of the blog will be the same, but I'd like to focus on more about people who were/ are associated with the places I investigate. I'll explain the meaning of this enigmatic title under new blog. However, in next few month the number of posts I publish will be less than it used to be. It's just temporary. A lot of things are happening, I wish I can investigate those places all day long!

Recently I went to Bridgewater to investigate the Bridgewater State Hospital Cemetery to find one specific gravestone. I wanted to connect a story of one patient and a nameless grave stone. I'll post my findings shortly in The Reversed View of Massachusetts, but until then, here's the sneak peak:

Aren't they something?

Shuko K.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mercantile Wharf Building, Boston

Mercantile Wharf Building is one of the creations of Gridley James Fox Bryant. Prolific in the mid 19th century, he represented the Boston Granite Style thorough Charles Street Jail (1851), Washington Tower at Mt Auburn (1854), and the Cambridge Poor Farm(1851).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hoffman Building, Boston

Hoffman Building, Lovejoy Wharf, Submarine Signal Building, Schrafft's Candy Factory Quincy Cold Storage... I don't know which name rings a bell to you, but it's that abandoned loft just before you go deep under the Big Dig. When you are on I-93 south, maybe you are preoccupied by being on the Zakim Bridge or by the sight of TD Bank Garden on your right. If you turn your head opposite from the Bruins... that's the one I'm talking about. If you still don't get it, forget about it. Just drive safe.   

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Irish Round Tower, Milford

Why are there so many stone towers in New England? Because Rock is abundant in the region? While I was in the Midwest for a few years, I didn't come across a single stone tower... Now my guess game starts here: when the European settlers cultivated the land they needed to clear chunks of rock. Creating a mound after mound of rock pile was way too boring and impractical. Instead of doing so, they piled rocks up for boundary hedges. That's practical, but it's not quite a fun yet.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Examining the Cambridge Poor Farm 2-2

If you stumble upon this post, I'd recommend reading Examining the Cambridge Poor Farm 1-2 first.

It dawned on me that I would have ended up there. Cerebral shunts weren’t even invented until the late 1800′s and probably not even remotely safe for most patients until the 1900′s...Eventually I would be considered invalid, and with no source of income I would be sent to the Poor Farm. Maybe I would do some light quarry work or net some fish, but more likely I would spend my days moaning in pain on a dirty floor while the orphans try to avoid me or steal my food. -- From Baron Barometer's Brain Blog 

Cambridge Poor Farm

Located on the most northern corner of the city of Cambridge, the Cambridge Poor Farm was established in 1851. At the almshouse, "the elderly and 'the deserving poor' lived among the sick and the insane" until its closure in 1927.

Continuing from the previous post, I've been investigating this less known piece of Cambridge history together with the 1851 Cambridge Chronicle article. What intrigues me the most is that how the historic event, philosophy, and public sentiment of the time reflected the walls of those institutions. Now, I'll continue the virtual tour. Let's go to 3rd floor.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Examining the Cambridge Poor Farm 1-2

Wow, time flies. I started my blog "Creepy-chusetts, Strange-chusetts" on August 24, 2010. A year ago, I had little connection with Massachusetts. I knew nobody, I knew nothing about the place! I started the blog hoping to know people in my neighborhood and learn about this tremendously interesting state. The result? It has been great. The idea for my blog is still bottomless, and I hope I can continue my "quirky" adventure further. I thank all the readers and people I became to know through my investigation.

Today, I'd like to introduce what I found through my little research about an ex-almshouse in my neighborhood. Together with Gaebler Children's Center in Waltham, this is one of the most memorable places for me because I became to know some fabulous people though the investigation. -- Shuko K.

Then: from Cambridge Chronicle Mar. 22, 1851
Now: Aug., 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Skinny House, Boston

The Skinny House sits on Copp's Hill in North End. The house is across a very old cemetery established in 1659. This skinny structure is said to be built around 1870. It measures 10ft (3m) width, hence the name "skinny", and the narrowest of the interior is mere 6ft (180cm).

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Vaughn house, Dana

Dana is one of the lost towns of the Quabbin Reservoir. Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were impounded in 1938 upon the completion of the reservoir. Today, the 39 mi² (100 km²) Quabbin Reservoir is still in use and the largest body of fresh water in Massachusetts.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dungeon Rock, Lynn

Dungeon Rock is probably one of the most famous New England oddities. Dungeon Rock in Lynn Woods is packed with colorful stories: the legend of pirate's treasure and the quest of a rather obsessive spiritualist family who attempted to find the truth.

