Author Archives: Kyle

Dead Mall: Exploration of an Abandoned Shopping Center

Note from Kyle: I’ve kept this post up for archive purposes, but I’ve deleted the photos since I revisited Dixie Square mall in higher resolution on my main blog, which can be found here:

Went out to Chicago again this weekend. Took a few photos of some new places.
First destination – An abandoned shopping mall. Once in an area of great promise, now the area has descended into high crime and depression. The mall, used for the chase scene in the Blues Brothers movie, closed in 1978 and since then had been the site of a murder, multiple rapes, and a few other very nasty things until the police station moved nearby.

Fire damage is apparent in the building and the once sturdy concrete upper floor has caved in at multiple sites within.

A sign hangs from the position where it once stood. Vandalism has removed much of what was once in the mall, but sometimes you’ll stumble upon signs of what used to be:

Walls are torn down – only flaps of wallpaper and wood grid remains in some areas:

This room was particularly interesting to me. I’m not sure if I’m right, but I think that the blue tint in my photo is due to the holes in the ceiling becoming a giant pinhole camera type device. The blue and white is actually a projection of the sky above:

An escalator, once part of a bustling JC Penny, now stands silent. Water collecting at the bottom makes for a tricky climb as well as corroding metal steps:

Two escalators cross in a large department store area:

Colorful murals and wallpaper adorn the dreary halls of the old mall:

A sign advertising “beautiful things” still holds true, in a way.

My second destination was, as far as I could tell, an abandoned chemical research factory. I’m told that it was once an oil company, but I can’t for the life of me tell exactly what they did in there because I found all sorts of obscure chemicals not related at all to petroleum.

A piano is in the hallway across from a lab. I have no idea why it’s there:

Some insane machinery fills up one of the rooms in the building:

Various equipment, bottles, and papers create shadows in this room. It smelled of sulfur, so I didn’t stay in there for long:

Notice the “asb 9” in this photo. I’m pretty sure that means that there was asbestos present and needed to be removed. Still, the least of our worries:

As always, you know where to find more and larger.

Gary Indiana Exploration 08-31-08

Ok, as you guys know, I went out to the most abandoned city in America again on Saturday. Said I’d post a few photos. As always, more photos and larger versions available at my flickr stream at
Here they are:

A shutter, busted out from either wear through time or a vandal, sits in the center of the hallway of an abandoned apartment complex connected to one of the most famous theaters of the 1950’s.

Stage lights litter the floor near the exit to the theater. I’m surprised they haven’t been broken, but many explorers that come to this area of town are dedicated enough to leave things where they were found and smart enough to watch their step – you never know when you’ll hit some rotten wood and burst through the floor.

The main hall of a disused auditorium. This is actually the first time that I’ve visited this area. The actual “auditorium” part of the building is completely overgrown with weeds. The stairs of the auditorium were carved out of ornate limestone. It almost seems as if someone had swept them because they were oddly clean considering the condition of the building that they were in.

Obligatory Peeling Paint Shot. I don’t usually like to take these, but the lighting in this room was too good to pass up. I also couldn’t get over how green that paint was.

A gigantic pile of clothes sits among many others in the abandoned warehouse. I ran into another explorer on the same day and he filled me in on the whole situation – apparently some woman had promised to fly all of these articles of clothing over to third world countries and instead ditched it all in abandoned buildings across the city. Sneaky. Equally messy – piles of paper littered the floors in what seemed to be a storage room. Receipts from the 50’s on are present in this room.

Andrew sees the light – the dust from the floor of the old warehouse highlights two beams of light which happen to fall right on my friend. In another room, a door sits – signatures dotting the entire surface. Some of them even date back to the 50’s.

