Downey Insane Asylum

By: Samantha Perez

The “Downey Insane Asylum” is often used to refer the abandoned building located near South Gate. However, this name often paints a negative picture of what this hospital once was. Originally named “Rancho Los Amigos”, this facility was built in the year 1888. It served as a safe place for all the homeless, disabled, mentally ill, and the elderly with no home or family. 

Patients were able to work in the gardens, tend to the small animals, create crafts and woodworks, and also receive therapy.     The hospital flourished and became well known until the Long beach earthquake of 1933 hit and changed everything forever. Many victims from the earthquake flooded to the hospital, urging the staff to allow them in. After so many people’s traumatizing 

stories, Grace Wagner, the secretary of the establishment became emotionally unstable and committed suicide by jumping out of her office window.     As World War II approached in the year 1939, the U.S. army turned Rancho Los Amigos into Camp Morrow where soldiers were stationed. Slowly but surely, the hospital began to gradually move into another location. Up until 

1988, 100 years after its initial opening, the hospital turned into a storage space and an area used for U.S. Marines to train in an open field. One day, as the marines participated in drills, a group of troops opened a freezer and they discovered a box of amputated body parts. It was confirmed by Judy Hammond, an L.A. County spokeswoman that the box was in fact filled 

with 10 legs, some feet, and bits of brain matter. It is unknown exactly what occurred within the facility while it was opened, but it is suspected by locals that satanic rituals were performed within the facility.    To this day, many locals claim screams were often heard, and they feel a sinister presence as a they pass by the abandoned facility.

The Space Shuttle that Left America Mourning

On January 28, 1986, the NASA space shuttle Challenger exploded in midair during its launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Millions of people experienced the horror as it was being broadcasted live on television and radio. On board of the shuttle was teacher Christa McAuliffe, the first American civilian selected to go into space, one payload specialist, and five NASA astronauts. The entire nation was left in shock because it was the first time ever the United States had lost a space vehicle with crew onboard. Christa’s death added to the shock her students, parents and family experienced while the incident unfolded, leaving them with irreparable damage. 

Six hours following the explosion, president Ronald Reagan delivered a comforting speech to the mourning nation. Many people wanted an explanation for what happened, but an investigation would take weeks. Instead, the president delivered a massage from heart. Reagan knew that children were watching and wanted to deliver a speech that they would understand.  Reagan spoke, “And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery… I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: “Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it.’” People watching the speech found comfort and hope for future missions.

Later it was discovered that the cold weather from that morning and a misfunction from the seals of one of the solid rocket boosters caused the explosion. It took NASA three years to finally send out another shuttle into space. NASA learned from this experience and redesigned solid rocket boosters, pressurized suits, in-flight crew escape devices, and the establishment of several oversight committees.

Blue, Baby, Blue

“Blue, Baby, Blue” is an urban legend game that resembles the myth of the Bloody Mary, where claimed that if the ritual is properly performed, an evil ghostly infant will appear in your arms. To play this game, you must go into the bathroom by yourself, turn off the lights and lock the door. You then stare into the mirror, hold out your arms as of you were rocking a baby, and repeat the words “Baby Blue, Blue Baby” thirteen times without making a mistake. Then, you will suddenly feel the weight of the invisible baby on your arms; the baby will continue to get heavier as it continues to grow larger. Before the baby gets too heavy, you must quickly take the “baby”, flush it down the toilet and run out of the restroom. If this step isn’t done fast enough, a hideous woman will appear in the mirror and yell, “Give me back my baby!” loud enough to break the glass. If you still happen to be holding the baby, she will kill you. It is believed that the woman is Bloody Mary, who murdered her own child by shattering a mirror and using a piece of it to stab her child to death.

According to a legend, a group of doubtful girls heard about the urban game and decided to try it out. However, they sent their friend Laura to perform the ritual. Laura proceeded to turn off the lights and lock the door behind her. She then held out her arms and started chanting the phrase “Blue Baby, Blue Baby”. Suddenly, the baby appeared in her arms and began to scratch her. Due to her frightened state, she stood in place as the baby continued to get heavy. She caught sight of something horrible in the mirror and screamed in terror. Her friends heard her panicked scream, and tried to open the door, but it was locked. They took time to pry it open and when they finally did, Laura was lying dead on the floor with her eyes scratched out.

Rare Extinct Animals

In our wild life there are many cases where animals go extinct due to the mistreatment and deaths caused by humans. Animals from Portugal, Argentina and South Africa are becoming extinct due to settlers competing for livestock. According to the article,” Extinction” by John L. Gittleman, animals are diminishing not just because of global warming and the environmental effects, but because they are not being able to reproduce. Also, the extinction does not extend only to mammals but species such as amphibians as well. Amphibians in Costa Rica such as the Golden Toad, turned extinct due to a drought and fungus. Pyrenean Ibex, Quagga, Thylacine are types of animals that have been extinct for the past years. The first to become extinct was the Portuguese ibex in 1892. The Pyrenean ibex was the second, when the last individual, a female named Celia, was found dead in 2000. Extinction has taken a toll on an overall variety of animals and to this day it continues happening. In North and South America, over 40 percent of the overall animal population went extinct due to the horrible conditions and negative environment that they live in.

