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70 Things to love about Alabama: Old Bryce

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Obviously, I never actually went onto the grounds

Though most refer to it as “Old Bryce,” the Jemison Center is the actual name of the decrepit, abandoned asylum in Northport, Alabama that college students love to dare each other to trespass on. The real Bryce mental asylum was founded first in the late 80s and the University has since acquired that land and is turning many of the old buildings into classrooms and museums.

“Old Bryce,” though, wasn’t built until the 1920s (which, as you might could logic, is significantly not as old as “not-old-Bryce”). There’s not much record on the place on the internet, but the general consensus is that the Jemison Center was built as a segregated hospital to house the African-American patients that were not welcome in the original hospital.

Eventually, the Jemison Center was shut down in the 70s due to the desegregation laws being passed down, and the building fell into disrepair.

Since then, it’s become a hotspot for ghost-hunting enthusiasts and drunk fraternity brothers alike. However, there’s only one way in, and it’s a long, open driveway that’s very visible to the police that frequently patrol the area, particularly on Thursday and Friday nights.

Obviously, the stories and legends of ghost sightings, hauntings, and things that go bump are as numerous as you’d expect from a segregated mental asylum in the state of Alabama that’s been abandoned for over 40 years. That’s just a real recipe for some bad Juju.

Of course, I’ve never been myself. So I couldn’t tell you anything about the fact that there are satanic diagrams dispersed throughout some of the wings, nor about the ancient incinerator building out behind the hospital. And I definitely couldn’t tell you if anyone has ever walked back out of the hospital with an unexplained child’s handprint on their chest.

Maybe it’s all just a product of over reactive imaginations in a creepy place with a spotty backstory. Maybe it’s just a bunch of college kids that like telling stories to impress their friends. Who’s to say? Regardless, it is a beautiful place to take photos if you’re into the whole “abandoned-structures-as-art” vibe.

Just make sure you check your pictures closely afterwards.