I worked my way upstairs. In the master bedroom, I discovered a huge colonial bed (discovered? It had been there all along so I didn’t actually discover it). There were several pizza boxes on the bed which might have suggested that a squatter had been living here. Another explorer who’d previously explored this house, said that during his visit, he heard someone go hide in a closet. Whomever was staying here was not present when we visited, or if they were, made no sound.
Hoping that the man was still in the front of the house, I would make like I was taking photos of the exterior when he turned the corner to see me. I exited the house and closed the door behind me. I immediately noticed a Chinese man dressed in shorts and polo shirt. He was trying the doors to see if they were locked. I noticed him before he noticed me. I instinctively said hello to him. He asked what I was doing here.
Here’s an approximate version of the conversation that transpired:
Him: “What are you doing here?”
Me: “I’m taking photos of the house, it’s my hobby.”
“This is private property.”
Me: “I’m sorry, I didn’t know that anyone lived here.”
Me: “Is this your property?”
Me: “Where are the occupants?”
“They’re overseas for now.”
Me: “Oh I didn’t know.”
“Do you have a business card?”
“Do you have any ID?”
Me: (searching my pockets) “No it’s out in the car”
“Do you live near around here?”
Me: “No, I’m from (city)”
He mentioned a few times that this was ‘wrong’ and didn’t understand why someone would want to take photos of his old house. The man wasn’t angry but he was concerned. He mentioned that the screens from two windows were on the ground and asked, “Would your fingerprints be on them?” to which I replied, “No. I didn’t break in.” This was the truth.
The conversation went on for a few minutes. Usually these conversations end with the person advising you to leave, and you part ways.The man then said, “I have to call someone.”
Now I’m not the type of person to run. I much prefer to have a civil conversation, take some verbal heat and part ways. This conversation wasn’t heading that route. The man wasn’t going to let it slide. So with that, I pushed in my tripod legs and began to walk out to the front of the house. I turned around once to observe him filming me with his camera.
I wondered if someone had phoned him, possibly having seen us go into the driveway. Not wanting him to see the car’s licence plate, I walked down the street as if heading to a side street. I looked back to see him following me on the other side of the road. “Why are you following me?”, I asked with a mix of annoyance and concern.
Realizing that this wasn’t going to end well, I decided the best approach was to walk to the car where my two companions were waiting on the curb. I said, “Get the F-in the car” and tossed my gear into the back seat. As I pulled away, the man inevitably took a photo of the car. And that’s the last that I saw or heard of the incident.
So is this house actually abandoned? No.
It, like so many others, has an owner who happens to not be residing in it at the moment. This property has an overgrown driveway. A shutter is dangling beside a window. There are significant mouse droppings and cobwebs inside of it. You could easily take it for an ‘abandoned’ property.
However is anything truly abandoned? If you don’t own it, the bank does.
P.S. There’s the slim possibility that the man who appeared at the front door was a concerned neighbour rather than owner, and the person he said he “had to call” was the real owner. I say this because the man didn’t attempt to open the front door with a key.
The house falls under the umbrella definition of ‘abandoned’ that we use in urban exploration.