Have you ever wanted to visit Cleveland, Georgia? Probably not because you know someplace is shitty when it’s not even the name brand version of Cleveland. Or, maybe there’s just something about the place that seems off-putting to you. An otherworldly chill that creeps down your spine at the thought of Cleveland, Georgia, and that’s because even though you don’t really know what’s there, a deep, primal, part of you knows it’s the home of Babyland General Hospital.
It takes a very specific kind of psychopath to say, “Hey, we should take an old hospital and stuff it full of dolls. Children will love it!” That psychopath’s name is Xavier Roberts, the creator of The Cabbage Patch Kids. I’ve always found Cabbage Patch Kids hilarious because they seem like the creation of someone who just really didn’t want to say the word vagina to their kid and then let things get way out of hand.
The Cabbage Patch Kids origin story actually has more mythology to it than you might expect. It’s high concept 80’s sci-fi that involves magic crystals that fertilize the cabbages with the help of Bunnybees, alien creatures sent to earth to destroy it through overpopulation, or something. There’s also a stork named Colonel Casey who oversees the Cabbage Patch Kids, but apparently, he doesn’t do a great job because the children are constantly begging to be adopted by someone, anyone else.
A fun fact about Colonel Casey that I learned at Babyland General Hospital is they really don’t like it if you ask if he fucks the cabbages. They’re very firm on the fact that nobody fucks the cabbages, and magic crystals aren’t a euphemism for anything.
Xavier Roberts opened his toy store designed to traumatize women into buying dolls in 1978. The employees dress as doctors and nurses because you know, everyone loves the vibe of a hospital. They actually play recordings of babies crying in some of the cribs to up the drama. In the early days of the hospital, they would occasionally have an ambulance pull up and bring in a doll on a stretcher for media events. They went out of their way to combine the joy of a child’s imagination with the horror of living in a decaying human body.
If you don’t feel traumatized enough by the idea of all these dolls begging for your affection, in an old abandoned hospital, you should check out the floor show! The big attraction of Babyland General is a live birth. That’s right Mother Cabbage, (who is a big tree for some reason) gives birth once an hour. An idea that, by itself, is traumatic enough.
This involves an LPN (Licensed Patch Nurse) reaching into mother cabbage with both hands as they crack jokes about the horrors of childbirth. “The procedure we’re doing today is called an easyotomy,” they say jauntily as every woman in the audience pales. I won’t tell you what an episiotomy is because it’s not something you can unlearn, but let’s just say no woman on earth has heard this joke without experiencing the same feeling a man gets watching someone else get kicked in the balls.
All of the jokes in the show involve pretty in-depth knowledge of childbirth to be understandable, which is so confusing because this is a show for children, right? When the doctor says, “He’s coming head first and not feet first, which would be a branch delivery.” Are you supposed to lean down and whisper to your child, “So, a breech delivery is when a baby is born bottom first instead of head first. It only happens in like, 3-5% of pregnancies, and it can be extremely dangerous causing fatalities for both the mother and the baby, but this is a cabbage so he said branch delivery instead, which is funny.”
Once mother cabbage has a baby ripped from her womb, the crowd is asked to name it. This sounds fun, but let me tell you, no matter how many times you yell Baphomet The Blood Pisser, they’ll never name it that.
Babyland hosts tons of special events. They have a ballroom that seats 30 available for birthday parties, weddings, meetings, and conferences. During these events, they will occasionally have performers in horrifying life-size Cabbage Patch Adult costumes go around and beg guests for even the tiniest bit of affection.
Man, if they want people to adopt these kids they really shouldn’t advertise that this is how it’s going to look when it grows up. Can you imagine trying to dodge that thing at a corporate retreat? Do the companies that have meetings there use it as one of those haunted house, “Whoever survives the night gets the promotion” kind of deals?
If you do make it out of Babyland General Hospital alive, you don’t necessarily have to take home a doll as a souvenir. Their shop sells all kinds of sweet merch, like mugs, bibs for your babies real or fake, and a shot glass for when mommy needs to get litty.
BabyLand might be a creepy reminder of a bygone era now, but I can’t stress enough how popular it was in the 80’s at the height of the Cabbage Patch craze. In 1983 people would pay fifty bucks just to sniff a cabbage patch kid. Three million dolls were sold that year alone, and there still weren’t enough to supply people’s insatiable demand for sad orphans.
Babyland has a wall dedicated to pictures of celebrities who visited the facility that includes John Travolta, Fred Savage, Whoopi Goldberg, and Henry Winkler. Hey, none of them disappeared under mysterious circumstances never to be heard from again, so it’s probably an ok place to visit!
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