Abandoned Chicago Hospital

I spent my Sunday exploring an abandoned hospital. It was amazing.
The hospital closed due to malpractice – doctors were recommending unnecessary surgery and allowing patients to undergo operations that they didn’t need. Now, the hospital is a mildewy mess – the carpet squished beneath my feet with every step, tiles were curled up from the moisture, and the air was heavy with the smell of must.
We made our way into the building and found ourselves in the dark basement, murky water resting at the base of our feet.
First, our guide (A guy Jordan that I met through flickr, awesome guy, by the way), led us up to the top floor of the nurses residency building to the pool where we hung out for a bit. A skylight let the sun through and almost managed to light up the murky surroundings.

We made our way through the residency building. Every floor was pretty much the same, but I snapped a shot of one of the more furnished rooms.

From there we made our way to the records room – a room literally bursting with rows of files and books. Books about autopsies, books about surgeries, files about people who were admitted and people who had died, microfilm, birth records. Everything.

Various microscope slides were stored in small containers around the room:

From here, we wandered:
We found a room covered in dust from a fire extinguisher:

Corrosive materials:

Until we had some fun. We found a hyperbaric chamber and a ton of scrubs, so we decided to screw around a bit.

More photos, as always, on my flickr:

Europe – Berlin

We’re waiting in a train station, so I figured I’d write a little bit about what’s happened so far in our trip through Europe. In short – it’s been really awesome. We only had one FULL day in Berlin, but we covered a lot of ground thanks to the awesome transportation system. I feel as if I have so little time here, however, because there is so much more to explore past the obvious tourist areas. We obviously wandered around the main centers of both the former East and former West sides. We checked out all of the sights, took tons of pictures, and overall, hit just about any place a tourist in their right mind should. Of course, we weren’t taken in by the obvious tourist traps (I’m not waiting in line and paying $10 to go inside of a building when there are so many more to explore for free).

Currently, we’re waiting for our train to come into the Hauptbahnhoff, or main train station of Berlin. We didn’t have the hotel room rented out for today, so we had to drag our luggage over and figure everything out here. Although there was a baggage check, it was exorbitantly expensive so we passed even though we wanted to see more of Berlin (we figure the more money we have for the later destinations, the more fun we’ll have there.) At 9:26 PM, hopefully we’ll be on our way to Zurich Switzerland in a sleeper car where we’ll spend two days at some really classy hotel.

So far, I’ve learned a few things about Berlin – no amount of schooling will prepare you for having absolutely no idea where you are (although it helps), there are very few public bathrooms in Berlin (and when you find them, they might make you pay ,80 euro to use them), and that even though I have already been lost and in need of a bathroom, being in another country with Elise is one of the coolest things that I’ve ever done in my life. It’s insane to see the cultural differences here and I’m more glad than anything to be able to experience this for the first time with my new wife (woah, that is really weird to say).

Also, Berlin is the dog-friendliest big city that I’ve ever been to. It’s ridiculous. They’re everywhere – on trains, in malls, in restaurants. They’re so well trained too – I’ve seen more dogs off of leash than on leash and they dutifully follow their masters on and off trains and through crowded malls.

Holy Freaking Crap, Batman.

I just saw the Dark Knight and it was seriously one of the best movies I’ve ever witnessed. The acting, action, and effects were friggin superb. It all started with a long wait in line which was not boring at all due to the company that I was with. We were all ushered into the theater, checked with detectors, the whole “no video cameras or cell phones or anything that could possibly capture Dark Knight and distribute it on the internet” drill.

Finally, after an announcement from the manager of the theater, the film we had all been waiting for started. Let me just tell you this. From the start to the finish there was not one point in the movie that I wasn’t completely enthralled about. I don’t know if it was my involvement in the whole process (i.e. seeing the Brach’s parking lot blow up, walking the same streets that much of the action took place on, taking part in the ARG), but I was just floored by the whole performance.

I’ll write more about the actual, but as of now I’d like to get a little bit of rest.

Horrifying photo of me courtesy of meine freund Kevin. No, I can’t dislocate my jaw. I have no idea why I made that face.

