It seems like Krome Avenue gives off all sorts of bad vibes. Also known as Florida State Road 997 and West 177 Avenue, Krome is a 36 mile stretch of two-lane highway running along Miami-Dade County's western fringe. The highway is a traffic bypass through a sparsely populated region of the county. Straddled on one side by the sprawling Everglades swamp and on the other by a whole lot of nothing, no matter where you are on Krome or which direction you travel, you are in the middle of nowhere.
Backed by a small army of friends in three cars, I set out for the asylum on a clear Miami night. We left our homes and ventured west, leaving civilization behind as we pressed into the swamp. We turned south when we hit Krome. Short of our headlights and those of the tractor-trailers roaring by, the roadway was pitch black. For the most part, Krome Avenue is devoid of streetlamps. Geddy Lee of Rush fame sang of those places beyond the bright lights that lie in the far unlit unknown -- I knew then what Geddy meant, as I was in one of those places.
As the group marched ahead and to the left, toward the structure's entrance, I spied a pair of shadows out of the corner of my eye. They were humanoid, but I could not make out their finer details. The shadows stood against the line of trees to our right, opposite the group's bearing. Interestingly, there was no ambient light in the facility. Remember, we were in the swamp by a rural road, and it was the middle of the night. Light from passing trucks' headlights could not get in to where we were because of the thick overgrowth at the facility's perimeter. What's more, the only lights in the facility were our flashlights. The only other two flashlights were already well along the path, meaning that whatever light made that pair of shadows visible had to be coming from my flashlight.
Then it hit me -- my flashlight was pointed away from where I'd seen the shadows.
I turned in place to look straight on at the shadows. As if sensing they had been spotted, the two shadows ran -- as in, they seemed to pivot in place and pump their arms and legs and flee -- away from the hedge and out into the open air. They vanished. Once in the open air, there was no surface against which they might be seen.
My flashlight swept into the spot in the hedge where I'd seen the shadows only a moment ago. There was nothing there. Tentatively, I took a step toward the hedge, wanting to know more but knowing it would risk separating me from the group. Nothing. There were enough gaps in the hedge to clearly see through it. Nothing hid within it, or behind it.
Check back soon for this story's continuation (click here for part 2), for photographs and a description of the derelict facility's interior.
Some while after our investigation into the urban legends surrounding this place, we discovered the place wasn't an insane asylum, ever. It was, in fact, one of many missile bases constructed during the cold war that has since been left to decay.
Interested in finding out more? Check out "Miami Is Missing", which delves into Miami's abandoned, forgotten, and little known historic places.