Exploration: Abandoned Houses in Small Towns

Abandoned Minnesota Minnexplore

The Trashed Shack on 169 North: This place has been abandoned since last summer. A couple years ago, it was a neat little redneck starter home. Now the freshest thing about it is a roadkill turkey in the driveway.

I walk cautiously up to the house and peer in a window. I can’t kill an irrational fear that some horrible haunt is going to spring up from the other side of the sill. And then…oh my LORD, I see someone staring back at me.

It takes me a minute to realize it’s my own face, reflected in a mirror on the clothes-covered floor. There’s jewelry and furniture and stained bedspreads all muddled together in a hobo’s nest on the floor. The window’s closed, but the inside of the house smells like an armpit. The rot scent is literally seeping through the walls.

I had planned to go inside, but I walk away as quickly as I can without losing my dignity. I cannot, for the life of me, shake the feeling there’s something alive in there.

Abandoned Minnesota Minnexplore

On the property, there’s garbage everywhere. A baby stroller moored in weeds, empty animal cages lying on the ground.

Abandoned Minnesota Minnexplore

Behind the house, I find a huge wire and post structure – a good fifteen feet high, two levels. There’s a folding chair sitting in the upper level, looking away from the house over the clean, pine-studded hills of the property adjacent. A seat for hunting – or maybe for pretending you live somewhere else.

Abandoned Minnesota Minnexplore

I leave pretty quickly. It’s hard to walk without planting my feet in garbage and I can’t shake the feeling I might stumble across a random human limb if I keep exploring. I honestly don’t know if I’m ethically obligated to pity the people who lived here or not. I do know I never want to come back to this place.


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