The first is involves circumstances beyond the control of the people. Events conspire to force the abandonment of the location. This can occur for many reasons such as structural, financial, economic, legal or estate issues. The result of the abandonment can be catastrophic, with the property passing past the point of repair. This is the state of the typical property and we have found that in these places there is not a negative vibe. While there are echoes of previous occupants, there is nothing to warn away or deter the current observers. Sometimes there is even a feeling that the house welcomes the arrival of visitors, however brief there interlude into the empty space may be.
The aberration to the norm of a neutral or welcoming property is the bad property. These exude threat and make visitors uncomfortable. We theorize that the abandonment of these rare properties occur partially because of the negative nature of their existence. The reasons for this special nature are numerous. The ‘why’ is not important and speculation is often pointless unless the full and complete history of the location is known. What is important is the affect on the visitor. A truly negative property can be dangerous to those who intrude in both the physical and psychological realms.
I think I’ve found one of those bad places. There is a two story house in Clinton SC. This location was last used as an apartment building. I first visited the property over four years ago. Back then it had a ‘for sale’ sign in front of it and I was not into photography. I inspected the house and noticed that there was structural decay and signs of squatter use. Flash forward to last year. My mate and I were driving through Clinton and I pointed the house out to her. She did not like it, sensing something “wrong” with the structure. After much debate I decided to photograph the property. Today I did take pictures of the outside of the house and never got to go inside. Part of me did not want to, but the desire to find that killer abandoned place drove me. Maybe my angels were looking out for me. A police car drove through the drive-through of the KFC restaurant across the street from the bad house. Then another police car pulled up and an officer went inside the KFC. I took the pictures outside the house and then decided to move onto other places when another police car pulled up to the first.
I showed the outside pictures to my mate and asked her what she thought without saying anything about the providence of the house. She did not even remember seeing the house the previous year. Her first remark was, “I don’t like it.” She then explained that when she first saw the picture, superimposed on the image was a dark shadow. The top porch was simultaneously dark and bright at the same time, almost as if the contrast in that area as out of whack. She got an impression of darkness and negativity while the image in the picture was still visually sharp.
I value her impression. She’s travelled all over the world as a military professional. She has seen her share of properties in various states of repair and disrepair in military, secular and religious locations. This has included moth-balled ships, planes, submarines, convents, military bunkers, hospitals, forts and much more. She says that most of these had the neutral to welcoming feeling contrary to their established purpose or current derelict condition. There were exceptions. The tunnel/bunker system beneath Fort McHenry and the Forrestal aircraft carrier both carried “go away” messages in specific locations. She theorizes these are taped loops of events crossing over into present time.
Does the house I found in Clinton share the phenomenon of negative taped loops? What repels both my mate and myself from this house? We don’t know, but I wanted to share both our impressions and pictures of the Clinton house so you can decide for yourself. What are your opinions on ‘bad houses’, and are they truly rare amongst all of the abandoned places we explore with such relish?
Picture of Clinton House. Other views of the house are in this flickr set.