Perryville Community Park is a serene little slice of land that hides a dark secret… one that you don’t have to look too hard to find. The park was once on the property of a VA hospital that focuses on neuropsychiatric care and treatment, and and the carvings were made by veterans who once stayed there.
The Maryland park has a rich history dating back to the 17th century, when Maryland’s founder, Lord Baltimore, gave the land to his cousin. A small village eventually sprang up, and in 1919, it was first used as an army hospital, and by the early 1920s, it was focusing solely on psychiatric care. This was during an era when people still didn’t know a lot about mental health, and how to treat it, and the fact that these were veterans who had served in some of the country’s most brutal wars make the carvings all the more somber.
Naturally, it’s impossible to tell who made the carvings, or why, but there are some clues. The name “Nelson Jochnou” appears across the 100+ carved trees, as do random dates simply stating “1920” or “1911”. Some of the creepier carvings say words like “Help”, “Murder”, or “Police”, others contain political sentiments (like the word “Nixon”), and, of course, military terms like “Infantry” and “Armory” appear as well.
There are also rough sketches, and some… odd religious sentiments as well. Phrases like “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”, “All authority is given unto He in Heaven and Earth”, and “Battle of Armageddon” appear as well. The weirdest, most bizarre carvings include sentences like “Christ said to police there was no Second World War”, “Monks didnt Want to Murder Taylor Holly” and “Eddie Kenny did not want to murder George Norris but St. Ignatius made him”.
A few more strange carvings: “October 18, 1960 The City of Baltimore has not believed yet — Saint Callender — police” and “Baby Lindbergh was murdered by Wheedle who is a C&P Telephone man, not a Baltimore rumor, a Newark story.” It’s clear that whoever made these carvings was going through something, but without any other details, it’s impossible to know anything more about them. But maybe it’s better that way; we can just hope that putting thoughts into words helped whoever made these.