On another note, this video is amazing beyond words.

I’m IN – Dark Knight Screening!

After a long day of waiting for the timer at to come to an end, the day culminated with a frantic search across all of the Dark Knight ARG pages to find puzzle pieces which finally unscrambled to “Kickingandscreening”. I put my name into the website and was generated an honest-to-goodness pass to see one of the most anticipated films of this year.

This seriously couldn’t have happened any better than it did. Elise and I are taking a honeymoon to Europe next week on Thursday, which is the night the earliest normal Dark Knight shows are. This ticket is for the 15th! That’s two days before the actual release! How cool is that.

For those interested, this is what the ticket looks like. I’ve blanked out all pertinent info because I don’t want a jerk to steal my pass.


Dark Knight – The Bat Signal in Chicago

2651345019_fe9a69bca6 We had heard about the ARG meetup from Cristin (as always). We met in Chicago a few hours before we were supposed to be there. There was a countdown on the site with two coordinates – one in New York City and one in Chicago. We met at Chicago at the time that it said on the site at the coordinates and there were all sorts of other people mulling about.

Suddenly, a few people with “Gotham City News” sidebags showed up to pass out newspapers, pins, Citizens for Batman T-shirts, and keychains. Following that, four or so pizza boxes were given out (with Pizza, of course), each one had directions in it. Elise and I hung back because we thought they were just passing out more T-shirts which people were going equally wild over. Suddenly, this guy goes bolting past by himself screaming “run south! RUN SOUTH”.

While we were running with him, he was telling us the directions to our next objective – find a lockbox by a citizens for batman sticker. I looked behind me and there were about a hundred or so people in the same shirt sprinting after us. I screamed “run faster”, half-jokingly, and we sprinted to the next objective. We found the lockbox, the guy with the code unlocked this little combination safe, and we sprinted off to our next objective, a park a little further south.

From there, we were directed to find a hidden CB radio. There were two men there, both of which I thought were potential actors but turned out to be homeless people. The droves of people behind us finally caught up and joined the search for the radio. Meanwhile, another team was on their way back to the park from another objective in which they recovered a sheet of paper that held an anagram on it. Turns out, it was a sort of bat and we looked it up on my friend’s phone.

We transmitted the answer to the riddle on the hand radio (which some guy had found somewhere – I wasn’t really around for that part in all of the chaos) and the bat signal was SUPPOSED to suddenly shine on the Sears tower – unfortunately, it was way too light to see it, so it sort of failed until about 10:00 PM when it finally showed up. Overall, it was worth it for the insane scavenger hunt and the awesome amount of swag as well as the sight of the bat-signal on the Sears tower while driving away on the highway, but the conclusion was a little unsatisfying because of the bugs. There were hundreds left waiting for more, and when we finally left the crowd had dwindled to something around 10.

Photo taken from Orthodexy’s Flickr. Hope she doesn’t mind. I would’ve had my own photos, but I stupidly left my camera at home. Next time, I’ll be prepared.

Abandoned Church Exploration pt.2

I loved the place so much that I went back again. Unfortunately, it took me forever to write about it, so I might be a bit fuzzy on the details. More exploration to come! Here are some photos of the abandoned church, as well as explanation.

The rooms in the church show so much decay, it’s incredible. This particular room was part of the “school” section of the building. The ceiling had fallen in and there was a single chair left. Further in, evidence of looters. The ceilings were torn out and stripped of all valuable materials.

I climbed to the top of the church as high as I could go and came upon a pile of cinderblocks against the wall. Luckily, they had been securely placed (or frozen), so they held my weight without collapsing. I lifted myself up through a hole in the roof onto a rusty old catwalk and found myself at the top of the steeple in the main sanctuary area (more photos of that on the post before this one). It was pretty high up and I was nervous, so I got down there pretty quickly.

Some of the rooms had some pretty interesting graffiti in them.

The floors in some of the rooms were completely covered in a layer of ice. Others were covered ankle deep with clothes and toys.

