The Craziest Things I Have Found While Urban Exploring

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In January of 2023 I posted a short one minute video with footage of “9 Incredible Discoveries in Abandoned Places.

It was meant as a simple YouTube Short, Instagram/Facebook Reel and TikTiok video.

The editors at Petapixel saw the video and asked if I would be interested in doing a small piece with them on the subject for their site.

I gladly agreed, answered all of their questions and sent over a batch of photos.

You can see that article here:

Urban Explorer Photographer Lists the ‘Craziest’ Things He Has Found

I had written a lot of detail that didn’t make it into the final article and I thought that would make for a great blog post here on my own site

In addition to these abandoned locations that will be spoken about soon, there are countless other abandoned spots in this world. Whether they still exist or not, they are always a part of people’s memories that are hard to let go of.

If you have such a place in your heart, why don’t you use an ingenious method to preserve them? For example, you can take a picture of this place and customise it into a pins, believe me, it will be a meaningful thing.

What are you waiting for, come to customise one in CustomPins.ca!

Ok, so there’s some crazy stuff you’ve found. Which one have you found the most shocking?
This is a tough one to answer as the term “shocking” can take on any number of meanings depending on the circumstances!

If you mean shocking as in “whoa that’s cool!” – Well I would tell you about the time I walked into a tiny abandoned house and found a classic Corvette Stingray INSIDE the house!

Perhaps you mean shocking as in “WTF?” – In that case I might show you the grenade that I found in the safe in an abandoned house.  There was a note attached to the safe that read “Danger MK-1 Hand Gurnaid (sic) Bomb Inside.  THIS IS NOT A JOKE.” – Bob Jr.”

From finding a bag full of money to finding several guns, ammunition, cremated human remains (twice..actually, three times if you count the funeral home), speaking of the funeral home, we can include used caskets, new caskets and a heartbreaking child’s casket.  I have found crates of original pressing classic vinyl records, gold jewelry, diamonds, I once found human specimens inside an autopsy room in an abandoned hospital, this list goes on.

So, if I had to attempt to answer your question of THE most shocking, I would start with a top three.
  1. A body decomp stain
  2. Another body decomp stain
  3. Two sets of World War 2 Medals along with Nazi souvenirs and other war relics
Let’s talk about 1 and 2, the body stains. 
Both times that I have found body stains I knew they were there, the first one was at a former Internet Cafe in Niagara Falls, Canada. 
A former high school classmate had once stumbled (literally stumbled) over a dead body while he was checking on a property that his boss owned, the body was laying face down in the basement and had been there for quite some time.
A few months later he discovered my photography work/subject matter and asked me if I would be interested in an abandoned building with a decomp stain – I don’t know about you or your readers, but my morbid curiosity got the better of me. 
I arrived not knowing the layout of the place, only that once I got to the basement I would see it, and see it I did! 
The stain was very prevalent with a white shape of the body and the whole area was surrounded by crusty and dried up maggots.  

The second time that I saw a body stain was at a house my friend RiddimRyder and his wife Zenning with Zay had discovered about one year before my visit. 

They had no idea it was there when they found it so their reaction was much different, pure shock and sadness – enough that they needed to pause and take a few moments to compose themselves. 

For me, I knew it was there, I just didn’t know WHERE.  Once I found the stain things changed, a heavy sadness came over me, the kind of feeling like “should I be doing this?”. 

But I knew what I was in for and I also know my subject matter – it’s dark, it’s uncomfortable, it borders on unethical and I know this. 

I made a choice to photograph the sad, the abandoned, the forgotten – and sometimes that means photographing some very uncomfortable subjects

My final answer to your question would have to be the time I discovered war medals and war/nazi souvenirs in a very abandoned and decaying house. 

Petapixel actually covered this story in 2020 in a piece I submitted titled I Found Forgotten WWII Medals and Nazi Items in an Abandoned House

I served in the Canadian Armed Forces for three years, my Grandfather was a veteran of the second world war and I have his medals on my dresser. 

I know to some, they would consider the body stains, the guns, the money or the “gurnaid” to be the most shocking, however on a personal level – this one hit me hard. 

I had no idea that these medals were there and they had not been found by the others who had photographed this house before me. 

They were in two boxes, on a top shelf on top of a stack of books, they looked just like the box that my grandfather kept his war mementos – so naturally my eyes were drawn to them and I wanted to see what was in these boxes. 

The sight of these medals and items with swastikas on them literally took my breath away, I had to sit down, pause and really be in this moment, these were things that I never imagined someone would have left behind.

