Wreck Room, a place to smash things to vent your rage, coming to Hampden

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Photo by Ethan McLeod

Coming soon to North Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood: A spot where you’re not only permitted, but encouraged to break things in search of emotional catharsis.

Wreck Room has set up shop in the old Grand Voyager rock and art gallery space at 3317 Keswick Road, in a suite sharing walls with the Maggie’s medical cannabis dispensary. The forthcoming business, “coming soon” according to signs posted on the front windows, markets itself as “DESTRUCTOtherapy.”

Once a hippie haven that sold crystals and hosted live jam sessions, the space is now sparsely decorated, save for a back wall with helmets, goggles, visors and other protective gear hanging up, and a couple shelving units with glassware, an alarm clock and other assorted items. A yet-unfinished website for the attraction, comebreakstuff.com, advertises options like BYOB (bring your own box) at $25 for 20 minutes of smashing, a half-hour of “Double Destruction” for couples at $70 and a blindfolded “Extreme Piñata” session for $40.

We’ve messaged the operators for more details; no one was present at the business when we stopped by Thursday, and a phone line listed on the Wreck Room’s Facebook page was not accepting calls. It would appear they’re still getting set up, with a button to schedule a session on the website leading the user back to Facebook.

A December 2018 post, which hints at the move to Hampden, offers this: “WRECK Room Destructotherapy will be be [sic.] a recreational business that will allow participants to destroy breakable items in a controlled environment for entertainment and therapeutic purposes. This concept known colloquially as a Rage Room originated in Spain in 2003 and has since spread throughout the world. It is growing in the US and is in line with the growing demand for experiential entertainment.”

According to The South China Morning Post, the folks who brainstormed the idea 16 years ago were “a group of Spanish entrepreneurs who wanted to help office workers relieve their cubicle stress by smashing up household items.” Seeing the appeal, other business people brought the plan to Tokyo in 2008.

And it’s since spread like wildfire to other countries, including the States. Last year, The Capital paid a visit to Maryland’s only other known Rage Room in Glen Burnie, where operator James Tillman converted an unused space into a business where people pay to smash their things to bits. Patrons described their experiences to the paper as “cathartic” and “a ball,” noting staff were safety-conscious and ensured everyone was following the Rage Room’s rules.

Some mental health professionals unsurprisingly aren’t big fans of this, penning columns in the wake of coverage by CNN, VICE and others about the rage room trend sweeping the nation.

Scott Bea, a clinical psychologist with the Cleveland Clinic, told USA Today, “It’s not particularly therapeutic for people who have anger problems. Just because they throw something doesn’t mean they aren’t going to throw something again in the future.”

In any event, if you’re looking to give it a try, you’ll soon have your choice of a couple dedicated “destruction therapy” facilities in the Baltimore area. It certainly seemed to help the guys from “Office Space,” though that conflict was personal.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
Ethan McLeod
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