The term “urban explorer” gets used to describe people who see an abandoned building and just can’t help but check it out.
It’s pretty exciting, but also potentially very dangerous, and spooky, not to mention usually illegal.
Here are some of the real life chilling tales…
Good luck sleeping tonight!
1. The care home.
A group of us went into an old abandoned care home. (We got in legally). It was pitch black and I mean the type of darkness where you cannot see you hand in front of your face even when you let your eyes adjust. Fortunately we had a few light sources with us.
After walking around and finding copious amounts of evidence that there was squatters staying there (not at the time of our arrival thank god).
We found ourselves standing in a room filled with graffiti but not graffiti from a paint can. This was spelled in dried blood and excrement. The stench was horrendous. We got out of there so quick and have never been back since.
2. A figure in the darkness.
Broke into an abandoned house in the village I grew up in in England back when I was a teenager, maybe 15 year ago now.
Was with a couple friends but broke off by myself and ventured upstairs, when I turned at the top of the stairs I saw a figure standing in the darkness just staring at me.
I bolted out of the building as quickly as I could and my friends heard me and panicked, they weren’t far behind. Went back there a couple of weeks later with a bigger group to “prove my story” and to my embarrassment.. it was a tall mirror at the top of the stairs, the figure I saw was me.
Not my proudest moment.
3. Who’s there?
I used to walk around an abandoned building near a forest which was initially a child hospital in the 70s, a refugee housing in the 90s and a language school for Chinese students till 2007. Since then it’s abandoned. The students left quite suddenly, so I found diaries, certificates and even food. It was interesting since the place was not vandalized at that time.
Once I was inside the building again when I realized someone else was walking upstairs. I never left this place so fast, jumped over the gate and headed to my car.
When I reached there, a police car stopped in front of the building and the two officers jumped over the fence to enter the building.
No idea what was there, but sometimes I wonder if I avoided more than just a report for trespassing.
4. Picture perfect.
Used to work for a guy renovating houses. He’d buy dumps for like 5 to 10 thousand that had been abandoned for years, we’d fix them up, and he’d rent the houses out.
His daughter would go to houses to take pictures after he bought them since he’d buy a lot of them site unseen because they were so cheap.
One house she went to take pictures at and she was kinda creeped out by the basement and did not want to go in. She just opened the door, leaned in, reached her arm out and took a picture. When her dad reviewed the pictures he saw a man standing in the basement about 5 feet from the camera staring directly into it.
5. How did it get there?
Found a dead deer on top of an old grain mill. All of the stairs were removed so people couldn’t climb them.
Getting up there is hard enough without carrying a deer carcass on your shoulders. I think about it all the time lol
6. Well that can’t be good.
Found a bottle of some liquid in an abandoned drive in theater building. Knocked it over and the concrete starting smoking and we got nosebleeds instantly.
Still no clue what it was but we got the f*ck out
7. A sad story.
Danvers State Mental hospital. Stumbling across an overgrown graveyard full of tiny little headstones with nothing but patient numbers – no names, no dates.
The overwhelming inhumanity that all of those nameless graves represented hit me at once. I’m not easily frightened, and exploring an abandoned mental institution in the middle of the night had been an exciting adventure until that discovery.
Even then, I wasn’t afraid. Deeply saddened and nauseated, I lost my curiosity.
I felt ashamed to be intruding on a space that had seen levels of human cruelty and suffering far beyond what I could ever imagine so I left and never went back.
8. A murder mystery.
Several years ago, a man was murdered in the city I was working in and parts of his body were turning up at various locations. I think his hand and foot had been found and a week had passed.
I’m an architectural designer and I was surveying an abandoned chapel that was slated to be renovated into condos. It was apparent that homeless people had been squatting in the chapel but I wasn’t sure how recently they had been there. When I went into the basement though, it was clear someone was either there or had just left based on the smell. There were no lights due to the power being cut and I didn’t stick around long enough to see if anyone was currently occupying the space.
