Your imaginations are probably running wild right now. What did I do that’s going to get me arrested? Did I kill a man? Steal my neighbor’s new Apple TV? Snort cocaine off the back of my illegal pet lion?
No, nothing like that. I know, it’s disappointing. Sorry, guys.
I do, however, have one particular hobby that’s frowned upon by law enforcement, if not downright illegal. This is a wonderful activity widely known as urban exploring.
For those of you who don’t know, a rough definition of urban exploring is when one ventures into abandoned buildings and other places normally off limits to the public. I love doing this. There’s just something about old, long forgotten places that really attracts me. Just think about it -a crumbling house on the side of the road was once someone’s home. They laughed there, cried there, had fights, triumphs and tragedies, sang songs and cooked dinners. And now there’s nothing left.
If anyone has read Paper Towns by John Green (mild spoiler alert!), you might recall the abandoned mini mall that Margo led Q to. That’s a good example of urban exploring.
I like walking through these hollow shells while trying to imagine this rich and colorful past. It really does wonders for writer’s block, that’s for sure.
My first conquest was a ramshackle house at the back of a neighborhood. It was known as the Tiger House to all the kids in the area because of the story behind it. I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but I’ve heard quite a few different variations.
The basic gist is this: A man in the neighborhood kept tigers in his backyard. This was illegal, much like keeping a lion as a pet and snorting cocaine off its back is illegal. Despite the law, Tiger Man’s big cats remained in the large cages where he showed them off to friends and family whenever he got the chance. One day, Tiger Man was feeding his exotic pets while his wife and son were at the store. He was mauled and killed by a tiger and died in the backyard. Upon returning home and finding her husband’s mutilated body, the wife hung herself and her child from the tree in the backyard.
Of all the versions of this story, the most consistent detail is the guy getting killed by a tiger. That’s about the extent of my knowledge on the house’s history.
Now, when I first heard about this place, I thought it was total BS. What nut job would try to keep tigers? It sounded ridiculous, but I was intrigued.
My first excursion to the house was at night. The first thing I noticed was a rusty streetlamp that looked like it was from the 1800’s. It was pretty creepy. Next I was able to make out the outline of a broken metal cage among the weeds…
The inside of the house was absolutely covered in graffiti. Some of it was juvenile, like an assortment of dick pics along with lewd phrases, but there were a few more artistic pictures. I liked the floor-to-ceiling depiction of a red demon the best.
Here’s a photo of the outside of the house that I took during the day:
I really wish I’d taken more pictures, but both times that I was there during the day I was nearly caught by the authorities. Needless to say, it’s very difficult to sprint from a cop while taking excellent photographs.
The second time I had to run my friend basically tossed me over a brick wall. Also not a great photo op.
To wrap it up, that’s why I’m probably going to get arrested one day. Next month I’m staying a few days in LA, and I’ve already started looking up any potential trespassing opportunities.