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Field Trip: Abandoned House #2

I'm back for the second installment of my abandoned house field trip! After we went through the crumbling abandoned house, saw the saturated, mildewed, still-made bed and the 5" of raccoon poop, we were all worn out. However, as I was leaving, I couldn't stand not knowing what was in the second house, and I said, "Do you want to just go peek in the door?" (famous last words.)

Vegetation has not been kind to this house, as you can see. It's more of a little getaway cottage, or a house one person would live in. It's a single story, with a kitchen, bathroom, living room, two small bedrooms (you have to go through one bedroom to get to the other, weird layout) and an office. And a basement.

We actually know the history of this place because it belongs to a family member of Amy's! Amy bought her grandmother's house a few years ago after her grandmother passed away. The family member had always dreamed of fixing up the house next door to grandma's and living there, however 15 years ago when she was renovating it, she discovered she couldn't install the plumbing. (Couldn't afford to? Hit some crazy huge snag? I'm not totally sure, just that the plumbing wasn't workable) and then all renovation ceased. She locked it up and abandoned the project. However, when asked if she will consider tearing it down or selling it, she refuses, saying she still thinks she can fix the place.

The front door was locked, but Amy had the key, so in we went. We came into the kitchen, and immediately thought, "This isn't half as scary as the first house." No, Amy said, because it's closed. But...is it? Look at the vines growing in! And even worse, oh no! The shifting of the walls has popped the back door open. (We found an old curtain rod and closed it. Why a curtain rod?)

We couldn't reach it. The kitchen was a giant sinkhole! That's a stove you see collapsing through the floor. There was all kinds of STUFF: cabinets, mattresses, building supplies, appliances. But we had to be really careful here because the floor was giving way. (We'd been forewarned by the municipal guys, but it was still disconcerting to see the place collapsing in.) And look at the ceiling in the horizontal photo, how the wall is shifting away from it. I would have expected shifting in the water-damaged home, but that home was still square, plumb and solid. This one is getting pulled apart by plants!

Aside from the plant invasion and the sinkhole, this house had much smaller vermin than the other. No dead raccoons. But the floors were covered with dead bugs and mouse poop so thick it was like a gravel driveway. It was hot and dry inside, though, and it didn't stink. I think this is the sort of abandoned house I was thinking of when I wrote Heaven Sent. The type a homeless person wouldn't say, "No thanks, I'll sleep under the viaduct instead."

We skirted the sinkhole and explored the bedrooms--nothing special, I didn't take any photos, but there was a bed with a bunch of folded linens and towels on top. Then we edged around the sinkhole again and went into the living room and office. The walls are pretty well-preserved. It looks like trailer paneling, which I think can withstand a lot of expansion and contraction. The furniture is just shoved in randomly. We found some storage boxes, but they were full of crappy old tins from the 1980's. Stuff no one would actually want to save. I did think the small lamp was pretty cool, though, so I picked it up and flicked the switch so I could make a joke and say, "Wouldn't it be funny if it turned on?"

What? No way! (We laugh for about 5 minutes. Because it's creepy.)

OMG, Amy, turn the TV on!

No way. No way. No way. OMG OMG OMG.


At that point, I figured something out of Poltergeist might happen, but I don't think this house was built on an old Indian burial ground. Or maybe just the kitchen with its sinkhole was.

This house didn't evoke the type of raw "I'm gonna die" terror the first house did, but it was no less wonderful. I'm not sure if I've ever been so surprised!

It is frustrating sometimes that truth is so much stranger than fiction. I doubt I could ever write a credible story where the characters find something like this in an abandoned house. What an emotional rollercoaster!


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
It's pretty scary that there's still electricity to that place!
Jul. 13th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
We were stunned. Is someone paying for it or was it just too much trouble for the power company to turn it off?
Jul. 13th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
OMG, I just read the other abandoned house story as well. I just can't believe people leave a house and leave everything in it, working TVs (relatively speaking), linens, furniture. Sell that stuff and make some money.

