This is a true story. It happened yesterday. I feel I should put that out there right away, since this is a fiction blog. But even in real life, interesting things can happen.
This weekend, I went up to the Seoul area with my wife. We went up to find an abandoned mental hospital that’s been closed for about 20 years, which is apparently one of the creepiest places in Korea. We were planning on exploring it at night. However, when we got there, we found the road leading to it blocked with a pretty imposing gate and barbed wire.
However, we had traveled many hours to get there and we decided to try a more lateral approach. A little ways up the road was another road that branched off into a small valley parallel to the one the hospital was in. It had rained heavily and the road was more or less a rushing stream. Our shoes were quickly damp.
We soon came to a farm, which we realized pretty quickly was abandoned. After an abortive attempt at climbing over the ridge to the hospital, we went back and looked around the house.
It was odd, to say the least. It was clearly abandoned–the front door was smashed in–and there was a lot of weather damage inside. Still, it looked as if the people had literally just gotten up and left. There were family photos hanging on the walls, clothes in the closet, dishes still sitting in the drying rack by the sink.
The house was totally furnished, but totally abandoned at the same time.
It would have felt like we had just broken into someone’s house, except that it was clear it had not been used in a long time. The calendar on the wall said January, 2011.
We speculated about why the house had been left like this, although most of my theories were too mundane for my wife’s liking. It seemed to have belonged a retired couple, the husband of which had been a lawyer, based on all the law books around. Of course, why they came out to a farm, I don’t know, especially one with a huge warehouse of old mattresses, couches and chairs in it. And why didn’t they take things that would have had sentimental value, like this huge family photo over the fireplace? Even if they had both died, you would think that their children would have taken care of things.
It showed a lot of moisture damage. Then there was this long-dead houseplant.
In the end, we didn’t touch anything or take anything, just looked around and left. As much as I would like to know what had happened there, that would take a lot more poking into the piles of documents and other things that had been left and that would have seemed strange. The juxtaposition of the almost completely furnished house and the totally abandonment of the place made it seem both like we were in a ruin and in an occupied house. But who knows? If I ever find out the story, I’ll let you know.
(I also made a video, which I will share tomorrow, if I can get a chance to post it.)