Not too far from my home used to be the site of one of Maryland’s Most Haunted buildings, the Henryton State Hospital. The hospital closed it’s doors in 1985, having been opened since the early 1920’s. In it’s prime, it housed tuberculosis patients as well as the mentally ill.
It was only after it closed, that it gained a reputation of being haunted. Folks that dared to visit, reported shadows, tapping on the shoulder, sound of footsteps…you know, the normal spooky stuff.
By now you’re wondering what the heck a spooky old State Hospital has to do with a mirror.
When my middle son was in high school, he and his buddies loved to explore the woods near our home. The river was a favorite attraction as well as the woods. He knows the area better than anyone else in the family. So, at one point, I had asked him if he knew of any ruins in the area or any dumping grounds. He didn’t hesitate…the old Henryton State Hospital. He and his friends had tried to film a scary movie there at one point and had been chased off by the police.
The police were always looking out for the old hospital since kids had been doing a bit of vandalism, even setting a few fires. During the course of being chased off, he had run into the hospital’s old dumping grounds in the woods.
That’s a bit of the history of the area, but since that time the buildings have all been demolished, nothing left but a beautiful pasture in the woods. Doesn’t quite have that haunted feeling any more. And that is where I wanted to go for my birthday last year. The kids had all showed up early, it was a beautiful day and we were ready for an adventure.
To get to the site where the buildings once stood, we had to cross a river and hike up another hill. This is most of our group crossing the river. It wasn’t exactly a raging river.
All the way on the back right is the exact moment when my oldest son is pulling a rusty rim out of the river. What you don’t here is “Mom, do you want this?” Well sure! From that distance I didn’t see the pounds of rust on it (look at the picture below to get an idea).
We were a bit worried there would be absolutely nothing left of the dump since the buildings were totally gone but we were able to eventually find some remains of the old dump and after a bit of picking we came up with a few rusty treasures.
This was our haul. I’m still not sure if we were just picking up trash in the woods or if these are genuine treasures. I’m going to go with treasure.
I did use a piece of the rusty metal for the middle of my railroad spike wine rack. It was actually fitting that the wine rack was made for my exploring middle child and he was also the one that carried that rusty thing out of the woods.
This cool piece was actually found by my youngest son. He was busy exploring at the top of a hill pulling out shoes, hubcaps, and other junk when he spied this treasure. After having been asked if I wanted any of the other junk, I was actually very surprised when he came up with this heavy iron piece. I really thought he was going to show me another shoe.
This is a picture of the piece after it was cleaned. It looks like a piece that may have surrounded an old fireplace. If I’m wrong or way off, I’d love to know what it was actually used for.
The biggest pieces of rust were removed with a hammer and chisel. After a little more sanding, it was almost as good as new.
All along I envisioned my metal piece as a mirror topper and I finally found the perfect sized mirror at a thrift store.
I was hoping to use my metal topper with the rust showing but no matter what color I painted the mirror, the styles were too far off.
Finally painted the mirror with a black chalk paint followed by a dark wax.
The metal top was painted with the same paint to match the frame. Used the existing screw holes to attach the metal topper to the mirror.
So far, I’ve noticed no other faces other than my own coming from the mirror but I’m sure if this mirror could talk it would have a story to tell.