Written by: Bumblebee
“I shoot every second person, the first one just left.”
The unspoken words hung in the looming stale air. “Hello?” my uncertain question pierces the dead silence, echoing through the decaying converted school house halls and reverberates off the wood paneled walls. Of course I know all too well – it’s a call that will never be answered. For on this back country road sits a vacant hunting cabin where the passage of time seems all but eerily stopped.
Despite our initial cold reception, Storytrail and I make our way through an unsettling makeshift bottle cap and bullet casing bead curtain (an omen of the previous warnings) to find ourselves in a warmer and more welcoming environment, the kitchen, where we can breathe easy again.
Photographs fill the wall above the kitchen table – between the P-38 lightening, the Avro Arrow, and a space shuttle lift off, they tell the story of mankind’s century of flight. A testament to the courage shown by the pioneers of flight and valor shown by service men and women alike.
Two pictures seem to stand out against the others. A hand drawn North American B-25 Mitchell accompanied by a personal photo and typed out mission orders, along with a signed photo of a Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit and its crew. These confirm my suspicions that the owner had deep military connections.
Silently paying our respects, we walk down the solemn hallway leading to the back. No space on the walls are spared from hung memories and military paraphernalia. Our first doorway instantly evokes a somber response, with partially emptied pill bottles and booze scattered about the main bed room’s dresser. A calendar on the bedside table lays spread open to January of 1998, and although the bed has now taken on an inclined form the sheets are still made up over fifteen years later.
Pushing past the Texas Hold em’ saloon style doors into the rear of the house we realize that Mother Nature has begun her process of reclamation. Water seepage from the roof above the fireplace mantle cascades down the hung trophies and plates. A once proud trophy fish now looks as though it’s caught a severe case of aquatic Rabies and the wooden stock of a rifle that’s lost its finish has begun to rot.
It’s in this back room that my five senses begin to go wild, overwhelmed by the uniqueness of my surroundings I begin to shooting from my heart, capturing every little detail that evokes my emotions and triggers my imagination.
In one corner, a make shift bar with bottles of St. Remy and Molson Export waiting to be served suggests the air once held the liquored up laughter of friends long since passed. Old pull draw string maps show a time when Vietnam was still a state and South Africa was still a union.
In another corner a blackboard prominently displays the names of other explorers who have had the chance to photograph this little secret before us. A disused RCA TV stands in its shadows topped with a layer of crumbling bits of ceiling tile and insulation, most likely asbestos. A phone remains off the hook though in most cases a phone call would be the last thing to expect at such a residence.
Passing back down the hallway and onto the home stretch, Storytrail and I can feel a lingering presence watching us. Turning to the last room on our right we come face to face with the lone remaining resident of the household. For a moment, we make eye contact, and I feel like a deer caught in headlights. A sneer already formed, I realize the joke is on me, as it is nothing more than a doll with a sinister stare.
A room no mother could love unfolds before us: unkempt beds, clothes strewn about, and a suggestive news article coincidentally placed over a poster of children’s photos. One might suggest that this was not a happy home.
Reeling from the room, Storytrail and I find ourselves back in the company of the kitchen table. Momentos of the mindful are sticky’ed all over in a desperate attempt to salvage some piece of mind cast from someones grasp. Our attention is drawn to the kitchen table where our first indications of the individual who once lived here are handwritten letters from the 1980’s. The letters paint a picture of a man named Rudi.
Based on the evidence before us, Rudi lived a lonely life. The foreign letters and symbols within his letters indicate that Rudi was born in Yugoslavia, and later immigrated to Canada. A grade six spelling book can be found on the kitchen table, a feeble attempt at learning English and fitting into Canadian society. Rudi often wrote to his friends overseas, opened envelopes with his name can be found scattered around the house. Flickers of happier times can be found within old photos in many of the rooms.
A neighbour confirms that Rudi lived alone, and that his house and belongings have been sold to the town. A return visit proved unsuccessful – the home where Rudi lived out his remaining years has now been sealed to the public. It is unclear what will happen with this abandoned cabin, but it is likely to be cleaned out and torn down, a fate that unfortunately finds most abandonments.
A story that will never truly be told.
*At this time we are still researching the B-2 signatures as we believe there are links to Wright-Patterson AFB.*
Disclaimer: We follow the urban exploration motto and take nothing but photographs on all of our explores. We do not believe in breaking and entering, vandalism, or theft, nor do we condone it.
From now until June 30th, receive 20% off your entire purchase with the coupon code SPIRITOFOHIO.
If you have any information regarding this location, please do not reveal it in a comment below, as it will be deleted. We believe in respecting and protecting all abandoned locations from destruction.