I have always been fascinated with the old asylums and mental institutions and poorhouses. I remember my parents pointing out the Kalamazoo State Hospital when I was a kid, and it loomed like a haunted house on a hill. In high school, my dad and I busted into the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane. An “adventure” we’d call it. The energy in that place was heavy, sluggish, and very real.
And I’d always heard murmers about Eloise, the famous institution in Detroit. So when writer Steve Luxenberg got in touch, I jumped at the chance to meet him. He discovered he had a secret aunt who spent most of her life institutionalized behind Eloise’s mighty gates. He wrote a book about it, called “Annie’s Ghosts.”
Here’s the story I did for Michigan Radio: