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The Unquiet Spirits of the Eloise Complex

BY CATHERINE CAVENDISH.

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Image: Detroit Free Press

What can be scarier than an old abandoned asylum?

Not much in my book. And if you’re looking for a place with a freakish amount of scares, then the Eloise Complex would be right up your street. A few years ago, if you had the cash, you might even have wanted to make a purchase. That’s if you had a million or so dollars lying around in your attic. Of course, that money would have bought you a place that was once big enough have its own zip code.

The complex certainly has a history. It all started in 1839 when Wayne County, Michigan established a farm and poorhouse which expanded until it eventually covered 902 acres and encompassed some 70 buildings.

In 1913, there were three divisions – The Eloise Hospital (the mental hospital), Eloise Sanitorium (TB hospital), and the Eloise Infirmary (the Poorhouse). In 1945, it was renamed the Wayne County General Hospital and Infirmary at Eloise Michigan.

Back when it was at its height, during the Great Depression, around 10,000 patients and 2000 workers lived there in a self-contained city that included a bakery, slaughterhouse, fire department, post office, amusement hall, cannery, tobacco field, cemetery and police department. It was in these days that it earned its own zip code.

Image – Edward Pevos MLive

Eloise was at the forefront of pioneering psychiatric treatment. Now, today, we might laud this as a Good Thing. At the time we are talking, back in the first half of the 20th century, we are talking straitjackets and electroshock therapy, lobotomies that rendered the patient into a permanent vegetative state.

In Eloise’s case, there was also massive overcrowding. 10,000 patients there may well have been – maybe even more. But the facility was only built -even at its largest – to house 8.300. Patients slept on floors, were left unattended and neglected. Some inmates spent their entire adult lives there and, when they died, their burials were usually anonymous. The more disruptive patients could find themselves physically restrained – bound by hands and feet and, at one time, it has been reported, they could be chained to the roof of the asylum barn, above the pigs who dwelt beneath.

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Image – Bill Bresler https://eu.hometownlife.com/

By 1974 it had two divisions: the Wayne County General Hospital and the Wayne County Psychiatric Hospital (there being no further need for a TB hospital following the development of the life-saving streptomycin drug). The psychiatric division closed in 1982.

By 2019, just 5 of the buildings remained (firehouse, bakery, power plant, commissary and ‘D’ building) along with the cemetery. The complex was redeveloped into a strip mall, golf course and condominiums. ‘D’ building is now called the Kay Beard building and the old commissary is now a homeless shelter. The firehouse (which became the psychiatric facility laundry) and the power plant are still standing but the bakery was severely damaged by arson in 2016. The entire complex was sold in 2019 for the princely sum of $1, as it was at that time costing $375,000 per year simply to maintain it. Its purpose is to provide affordable housing for senior citizens in a minimum of 106 units.

But what of the ghosts?

In December 2019, members of the group Detroit Paranormal Expeditions visited the long closed-off basement of a building on the complex. It had been flooded for decades but had recently been drained.

They reported the eerie stillness, the total, unnatural quiet and the strong sense of someone else being down there with them. They heard the sound of dripping water (perhaps not so surprising) and shuffling footsteps (more disquieting). Their videos captured orange and white lights, and an orb.

The group have paid a number of visits to the Eloise complex – with terrifying results. They describe being chased out of the place by ghostly phenomena, describing it as so haunted as to have almost daily supernatural occurrences – shadows, unexplained noises, objects moving of their own accord, disembodied voices, unexplained footsteps.

 Other visitors to the complex have described a so-called ‘flying ghost’.

With so much spirit activity, we can only wish the new residents well in their brand-new homes. Given the philanthropic nature of the current enterprise, maybe that will go some way towards placating those who, as yet, cannot leave.

A few years ago, a horror film – Eloisewas shot on location in the ruined buildings, making for a highly atmospheric setting.

You’re next…

Carol and Nessa are strangers but not for much longer.

In a luxury apartment and in the walls of a modern hospital, the evil that was done continues to thrive. They are in the hands of an entity that knows no boundaries and crosses dimensions – bending and twisting time itself – and where danger waits in every shadow. The battle is on for their bodies and souls and the line between reality and nightmare is hard to define.
Through it all, the words of Lydia Warren Carmody haunt them. But who was she? And why have Carol and Nessa been chosen?

The answer lies deep in the darkness…

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About The Author

Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. In addition to In Darkness, Shadows Breathe, Cat’s novels include The Garden of Bewitchment. The Haunting of Henderson Close, the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas include: The Malan Witch, The Darkest Veil, Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife

Her short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies including Midnight in the Pentagram, Midnight in the Graveyard and Haunted Are These Houses.

She lives by the sea in Southport, England with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat called Serafina who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue.

You can connect with Cat here:

Catherine Cavendish

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Relevant links for this article:

Detroit Free Press: https://eu.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2018/06/21/eloise-asylum-hospital-michigan/720896002/

https://eu.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2019/03/19/ghost-eloise-psychiatric-hospital-westland-haunted-basement/3204379002/

The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/11/eloise-hospital-haunted-michigan-mental-asylum

Detroit Paranormal Expeditions:

Dawn Ziegler:

Hometown Life

https://eu.hometownlife.com/story/news/local/westland/2019/10/16/scary-encounters-coming-eloise-asylum/4000027002/