Finally, we ventured down into the basement. We hadn’t thought of bringing flashlights, so we were navigating using the light of our cell phones. It was an ominous place. I found a piano from the 1800’s, but couldn’t get a shot of it due to the poor lighting. I was able to get a quick shot of a hole in the ceiling.

The last place we visited seemed to be where the fire started – an abandoned bookstore in the storefront area  of the church. There were so many neat things there. We found a poster announcing the original release of Stephen King’s “Carrie” as well as a giant poster of “The Fonz” and a Mork and Mindy book. I also found a stack of resumes from the 70’s. I might post them – important information blanked out – in the future.

More exploration to come.

Ruins of an abandoned church – Gary, Indiana

CMC was shut down in the 70’s due to a lack of attendance and suffered a fire in ’97 (thanks to Corby for the correction!). To this day,  stands in the streets of Gary, Indiana as a relic of the past – the vast sanctuary, shadowy hallways, and decaying innards a testament to the ravages of time.

After about three minutes of driving around a bit aimlessly, I saw a spire above a few old looking buildings about a street away from me. I navigated my way over and found myself at the base of one of the biggest and most beautiful abandoned buildings that I’d ever seen. The second I ducked into a side door, I knew that I’d found it. To the left, a stage littered with all sorts of clothing and wreckage. To the right, a small room leading into a huge sanctuary.

I left after snapping a few photos and returned later with Elise. Here are the results:

First, we hit the sanctuary. It was beautiful, cold, and quiet. Snow drifted in through holes in the   roof and settled on the brick floors.

Following that, we made our way to other areas of the building. The theater, long destroyed, showed no sign of snow, but the upstairs auditorium was completely coated with a thin dusting.

On our way down, we saw a makeshift living room set up. I assume someone moved this stuff for a photo or something, but I’d like to think a crazy man lives here in the summer.

Even long abandoned and freezing cold, animals make this beautiful building their home.

I plan on getting back there as soon as possible to take more photos – we had to give up eventually because the sun was quickly fading and our fingers were completely numb from the cold. I plan on exploring more of Gary with my camera soon in the future, as well as the surrounding areas.

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Deja Vu?

Hey. Remember this guy?


Yup. That’s Jack Thompson. Remember the last time he came around? Virginia Tech. Where did he go? Oh yeah, he lost interest in the VT after it was found that the shooter had played little or no video games. Well, guess what folks, in the wake of the NIU shootings, He’s back. To Jack, a new high-profile tragedy involving college kids is another chance to capitalize on other people’s loss.

Here’s what he recently faxed to NIU, typos and all (This lawyer don’t need no spell checkin’)

Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request production of copies of all documents that reveal Steven Kazmierczak’s play of violent video games, including but not limited to the use of his computer to play Counter-Strike, which he apparently, according to the New York Post, used to rehearse for his Valentine’s Day Massacre at NIU.

The killers in the two worst school massacres in history—in Erfurt, Germanay, and at Virginia Tech University—similarly trained on Counter-Strike to rehearse for their killing sprees.

If I am not provided with this information, I shall bring a civil action to secure these documents.

So basically, to this man, a horrible tragedy caused by an obviously deranged guy can be boiled down to a single. freaking. videogame. Not the intricacies of human nature, not obvious mental imbalance, not society, not bad parenting, but a video game. Not to mention a video game that millions of people play daily with no bad side effects at all. Hilarious (and sad) how he literally lost all interest in the VT shootings as soon as it was revealed that the shooter rarely or never played video games.

On another note, Jack obviously knows nothing about gaming. Counter Strike? You mean the 6 year old squad based game where everyone runs at 20 miles per hour and can jump 5 feet in the air? Realistic my ass.

Thus ends a disjointed and badly written rant on one small aspect of the wide reach of this man’s arrogance and idiocy. Way to capitalize on other people’s loss, jerk.