Prior to this visit, I and B. visited Lynn Woods for investigating Burrill Stone Tower, a tower built by the WPA in 1936. My companion pleasantly liked the place like I do, so we decided to visit  another curiosity of the woods; the King of (Lynn) Rock.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stone Tower, Lynn

I love Lynn Woods. Since I  "discovered" the place a year ago, I've been visiting there multiple times. People I meet on the trail are very friendly. Each time I greet them, they show me a genuine smile and throw some conversations. It has a good vibe, my kind of good vibe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Echo Bridge & Elliot Manufacturing Co., Newton-Needham

Continue from: Echo Bridge, Newton-Needham

Former Elliot Manufacturing Company 

The construction of Echo Bridge completed in 1876 as a part of the Sudbury Aqueduct. The waterway began operating in 1878 to transport water from Framingham to Chestnut Hill for the purpose of supplying drinking water to the Metropolitan Boston area. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Echo Bridge, Newton-Needham

Echo Bridge is a part of the Sudbury Aqueduct. The aqueduct connects the Sudbury Reservoir in Framingham and  the Chestnut Hill Reservoir by Boston College. The linear distance between the two is about 20 miles. The construction of the Echo Bridge finished in 1876, and the aqueduct began operating in 1878 . The Sudbury aqueduct was active until 1978 and currently utilized as a backup waterway. This well maintained, beautiful bridge is currently open to public as a part of  Hemlock Gorge Reservation.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tewksbury State Hospital Cemetery, Tewksbury

Continue from: Stonecroft @ Tewksbury Hospital, Tewksbury

There are two cemeteries for Tewksbury State Hospital. The one I visited is called "the Pines Cemetery". The other is simply called "the Pauper Cemetery". They are located in separate woodlands nearby the hospital. According to the Public Health Museum, approximately 15,000 patients, who had no relatives claimed their bodies, are buried in those no-name cemeteries. Apparently, the records between 1854 and 1894 are missing, but at least the patients deceased between1891 and 1930 are buried in the Pines Cemetery. In the Pauper Cemetery, the burials took place as late as 1960's.

Established in 1892, Tewksbury Hospital was originally called as the Tewksbury Almshouse. Many of them were destitute immigrants notably from Ireland. In addition to the poor, they accepted the "pauper insane", alcoholics, and patients with such contagious disease as TB.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Stonecroft, Tewksbury

Reminder: Stonecroft sits in the middle of an active hospital property. Please respect hospital workers and patients and do not disturb the property.

Continue from Tewksbury Hospital, Tewksbury

Conditions at the Tewksbury Almshouse were deplorable. Chronically underfunded, overcrowded and in disrepair, the Almshouse housed an average of 940 men, women and children during the years that Sullivan was there. The mortality rate was very high, and within three months of their arrival, Jimmie Sullivan died. --From Perkins School for the Blind

Stonecroft, Rear

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tewksbury Hospital, Tewksbury

Old Administration Building, built 1894

Tewksbury Hospital was one of the state run almshouses established in 1852. The Bridgewater, Monson and Tewksbury Almshouse were opened to accommodate an increasing number of destitute immigrants in Massachusetts.

The Bridgewater Almshouse later become a correctional facility for "criminally insane", and Monson became "Massachusetts Hospital for Epileptics" in 1895. Tewksbury began accepting "pauper insane" in 1866. Alcoholics were treated in the course of expansion. The almshouse/ asylum also admitted patients with such contagious disease as TB, small pox and typhoid, but also remained as an almshouse, especially during the time of the Great Depression.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stuck in the Emerson Iron Lung

(a follow up of: Emerson's Iron Lung and Quonset Hut, Cambridge)

Recently, I visited the Public Health Museum at Tewsksbury Hospital and came across an object I mentioned in my past post.

I live close to the former main office of J.H. Emerson Co. in North Cambridge. The company was the leading manufacture of a negative pressure ventilator a.k.a Iron Lung during the polio outbreaks between the 40's and 50's. It was a temporal measure for the majority of the patients, but some remained to rely on an Iron Lung permanently.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Faces of The Working Boys Home

(follow up of: Working Boys Home, Newton)

About three months ago, I wrote a short piece about the Working Boys Home in Newton. I stumbled on the place by browsing old maps of Newton in 1903 and 1946. There was (and still is) little historic information available, but the post has been drawing rich, personal experience and history related to the Home. Today, I'll introduce some faces of working boys.

The redbrick with an imposing clock tower was built in 1896. It still sits on top of a pine wood hill. Currently the building is functioning as a Jewish community center but was originally established by the Roman Catholic Church for the boys who were separated from parents.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bear Hill Tower, Stoneham

Bear Hill Tower

Few weeks ago, I went to Wright's Tower in Medford, the tower looking down the Medford section of I-93. The tower sitting on a hill at the Middlesex Fells Reservation was built as a part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects during the 30's to ease the unemployment. I personally call those towers as "job creation towers". Quite amount of job seemed to be created by stacking Massachusetts stone into towers.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Foxborough State Hospital Cemetery II, Foxborough

From Foxborough State Hospital Cemetery

This cemetery was created in 1933 and subsequently expanded that those who remained in the state care even in death would have the dignity of a proper burial. -- Foxborough State Hospital Cemetery
Are we mental patients even in death? Why does the state hide our names? "It has been said that no families have come forward to claim their relatives buried in these cemeteries. WE are their families!" Mark Giles, ex-patient and activist. -- National Empowerment Center

