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Old 01-05-2001, 07:29 AM
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For some strange reason, I've always had this fascination with abandoned buildings. In college, I would sometimes drive out into rural areas and explore abandoned houses, just to see what was there. It's not like I expected to find the Treasure of the Sierra Madre under some floorboard or anything; I just enjoyed wandering around these places.

The first college I went to, Western Illinois University, had a women's dorm that had been abandoned for decades by the time when I enrolled (Grote Hall). I always dreamed of breaking in there some day and wandering around, but alas, it didn't happen. Now I hear it's been torn down and replaced by a playground for faculty and married students' children. *sigh*

The other night on The Discovery Channel there was a special about Devil's Island prison in the South Pacific. I was salivating at the opportunity to explore all those old, abandoned structures on that island.

When I lived in Japan, the town I lived in had a dozen or so abandoned train tunnels near the beach; the new tracks were about 50 yards or so further inland. I liked exploring those tunnels (though they wouldn't exactly qualify as buildings). I would walk around in pitch darkness and enjoy the quiet and solitude. Every so often the trains on the real tracks would come by; there was something oddly exciting about standing in a train tunnel and hearing trains rumbling near you .

So who else enjoys abandoned buildings?
Old 01-05-2001, 09:18 AM
Purd Werfect is offline
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I'm not personally obsessed with abandoned buildings, but I've read some fascinating accounts by folks who are. If you haven't seen it, you might want to check out for some excellent firsthand accounts. My personal favorite at that site is the exploration of the Paris catacombs.
Old 01-05-2001, 01:21 PM
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rasta - I apologize for not answering earlier - I guess I read too fast and didn't see the thread.

This is an absolute thrill for me! I got it from my Dad. He lived in Arizona and was an absolute nut for old mines and ghost towns (if you're looking for some of the most populated ghost towns in the world, check Arizona) and when I'd visit him before he died, we'd go exploring EVERYwhere. One of my favorites was the mine outside of Wickenburg (I think it was the Vulture Mine? It's been quite awhile.)

If you ever get out to AZ (or you could be there - I didn't check your profile) make sure to check out the web first for Arizona Ghost Towns - there are more ghost towns out there than you can shake a, well, ghost at.

My SO is the same way - he loves looking in old buildings, wandering around, wondering what it "used to be like". It's a crying shame he didn't get to go exploring with us before my Dad passed.

But to answer your question, yep yep yep - I love it too!
Old 01-05-2001, 08:40 PM
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I've always wanted to wander about in ghost towns in Arizona. It's on my list of things to do when I win the lottery.

As for the Holy Grail of abandoned buildings, I'd love to go to Europe and explore abandoned castles!
Old 01-05-2001, 08:54 PM
CnoteChris is offline
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You can count me in too. I don't know why, but I like ‘em and will seek them out when I can. There’s just something fascinating about them. You have mystery, intrigue, and suspense, all right there in front of you.

I see specials on Alcatraz and think to myself, “Man ,would that be cool or what!?! I wonder how I could sneak in there and check it out for myself. I know there not showing me the really good stuff.”

You're not alone.

Barely relevant, but I believe this site has been mentioned around here before. I found it pretty cool (Outside of actually going there and rooting around for myself. I’ll do that too if it were close.)
Old 01-05-2001, 09:14 PM
tshirts is offline
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I've wandered my vacant buildings when I've found them.
At college I would have 30 minutes between classes, often in the same building, so I'd wander the unused aisles, go into the basements and open any doors. It was quite a thrill poking around.

Later I was the Site Manager at the San Jose Historical Museum, an "Old Town" of 30 or so buildings. Since I had all the keys I would go everywhere, including the basements and attics of the "closed for renovation" buildings, with gaping holes in the floors and walls where the old boilers had been removed to get eficient heating installed.

People would warn me I'd be not found for weeks if I fell and was hurt, but that just made it grander.
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Old 01-05-2001, 10:05 PM
dewt is offline
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I went to Expo '67.

In 1984.

I have it ranked up there as one of the absolute coolest things I've ever done. We (me and a couple of friends) still really really strung out after a very intense and psychadelic night and for the hulluvit, we decided to go out to St Helen's Island. We'd heard rumours that it was cool, but were not in the least prepared for it.

My memories are pretty hazy but there are a few things I'll remember forever.

The first was the broken glass. It was everywhere. So thick that in most places you couldn't even see the pavement. Like gravel. There wasn't an unbroken window in the whole place. Just shells of buildings littered with abandoned displays and broken glass. And graffiti. Very sci-fiesque.

