October 2022 Newsletter: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here...👻🦇🎃
Abandoned buildings can be intriguing. This is especially true during the Halloween season when haunted houses, abandoned by human beings and infested with ghosts and ghouls, are an integral part of the holiday.
As a teenager growing up in the suburbs, we discovered an eerie house that was abandoned off of a rural road nearby. It appeared to be hastily vacated by a family. All their items were left behind: furniture, clothing, and even food remained in the cupboards and refrigerator. There was also a very spooky barn out back full of hay bails and farming equipment.
No one knew what happened to the former occupants, so our imaginations ran wild. Were they in the witness relocation program and discovered by the mob, forcing them to flee for their lives? Did they get in a deadly car accident that wiped the entire family out? Did their deranged father kidnap them and traffic them out of state? We never discovered the truth.
We were obsessed with that house for an entire summer. In retrospect, we were trespassing and should have never entered the property (thankfully the statute of limitations has lapsed). But as teenagers lacking common sense, we would visit the house after dark and wander around inside with flashlights. It was very creepy.
This was during the era when slasher films like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Halloween were popular. We were always expecting a maniac in a mask to jump out with a knife and start chasing us!
Given my interest in abandoned buildings, I included two of them in the sequel to my first novel, Sandusky Burning. A defunct post office near the campground serves as a covert place to meet, hide, and plan. An abandoned government building adjacent to a lakeside nature preserve has something (someone?) hidden within that could shatter lives if discovered.
These are actual places in Sandusky, and the internet holds no answers as to why they were abandoned. I have never entered these buildings (my common sense is slightly more developed at this stage of my life than it was in the summer of 1986), but I can imagine their interiors. The ceilings deteriorated and sagging, the windows boarded up, dust on every surface, and countless spider webs scattered throughout. The summer heat would be amplified by the lack of ventilation, making it hot and uncomfortable inside.
The characters in the novel know better than to enter, and yet what kind of story would it be if they didn't?
Have a great Halloween!
Bryan W. Conway