About a month ago, I visited the former Foxborough (or Foxboro) State Hospital and its cemetery. The hospital was established as the Massachusetts Hospital for Dipsomaniacs and Inebriates in 1889. By 1914, the inebriate hospital was transformed to a psychiatric hospital. In 1976, the Foxborough closed its door and was converted to a condo in 2009.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wright's Tower, Medford

It's the tower on top of the hill looking down Medford part of I-93. Each time I was on I-93 North around exit 33 -- often stuck in traffic jam with Boston honkers -- I always thought how great it would be looking down us the earth crawlers.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mimicry Ducks: find the pair

Middlesex Fells Reservation, Medford

Wachusett Aqueduct, Northborough

The Wachusett Aqueduct was completed in 1905 to carry water from the Wachusett Reservoir to the Sudbury Reservoir*. The majority of this 10-mile route is in underground, and a few elevated crossings are visible from us. The crossing I introduce today is on the Assabet River by Hudson Street.

*The route changed when a new water treatment plant in Marlborough was constructed in 2005.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Clinton Tunnel, Clinton

Note: if you want to explore the tunnel, bring a good flashlight and wear a pair of water-proof boots. I found the tunnel ground wet and slippery. There was rubble, possibly from the ceiling, on the tunnel ground, too. While it applies to all the places I introduce, please explore at your own risk, and Creepy-chusetts, Strange-chusetts cannot be held liable for your accident!

This winter, I visited the Old Stone Church in West Boylston. Communities along the Nashua River had changed completely after the Wachusett Dam was filled in 1908; I became interested in the landscape before the reservoir was filled.

After I visited the Wachusett Dam, I walked down Boylston Street for a good few minutes to a disused train tunnel. On the street level I only found a stone foundation, I looked up and found something like a portal. I decided to climb up a bit.

I was wondering about stone foundations at the basin, it looked like a remain of a bridge. But what kind of bridge? When I was on top of the portal,  it was clear that the tunnel and stone foundations in the water were aligned, so those remains were for the railroad bridge.

I first thought the tunnel was abandoned due to the completion of the Wachusett Reservoir in 1905. On the contrary, the tunnel and railroad were built to replace the line impounded by the reservoir. The tunnel was completed sometimes around in 1903 as a part of the Central Massachusetts Railroad. This 0.2 mile (340m) long tunnel was the second longest tunnel* in the state of Massachusetts when it was constructed. The line became disused in 1958, and the railroad tracks and bridge were cleared. But the tunnel goes through the Wilson Hill still remains.

*The longest tunnel in the state was the 8.5 mile (14km) long Hoosac Tunnel completed in 1875. 

Photo taken in 1902: from, posted by Downy288

Is it okay to enter or not: that was the question. I saw an article about an off-duty police officer exploring the tunnel with his kids for fun. A local resident suggests calling the Clinton police department before exploring the tunnel during the night, so the police will make sure you are all right. But keep in mind; there is a local rumor that a missing girl's body was found in the tunnel some 30 or 40 years ago...

Photo taken in late March

I recommend bringing a flashlight and wear a good pair of waterproof boots, or you'll end up tripping on giant ice pillars like above.

The giant ice does look like a ghost, classic Casper type; there is a handful of ghost stories and urban legends linked to this tunnel. Possibly many of the stories were from the fear that the girl's body might be found in this very place. The darkness, amplified sound, and cold atmosphere are the prefect setting for inducing some scary visions. I only learned about the girl's body after I explored, but I must have read the story before hand. It means I had blocked the information out from my brain!

The most popular paranormal legend is one experiences the tunnel stretches out, looks like the other portal is in an infinite distance. But after experiencing the stretching stone steps at the Wachusett Dam, it was nothing; I reached the other portal in 5 minutes, it was on the longer side of the notion of 5 minutes, but far better than climbing up the steep stone steps for 5 minutes.

I also heard some strange mechanical sound inside, and found out it was the one of a chainsaw from somebody's house. Not the TX massacre type but the Saturday DIY type, the amicable one.

I examined the tunnel interior. The paved concrete only continues for a short distance; after that, it's a bare granite rock. I could imagine the labors 100 years ago igniting dynamites and drilling through the tunnel leaving the rough surface. Looking at the bare tunnel surface, I began worrying about the tunnel cave-in while I was going back to the other portal. Going is always easy, but returning is another story.

While I was going back, a series of bizarre incidents I had experienced in my life came up to my mind. A lady who "dropped" a jam jar from 4th floor while I was walking right under. A guy hired me as a photographer asking to take portraits of his colleague who didn't know she's going to die from cancer soon. Infirm, frail old widows by the Ganges begging money for fire logs.

I looked back for no reason and remembered the descent to the Underworld of Orpheus. I shouldn't look back because Orpheus failed to bring his dead wife to this world by doing so. It's just a bad thing to do in the dark.

I came out safe and alive, a pick up truck with thundering bass sound passed by Boylston Street. I could hear the booming sound even the truck was on the other side of the reservoir.

Continue to: Wachusett Aqueduct

Locate Clinton Tunnel @ Google Map

1943 map of Clinton, Mytopo Historical Map:
Haunted Clinton tunnel appears endless, Worcester Telegram & Gazette:
Tunnel Vision, New England Oddities: