In 2007, when Overbrook had mostly emptied itself of patients and staff, we decided to try our luck at exploring the place. I'm not sure if it was all the hype the Essex Mountain Sanatorium had in years past, or if something about it was published recently, but the cops were on this place like white on rice.
The exterior of the buildings were a handsome brick construction with limestone and copper accents, but the patrols made us think twice about photographing the outside at all. We ducked in and found a fairly empty hulk of a maze-like hospital, and being that it had only closed that year, very little decay. The fluorescent lights still hummed and cast their sallow light in many rooms, emphasizing the bland and barren interior, although small details like a fireplace or curious staircase would appear now and again. The smoke detectors weren't even beeping their low battery alarms yet. On the whole, it was a pretty depressing place - beige walls, linoleum-covered floors, and room after empty, somber, room.
As we meandered deeper through the complex, signs of even more recent activity began to appear inside a small break room; phones were still working, the coffee maker looked freshly used, and a small refrigerator still had food in it - probably guards on duty, and unfortunately, inside the building. The hospital was basically a series of buildings strung together, forming impossibly long corridors that could be easily surveilled.
We hadn't even left the room when we heard the police jogging up the main hallway outside, perhaps tipped off by a camera or someone else exploring that day, and calling out to us to show ourselves; damned if I turn myself in if there's a chance of getting out of it. Luckily there was furniture in this room, so we each picked an impromptu and uncomfortable spot to crawl into (mine was under a small desk), and waited for them to pass by. It was then just a matter of quickly sprinting back through those winding corridors before they backtracked, and hoping no one was waiting for us along the way!
A combination of above ground walkways and tunnel connections provided our escape back out the way we came in. It was fun time, but I never felt much like going back to that dreary place.