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Tales of the Urban Explorer

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Juice, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. Juice

    Juice
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    When I was in college, there was an abandon mental institution not too far off campus. It had been shut down in the late 80s due statewide closing of many institutions. However the buildings are still intact and the "CVH - Knight Hospital" still stands. One night my roommate and I broke in through a cellar window and did a little exploring. Inside we found tons of old patient records, gurneys, bedrooms with furniture, and a doctors office with tons of documentation. Unfortunately, the place was also full of graffiti and staircases were beginning to give way. Still it was a pretty interesting place to hunt around it.

    Focus: Tell your tales of urban exploration. Are there any hidden/unknown gems near where you live? Found anythin interesting while exploring?
     
  2. DrFrylock

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    I don't have any cool stories like this, mostly because I like avoiding B&E charges. I was once out on a mountainous road connecting two urban areas with friends when we pulled over for some reason. One of my buddies looks down the hill and sees a bunch of trash strewn across it, including a videotape. Thinking that the only reason to dump a bunch of trash down a hill instead of in a trash can is that you did something nefarious and want to get rid of the evidence, my buddy scrambled down the hill and yoinked the tape.

    We were hoping it would be something cool like the Ring video or something like that. It was labeled as some kind of sales training tape for a cosmetic product. We took it home and popped it in the VCR, and got all creeped out when...

    Do not read if it's late at night and you're at home alone.
    It was some kind of sales training tape for a cosmetic product.

    So, meh.

    After that I couldn't sleep for weeks.
     
  3. Kubla Kahn

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    Truth.

    There was an old timey abandoned hotel/apartment on the hill behind one of my houses in college. Well, we figured it was abandoned since no one appeared to live there. We had heard stories that it was an orphanage and a brother before that. Me and a couple of friends decided to break in one night after drinking and playing cornhole on the street in front of it. My bigger buddy started ramming the door to break it open when just as he sunk his shoulder in perfectly and opened the door the crazy cat lady that owned the place started screaming at us from the ground floor. We panicked and ran off passing right by her. My other friend almost bolted down the stone stair case that lead to my place but I yelled out just in time and we ran off down the street and doubled back around to the front. My buddy that had broken the door open wanted beer so we carefully left my place and saw a cop cruiser passing by going down the street going to check out the place.

    A few months later the women ended up dying and the place was demolished. We talked to her relatives and found out she was a complete shut in and had lived alone in hoarders like conditions. We told them that we had tried to get in one night and she had scared us off and they didnt seem to mind and said that she had mentioned similar incidents many times before.

    There are supposedly unused service tunnels underneath Nippert Stadium at UC from the original stadium that was built over it. There is also an unused Art Deco style subway station in Cincinnati from the unfinished subway line. One of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films was partially shot there. I have never visited either.
     
  4. Guy Fawkes

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    Well before 9-11 you could access miles of abandoned and/or never completed subway tunnels in Boston. Entire branches of the orange and silver lines complete with subway stations, trashcans, benches, etc. We use to skateboard around Boston and randomly drop into the network of tunnels to check out graffiti and put up some of our own.

    In all our time in the tunnels we only ran into crazy-violent homeless people once and were chased by transit authorities twice. Neither came close to catching us (15 year olds on skateboards can fucking RUN).


    The second place we spent a ton of time was an old chemical factory by the railroad tracks in my hometown. It had been abandoned in the 70's after a fire took one section of the building. The main building was intact, 5 floors of ridiculous warehouse space with blank walls perfect for practicing tagging. Over the course of a summer we slowly made our way throughout the entire place including scary as fuck sub-basements. I'm really surprised none of us got hurt.

    The stupidest destruction we caused was to push a set of steel shelves down into the elevator shaft from the 5th floor. The cargo elevator was stuck on the 2nd. Loudest noise I've ever caused. 1000+lbs of steel free falling 3 stories and smashing into the elevator which later snapped free and crashed to the basement.

    The funniest part is that they tore down the factory 6-7 years ago and put up some high end "riverside" condos where it use to be.
     
  5. jrczj

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    There was an old abandoned house in the woods not far from where I grew up. Rumor had it, the owner went to prison for a few years. Anyway, we used to go in that thing and rummage through the inside all the time. There was still food in the cabinets, clothes, although the electronics were gone (presumably stolen by kids older/cooler than our 12 year old selves).

