Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Houses that could be haunted

In my book there's a minor character, a college student, who spends his weekends with his friends breaking into old buildings and exploring ruins and sewers. A long time ago, I read an article online about this practice - it's called Urban Exploration - and I think it's fascinating.

It's even more fascinating without the 'urban'. Whenever I drive through a rural part of my state, I always see at least a few crumbling barns and tiny, abandoned houses in the middle of fields or surrounded by undergrowth.


They're haunting and beautiful in their own way. I always think they must hold a tragic history and not a few dark secrets. The people who lived there may be dead, but who knows what they left behind? A compelling relic of someone's past life could still be there.

Byron Farm 12

Anything provides clues to a family's forgotten stories.

How cool would it be to explore places like that? I've never done it because I'm too chicken. Although I think if an opportunity presented itself, I'd take it and beg forgiveness from the cops (or the shotgun-toting property owners) later. Think of the potential story ideas just waiting to trigger a full-fledged character or plot.

...Yes, that's why I want to break into abandoned buildings. Because I'm a dedicated writer. Of course it's not because I'm in any way voyeuristic or looking for thrills or obsessed with mysteries...erm. Right.

There is the bug problem. I don't mind snakes, rodents, whatever. But insects and spiders creep me out in the extreme. I can't even look at pictures of insects without wanting to barf. Those nasty legs. The twitchy antennae. All those eyes.

Ugh. Now I'm creeping myself out.

If you're thinking this sounds like a good idea, the Urban Explorers Network has some cool information for you. This guy has some tell-it-like-it-is tips. And the Beginner's Guide to Urban Exploration from WebUrbanist has some great links.

But the best by far (especially for chickens like me) is the Flikr group on Rural Exploration. Maybe it's because I'm from the South, I don't know, but I think abandoned rural homes are so much more deliciously mysterious and lonely.

Il letto del Vicerè - Viceroy's bed


Bevie said...

My family used to do that. We'd take weekend drives in the country, and should we come across an abandoned farm (not that unusual) we would stop and explore.

Bugs weren't much of an issue. They tend to stay in basements, cupboards and inside the walls. The real danger is coming across some homeless guy who considers you a threat. That's why it's best not to go alone.

Kat said...

What an interesting post! I've never heard of urban exploration before but it looks pretty fun.

However, I also think that I would be too chicken to actually do it. I'm not sure I would be able to form a coherent apology if the shot gun toting property owners showed up- and that terrifies me!

Little Ms J said...

Where did you get the pictures? You would expect that the first one would be a dumpy, stinky rat hole, but it is so beautiful because of the set up and lighting. Now, I dare you to sleep there overnight.

Good post.

Nixy Valentine said...

Fantastic post... and inspiring pictures!

AC said...

The pictures are from the Flickr "Rural Exploration" group that I linked to in the post. There fantastic, aren't they? There were some even better ones that I couldn't post because they weren't embeddable (is that a word?) so definitely go check them out.

Looking through them really put me in a spooky, melancholy writing mood yesterday ;)

Scrap girl said...

My friends and I used to go to an old derelict mansion called Copped Hall, but I was always too chicken to go in. I wish I had more guts.

Barrie said...

That first photo looked very Blair Witch Project! And it's the rodents that get to me. Yuck!

Katie said...

Cool post and crazy pics!!!