Information About Urban Exploration

During my teens and early twenties, I was an avid participant in a hobby that is now known as Urban Exploration. Back then it was just plain old trespassing. My friends and I would explore various abandoned and supposedly haunted locations. That none of us ever got hurt is a miracle.

Sprinkled throughout this website are various links to other Urban Exploration groups and images from their expeditions. Sites related to various "Fear" episodes will be located on the web page for that site; others are listed here. There is a large interest in this hobby, and with shows such as Fear, Freaklylinks, and others, there will be those who wish to take this hobby up on their own.

Before you begin, I strongly suggest you visit the
St. Agnes Hospital page for my warnings on the very real dangers that face anyone interested in Urban Exploration. I'd suggest you limit your explorations to that of a desktop traveler, and visit sites vicariously though other urban exploration web pages. There are also many abandoned places that you can officially visit with guided tours, and links to those are scattered throughout this website as well.

Here are my basic ghost hunting and urban exploration rules. Any tour group you associate with should follow these rules... if they don't, keep looking!

Rule 1: Minimum of four people. Six is better. If you don't have at least three other people with you - don't even think about it. Chances are high someone will get hurt, and if you have only one person, that means one leaves while the other waits… alone. Not a good idea. With three people, one will be put in the difficult position of having to choose between staying with the injured party, or helping the other one find their way out. Four people minimum - I can't stress it enough.

Rule 2: Up to date tetanus shot. You're going to stumble or fall in this place. When you scrape up against a rust covered nail, pipe or other metal structure, you're exposing yourself to all sorts of nasties. Be sure your tetanus shots are up to date before heading out.

Rule 3: No nighttime expeditions. It's hard enough to see in some of these places, and going at night isn't brave - it's just plain stupid. Leave well before the sun goes down. You can't see that missing stair in the dark.

Rule 4: Assign a lookout. This person is not included in the group from Rule 1 - one additional person has to be a lookout for you for several reasons. First and most important, you'll need someone who knows where you were if you don't come back. Four people stomping around an abandoned hotel is dangerous. Four people stomping around an abandoned hotel without someone knowing their whereabouts are idiots. Your lookout person also needs to be in radio or cell phone contact with you in case of dangerous looking characters. While my friends and I looked rather dangerous ourselves during the punk heyday, abandoned buildings are often stomping grounds for drug dealers, drug users, and other not-so-nice folks.

Rule 5: No souvenirs - I mean it! Anything too cool to pass up, take a picture of it, but leave it where it was. It's your karma if you take it. Consider yourself warned.

Rule 6: Established, well known group. Know your tour guides! There's lots of sick people out there. Here in New York, two young women were assaulted and stabbed by someone who offered to take them out ghost hunting on Halloween. A well organized and publicly known group is a good idea. Some cool dude you met up with online isn't.

Suggested Tools and Equipment : (Click on picture for description)

Flashlights: Every member needs to have one large torch and one small backup. Headband lights are good for keeping your hands free, although the light cast is not great.
Gloves: Nothing heavy duty, but there are just some things you don't want to touch! The hobnob dots help with gripping.

Boots: "What was that I just stepped in?" Disgusting as it is, underfoot will not only be years of dust and dirt, but the ever present carpeting of dead animals, insects, and birds, not to mention the droppings of those previously mentioned. You won't want to wear those expensive Nike's here. Get some plain old work boots
2-way radios for keeping in touch with your safety person. These can run a little expensive. The cheapest I found online were Motorolas at $180, but you probably can find them cheaper offline.

Cameras: I don't think the expense of a digital camera is necessary. As far as posting photos of your explorations, you can get your film developed at CVS on disk or CD. I've included a cheap camera here. They don't have any bells and whistles and you won't be able to adjust your picture, but they will record your trip adequately.

Night Vision Equipment does not come cheap!! I've seen the range from $150 all the way up to $1,500. The father of one of my friends was a professional photographer, so we got ours hand-me-down cheap. The cheapest I've found online is the Night Owl Cyclops and the Carson. If money is no object you can go with the Night Owl Goggles.