Mind you, I just realized when my Grandparents moved out of their house on the farm they left most of their stuff behind because they moved to a small apartment. My Aunt and Uncle use the house for some storage (they live in the same yard) and family members have used it to stay over in, like a guest house of sorts. So I imagine if my Aunt and Uncle don't do anything with the stuff (and trust me, they won't) it will one day be like that second house (and eventually the first perhaps) where it will just collapse with the extra beds, couches, etc. still in it. Kind of sad.

Where I grew up there were two abandoned houses that my girlfriend and I used to visit as teens when we had dirt bikes to get around. But they were abandoned as in completely barren. I don't ever remember being scared, maybe scared we'd fall through the stairs, but they were pretty "tidy". I don't remember much animal poop but maybe we were just oblivious.
Jul. 13th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
I think if I knew anyone who had a spare house sitting around, I would have been squatting there in a heartbeat.

It's too late now, but I wonder if furniture wasn't sold off originally because either the owner wanted to hang on to it, or because it couldn't be decided who owned it. Also, it's such a low population density location that it's probable no one would have wanted it.

There was never anything like this where I grew up! I'm in the same boat as Ali, below.
Jul. 13th, 2010 02:46 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a cool trip.
I have to say when I had to leave my trailer after the ice storm and all the damage it caused - couldn't live there - I just took what was essential to me and wasn't damaged, I left everything else. So I am sure someone found something of interest in my abandoned home.
Jul. 13th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
Wow, you abandoned a trailer! It will be tempting to do as much with this one when I'm ready to move on. Hopefully my ex will want it.

I think there is an element of "I can't deal with this" to both of the abandoned sites.
Jul. 13th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
I definitely had that.The ice storm did so much damage it wasn't worth fixing. And by that point I just couldn't deal with it any more and just took what I wanted that I could salvage.
Jul. 13th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if it's because I live in the suburbs within 15 minutes of Adekaide or what, but we just don't have abandoned houses like that. If there are houses that are, for some reason, empty, they usually have 10 foot fences topped with barbed wire around them or are all boarded up, to discourage squatters, crime and vandalism. Needless to say, if you were caught wandering through them, you'd be in big trouble.

I'd love to find something like those houses.
Jul. 13th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
I grew up in big cities too, where the city would lock the door to prevent druggies from moving in. I think that's why I'm particularly fascinated with a lot of these rural phenomena. They're so foreign to me.

I saw a house in similar shape to #2 when I was house-hunting in Chicago. It was so beautiful when it was first built, but by then it was a falling down house in a horribly dangerous neighborhood. I remember the realtor had a special key to get past the city lock. And stepping over the dead rat carcasses. And how the stairs to the attic were falling down so we couldn't get up there. (Beneath it all, the framework of a big, gorgeous, historic house.)
Jul. 14th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
OMG I'm laughing and shuddering, all together :).
Jul. 15th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
We couldn't stop laughing when the light came on.
Jul. 14th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
I want to go along on your next field trip!
It's fascinating to see what looks like a home that was just lived in become a set for a scary movie or story. I live in Michigan and have friends who talked about going thru abandoned places up North, I don't think I would be so brave. Especially in a deep, dark woods........
Jul. 15th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)
I'm having a hard time thinking of somewhere good to go. I'm enjoying "real" trips more than historical sites set up specifically for people to walk through. But I can't figure out who would let me tag along with them to work, or show me their factory, or something like that. Maybe I could borrow someone's kid and say I'm homeschooling them.

My friend explained her dairy farm to me once. That was an awesome tour. I'm such a city kid I knew zero about cows and farms. I even wrote an article about it which was published!
Jul. 16th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
creepy, and fascinating - I'm not aware of anything like this around here!
Jul. 18th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
I suspect they only exist in super-low-population-density areas. Otherwise there'd be drug addicts sprawled on the beds.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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