The Old Asylum Cover

Out of Print

The broken windows of the abandoned sanitarium are foreboding and ominous, yet darkly inviting. The inmates have long since departed, but their suffering can still be felt imprinted on the stagnant air of the empty wards. The door at the front of the overgrown madhouse has been ripped from its hinges. It would be easy to cross the threshold, yet we hesitate to enter….

Having spent a lifetime exploring the long-abandoned Essex Mountain Sanatorium and Overbrook Psychiatric Hospital in Northern New Jersey, Wheeler Antabanez, artist, writer, and intrepid explorer of New Jersey’s abandoned and defiled places, is uniquely qualified to open doors at the Old Asylum that no one even knew existed. In these stories, illustrated with remarkably evocative paintings by the author, the broken hulk of the abandoned mental hospital comes vividly back to life, reanimated by a spirit of risk-taking, transgressive adventure, macabre humor, and the author’s comprehensive artistic and personal mission to create from the ruins of our collective past an imaginative, vibrantly living whole.

Wheeler has made the following entertaining trailer to introduce the book:

Read more about the book on the author’s site.


“Wonderfully sick—great reading for people who need a break from happy endings, with plenty of adrenaline-pumping, police-avoiding, flashlight-wielding action for seasoned explorers and armchair trespassers alike. There are also stories that branch away from abandoned buildings and decaying landscapes and delve more into abandoned souls. The long-term history Antabanez has with these spaces lends authenticity to the fiction.”

—Weird NJ

“Antabanez writes with a wry and witty voice that dips into tones of compelling intensity. Taking cues from the abandoned buildings that inspire him, Antabanez, reveling in the fear of the unknown, has created an impressive collection that defies the conventions of horror.”

Publishers Weekly