“Providence” aka Dennis Howard Irving: A twenty-something hacker who has come into possession of various Arkham Asylum case files and is working to undermine the institution by exposing its barbaric practices, grim history, and infamous residents. A conspiracy theorist who’s actually on the right track, Providence still comes across as a bit… ranty. He makes every attempt to appear as an intellectual despite having no formal post-high school education.
Grant McKean: History Professor at Gotham University in his late fifties who’s spent most of his life working to uncover the secret history of Gotham City. Over the years Grant has developed a keen interest in Arkham Asylum and has become a conspiracy theorist surrounding the Hospital’s past. Unlike Providence, Grant is an educated man and is far less prone to tirades. Professor McKean eagerly became an ally of Providence in hopes of uncovering more of Gotham’s past. His disdain for the inmates of Arkham is poorly masked and he shows very little respect for the staff.
Sergeant Christina Kane: A newcomer to the Gotham City Police Department Internal Affairs, having transferred from Keystone City Police Department. Commissioner James Gordon created her position in the department to dig into the history of the GCPD to better understand the legacy of corruption. Being a fish out of water specifically tasked with GCPD’s history, and her status of being hand-picked by Commissioner Gordon made her a prime candidate for Providence to work with. He is certain she’s not been paid off yet and has access to information your average GCPD officer simply doesn’t. For her part, Christina is still pretty flabbergasted by the blatant corruption of Gotham City and isn’t excited about her role in helping clean out the GCPD.
There is a habit in Gotham City of looking the other way. That was only a car backfiring, not a gunshot. That noise must be a stray cat, not an infant’s cries. That man coughing in the street only has a cold, he’s not a survivor of a recent chemical attack that is slowing turning his mind into putty. This habit extends beyond the day to day. It affects how we look at our city. For example, what do we really know about the Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane?
For most Gothamites, Arkham Hospital is a landmark made infamous by the nightly antics of our very own Dark Knight vigilante. It’s mentioned alongside places like the Monarch Theatre or the Ace Chemical Processing Plant. Historic sights in the sordid history of the Batman. Like most of these places, most residents of our gloomy metropolis have chosen to turn away and pretend that the Hospital is a bastion of salvation. This perception is far from the truth.
I regret to inform you, my dear listeners, behind those steel gates sits a bitter reflection of our own decaying city. The landscape of Arkham is a grim reflection of the corruption and madness that stalks our streets every night. In my research, I have found that Arkham Asylum is less focused on the medical fields but instead acts as a kind of psychological research prison.
Which is where I’ve chosen to step in. For the last several months I’ve been… Let’s say “gaining access” to numerous case files from Arkham Asylum. Cross-Referencing them with microfiche copies of the Gotham Gazette, old broadcast tapes from the GBC, and in-person interviews. It is my sincere hope that by disseminating my findings I can turn the tide of blind ignorance that infects our minds. That I can inspire the residents of Gotham City to rise up, united, and decry the madhouse in our midst.
Episode 1: Martin “Mad Dog” Hawkins
Now let us turn our focus to the case of Martin Hawkins, a rapist and serial killer who would become the first inmate of Arkham Asylum. I have chosen Hawkins as our inaugural episode because of how closely linked his personal history and the history of Arkham Asylum have become. I believe that he provides a perfect study of both his criminal history and his connection to the opening of the Hospital. After receiving copious notes on the subject of Mr. Hawkins, I reached out to local Gotham University Professor Grant McKean. Here’s what he had to say.
Grant McKean 1
“Mad Dog” Hawkins first came to my attention back in 1989. Since then I’ve spent nearly thirty years dissecting the case. I am now convinced that, outside of Amadeus Arkham, there isn’t a single person more responsible for the nightmare that Arkham Asylum became than Hawkins.
To better understand what Professor McKean meant, I tried to go back to Hawkins’ case file. Except his files don’t exist in any modern sense. Hawkins was arrested sometime in the early 1900s, an exact date has proven impossible to pin down, and then he was institutionalized in the State Psychiatric Hospital in Metropolis. The same facility where Amadeus Arkham earned his residency. This could be where Hawkins and Arkham first crossed paths but I have been unable to unearth any records indicating such. The Metropolis State Psychiatric Hospital was shut down in the 1920s and, for one reason or another, most of its documents have been destroyed.
