Dreams of abandoned buildings
Maybe it was just a dream. “I’ve had dreams of them, even when I was little,” Christopher says of his ruinous interests. “Seventy percent of my dreams had abandoned buildings.”
A late bloomer at 34, at first Christopher ignored his destiny. He studied film at Temple University, but couldn’t find a job and ended up working the night shift at a Philadelphia mental hospital.
“You have a lot of time to read when you’re on the night shift,” Christopher says. Naturally, he stumbled across the story of the Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry.
“Mental health history is fascinatingly horrible,” Christopher says. “It’s full of thwarted ideas gone wrong. Byberry, as far as state hospitals with bad histories, eclipses a lot of them. That is a cursed place.” He and some friends began visiting the closed-down facility at night, easily evading the two overwhelmed security guards, except for the one night that the guards nearly ran over Christopher and his friends. Purposely, Christopher believes.
“It’s 160 acres, 40 buildings, miles of underground tunnels,” he says. “It’s one of those things you need a picture of to describe it.”