The Strange Death of Elisa Lam

In the world of strange disappearances and deaths, occasionally there are disappearance surrounded with odd events that capture the public’s imagination. One unsolved death is the tragic case of  Elisa Lam, which captured national attention. When 21-year-old Canadian college student Elisa Lam was found dead in the water tank of the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles in 2013, the public was stunned on how it came to be. Her body was found after guests of the hotel complained about low water pressure and a strange taste, leading to employees to investigate their water tanks. Lam’s body was found naked in the tank and nothing else was found besides her body.

Conspiracies surfaced based on the pieces of evidence found surrounding her disappearance. Some conspiracies include:

  • The Cecil Hotel has attracted serial killers before, so could there have been one working there during Elisa’s stay? Perhaps someone who knew she was traveling alone and had access to her room, keys to the roof and the alarm code. This person would have known where to stand in order to stay off camera and along with having access to all the footage.
  • Apparently, Elisa posted online about a Pentagon funded, invisibility cloaking project right before she died. This project has been in the works for the United States and South Korea for some time now. Many have speculated the government or even a private company may have ordered her assassination for interfering or over-sharing.

A video released by the LAPD department shows how Lam was seen exiting and re-entering the elevator, talking and gesturing in the hallway outside, and sometimes seeming to hide within the elevator, which itself appears to be malfunctioning. This case is now closed, but this incident will remain a mystery.

The Dyatlov Pass Incident

On January 28, 1959, nine graduates from the Ural State Technical University set out on a backcountry hike to Russia’s Ural Mountains, but never returned. The hikers were all experienced mountaineers who were expected to return by February 12th and, upon arrival, send a telegram to their sports club. A snowstorm formed, and the hikers were forced to set camp on the east slope of Kholat Syakhl, which translates to “dead mountain” in the indigenous Mansi language. When February 12th arrived, the sports club never received a telegram. However, being delayed during a mountain hike was common, so no rescue expedition was sent. Eventually, due to complaints of the hiker’s relatives, a rescue team went out to search for the hikers on February 20th.

the tent
Eight days later, the rescue team was baffled by what they had found. The hikers’ tent was covered in snow, and cut open from the inside, leaving their belongings intact. A set of eight footprints led to the edge of the nearby woods 9.3 miles away from the campsite, and after 1,640 feet, the footprints were covered by snow. The footprints ended near a cedar tree, where there were remains of a small fire. The first two bodies were found near the fire, wearing only their underwear. Between the woods and the camp, another three bodies were found, indicating that they were trying to make their way back to the tent. The search for the remaining four members took two months, and when their bodies were found, they were four meters under the snow in a ravine located 246 feet further into the woods. Unlike the others, they were completely dressed. It seemed that the first to die had given up their clothes to their friends. It was concluded that they had all died of hypothermia, but the discovery of the four bodies found in the ravine shifted the narrative of the entire incident. Three of the ski hikers had fatal injuries, such as major skull damage and major chest fractures that could only be attained by an extremely high force. The fourth body was found without her tongue, eyes, part of the lips, and a fragment of skull bone, and her hands had extensive skin maceration. An entire investigation was launched, but, was ceased after four months due to the lack of a guilty party. Their deaths were said to be caused by a “compelling natural force,” and the case files were sent to a secret archive.
A popular theory claims that the incident was caused by a military test. This theory states that the injuries on the hikers could have been caused by parachute mines that detonate while still in the air rather than on the earth’s surface. This theory coincides with reported sightings of glowing orbs floating or falling in the sky near where the hikers’ campsite was the same night they had died.

Continue reading “The Dyatlov Pass Incident”

The Unsolved Murder of the Grimes Sisters

On the night of December 28, 1956, sisters Barbara, age 15, and Patricia, age 12, Grimes were reported missing in Brighton Park, Illinois. Earlier that evening, the girls were headed to watch an Elvis movie screening at a Brighton theater. When midnight came, they didn’t arrive home, so their mother became worried and informed the authorities.
Police found the bodies one month after being reported missing on January 22, 1957. They were discovered alongside a road, frozen and nude. The Autopsy revealed no evidence of them being drugged, along with no direct force, stab wounds, or gun wounds on the body. However, it was revealed that Barbara Grimes’ body showed evidence of having been engaged in sexual intercourse prior to or around the time of her death. Authorities could not arrive to a conclusion, so they closed the case and reported the cause of death as “secondary shock due to the exposure of low temperatures”. As of today, the murder of the Grimes sisters remains a mystery.
Multiple theories of the murders emerged during the month the girls went missing. Some people believed that the girls left for Nashville in pursuit of Elvis. Others claimed to have seen the girls on the bus headed home, but only to have gotten off halfway. However, all claims were shattered when the bodies were found on January 22, 1957.