Then we went into this tunnel. It had a round opening about 8' diameter and went into darkness like a deep winding cave. As we entered the gloom, the broken glass gave way to wet carpeting. Our steps echoed and reverberated.


Heheheh. It was pretty creepy. Very trippy

Here's a few pics...

French Pavillion
URSS pavillion

here's where I found the pics. There's a bunch there - I only took the ones that struck me as familiar.

We followed this tunnel and it went on for what seemed like miles, with only the dimmest light - often we had to keep our hands on the walls to find our way. (Good thing our pupils were LARGE)

At one point, we stumbled out of the darkness into this big room. We look up, and we're looking up at a rocket. Ya, it was a very big room. A rocket was about the last thing we expected to come across. I think we tried to get inside it, but I don't have any recollection of success.

All in all, we were there about 4 hours or so.

We never went back for a second visit. I think it's all cleaned up and developed now. Too bad. It could help scare a lot of kids straight.

Old 01-05-2001, 10:09 PM
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Me too!
Old 01-05-2001, 11:00 PM
Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Ja! Ja!

I have been known to sneak through the underground catacombs of UMD's Cole Field House during the off season. Dark hall ways into nowhere & strange noises echo everywhere. Creepy!

There was a show on (I think) MTV where they would take a bunch of kids & dare them to explore some scary place like an abandon prison or a condemed insane asylum. They all wore cameras so we could follow along & watch them whimper (which they always did in spades!). I would have loved to be part of that!

Not many places like that here in DC, sadly.
Old 01-06-2001, 01:59 PM
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When I was a little boy (some folks can't believe a guy my size was ever little) I had some mistaken ideas about property. For example, I thought "abandoned" buildings didn't belong to anybody, and thus brats like me were free to find a way in and roam around. A friend and I slipped into a closed filling station through a broken window. We forced open a candy machine, and we gorged on candy bars. We got in trouble, but our parents still didn't explain property to us. A couple of years later, we pried open the door of a long-dead ice cream plant. We spent a couple of hours poking around, but we didn't steal or break anything. My accomplice spilled the beans to his parents (again) and the juvenile police grilled us ruthlesssly. Somebody else had also broken in, and they stole something. We were blamed, but there was no proof, so we got off with a finger-wagging. Years later, I met the old dame who owned the place. She still believed I robbed her.
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Old 01-06-2001, 05:55 PM
AuntiePam is offline
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Rural Iowa is heaven for lovers of abandoned buildings.

Homes, outhouses, corncribs, barns, chicken houses and various outbuildings filled with cobwebs and petrified livestock droppings -- they're everywhere.

Walking around in the yards is exciting too. Overgrown rose gardens, berry vines, animal bones, snake nests.

Exploring farmyards is almost as interesting as the country graveyards.

And if you ever pass through Deer Lodge, Montana, visit the old penitentiary. Some of the cells still contain personal items left behind when the prisoners were moved. And don't be frightened by the noises -- it's only owls.
Old 01-06-2001, 06:45 PM
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When I visited Old Deer Lodge Prison, they shut us up in a solitary cell for just a minute... it was eerie, until some other guy pulled out a lighter. By the amount of relieved laughter, I don't think I was the only one a little creeped out.

AuntiePam, do you live in Montana? I grew up in Great Falls, and then moved to Choteau after I graduated from High School in California......
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Old 01-06-2001, 06:55 PM
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Re: Ja! Ja!

Originally posted by Attrayant
There was a show on (I think) MTV where they would take a bunch of kids & dare them to explore some scary place like an abandon prison or a condemed insane asylum. They all wore cameras so we could follow along & watch them whimper (which they always did in spades!). I would have loved to be part of that!
The show is called "Fear". The places they take the kids to are abandoned haunted places. The first was West Virginia Penitentiary, the second they renamed St. Agnes Hospital for the Chronically Ill, but i found out on the message board that it's actually Fairfield Hills Hospital (IIRC). It was an old mental institution, and supposedly one of the worst ones (said there was an estimated 13,500 people who died there). The eeriest dare was in the seond, where they had one of the kids collect dried blood from the floor of one of the rooms. They got around the place by going in these dark underground tunnels (a creepy part was when they found a doll hanging from one of the pipes). The prison was pretty creepy too, one of the kids was in the Infirmary on a dare and heard a banging of metal from overhead.

Anyway, here, since the old army base (Ft. Ord) closed there are hundreds of abandoned buildings. Since you can get into trouble if caught by the feds (who patrol the areas with the cooler buildings (old classrooms), i dont dare try to go into those (especially since my father is a Fed for the base).

