The Real Story of the Terrifying Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum Fire

I “created” the asylum Colney Hatch….or so I thought. Ever hear of a synchronicity? Well, I could not explain how it came to be that I imagined, with zero research, an entire lunatic asylum destroyed by a fire that eerily paralleled the events of a realasylum with the name….you guessed it…Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum. 

I was so in shock that I needed to research everything about the real asylum and see just how much of it was similar to my creation. Right away, I found more strange synchronicities.

My novel was set in London, but the asylum portion of it was set in Scotland. Odd that Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum could have been located anywhere in the world, but it was located in London!

The fire of the real Colney Hatch was so eerily close to the one I had written, I felt a mixture of excitement and uneasiness. How did I know these details without ever having studied, researched, or heard of them? Was there some cosmic connection at play?

At the time, I had just read Joe Murphy’s book, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, where he wrote about how the subconscious mind contained “…Infinite Wisdom, Infinite Power, an infinite supply of all that is necessary” (Murphy 3). He wrote about how Mark Twain wrote his books by tapping into the subconscious and about how Richard Louis Stevenson would fall asleep and ask his subconscious to produce a “marketable thriller” (Murphy 98). Stevenson called the “little intelligences” of his subconscious “brownies” (Murphy 174). Was the infinite wisdom and power of the subconscious mind responsible for the Colney Hatch synchronicity?

Once I accepted that I could no longer use the name Colney Hatch, I changed the name of the asylum to Kolney Hatch. Real different, I know. I wasn’t sure of the “K” at first, but it grew on me. I felt this synchronicity was the universe’s way of saying, “You’re on the right track with this one.”

But I couldn’t stop researching the real Colney Hatch. Creepy asylums are really interesting to me. The Londonist had a great article about the real Colney Hatch Fire, but I have posted a few of the actual newspaper articles below.







Murphy, Joseph. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. N.p.: Prentice-Hall, 2008. Print.

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