The other day Tabula Rasa, his son and I took a little trip through the town of Hammond, Indiana. We weren’t intending to stop and try shooting a photo of the BP plant, but we both saw something we liked and stopped to give it a try. We were there for maybe 2 minutes before security had our car surround and was questioning us.
This is why I prefer urban exploring, at least if security or the police are talking to you they have actual cause and it isn’t just to intimidate and harass you. Either way Tabula Rasa took the reins and stayed much politer than I would have and the security guards told us about a purportedly haunted school in Cedar Lake Indiana. Curiosity got the better of us and we decided to abandon our plans for Gary and go farther afield than usual.
The school itself is behind a locked gate and hidden behind about an acre of mature oak trees, since we were in the hinterlands people would notice if we just left our car on the street and we were not so far into the hinterlands that there wasn’t any traffic at all. We drove around a bit and finally found a nice out of the way place to park that also got us far closer to the building than we had hoped to park.
Walking through the woods and rubble of destroyed outbuildings Tabula Rasa’s son commented “This is getting a little Blair Witch.” And he was right. It was a bright, sunny winter morning and the place had a definite air of the creeps about it.
We did a quick walk around to the front and then decided to just go inside. After a through explore we did a longer walk around and decided that this building was best appreciated from outside. It appears to hold a lot of promise, until you go inside.
It is most definitely not haunted. Local lore holds that the priest in charge of the school went crazy one night and murdered a bunch of his students, afterwards the school was closed. In reality there is no evidence at all for a grisly murder spree (come on people, it was 1977 or thereabouts, there would be newspaper reports on this kind of thing, national reports!) and the fact is the school went broke, had a nice little closing party for the students and everyone went home safe, sound and unmurdered.
But that isn’t an exciting story to tell your friends when you are 14 and trespassing in the dead of night to go poking around an abandoned school. What amazing me the most is that the people who told us that this is a haunted place were adults my age and they never thought to question the ghost story!
I am a realistic person. I don’t believe in ghosts, ghouls, afterlife, spirits or hauntings. I do believe in the power of suggestion, that somethings have yet to be explained well and the mind’s ability to fool us into seeing things that are not there. I wanted to go to a “haunted” place because places like that usually have an aesthetic that our minds link to the feeling of creepy or disquiet feeling that I like and want to capture in a photo.
This is somewhat detracted from by the laziest and most unimaginative graffiti I have ever seen.