Strange Geographies: East LA's Abandoned Hospital

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I'm sick today. Sore throat, achy muscles, the works. You'll never guess why, so I'll just tell you: probably because I spent an unhealthy chunk of Valentine's Day location scouting (for an upcoming film shoot) at a creepy, mold-infested, long-abandoned hospital in East Los Angeles.

Built in 1938 as a hospital for railroad employees (and reportedly occupied by Howard Hughes on occasion), nobody's been admitted to Linda Vista Hospital since it closed in 1990. Besides the odd ghost sighting (speciously reported here) the place has been haunted mainly by film crews: they shot parts of Outbreak, End of Days, Boogeyman 2 and the pilot for E.R. there. As a result, I'm sure a lot of the creepier stuff we found was concocted by production designers with dark senses of humor over the years, but knowing that didn't diminish the flesh-crawly feeling my small crew and I got from being there, totally alone. (There wasn't even anyone there to show us around -- "it's unlocked, just go right in," the caretaker told us over the phone.)

I guess I could've gotten sick some other way, but this place was just so drippingly disgusting -- it just seems right that I should've picked up some horror-movie infection while there. I started taking pictures for reference, but soon realized that after years of being the haunted hospital location of choice, the now ironically-named Linda Vista wasn't much good for shooting non-haunted stuff anymore. (Which, in retrospect, is fine -- doing a 20-hour night shoot in this place would be pretty low on my list of Fun Things to Do.)

Outside ...

... and inside.
wet_hall.jpg

The drapes were a nice touch, I thought.
drapes.jpg

Anyone missing a door?broken_door.jpg

The autopsy table.
autopsy_table.jpg

Unsubtle, but to the point:666.jpg

Unless this was the psych ward, I imagine this is the work of a very disturbed art director.
graffiti.jpg

Free gurney! It's blocking the entrance to the morgue, which I didn't quite have the courage to explore.
gurney.jpg

I think this used to be an operating room.OR.jpg

No, there's nothing creepy about this bed.
torture_bed.jpg

A lot of the hallways were wet.
rusty_hall.jpg

Why does this remind me of a scene from The Shining? yellow_room.jpg

All the comforts of home ...
window.jpg

What happened to the third bed?
two_beds.jpg

You can check out more Strange Geographies columns here.

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February 15, 2008 - 2:53am
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