Since closing in 1981, Westland's Eloise Psychiatric Hospital has become an abandoned destination for urban explorers and haunt hunters, whether by trespassing or taking advantage of owner-sanctioned paranormal-expert-led tours.
And now, thanks to a new, very costly and high-tech facelift, it looks like ghosts won't be the only thing — allegedly — haunting the hallways of the hulking asylum, once considered the nation's largest.
Starting Friday, Oct. 1, brave souls who dare to get up close and personal with Eloise Asylum will have the chance when it unveils two new immersive horror experiences — and no expense has been spared.
The new high-tech multi-million dollar haunted attractions span 30,000 square feet and are described as having a "world-tour level production" thanks to cold spark pyrotechnic simulators, a Tesla coil, advanced projection mapping, and more. The walk-through attractions include more than 100 staff and professionally trained scare actors each night and take roughly 35-40 minutes to complete.
Eloise owners and operators will host a media-only preview event on Thursday, Sep. 23 followed by an open-to-the-public press conference and ribbon-cutting featuring Detroit's godfather of shock rock, Alice Cooper. The public portion begins at 2 p.m. at Eloise Asylum (30712 Michigan Ave., Westland).
Tickets ($40+) include access to both attractions and are on sale now. The attractions are open from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31 and will close for the season after showings on Nov. 6-7.
Though the attractions themselves are but a simulation, the venue itself is believed by many to be haunted. And it's easy to see why.
The site has a grisly history that is the stuff of urban legends: Originally built as the Wayne County Poorhouse in 1839, it soon housed people with mental and psychiatric disabilities, and at its height developed into a sprawling campus of 75 buildings that cared for as many as 8,000 patients a day.
At one time, its patients with mental disabilities were housed on the second floor of a building used to hold pigs. It is said that people in the neighboring communities complained of hearing the eerie cries of despair from the patients mixed with the pigs' squeals. Great.
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