If you enjoy Abandoned America, check out the book series or follow on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook

Abbott State Penitentiary*

Abbott State Penitentiary (a pseudonym) is an enormous complex consisting of about forty structures, including a hospital, cafeteria, workhouses, guard towers, an administration facility, a rotting warden's house, an auditorium, an enormous four cellblock wall of a building closed years ago, and two new cell blocks built in an architectural style best described as "1980s Dystopian Nightmare".

I spent four days alone documenting as much as I could and still felt like I hadn't caught everything. It was a haunting experience - there were hundreds of little fragments of stories in the graffiti on cell walls, inmate files, and guard stations, and none of them were remotely pleasant. Correctional facilities are meant to be brutal and imposing, and they are quite effective at it. Details like solitary cells with cartoon fish painted outside the doors are jarring and surreal; wandering around them alone with nonexistent cell phone reception is frightening even for those who aren't superstitious. I do believe places become the sum of the things that happened in them, and if so prisons like these are probably the most terrible indicators of human nature's darker side.

At the moment I am working on a larger project to document and uncover the past at this location, so more on its history will be added in the next few months, along with more photographs. You can spend a lifetime staring down a deep well like this. There were monsters in it, and people who entered and became monsters, and those who perhaps were innocent and were confined for years with them. Either way, Abbott State Penitentiary is a place not to be taken lightly or forgotten.

Please note that the true name of this location has not been disclosed to prevent theft, vandalism, and arson. Abandoned buildings are vulnerable and I do not want my work contributing to their decline. Photographs and unattributed text by Matthew Christopher. For more images click the thumbnails below.