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The Making of Asylum Lake

As odd as it may sound, Asylum Lake is a little autobiographical; much like Zombie Apocalypse. Weird, right? I mentioned shortly after writing Asylum Lake, that the setting is based off an actual nature preserve place here in Kalamazoo, Michigan called Asylum Lake (clever title, eh?). For those of you who live in town, but have never heard of it, it's near Drake Road and Parkview. Most of the property is owned by Western Michigan University. The paths that Nathan takes in the story, including the lake front area, are all based off of real locations. Like Nathan, I actually am drawn to the area and have wondered at it before. I also know all of the trails and even cool areas off the trails.

I wrote this story for two reasons: the first is that I wanted to write a scary story. Done...and done. The second is that I wanted to write a tribute to the nature preserve, as it's provided solace, solitude, contemplation, and comfort for me over the past three to four years (that's how long I've actually known about it). So why a scary story about a place that I admire and respect? Because it's actually quite creepy there. The spots that I pointed out in the story are actually real. There is a hillside there that must have been an old dump, as all that's left is a bunch of rusted in cans and old (mostly crushed) glass bottles. When I first stumbled on it a couple years ago, I didn't know what to make of it. Early on in my travels there, I discovered the rusted old row boat that had plants growing in and around it. I've honestly done minimal research about the property and had no knowledge of its original use when I wrote the story last month.

Last week something peculiar happened. Being Halloween time, I went on a ghost tour here in Kzoo and one of the guides mentioned the Asylum Lake preserve (what a coinkidink, I just wrote a story about that). I was immediately drawn into his explanation about it, and he explained that it was the site of an actual asylum where late 19th century to early 20th century treatments were administered on the clinically insane. Lobotomies...electro-shock therapy...etc. Apparently there were a bunch of suicides and stuff of the sort, but it being a ghost tour, we can only guess at the actual occurrences.

As far as the actual story line is concerned, I tried to picture what would be most creepy to me, and to me (SPOILER ALERT) a lake that eats people is quite scary. In lieu of using the usual haunters (ghosts, vampires, werewolves), I chose to use energy as a representation of the paranormal.


Copyright Jerry Givens 2015 | All rights reserved

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