tuscaloosaal

Corridor at Bryce State Hospital, a Kirkbride Plan asylum down in Tuscaloosa, AL.  When this building was abandoned, a lot of artifacts were abandoned with it; gurneys and furniture fill some of the hallways, and there are offices that are basically still set up - some parts of the building still have power running to them!

Finding human organs in jars is not an altogether uncommon occurrence when poking around the recesses of America’s abandoned asylums and hospitals.  Bumping into a cabinet upon which two such jars, the formalin long since dried out, rests at 4 in the morning is slightly unnerving.  This happened to me at Tuscaloosa’s Bryce State Hospital some time back, as I was searching around for those middle-of-the-night photographs to kill time until civil twilight broke.  After first light, I got so caught up in shooting a brand-new (to me) Kirkbride building that I completely forgot about the jars of organs - until it was almost time to go, at which point, I returned to grab a few captures.  Here’s one of them.

Print available here.

If you need further proof that we have…uh..overeager police, this story is it. The results of failing to pay a traffic tickets and get a current registration sticker in Tuscaloosa:

As soon as I arrived at the police station, before I could make it through the metal detectors, I was pushed against a wall and made to stand there until a female officer could take the time to inappropriately touch — I mean frisk — me. As the woman ran her hands down my body and between my legs, three male officers stood behind me, watching the show.

From there, I was processed, which included stripping down in front of a female officer. While I stood before her naked, I asked the cop why it was necessary for me to be strip searched; she responded by calling me an asshole and deciding I needed to take a shower to, I suppose, wash the filth out of my mouth. I didn’t even get a towel to dry off with.

Strip searched because you didn’t make it to the DMV in a timely manner? Yeah, if that’s not “cruel and unusual punishment” given the “crime” we’re talking about, I don’t know what is.

The author concludes, “So while my story is not unique or shocking, I want it to bother you. Arrest rates have grown in this country, over 30 percent of Americans are arrested before the age of 23; which is to say about a third of our citizens are criminals according to ‘the law.’ That doesn’t sound like justice to me.”

Indeed it does not.

Why Alabama? This is why Alabama. This is watching the most unbelievable sunrise on the top floor of a parking garage. This is staying up all night getting to know some truly amazing people. This is living in a new state and being able to call it home. This is watching this view knowing it’s THE FIRST GAME DAY OF THE SEASON. This is everything. This is my life. This is Alabama. And I couldn’t be happier.

Depicted here is one of the seclusion rooms scattered throughout Bryce State Hospital, a small Kirkbride plan asylum in Tuscaloosa.  While most asylums’ seclusion rooms had square or round viewing windows for orderlies to keep watch on patients, these featured long, narrow slits both at top and bottom - apparently so that orderlies could have a wider range of view (although they’d have to nearly lie on the ground to use the lower one).  Captured in the early morning some years ago, it made a nice natural diptych with the more-standard Bryce door across, casting early morning light in a beam into the hallway.

Print available here.