Built in 1856, Hawthorn State Asylum was designed to house the most disturbed and dangerous patients from around the midwest. It was the last stop for persons too violent for other facilities. Conditions inside the asylum became horrible due to overcrowding and the loss of funding. The facility's extreme use of lobotomies, electric shock treatment and torture contributed to its eventual closing. However, it was a horrific event that ultimately caused its end. Under a full moon on August 23rd, 1948, a riot erupted throughout the complex. A small group of particularly devious patients had finally had enough of the treatment and managed to set several fires and free the other patients during the mayhem. After police were able to regain control of the facility and the smoke cleared, the full horror of the massacre became visible. 53 total dead: 31 patients and 22 staff. One nurse's death was especially gruesome and tragic. Emma Stevenson was one of the few compassionate souls among the Hawthorn staff. She did everything she could to truly help the patients. As the riot raged, Emma tried desperately to protect the patients but in a cruel twist, they turned on her. She was subjected to the patients crude version of electric shock and lobotomy. Just before her death, they fashioned her a twisted dress made from the carved flesh of the dead and mutilated. Legend says that Emma can still be seen wondering the grounds of the long abandoned asylum, while the sounds of death and madness continue to emanate from the dilapidated and crumbling building.
A century ago, an odd man named Ezekiel Helmsley established a mortuary on the grounds of the old Hawthorn State Asylum. Rumors quickly began of improper burials and forbidden experimentation. After decades of dealing with death, Ezekiel became obsessed with preventing his own. Through some corrupt combination of science and dark arts, the creepy mortician managed to prolong his life. Legend says that Ezekiel had a family he kept hidden due to their twisted appearances and odd eating habits. A family he kept alive by switching out body parts piece by piece. Some even say Ezekiel is still working to this day, always looking for fresh specimens.
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In the fall of 1941, the Happy Time Circus was ready for their biggest performance to date just outside of Columbia. However, due to horribly unsafe conditions, a tragic accident involving several large circus animals led to panic and chaos. The resulting stampede caused the deaths of dozens of customers and the clowns who were performing nearby. Fearing legal action, the circus promoter hastily hid the bodies deep in the woods behind a nearby asylum. With the chill of Fall in the air, the clowns have risen from their shallow graves and roam the dark woods, seeking revenge for their untimely demise.
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