Before continuing, let me take a minute to address the personal history of Amadeus Arkham. This information becomes important to understanding Hawkins’ later crimes. For this, I’m going to turn to Professor McKean again.
Grant McKean 2
First, you must know that Amadeus was the only son of Elizabeth and Henry Arkham. When Henry passed away around 1919, Amadeus was left to care for his aging and ailing mother. Elizabeth had been plagued by dementia for some time and was, by this point, perpetually bedridden. She quickly became a burden on Amadeus and his family. I do not say this to evoke sympathy, for what Amadeus did to his defenseless mother deserves no mercy. It is important because I believe it to be a breaking point for Amadeus. You see, he slashed his mother’s own throat, told the police it was suicide, then seemingly repressed all memory of the event.
After hearing about the fraudulent police report I reached out to another contact I’ve recently acquired, Sergeant Christina Kane. Ms. Kane pulled the historic report filed on May 27th, 1920. Here is what she told me.
Christina Kane 1
Honestly? I don’t know how anyone could have signed off on this report. Elizabeth Arkham was an invalid who, by Amadeus’ own admission, had been bedridden for years. Still. The detectives agreed that she slit her own throat and that, now I’m going to read a direct quote here, “We see no reason to investigate the son’s alibi.”
After his mother’s passing Amadeus inherited the family home, Mercey Mansion, and began renovations to turn the grounds into the Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. Amadeus split his time between Metropolis and Gotham City until March 1921 when he moved his wife and daughter into his family home. His final day at Metropolis State Psychiatric Hospital was March 31st, 1921 and when he returned home on April 1st he found his wife and daughter brutally murdered. This event marks the first record we have of Arkham and Hawkins’ relationship. In a diary entry written by Amadeus Arkham himself he comments:
Amadeus Arkham 1
I began my day returning home in good spirits, eager to see my wife and family. I ended it kneeling in their blood, broken fragments of my life pouring through dripping red fingers. I returned to my work, but I could not shake the pictures from my mind. I should have been repulsed, but I was more eager than ever to find an explanation for why someone would do this.
While this is the first written reference to Hawkins, we know that Amadeus must have met Hawkins prior to that night. There are numerous Gotham City Police Department reports indicating stalking dating back to Hawkins escape from Metropolis State Psychiatric Hospital earlier that year. In those reports, Amadeus’ wife references Hawkins as her husband’s former patient. Again, I asked Ms. Kane to pull the reports to verify.
Christina Kane 2
Constance filed three reports with the GCPD from the time they returned to Gotham City on January 7th, 1921 until her murder. I have a request out to the Metropolis Police Department to check for any reports from before their move but I’ve yet to hear back. According to the GCPD files, Constance knew it was Martin Hawkins but it seems that the reporting officers misfiled her complaints or just didn’t take her fears very seriously.
We see no mention of Hawkins in Arkham’s diary for the next six months. In fact, most of his writing seems to be similar to his entries prior to his family’s murder. Personally, I would think that such a dramatic event would change a person but, just like his detachment after murdering his own mother, Amadeus doesn’t seem very affected by the event. The next mention of Hawkins comes in September and I asked Professor McKean to provide some insight into its uniqueness.
Grant McKean 3
It’s curious that Mr. Arkham’s next reference to “Mad Dog” Hawkins comes in September, two months prior to the official opening of Arkham Asylum. To me, this suggests that Mr. Arkham must have returned to Metropolis State Psychiatric Hospital to see “Mad Dog” Hawkins. There is simply no other way to explain that entry.
Except for the fact that Amadeus was stark raving mad. Still, the diary entry is dated September 17th, 1921 and the official Gotham City Police Department transfer papers list escorting Martin Hawkins from the Metropolis State Psychiatric Hospital to Arkham Asylum on November 1st, 1921. The September 17th entry reads:
Amadeus Arkham 2
They brought the animal before me, shameless and barking like a mad dog. For what felt like days I endured his boasts. He took pleasure recounting his actions, cataloging his depraved crimes. What should have been revenge turned to pity, this poor dog needed my help.
