An Early Expedition With Virgil
On this expedition I was heading North through Alabama with an abandoned lead to a disclosed location just North of Birmingham. I had searched day and night for this house and got word of the road it was on.
I made my way to the hills of Alabama on an early rainy morning around 7:30am. Atop the hill I pulled over to the side of the road and gazed up to see a brick structure hiding behind the pine trees and a foggy front yard.
The gravel driveway looked as if it hasn’t been maintained for quite sometime. Covered in brush and branches, I wasn’t planning to drive my 4 door sedan with a whopping 150hp up the steep gravel driveway. So, I decided to leave my car with a piece of paper in the front window that read “DO NOT TOW”.
I ventured up the hill through the front yard while stepping through puddles of wet grass. The closer I got the harder my heart pounded, entering the unknown of ‘abandonment’. I really had no clue what to expect…
I could see trash piled along side the drive-way and as my eyes peered ahead I could see a house, that seemed like a mansion. Big white pillars, and freshly painted double entry doors gave the home a sense of occupation.
I then saw a red truck that sat in the drive way, a light on outside and I realized… this house is not abandoned. Instead of sneaking around the property I decided to knock on the front door… After knocking a few times and waiting ten minutes I could not just walk away and leave after driving 45 minutes to get here. My persistence paid off and a man came to the front door on the other side of the house. I heard a disgruntled ‘hello’ but was not sure where it came from.
I replied ‘hello’ while looking around at the windows, and saw a man who I will refer to as Virgil behind a bush that led to the front door. I walked towards the man, introduced myself and explained my business here.
‘I heard there was an abandoned house here’ – looking over at the smaller building with a caved in roof.
‘there are no abandoned buildings here’
‘I moved out of that house and built this in the 90s’
‘That house is from the 70s’
I replied with:
‘Well that’s a nice mustang’ you’ve got there’…
Which started a chain reaction of him telling me how the car has over 300k miles and how his friend down the road had painted it for him. This sparked a story of his family who lives across the street and how he was once helping out a younger man with a place to live. Who eventually extorted 500,000 dollars from him over a period of time and later stole his car.
I could see his anxiety while talking about this event in his life, and what eventually led to a discussion about his neighbors. I stood there in awe just absorbing his life story. Virgil eventually let me photograph his house but gave me strict guidelines on where I could go, and not go.
After an hour of conversation I made my way towards the smaller house with what looked like a 68 Mustang sitting in the car port. The car was covered in a vibrant green moss, and the tires were completely deflated. I wandered around the car port that revealed many items left behind, much of what looked like random electronics and voltage meters.
Many of these oddities looked like they had been sitting for at least a decade. I had referenced previous photos from Naaman Fletcher and it appeared everything has been kept in place compared to a year ago when he had visited.
I finally made way inside the house after finding my way through the front door. The first thing I noticed is how dark it was inside, the musty smell of black mold, and the blankets of cobwebs that seemed to cover every crevice of the living room.
I ducked and dodged, while swaying my tripod like a mad man through the web covered hallway and entered into the kitchen.
A putrid smell led me with curiosity to open the fridge door. I soon realized this is not my typical abandoned exploration. This time everything really was left behind…
After exploring the rest of the home, my memory of this house has yet to fade. I distinctly remember a fascination with every detail of the home. Finding personal items, prescriptions and clothes left behind, I couldn’t help but wonder the story behind it all. This is Virgil’s House of Technology and a well deserved name at that.
Props: Naaman Fletcher