The Devil’s Playground turns out to be a popular name for movies. I have found at least four different productions that go by this name. The Devil’s Playground is a movie from 1976 about a 13-year-old boy named, Tom, and the physical and emotional challenges Tom experiences while living in a Catholic Seminary. It is also the title of a movie from 2002 about the Amish tradition of rumspringa. Rumspringa is a time in life when a 16-year-old teenager raised within the Amish community has a chance to experience the outside world to determine if they will stay in there or join the Amish community in their Christian beliefs. The title was used again in 2010 for a British horror film about the zombie apocalypse. The Devil’s Playground is also a documentary the debuted at the 2017 Calgary Comic Expo. It is this documentary about the urban legend that will be the focus of this post.
Byberry Mental Hospital
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Byberry Mental Hospital holds a special place in history. Images taken there highlighted the need for changes to be made in the treatment and housing of the mentally ill. Byberry is where many conscientious objectors worked during WWII. One of those CO’s was a compassionate man named Charlie Lord. Charlie Lord would sneak a camera into the hospital and he captured 36 photographs that were later published in Life magazine in May 1946. “The photos reminded the American people of photos from Nazi Concentration Camps. So it created a kind of mass uproar, nationally.” (npr.org)
Alton Mental Health Hospital
Location: Alton, Illinois
In 1916 forty patients moved into the hospital prior to its opening in 1917. The hospital continued to grow in response to the needs of the surrounding area and by the 1930s the hospital had opened a ward for WWI veterans, another for civilian men, another for women and a separate ward as a Tuberculosis Sanitarium. The 1940s brought electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) into fashion for those suffering from mental illness. The 1950s saw the practice of lobotomies used on the mentally ill.
County Derry Ireland
Today we shall venture across the Atlantic Ocean and into County Derry. County Derry is also known as County Londonderry in Northern Ireland. There are six counties in Northern Ireland, and County Derry is considered to be one of the four counties in Northern Ireland where the majority of the population identifies as Catholic. With Northern Ireland being part of the United Kingdom it is the Republic of Ireland that calls the area County Derry and it is the British Authorities that refer to the area as County Londonderry.
The Craigdarroch Castle is a massive home located in Victoria, BC. It was built as a private family residence but is now a tourist attraction. In this post, we will re-visit the history of the building and of the family that built it and learn of the ghost that resides there still.
Is Craigdarroch Castle haunted? The History
The Craigdarroch Castle was built between 1887 and 1890 for a Scottish immigrant named Robert Dunsmuir. Mr Dunsmuir had gained his fortune through Vancouver Island coal. The castle is a Victorian Style mansion built atop a hill overlooking the City of Victoria. It spans four floors and has stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, and beautiful furniture of the era.