Two days later someone reported that they found the torso and head of the murdered man in a building attached to the chapel. I had been too freaked out by the smell in the basement to continue on to the attached building. But I’m almost certain I would have been the one to find the body.
9. The tunnel.
As kids we would walk this 1/4 mile railway tunnel near where i grew up, there were no tracks but it was next to two live tunnels so there was a slight element of danger.
That and the fact it was trespassing i guess and railway workmen or transport police could catch us at any moment.
So as you can imagine it was dark, REAL dark in the middle, but towards the end there was enough light to barely see.
One day we took an old school pal down there and after walking the length, almost at the end of the tunnel just as it was beginning to get light he stopped to look down a large uncovered square 3ft by 3ft manhole….
No he didn’t fall in, but after a flash of brief confusion he took in a deep breath and screamed, then immediately started sprinting for daylight.
“Oh sh*t, F*ckn RRUUINNNNNN!!!” he screams
Naturally without question we ran, having a hard time catching him up.
At the mouth of the tunnel we stopped.
All out of breath “WTF !! What’s wrong? What did you see?” We asked.
His face was pure white, and shakeing barely able to speak he said ” there was someone down there, looking up at me!”
Now this buddy was and still is a good friend of mine, but back then he wasn known for not being the sharpest tool in the drawer…
instantly we had an idea what just happened, but slowly we returned to open manhole.
Then as the four of us stood around this hole looking down, sure enough….. Reflected in the still water about 5ft down this feckn hole was our four faces looking back up at us.
10. The prison.
Exploring an abandoned prison part of the ceiling collapsed. It didn’t hit me but it was close enough to knock me over.
I guess junkies used it as a place to shoot up because I fell on an old needle.
I got tested to make sure I didn’t get anything from it but it scared me enough to stay away from abandoned buildings to this day.
11. Dead serious.
There was a coffin, a real coffin.
We were in a abandoned factory that some rich family had owned, and there was this one room with a bunch of personal stuff, letters from the fifties, furniture, old photographs, clothes, even booze, like someone’s home had been put in there.
In the middle of it all a coffin. I swear.
The room was gloomy, it was a late summer afternoon, no power and we didn’t have flashlights. My friend was like “we gotta open this coffin, we can’t leave unless we do, we gotta” and straight up lifted the lid. A sweet smell came from the darkness. When my grandmother died I was the one to find the corpse and I remember that one quite well.
So my heart skipped a couple of beats. The coffin was full of candles. They had a sweet smell.
12. The stare.
Exploring an abandoned manor with some friends. We had been drinking and smoking and thought it would be cool.
The ground floor entrances were covered with bricks so we had to enter through the first floor (~8 ft height) using an improvised ladder made of old trash and wood pieces. It was quite unstable and hard to climb and we were 5 or 6 people.
Being the only way out, and knowing how slow it was, I was on edge the whole time.
We were exploring the floor, cool glass ceiling, lots of debris, but suddenly we find a room filled with plastic containers with pink and brown liquids… Some friends decide to explore the ground floor, which was pitch black and involved going down a broken staircase missing several steps. They heard someone coughing in the dark and feel several people moving in the darkness as their eyes get used to it… At this point I was hearing someone slowly walking in a room on the first floor, carefully stepping over the broken glass on the floor (to not make noise) which was really creepy.
We got the f*ck away and on our way out we saw a roughed up man with bloodshot eyes leaving a shack outside the house and staring at us.
I still shiver when I remember his look. Probably just some junkies living there but for overly high 15 year olds it was scary as f*ck
13. As kids do.
As 12 year old kids, we were exploring the woods as kids do. The forest parted to an open field and in the distance was an abandoned farm.
Naturally we crept inside and in one of the horse stalls were all discarded hypodermic needles and old food.
Our parents were quite mad when we told them what we found
found what looked like the remains of a pig and it was wearing lingerie.
15. It’s a deal.
Well, a homeless guy with a knife said I shouldn’t be here, I agreed.
To be clear, we don’t condone this. Not least of all because it’s illegal. Be careful what you step into, you don’t know what you might find.
Do you have a story like this?
Share it with us in the comments.