    Also, when drunk I went urban spelunking into the depths of a German city. There was an uncovered (well, it was surrounded by fence that I obviously climbed) hole in the ground, I have no idea what it was for, but there was some sort of hallway underneath the city. Once I got down there, I discovered an iron gate blocking me from further exploration. The only thing that makes this story interesting is that it was at 7am on a weekday, we were stumbling around shitfaced jumping down holes and causing a scene while most ordinary citizens were on their way to work. Oh how I wish I was 19 and living in Europe again!
     
  6. redbullgreygoose

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    In high school there were some woods that had this bad ass tree house where kids would go to smoke and drink on weekday afternoons. The rumor was that it used to be some type of office for an old barn or something. No one was really sure. But this thing was two stories and maybe 150 square feet. As more and more people starting coming more and more people starting telling their friends who had even more people coming. This angered the guy who "discovered" it. He was some three time G.E.D. failure who spent his days doing nothing but watching springer and playing ps3. This place had become overcrowded. The last time I was there I'm surprised all the people standing on it didn't break the upper deck. This angered magellan and one Wednesday night he went out there all buy himself and burned the fucking thing down. Talk about overreacting. It was nice while it lasted though.
     
  7. Bourbondownthehouse

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    The town I grew up in is about an hour away from a huge nuclear power plant from the 70's that never opened. It was a huge complex in the middle of nowhere so really anyone could go out there, but it was also dangerous, full of holes and dark as fuck. That didn't stop us from getting fucked up and wandering around of course.
     
  8. audreymonroe

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    I LOVE urban exploration. There's something about climbing through windows or holes in broken glass with your flashlights and protective masks on that makes you feel like a badass. I also love the human aspect to it; going into these places that are frozen in time and basically just rooting through relics of people's lives. I haven't done it in a while because a) as I've gotten older, I've gotten more scared of the law and b) now that I'm in NY, I've heard from people who are much more into it that not only is security more vigilant in abandoned places here, but if you do get caught they usually try and blow it up into a huge security threat and are considered a potential terrorist or something. I have NO idea how true this is, but I'm not going to find out.

    My favorite experience was also exploring an abandoned mental institution. It sounds similar to the place in the original post, although I think it was open later than the 80s. (Was it Letchworth?) We saw so many creepy/awesome things. The most memorable was the morgue, the lab, and the basement full of patient records in this mansion far away from the rest of the buildings. We also saw a bunch of creepy looking dentist chairs scattered around in a basement, a lot of gurneys, old beds, hydrotherapy tubs, and tons of behavior reports just carpeting the place. It was amazing how careless they were with them once it closed. And catheters. So many catheters. We also saw what looked like blood splatter on one of the walls in that mansion. We also went to this factory or electrical plant on the grounds and found their blueprints.

    The campus was huge (it's now a public park) so we didn't have time to see everything, especially since it started torrential downpouring and we were pretty sure security had caught on that someone was snooping around and were trying to find us. I'd love to go back. I finally got the photos my friend took last year, so here are a couple:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Also, just a couple days ago, I found this pretty sweet short little documentary following an urban explorer through some NYC sites like the City Hall subway station, in the old Amtrak tunnels (where he talks to people living there), and up on the Williamsburg bridge. It's worth the 20 minutes or so. I have no idea what it was doing on a fashion blog, but here it is.
     
  9. Guy Fawkes

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    If you love urban exploration you should check this video series out. Hosted by Johnny Knoxville.

    Very entertaining.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.palladiumboots.com/exploration/detroit" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.palladiumboots.com/exploration/detroit</a>
     
  10. jets22

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    This thread reminded me of a video I saw a few months ago.

    In the video, Steve Duncan and a cameraman explore a bunch of interesting sites all around Manhattan. Among others, they manage to sneak into the abandoned City Hall subway station, the Amtrak tunnels near the Lincoln Tunnel, and scale the Williamsburg Bridge. As he does this, he gives interesting bits of history of the places they're exploring, which to me just made it even more interesting. It's 27 minutes long, but absolutely worth watching.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/fjelstud/exploring-secrets-in-underground-new-york-city-1hv6" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.buzzfeed.com/fjelstud/explor ... -city-1hv6</a>
     
  11. lostalldoubt86

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    There's an abandoned sanatorium a few miles away from my house that is just amazing to walk through. I didn't even know about it until my cousin asked me to go up there with him. He's a photographer and wanted to get some shots of the place for his portfolio. I think it closed in the 40's or 50's, but it's still there structurally. It was mostly used to quarantine people with TB.