But, I like driving through the empty neighborhoods where military housing is. All of the yards are overgrown, some of the trees have blown over, and the houses look decrepit and old. It's kind of eerie at night also, because there are no street lights in certain areas. Even the roads are in bad condition with weeds sticking out of cracks. It's kind of like how I envision things would look if everyone suddenly died off. The old military prison is empty also (it's hard to see from the road because it's in a kind of depression behind some dunes). It looks like it would be quite creepy at night, but you could get caught easily there. Apparently they store reels of film in it.

There aren't a lot of really old houses you can explore here. Theyve either been bought and repaired, or torn down (like this old victorian farm house about 20 minutes from here, which had no paint and the wood was weathered and gray). If there were places I could explore, i'd probably try to get into them, but the risk is way too high of getting caught and in trouble for that.
Old 01-06-2001, 07:39 PM
AuntiePam is offline
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Tristan -- no, I don't live in Montana. And we found Deer Lodge by accident, sort of.

We moved from Seattle to Iowa in 1990, and unknowingly timed the trip to coincide with the biker rally at Sturgis.

I thought bikers were tough guys, but no, seems they all needed beds and showers along the route.

Deer Lodge was the first town we found with a vacant motel room. And that was only because it was 6 a.m. and people were starting to check out.

We slept for a few hours and then spent the day exploring Deer Lodge, stayed a second night and went on to Yellowstone the next day.

I've been through Montana a few times, and wouldn't mind exploring more thoroughly. I think the Great Plains states are . . . great.
Old 04-29-2020, 02:48 PM
Musty is offline
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19 years later and still a shared obsession!

I was barely 2yrs of age at the time this thread was published, born and bred in southern Nigeria, and yet this is the closest of shared obsessions I've found on the internet - It's incredible! I've always thought it weird that I liked to go in abandoned, empty buildings, and exactly as you described, I love the thrill of the quiet and solitude. Now I must confess that I'm loving, even better, that I could find this almost 20 years later. We truly can influence posterity.
Old 04-29-2020, 02:57 PM
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I'm also a fan. I think it falls under "urban exploration."

There's a Facebook group near where I live in Ohio that explores abandoned structures. They used to explore abandoned homes, but now focus on "bigger" things such as abandoned schools and churches.
Old 04-29-2020, 03:04 PM
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Oh, and I just remembered... a few months ago I was on Shemya Island, AK for a week. It used to be an Air Force Base. It was rather creepy and surreal walking around the library and fitness center. Both were empty. The library was rather sad - you could see where the librarian once worked, and now it's just a desk stacked with old books. The fitness center had a room on the side where parties once occurred. Had pool tables, an old karaoke system, etc. Now just collecting dust.
Old 04-29-2020, 03:24 PM
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I've never entered any, but when I see abandoned houses, I find myself wondering what led to the owners walking away and leaving them. I assume either they didn't have families, or their heirs weren't nearby or interested.

Then I get to thinking about when the houses were first built - who lived there? What was it like? When did they start to decay?

Anyway, the ones I see in my county look to be in such bad shape, I'd be afraid to enter them. But I am surprised how long they seem to linger.
Old 04-29-2020, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
I've never entered any, but when I see abandoned houses, I find myself wondering what led to the owners walking away and leaving them. I assume either they didn't have families, or their heirs weren't nearby or interested.

Then I get to thinking about when the houses were first built - who lived there? What was it like? When did they start to decay?

Anyway, the ones I see in my county look to be in such bad shape, I'd be afraid to enter them. But I am surprised how long they seem to linger.
I would love to explore some of the abandoned homes I drive by in my area, but my biggest fear is being arrested for B&E. (Not sure if exploring an abandoned building falls under B&E, but it's not worth it for me to find out.)
Old 04-29-2020, 04:27 PM
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There are a number of abandoned brick buildings in my city that I would NEVER go near. Every so often one goes up in flames and it turns out homeless people were camping in them. The rest are just accidents waiting to happen.
At least my dog loves me.
Old 04-29-2020, 04:37 PM
Velocity is online now
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I love abandoned buildings too, so much so that one of the main characters in the novel I'm writing lives in an abandoned furniture warehouse, with dozens of beds and sofas, as his huge lair.
Old 04-29-2020, 05:37 PM
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I don't explore abandoned buildings but I've collected hundreds of photos of them. I find that there's often a heartbreaking beauty to places that have lost their people after the world moved on.
Old 04-29-2020, 09:25 PM
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My one story on this topic. Back in the late 70s my then wife knew a guy that knew a secret tunnel entrance to a long closed State Mental Hospital. Not sure if that was the exact title of the place. The tunnel was actually a real thing. The grounds were all fenced off with trespass proof barriers but honest to God...there was a secret tunnel entrance and we knew where to find it. Not just us, others had explored the hospital before us but if you didn't know how to get in it would have been difficult.
Absolutely heartbreaking. Only way I can describe it. Patient files were scattered all over the place...beds with restraints...all kinds of sad proof of how the developmentally disadvantaged were treated up to the early 70s.