This will become the first “official” file on record in Arkham Asylum and the beginning of more detailed notes on Hawkins and his history. However, I want to be clear–Hawkins was only ever treated by Amadeus Arkham and only a few months after Hawkins raped and murdered Amadeus’s wife and daughter. To consider these records accurate would be a huge mark of faith in a man whose mental state has been revealed as unstable. Disclaimer aside, this is literally the only source of information on Hawkins’ life before incarceration.
According to Arkham’s notes, Hawkins, as a child, endured physical and sexual abuse at the hands of his father. As Hawkins grew up, damaged and greatly disturbed, he began harming himself so that he could regulate his feelings. As he was driven further into insanity, Hawkins claimed to see visions of the Virgin Mary. The vision instructed him to kill women, destroying their faces and sexual organs in order to “stop the dirty sluts from spreading their disease.” Hawkins killed numerous women before he was caught and sentenced to the State Psychiatric Hospital in Metropolis.
Unsurprisingly, most of Amadeus’ sessions with Hawkins revolve around the murder of Constance and Harriet Arkham. In the notes, Hawkins admits to stalking the family in both Metropolis and Gotham City before breaking into Mercey Mansion on April 1st. I’ve asked Grant McKean to record a summary of the numerous accounts of the night, but be warned, I consider the following description extremely unsettling.
Grant McKean 4
Amadeus kept very thorough notes on Hawkins’ account of April 1st. While the veracity of Mr. Arkham’s notes may be questioned, they are consistent with report Hawkins’ gave to the Police that evening. Around 10 pm Hawkins entered Mercey Mansion and came across Constance Arkham in the parlor. He slit her throat before decapitating her, cutting off her arms and legs and carving his own moniker, “Mad Dog”, into her chest. Hawkins then proceeds upstairs to the bedroom of Harriet Arkham. I’ll spare you the graphic accounts of the sexual abuse that “Mad Dog” Hawkins perpetrated on the nine-year-old Harriet, which ultimately ended in her decapitation, another chest carving of “Mad Dog” and the placement of her head inside of a dollhouse.
Professor McKean left out the fact that during these interviews Martin Hawkins seemed to enjoy taunting Amadeus Arkham. He would gladly recite the details of his crime over and over, often referring to Harriet Arkham as “a little slut.” If I wasn’t convinced that Amadeus Arkham was insane prior to these interviews, I can’t imagine how a man’s sanity could survive after these sessions.
These accounts continue right up until April 1st, 1922 when Amadeus reported the accidental death of Martin Hawkins to the Gotham City Police Department. Amadeus wrote about it the following day in his diary.
Amadeus Arkham 3
Spring was a turning point, a new beginning, a glorious realization of my true destiny. My family’s killer perished in an unfortunate accident. These animals cannot be cured. Like dogs, they only respond to discipline. And if that fails, then I was afraid that these accidents would have to continue.
Again, I reached out to Ms. Kane to review the official investigation and, again, she was appalled at her findings.
Christina Kane 3
Frankly, there was no investigation. A single officer was dispatched to investigate, not a Detective mind you, an officer. He spent less than twenty minutes talking with Amadeus Arkham before writing, and again I’ll read directly from the file, “Dr. Arkham’s autopsy indicates that Mad Dog suffered a heart attack from the nominal stress of a routine electroshock therapy session. No foul play suspected.” I can’t even begin to tell you how many things are wrong with that report.
Thus ends the life of Arkham Asylum’s first inmate, the story of a mentally broken man being treated by a mentally broken man. It’s a pattern I’ve found repeated time and time again in the Asylum’s history. A pattern I intend to explore and explain in future episodes. As it turns out, the fate of Martin Hawkins isn’t a unique one in the Asylum’s history and, more importantly, the fate of his doctor, Amadeus Arkham, is also far from unique. To close out this inaugural episode, here’s Professor McKean talking about the fate of Amadeus Arkham.
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What happened to Amadeus? He went mad. A year later he was committed to his own Asylum after having his medical license revoked. He had hired more staff to help him run the facility and one of them turned him into the Gotham City Medical Board. After a, very brief, investigation, they uncovered the truth. His hand in his mother’s murder and the death of Martin Hawkins. A year after being committed, Amadeus was found dead in his cell. His walls, floor, and even ceiling, covered in words and symbols etched by his own fingernails.