Hell is commonly depicted as a lake of fire teeming with the damned, the craggy shores being filled with scenes of souls being tortured. While this mise-en-scene may be appealing as a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, the real Hell would never offer its denizens the solace of suffering en masse. In fact, lifetime journeys across bleak unchanging vistas separate any two penitents. Each of the damned suffers among waking nightmares of his own making knowing that he will never unto eternity glimpse another soul.
A veritable army of daemon-slaves has been raised to administer this cursed realm. Each of these, too, is separated from his nearest cohort by unimaginable distances. So it was that these blight-lorries, the likes of which is pictured below, were built and set into motion by the very breath of Lucifer Morningstar himself. Eternally these cross the plains of Hades in mute, leering caravans. They will visit each demon, bearing torture implements as well as tea and a decent selection of books on tape.
October light sweeps through a derelict theater
Police arrested a suspected serial killer last week in Gary, Indiana.
The accused led officers to several abandoned homes where he concealed his murder victims.
The bodies of three women were recovered from this house on the south side of town just days before our visit.
All entrances were newly boarded up, and yellow crime scene tape remnants still clung to the trees.
A friend said to me the other day, “why don’t you take any pretty pictures?” There is beauty in all.
Ticket booth for abandoned amusement park, northern Ohio.
I’m coming to see the Methodist church in Gary, Indiana in a way not unlike a child might view its grandparent. Likely, your grandfather or -mother were already old when you first became aware of them. By the time you were in your teens or twenties, they were getting really old. And then you may have realized that they wouldn’t be around much longer. So it is with this church. We’ve been watching the decay progress for about six years now, but change is hard to see when it’s incremental. When a section of the roof fell in a few weeks ago, the change was stark.
The collapse does serve a purpose, vis-a-vis urbex: it is a memento mori of sorts, and a spur to to explore as much as one can, because it’s all coming down one way or another. And ours is not to question or get attached to ruins, but to document and create from them.
For some scenes from this church in recent years prior to the roof cave in, click here.
Someone will be with you shortly.
The biggest challenge of photographing at the abandoned amusement park was the fact that it was so terribly overgrown it was hard to see anything for all greenery running rampant. Hiding in the goldenrod I found some cars from the Tumblebug ride.
It was a struggle to frame one of these properly, but I did what I could.
In the early 1970’s, the UK determined that the time between the detection of an incoming Soviet nuclear attack and its impact would be four minutes. The BBC was tasked with preparing a prerecorded warning to be broadcast at the onset of those four remaining minutes. The text of this message seemed a fitting preamble to the following scene from an abandoned Cleveland School:
“This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own house.
Remember there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away. By leaving your homes you could be exposing yourself to greater danger.
If you leave, you may find yourself without food, without water, without accommodation and without protection. Radioactive fall-out, which follows a nuclear explosion, is many times more dangerous if you are directly exposed to it in the open. Roofs and walls offer substantial protection. The safest place is indoors. Make sure gas and other fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. If mains water is available, this can be used for fire-fighting. You should also refill all your containers for drinking water after the fires have been put out, because the mains water supply may not be available for very long.
Water must not be used for flushing lavatories: until you are told that lavatories may be used again, other toilet arrangements must be made. Use your water only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. Water means life. Don’t waste it.
Make your food stocks last: ration your supply, because it may have to last for 14 days or more. If you have fresh food in the house, use this first to avoid wasting it: food in tins will keep.
If you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given, stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out. When the immediate danger has passed the sirens will sound a steady note. The “all clear” message will also be given on this wavelength. If you leave the fall-out room to go to the lavatory or replenish food or water supplies, do not remain outside the room for a minute longer than is necessary.
Do not, in any circumstances, go outside the house. Radioactive fall-out can kill. You cannot see it or feel it, but it is there. If you go outside, you will bring danger to your family and you may die. Stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out or you hear the “all clear” on the sirens.
Here are the main points again: Stay in your own homes, and if you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given stay in your fall-out room, until you are told it is safe to come out. The message that the immediate danger has passed will be given by the sirens and repeated on this wavelength. Make sure that the gas and all fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. Water must be rationed, and used only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. It must not be used for flushing lavatories. Ration your food supply–it may have to last for 14 days or more.
We shall be on the air every hour, on the hour. Stay tuned to this wavelength, but switch your radios off now to save your batteries. That is the end of this broadcast.”
We left a number of stones unturned on this first haunting explore.
Vintage arcade machines still reside in the lobby (and called out my name),
a cage trap housed a mummified raccoon on the main floor,
and several abandoned vehicles sat entombed in a deep sub-basement below.
So I’ve already shared my first view of the piano that remained behind at a church quietly moldering away in a little neighborhood in Cleveland. Tabula Rasa gave a more comprehensive view in a later post and that got my competitive spirit going. So I went back into my files to see if I could produce something worthwhile to put him back in his place.
I will leave it to you all to decide if I have achieved my goal.
A long-stilled ferris wheel still stands in an old amusement park somewhere in the wilds of Ohio.
It is the end of an era in Gary, Indiana. There is a new mayor, and she isn’t just sitting on her hands when it comes to the looming carcass of the old Sheraton hotel which is cuddled up right next to city hall. She decreed it had to come down this year, and true to her word it is coming down, something every other mayor before her failed to do. You can read about the full history of this building over at Sometimes Interesting.
Great monstrous machines are slowly devouring it, and only half of the building was still standing when we stopped by last Sunday.
It makes me wonder what locations are next, there are several storefronts that have also been demolished along Broadway. Ambassador Arms comes to mind, as much as I love that building it is past time it was demolished for safety’s sake. More on that later.
The following is a bit of a rehashing and expansion on a subject already covered by the Idiot Photographer here. This is my turn to throw in my photographic two cents’ worth.
There is a ravine that runs through a part of southwest Cleveland which kept two racially disparate neighborhoods separated. The city built a 680 foot long suspension footbridge spanning the gorge in 1931. Amidst racial tensions in the 60’s, someone burned the wooden deck of the bridge, leaving it unusable. Ever since, it has been completely forgotten. Now, it is so overgrown it can’t easily be seen from the streets it once connected, and most Clevelanders have not heard of it.
There is a certain feeling one gets upon finding an object of which landscapers working mere yards away were wholly unaware. That feeling, for me, is the essence of urbex.
It is rare I get to visit someplace that is mostly untouched by vandals and taggers which makes finding something as simple as this a bit of a treat.
Bertrand Russell famously wrote an essay entitled “Why I Am Not a Christian“. Were I to offer a similar argument in the form of a photograph, the following could well be the result. For details on what the mural depicts, click here.
Pianos. They are everywhere we go. Too big and heavy to move, these instruments are usually left behind in schools, theaters, and, as is in this case, churches. They may be an enduring urbex trope, but one which I don’t see myself tiring of anytime soon. This from Cleveland last month.
From the third floor of what remains of the old Westinghouse factory you can look out on the empty Cleveland Railway building, and the only sounds are the occasional train passing by, birds and the chirp of crickets.