There are 2 primary types of “haunted” attractions. First: Locations that allege past paranormal activities (like the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA), but where you aren’t likely to experience an actual supernatural phenomenon. Then there are “haunts”, attractions that usually pop up around Halloween; while no one expects to meet an actual specter in these entertaining “Haunted Houses” either, attendees can at least expect thrills and chills.
Now, a resident of Downey, CA (south-west of Downtown Los Angeles) has launched a petition seeking to merge fact and fantasy. Jonathan Bemister has launched a petition on Change.org asking the city to transform the long abandoned Hollydale Insane Asylum into an epic Halloween attraction.
Bemister writes: “The city of Downey has been making a lot of changes this past year and in doing so they have destroyed historical buildings. The insane asylum in Downey has been a place of mystery for people of all ages for years! If the city would fix it up and start their own Halloween event it would preserve the building history, give the town a real tourist attraction, and make lots of money for the city… Sign this petition and let’s start a city tradition.”
You can read the petition in its entirety (and sign it, if you are so inclined): HERE.
Hollydale has a long and sordid history. An article published on Examiner.com in 2010 states:
“According to city documents, the structure first served as a sanatorium to treat tuberculosis and polio, but years later it was converted into a psychiatric asylum, where many lives were lost due to the ineffectiveness of medicine and old methods to treat the insane; the lives of those who wanted to be cured and recurred to the hospital with hope, but never made it out, at least with a smile. In the 1980’s the building was shut down and replaced by the newly remodeled Rancho Los Amigos Hospital.”
While absolutely no proof exists, there’s a persistent rumor that Hollydale was shuttered after a patient killed a staff priest.
Since its closure, Hollydale has been included on numerous lists of “haunted places”; many neighborhood residents report ghostly figures roaming the gated property—along with an unshakable feeling of being watched when in the vicinity. A story that ran on Reddit last year under the header The Cult of the Downey Insane Asylum, where an intrepid urban explorer describes otherworldly happenings that sent his team fleeing in abject terror. You can read the story for yourself: HERE.
Check out this video I found on You Tube; it was uploaded by user King Potato in July of 2014 and follows three teen boys taking their time exploring various buildings at Hollydale. While the quality is poor, it plays out like a slow-burn, found footage feature film; it’s lite on supernatural thrills but definitely heavy on suspense! The ambiance inside Hollydale is absolutely bone-chilling; clearly, this location would make for an amazing haunt!
As of publishing this article, Bemister’s petition is only about 1,500 signatures shy of reaching its goal. If the idea of a haunted attraction built at an actual haunted location appeals to you, please add your name to the list of supporters. Let’s help put Downey on the map as a top-notch destination for horror fans!
Are you from Downey? Have you ever seen or been inside the abandoned Hollydale Asylum? What do you think about turning the site into a Halloween attraction? Sound off in the Comments section!
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