The Phenomena That Leaves You Questioning Reality…The Mandela Effect

The “Mandela Effect” is a phenomenon where people experience events from an alternate reality. This phenomenon gives people the belief that there is a parallel universe that exists. The first case that sparked the conspiracy happened to be in 2010, when a paranormal researcher by the name of Fiona Broome noticed that people at a conference she was attending shared her memory that Nelson Mandela died in prison during the 1980s, also remembering seeing his funeral on the news. However, this could not be true because the former president of South Africa was still alive during the 1990s.

Another case would be with the famous kid series, “The Berenstain Bears”. Many people remember the children’s book being spelled “The Berenstein Bears” with an e. But the series has always been “The Berenstain Bears” with an a. Also, in the “Star Wars” movie franchise, Dark Vader says his famous line, “Luke I am your father”. But when people go back to listen to that scene from the movie, they hear “No, I am your father.” These details leave people to question if what they have known their entire lives is actually true.


10 Scary Movies to Watch this Halloween

1. The Witch (2015) 1 hour 33 minutes
-Mystery/Horror -Rated R -Directed by Robert Eggers
A family in 1630s New England is divided by the forces of evil that lay within the woods beyond their farm.

2. The Blair Witch Project (1999) 1 hour 45 minutes
-Mystery/Psychological horror -Rated R
-Directed by Eduardo Sanchez and Kevin Foxe
Three student filmmakers disappear after hiking in the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland in 1994 to film a documentary of a local legend known as the Blair Witch.
3. The Fourth Kind (2009) 1 hour 38 minutes
-Science Fiction/Thriller -Rated PG-13 -Directed Olatunde Osunsanmi
A pseudo-documentary film taking place in Nome, Alaska in 2000 follows Dr. Abigail Tyler as she meets with traumatized patients and goes on to uncover disturbing evidence of alien abductions.
4. 28 Days Later (2002) 1 hour 53 minutes
-Fantasy/Science Fiction -Rated R -Directed by Danny Boyle
After a group of animal activists release a group of contagious chimpanzees a virus is spread across Britain creating a post-apocalyptic scene.

5. 28 Weeks Later (2007) 1 hour 40 minutes
-Drama/Thriller -Rated R -Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
The sequel to 28 Days Later, takes place 6 months after the original epidemic was inflicted on the population of Great Britain. The US Army helps to secure a small area of London so that the survivors can repopulate the area once again but someone with the virus enters the quarantined city.

6. Veronica (2017) 1 hour 46 minutes
-Drama/Horror -Rated TV-MA -Directed by Paco Plaza
Based on true events, taking place in Spain 1991, a girl is haunted by an evil spirit after playing with a Ouija board.

7. Halloween (1978) 1 hour 41 minutes
-Mystery/Slasher -Rated R – Directed by John Carpenter
15 years after murdering his sister on Halloween night of 1963, Michael Myers escapes from the mental hospital and returns to the town of Haddon field to kill once again.

8. It Follows (2015) 1 hour 47 minutes
-Mystery/Thriller -Rated R -Directed by David Robert Mitchell
A young girl named Jay is plagued by an unknown supernatural force after a sexual encounter.
9. The Amityville Horror (2005) 1 hour 34 minutes
-Drama/Mystery -Rated R -Directed by Andrew Douglas
After moving into their new house, which was the sight of a mass murder the year before, the Lutz family is terrorized by demonic forces. The movie is based on true events.

10. Poltergeist (1982) 2 hours
-Fantasy/Thriller -Rated PG -Directed by Tobe Hooper
A family is terrorized by evil spirits that begin to occupy their home.



The Serial Killer Who Inspired Horror Classics

Born to an alcoholic father and a fanatically religious mother, Ed Gein suffered heavy psychological and physical abuse at the hands of his parents. Born in 1906 in Plainfield, Wisconsin, Ed Gein was an American murderer who caused widespread panic after authorities discovered Gein’s possessions: four noses, nine masks made of human skin, numerous decapitated heads, lampshades, bowls made of skin, and lips being used as a “pull” on a window shade. Gein later admitted to two murders and claimed that most of the items had come from late-night cemetery raids.
After he had been discovered for his inhumane crimes, Gein was found to be mentally incompetent and therefore unfit to stand trial. He was sent to the Central State hospital for the Criminally Insane and later transferred to the Mendota State Hospital in Wisconsin. He was declared fit to stand trial ten years later and was found guilty of first-degree murder, but since he was legally insane he was sent back to a mental facility. The infamous Ed Gein inspired the nature of characters such as Norman Bates (Psycho), Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Buffalo Bill (The Silence of the Lambs).