Were you scared/nervous? 
In the case of the body stains, no – I was sad.  To be in the very space that a person’s life ended, where they had their last thoughts and took their final breaths in their final moments of life – this was a sensation I had never felt and while the physical bodies were no longer there, I did find myself wondering if they were still “there”, and I don’t believe in paranormal…but I couldn’t help those thoughts.
Finding the medals, I was confused and conflicted.  Confused in wondering how on earth could these not be in a safe place with surviving family.  I was conflicted in that, in my genre of photography we go by an unwritten rule to not remove items from the places we explore.  Similar to how bird/wildlife photographers won’t give up or disturb the foxes’ den or an owl’s roost (is it called a roost?), we live by a code (most of us do) to “Take Nothing But Pictures”.  As cliche as that saying is, and as much as I despise saying it – it’s the code we’re supposed to follow.  I highly recommend your readers check out the original article to find out what I ultimately did.
Do you know the stories behind the body stains? 
The first stain, the one in the internet cafe was a homeless person who was seeking shelter, they were found in September of 2018 and had been there for some time.  The last I read was that the person had not been identified, but this may have changed.
The second was that of an elderly woman who lived alone, her husband passed away before her.  The stain was located between the master bedroom and the bathroom, it would appear she was walking towards the bathroom when she collapsed or fell, and passed away.  There was no information about her or her husband to be found online, my source of this information is from my friend RiddimRyder on his website.
Do you travel far and wide for these locations?
In my almost 11 years of practicing photography I have not traveled as much as I would have liked, yet. However, I live in the rather large province of Ontario, Canada where a 7 hour drive only puts you in the middle of the province – so I have seen a lot of Ontario and put many KM’s (miles to the Americans) on my car!  
I have travelled deep into Quebec, I have driven through New York State to photograph abandonments as well as the obvious Detroit Michigan, Gary Indiana and a little bit of Grand Rapids.
In 2023 I am planning an extended trip into the prairies of Canada and hope to continue that in the years to come,
Tell me a bit about your urban exploration photography, why do you do it? Are you full time/how often do you shoot? 
I picked up a Nikon D50 in 2012 and discovered that my interest and curiosity for the abandoned can be translated into a hobby and I learned that this hobby was a thing that even had a name – Urban Exploration.  Never really one to follow rules, this was a good fit for me and I jumped head first into it.  It started out as simply exploring and taking terrible pictures to gradually teaching myself how to use a camera, how to shoot, how to use the settings etc.  Almost 11 years and three camera bodies later, I am still learning, and some would say still taking terrible pictures!
As funny as this sounds, it is a form of stress relief for me and an escape from the everyday.  What would be a frightening scenario for some (trespassing), is an exhilaration for me and when I am most at peace.  I am an anxious person in life, yet when I am exploring and photographing I am calm, happy and at my best – it’s weird, but that’s the way it goes!  I manage my time between my job, my wife and my 15 year old daughter – I typically get out 1-2 days a month to shoot and in the warmer months I’ll take off for entire weekends of shooting.
I have managed to turn photography and urban exploring into a side hustle, in no way can I retire from my full time gig in Marketing – but I have made this thing I call Freaktography into a self-sustaining and profitable business venture.  My website does quite well, I sell prints on a regular basis and I often license photos for use in print, television and motion pictures, content publishing and syndication.  In addition I have landed endorsements working with companies such as Lume Cube, Thrunite, TrueSwat and more.  I also have a growing YouTube channel where I feature videos of the locations that I photograph.

More Crazy Things I Have Found

Click on each photo to see the original gallery for each and learn more

trocars in embalming room of abandoned funeral home
mortuary cosmetics in abandoned funeral home
teenage girls bedroom stuck in time
specimens in an abandoned high school, tarantula, porcupine quills, a frog
ouija board and creepy doll
human specimens found in a hospitals autopsy room
full train set in an abandoned house
Dentures Left in an Abandoned House
Unopened beer in the bar fridge of an abandoned bar
The autopsy table in an abandoned/closed hospital
An abandoned book store full of books
Workers boots left behind in an abandoned factory
A Stuffed Owl in an Abandoned House
A Life Sized Yoda in an Abandoned House Full of Star Wars Toys
A Decaying Elvis Presley Bust
Urban exploring photo of a Creepy abandoned dentists office
Dentists Chair in an Abandoned Nursing Home
A Rotting Harley Davidson in the Garage of an Abandoned House
A constantly growing pile of deer antlers in an abandoned factory
original star wars action figures in abandoned mansion
original spike gremlin toy in abandoned house
Life sized orcas in an abandoned factory
Three motorcycles in the basement of an abandoned house
human teeth in an abandoned dentists office
Devils Face Canadian Currency - these are exttemely valuable due to the devils face found in the queens hair. the bills had to be replaced because of it

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2 thoughts on “The Craziest Things I Have Found While Urban Exploring”

  1. No breaking in or breaking of anything. As the saying goes, “take nothing and leave only your footprints.”

Comments are closed.

2 thoughts on “The Craziest Things I Have Found While Urban Exploring”

  1. No breaking in or breaking of anything. As the saying goes, “take nothing and leave only your footprints.”

Comments are closed.