This place
Old 04-29-2020, 11:22 PM
Spoons is offline
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Not obsessed, but certainly fascinated by abandoned places. OP, you might like the collection at Atlas Obscura:

It's a lot of everything that can possibly be abandoned, and I've found it to be a great way to pass this "stay at home" time.
Old 04-29-2020, 11:45 PM
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These folks are rather enchanted with the visual aspect of the experience: opacity

I'm a fan myself.
Old 04-30-2020, 12:09 AM
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When I was in 6th grade we lived on a street that had an old closed down Hospital. The neighborhood was home to a large gang of us kids. We decided to sneak in and look around. We just walked up to it. The first window we tried pushed right open.

It was so creepy. It had the hospital odor, still. I'm not sure how long it had been closed. There was a surprising number of artifacts left there. Old wicker wheel chairs and hospital beds and all kind of things. We found what we thought was the morgue. It was locked. Thank god, cause I wasn't stepping foot in there.
We found the kitchen. Just full of things. I couldn't believe how much stuff was in there.

I still have a beaker I found. It has a chip out of the lip. I like to put a flower in it occasionally.

I heard from a friend that someone bought the place and fixed it up as apartments. I would like to go see it again.

Yep. I love old places. The old part of my house is a log cabin that had stood here abandoned for probably 80+ years when we bought the land.
Bad, bad, bad!

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 04-30-2020 at 12:09 AM.
Old 04-30-2020, 02:46 AM
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Interested? Yes. Obsessed? No. Injured? Not yet. Busted for trespass a few times anyway? Well...
Old 04-30-2020, 06:24 AM
kanicbird is offline
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Not obsessed but certainly explored some, mainly during hiking. I find them interesting and hope to run across a ghost or two, most of them come up empty in that, but you never know.
Old 04-30-2020, 06:53 AM
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Abandoned threads amirite?

The only abandoned building I specifically remember being inside of was a a state park which still had the husk of an old house or warehouse with only the multilevel concrete floors remaining from the inside. Being built on a hill, there was a precipitous open drop from one concrete floor to the next which just screamed danger.

However, I did do my share of crawling through tunnels, but they weren't really abandoned. I made sure to only explore them at night.
Old 04-30-2020, 12:37 PM
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I too find abandoned buildings fascinating. You wonder about the people that used to live/work in them, the people who designed and built the buildings, and why the buildings were abandoned. I live near an abandoned chicken coop, it's probably a 5x10 foot building. Inside is an old tv, old store displays, a cash register, and other various stuff. The man who used to own the property ran a store elsewhere.

If you want to lose an evening (or many evenings) check out The Proper People on YouTube. These guys seem to do their exploration very respectfully, they don't break in, they don't take anything or deface things, they are just there to photograph. They go to abandoned auto plants, water parks, churches, bowling alleys, and a hanger holding the Russian version of the space shuttle!

For a nice variety of abandoned place pics try the AbandonedPorn subreddit, despite the name there is nothing pornographic.
Old 04-30-2020, 12:55 PM
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I sublimated my interest (not obsession!) in old and abandoned buildings with external photography. Old buildings (and trees and boulders) display character, personality, and thus are suitable subjects of portraiture. One avoids trespass arrests, too. With camera or sketch-pad, capture the essence, the experience, of that anthropomorphosed object. It works the other way, too - portray a person as a structural metaphor, like a ruin with beauty or evil showing through.

I fear the COVID economic tsunami is producing many more abandoned buildings as businesses close and residences empty. Disaster breeds ghoulish opportunity. Yikes.
Old 04-30-2020, 04:04 PM
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Am I allowed to share blog posts to a few I've visited here? Is that okay?
Old 05-01-2020, 04:37 PM
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I've done some Urbexing; mainly because I have a friend who shoots it a lot. If you're in the know, there is an unofficial 'underground' (no pun intended) network of those who know various locations & how to get into them. I've got some very cool photos that I took in various decaying places.

Abandoned America website has some great galleries & some books for sale*, too.

* As independent contractors, photographers are hard hit during these times when there's no wedding, bar mitzvah, sweet 16, birthday, portrait or other paying shoots. Buying a book or a print goes a long way to help them out. I know Matt & have shot with him before but any books you but support him, I get no compensation.


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