    90% of the place is just cool architecture and hilarious graffiti until you walk into the basement of the actual hospital. All along one wall is just hundreds of cots in various stages of decay. I tried to get a picture, but the photos were just blurs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Backroom

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    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.opacity.us/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.opacity.us/</a>

    You're welcome
     
  13. Spoz

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    Well this thread is just perfect. I'm a member of an urban exploration group here in Australia. We just got back from an overnight trip to a rural town in which we found a nice firetower to climb and a 600m long tunnel through a mountain before being chased by security out of an abandoned abbatoir. You could say we're enthusiastic. I don't have my camera at the moment because it's currently sitting in an evidence bag at the city police station, but I've got permission from a friend to post one of their photos.
     

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  14. shabamon

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    Just yesterday I stood in this room:

    [​IMG]

    This is one of the rooms in the lagering cellar below the defunct Kauffman brewery building in Cincinnati. This room is just a fraction of more than 11,000 square feet in the cellar which is approximately 30 feet below street level. Until mechanized refrigeration, this was where beer was stored. The pile in the picture is trash and debris that people threw into the exhaust chutes. This space was built in the 1880s and rediscovered only 15 years ago when workers jackhammered through the floors to see where their trash was going. Over The Rhine (a Cincinnati neighborhood more known for violent crime than beer) has a rich history in beer manufacturing. As part of Cincinnati's annual Bockfest, my dad and I took a tour of a few of these cellars. What we saw was really cool stuff, but our tour guide was some fat nerdy slob. He had absolutely no social skills and read from a script the whole time (and judging on his performance, yesterday was the first time he saw the script). Beer history and hidden cellars are fucking cool and deserve better. He was so bad that afterwards, and with little historical knowledge of the subject, I volunteered to guide the tours next year. Hopefully I'll be able to be a decent enough historian in a year to see this through.

    EDIT: There's an abandoned gun powder factory near my girlfriend's house in Maineville. It looks creepy as fuck when you drive by at night and I'd love to go explore it. My girlfriend doesn't go near it because she biked around the complex once and a man chased her away with a shotgun.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. JWags

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    Whoops, double post.
     
  16. JWags

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    Not so much urban exploration, but the discussion of abandoned mental hospitals brought me to my experience from college. The dorm next to mine was a converted mental hospital. While the first and second floors had been refurbished into the appearance of a converted mansion, to match the outside, the 3rd floor/attic and most of the basement remained more or less untouched. This in an of itself isn't too spectacular until its coupled with whats left over, as well as the rampant paranormal encounters I had relayed by multiple people. Showers in the basement would turn cold without warning as lights would shut off, noises, footsteps, all the good stuff. So with all that in mind, my RA took us on a tour one day. My dorm and this dorm were both smaller (under 100 students each) so they shared RA's on rounds. So my RA had keys for everything. He took us up to the attic where there were still chains all over the place, as well as crudely drawn murals and what appeared to be satanic images. It was chilling. Then we went to the basement, past the study rooms and bathrooms to a smaller room, where behind locked doors a bunch of hydroelectric therapy tubs still sat around. It was beyond creepy to imagine what went on in there 80 years ago.

    There was a house, not far away, that currently houses administrative offices, that used to be the head of the hospital's house. There is a tunnel that runs from the dorm to the house that was used to enter the hospital without the patients seeing him walk across the lawn. Unfortunately, it was barricaded up with rocks and mortar, presumable so college kids couldn't go in it to drink, smoke, and fornicate.
     
  17. cpt0

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    I grew up in a hood filled with abandonned industrial buildings. It could be said that growing up around here, urban exploration was just something you did. Sites under construction, old abandonned churches, half flooded tunnels, everything. I love urbex.

    The only place still standing ( that hasn't been reconverted) is this old factory that's basically almost under the highway. for years the factory has been used by graffitti artists, so much that i make it my business to regularly " tour" the factory to see the new murals. Usually krewes will come in, take a huge wall, separate it in sections and each do their own gigantic piece on it.

    As for practical tricks : Wear your clothing in layers ( this way, a jacket can be quickly removed for instant " camouflage") and never wear your wallet on your back pocket while exploring : it's just gonna slip out the next time you crawl thru a short space.