Why Do We Like History?

Do you have something you tell people when they ask you why you explore the old places? I can say a few words about history, a love for the old workmanship, etc. But, there is more to it. Things I don’t put into words because they make me seem a sad and lonely person. I don’t feel that way about myself. But, if my photographs are about preserving the past and feelings of things lost, fading and forgotten… I think that says something about me. It makes me seem needy, vulnerable. So, I don’t have an answer for the question of why I explore, other than touching the surface about liking history.

The email I’ve cut and pasted below was from 2011. I thought it would be easy to send a reply back, but I’ve never managed to answer the question without feeling vulnerable or lacking sincerity. I could have sent a fluff answer. But, I don’t want to. Some day there will be nothing left of me but what I did, wrote or photographed. None of those things are permanent. My existence will slip through history, like most people. The least I can do is put integrity and honesty into the very little remnants there will be.

I think about this still. The question I thought would be simple to answer, but isn’t.

Thanks for sending the link. Your photos look wonderful. You’ve definitely got a better eye through the lens than I.

I’ve spoken to a couple of environmental historians and the message seems to be the same. For your collection to be of use to a historian for research purposes, it would need extensive metadata about exactly where and when the photos were taken. Preferably following a standard metadata convension used by professional archivists (eg, Dublin Core http://dublincore.org/).

The historians also believed that your collection is much more likely to be of interest to someone for research purposes in 30 or 40 years and that perhaps then the interest would be in you as a photographer interested in old buildings, as opposed to the contents of the photos themselves.

Having said that, the photos are great and if you’d like to write a few paragraphs about why you’ve decided to take them and why you think it’s important to preserve these types of buildings on film, we’d be happy to share the story and a link to your photos on our news feed. Our readers tend to have a keen interest in the past and how we can understand the past. Your knowledge of photography and preserving would certainly be worth understanding further.

Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Adam Crymble

The Labyrinth of Ordinary Humans

Found a nice quote on another lost urbex site. The direct link is hijacked by the Webring code. I found the site thanks to the Wayback Machine.

“It’s not about busting into businesses and bragging about trespassing. It’s about living a time that is rapidly disappearing, sinking under a new city. The undoctored past is a rare thing to have the privilege to experience, especially because this is not the past of kings or generals or millionaire mansions. This is the past of sewer and drain workers,  factory workers, builders, tunnelers – ordinary people who built the labyrinthine hive of humans, that maze of rooms and halls above ground and under that we know as – a city.”

– Jacques

urbanwanderers
Source: Exploring The Twin Cities’ Underground

What’s Lost in Your Backyard?

I read this post (link follows) about items found by people at their own homes. Some of them dug something up. Some of them found something lost and forgotten and some just got lucky. In every case people took an interest and explored.

An explorer should not neglect their own backyard.

If you found something would you hope it was valuable, mysterious or historical? Would you feel a bit let down without a mix of all of those? I would!

While digging up their backyard, looking for worms to take on an upcoming fishing trip, two sisters from Kitchener, Canada stumbled upon a curious object. Deep in the ground, they found something transparent and shiny, with a bluish hue. At first they thought that it was part of a meteorite, however, earth sciences professor Phil McCausland disagreed, saying that the visible layer of the object should have been much darker if it really was part of a meteorite. Then, a gem expert, Gary Winkler, was contacted and asked to analyze the object. He found that it was definitely not a gem of any known kind. He also speculated that the object was not of natural origins but that a person deliberately buried it. No matter what it was, the sisters were going to keep it.

  • gold coins
  • a machine gun
  • church bell
  • ancient stone
  • forgotten graves
  • fossils
  • lost loot
  • cursed objects
  • rocks from outer space
  • unexploded bombs
  • jewellery
  • mysterious objects
  • forgotten shelters
  • drugs
  • cars

Source: 25 Unusual Things You Won’t Believe Were Found In A Backyard

They Make Horror Movies Here, Don’t They (2007)

I don’t know the history of this house or what happened to it since I took the photos in 2007. But, this is the only place I have ever felt a hint of something odd. I don’t completely believe in ghosts and I don’t believe in evil (not in a Biblical way) but I do think bad atmosphere hangs around and can stick with people and places. Possible Horror Movie Site Wood Picture 1322503244 Possible Horror Movie Site The Pit 1322502000 Possible Horror Movie Site Release the Hounds 1321611525 Possible Horror Movie Site Front Entrance 1322503062 Possible Horror Movie Site 1322503474 Possible Horror Movie Site 1322502824 Possible Horror Movie Site 1322502328 Possible Horror Movie Site 1322501632

Little Houses Outside Cookstown (2007)

There are a string of these little houses outside of Cookstown, sort of on the way to Beeton.

Likely you have seen them if you travel in the area. The surprising thing is that people do sometimes still live in some of them. I found out while taking photos one day. I still pass by them but haven’t gone for another round of photographing them.

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Ghost Hunters Burn Historic Mansion

The fire at LeBeau broke out at about 2 a.m. local time Friday, Nov. 21, and the building was almost completely destroyed by the time firefighters arrived. The ghost hunters had been trying to produce a reaction from the spirits they assumed resided there, by doing what TV ghost hunters call “provocation,” essentially making loud noises, yelling taunts at the ghosts and banging on walls. Frustrated that their efforts failed to yield any spirits, the group decided to light a fire. Whether this was intended to smoke the spirits out or simply burn the place down, the resulting flames soon reduced the mansion to ashes and four brick chimneys.While many ghost hunters engage in harmless (and fruitless) fun, as this case shows, there can be a dark, dangerous side to the pursuit. In the wake of popular ghost-hunting TV shows, police across the country have seen a surge in people being arrested, injured and even killed while looking for ghosts.

Source: Ghost Hunters Burn Historic Mansion

plantation

Painting of Lebeau Plantation by Elaine Hodges.

From Wikipedia: LeBeau Plantation

The LeBeau Plantation existed in Arabi, Louisiana. It was built as a private residence by Francois LeBeau in 1854. Francois Barthelemy LeBeau bought the land in 1851 and the demolished the house that was already on the property. Though LeBeau died the year that the plantation home was complete, his widow Sylvanie Fuselier lived in the home until her death in 1879.

Between the 1920s and the 1940s, the LeBeau Plantation was known as the Cardone Hotel.

Examiner: Haunted Lebeau Mansion burned by careless ghost hunters

Nobody had lived in the mansion since the 1980’s and there were no injuries. A piece of history was lost in the Arabi, Louisiana. All that is left behind are the four tall chimneys and a pile of charred lumber.

A mansion that stood strong for over 160 years and even survived hurricane Katrina could not fight off the fire that took her to the ground by the carelessness of these seven men.