PS These are expensive! If you're thinking of saving some money and buying those Wild Planet "Night Vision" goggles that have been popping up in stores - as we say in New York -- forget about it!. They are TOYS, not real night vision equipment! It's just a plastic visor and two flashlights

Backpack: Nothing special, you won't be camping out there! Just something to hold some equipment and keep your hands free. Amazon's backpack goes for just $10.00. Remember to bring along water and snacks, you will get hungry and thirsty. Other items to include in your backpack are extra batteries and film in case you run out
Chalk: Plain old sidewalk chalk works best. If you're exploring underground basements and sub-basements, the tunnels can be confusing at best. Sidewalk chalk is a non-permanent way of marking your way through the labyrinth. Unless of course…. following you is someone… or something… erasing your trail behind you!! Crayola makes a good quality sidewalk chalk

First Aid Kit: You don't need to be lugging around some 100-bit Red Cross kit... these mini kits are available in most drug stores and are light enough not to add too much bulk to your load.
You can purchase these items at For larger orders, use the following coupon codes for discounts. Coupon codes are good at time of posting. Please verify that codes are still active before making your final order.

$20 off $200 - Tools and hardware. Code: AMZNCATREQ26 exp.2-28

With all this said and done, I still feel the need to add one last disclaimer At the risk of sounding like a "do as I say, not as I do" old foggie, it's a different world from when I was 21 years old. Things are a lot more dangerous now, and the risks you face embarking on this are real. I know with the popularity of shows like Fear there are going to be those who want to try this for themselves, but I still strongly suggest you contact a local paranormal research group, or any of the official tours of abandoned sites offered by organizations such as
Historic Asylums of America.

In short, it's a messed up world out there. Use common sense.

Urban Exploration Links - Abandoned Places

Newest additions indicated with a

Abandoned Archive: Incredible pictures, the Halcyon Hall photos are not to be believed.

Amusement Park Nostalgia - Gone but not forgotten amusement parks of Pennsylvania.

Atison - a ghost town of the New Jersey Pines Barrens

Cooper County - Remains of an Era - Matt Schneider's "Cooper County: Remains of an Era" exhibit. Photos of abandoned places in Missouri

Defunct Parks - Page devoted to abandoned amusement parks. You must be taller than this line to enter ---------------

Desolation: Photos of Abandoned Buildings. Haunting and evocative.

Fabulous Ruins of Detroit - Fabulous just doesn't describe it.

Forgotten Ohio - Fantastic site with many pictures, original content, and ghost explorations.

Franklin County Poorhouse - Fascinating photos and history of this poorhouse in New York.

House - Amazingly scary ghost photos taken in an abandoned house.

Illicit Ohio - The home page of this Urban Exploration group

Mike's Ontario Ghost Towns and Abandoned Buildings - Yet another incredible site that you'll need at least an hour to get through!! Tons and tons of abandoned buildings, ghost towns, sites plus a movie archive!

Modern Ruins - Over 30 of Phillip Buehler's incredible photo essays on modern ruins.

Modern Ruins Project - These photos are all for sale. Some are strangely depressing.

Post-Industrial Photographs - Tim Ferestein presents four stunning photographic essays of abandoned places.

Radio Silence - 'Fear & Fascination - A Trip Into the Overlooked'. Grateful thanks to such great tour guides!!

Raccoon Eyes - The Home of Urban Exploration in the Southeast

Ruins of The Hudson Valley - Take a virtual trip up the Hudson River to some incredible sites.

Underground Paris - Take a virtual tour through the City of the Dead

Weird NJ - Your guide to New Jersey's local legends and best kept secrets. Many unusual and spooky abandoned places here.

WeirdTravels - You must visit this site!! Loadso' creepy pictures for armchair urban explorers. These fearless folks visit sites I wouldn't visit for anything!

Xydexx's Exploring and Modern Ruins Page - The page opens with "This page is dedicated to all the folks who've seen abandoned buildings by the roadside and thought, "I wonder who used to live there?" That's me!!

Zone-Tour : Database of Urban Exploration - Zone-Tour is a non-profit association to promote industrial archaeology and architecture, and to reveal a particular point of view about the city. Includes news, sites, information, movies and much more.

New abandoned places updated every Sunday -- check back often!

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