Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Memories of rope bridges, the secret forest mansion and everything that follows

A long time ago (or so it seems) I lived in a completely different world. Stories, bike trips and astral travel. The exploring in the huge forest and the adventures in that old large building in the middle of it. We only got to explore it once a year and every year we found something new. I remember how we always found a new way to get to a place we hadn't been. The hidden cellar full of old books, ancient furniture, weird metal numbers and old coins, the attic full of doves and mirrors and the huge glass room with the weird faded photo albums of trees and people. And everywhere the candles and red feathers. And those weird messages on the walls. And that day when we entered the room full of running computers in a normally locked part of the building in the forest and ran away because it was too scary. We never did manage to get back to that underground hospital again, which was hidden under the old building. I remember how we used our phones to light up the rooms because there was no light. I haven't been scared like that before. There was always another unlocked door that we could open, we kept going forward getting deeper and deeper underground. The things we found there were scary. The pictures and tools we found there. All around the dusty air and the darkness. It was like a dream, it didn't seem real, too much like a horror movie. When we tried returning next year, we couldn't find our way in again. Doors that used to be open were now locked. So that year we missed our chance. Of course, had we looked better, we would have found the open window that appeared to be locked, but actually wasn't. There was always a way, but that year we missed the one day where we could get all the way back. It was like a film, but it was all real. That was last year. The day of exploring this year passed last Saturday and we won't be able to enter until next year. I hope I'll make it back next year, there is so much more to discover. And I'll be sure to bring a flashlight.

So much has changed since then.

Sorry for reminiscing. It sounds like some story I just made up or something, I know, but all this actually happened. What happened in that old building in the middle of the forest is just too hard to properly explain.

It was once an old mansion, and later a huge horse riding track was built next to it together with a stadium where people could bet on horses. But all this was many, many years ago. Only one day a year in connection with a fair, the power is returned to the whole building, and that's when it's possible to enter a hidden area of the place. Me and a friend found the place by chance one day and we've been back the same day each year and explored further. Every year we've found something new, it's really really freakish, like we're being shown something more each time. There is an old elevator behind three locked doors. But every year we've been there, different doors have been locked. There was always a way to get past them though. One year a huge window had been destroyed, so we could crawl through that and get past the first door. Here was a stair leading down and ending in a huge door. And it was unlocked. Behind it was a huge room without any windows. In the middle of it was a round table and on it were stacked at least 10 computers with unknown people sitting around them. I'm afraid to say that we both turned around and ran away from all this. It was so weird. What were they doing in there? They had nothing to do with the fair..

The next year we came back, this time with a Flemish friend I knew. The window had been replaced by someone but now the two first doors were open. We tried going down the stairs again but the big door leading to the computer room was locked this time. There was also an elevator. He came back down again and told us it had stopped at a weird area, but that it was completely alright to use the elevator.

I don't know where the idea came from, but one of us pressed the elevator call button and it arrived once again, empty. I'm afraid to say I wasn't the one to use the elevator first to check out one of the floors (I've always had a fear of elevators suddenly crashing). The friend I had explored this building with first time the year before went into the elevator. I asked what the hell he was doing and that he could be stuck and everything, but he just told me to call the police if that was the case. I watched the doors close and thought, shit, this is totally fucked up. A click, and the elevator ascended. The humming soon ended and we stood breathless, waiting. Another click, a hum and silence. What was going on? About a minute went by and then the humming started again. It came back up. As the doors slid open I sort of half expected the elevator to be empty, but he was there. He told us that there were three floors. We were on the second.

We went up one floor and entered a sort of old bar. There were refridgerators here and glass windows looking high over the woods, but there seemed to be no power. And it looked so unused. There were still glasses and furniture but everything was covered with dust. Then a really scary thing happened. because the elevator was moving. And it really shouldn't. Really freaked out we ran to a small alcove and hid behind some chairs. I was totally freaked out and just wanted to get away from there. It seemed like some kind of horror story taking place in real life and I just couldn't believe it. Then the humming stopped and we could hear the elevator opening but nothing happened. A click, and the doors closed again and the elevator went on its way down once again. Relieved we got out from our hiding.

The bottom floor had ended in a small, dark corridor leading in a direct line from the elevator and then turning a corner. He had been to that corner and saw that a set of stairs led down into a sort of semi-darkness where he could make out a corridor with many doors at each side. But he didn't want to go on alone.

I don't know why, but we all three got into the elevator. If the power went now, we would truly be fucked I remember thinking. But we got to the bottom floor alright and went down the corridor trying the doors as we went by. There were a few small windows at the beginning of the hall providing some light, but it was still quite dark. All the doors were locked though and the others said we should probably go back up again. But I sort of had the feeling that this was all a sort of game and wanted to see if this weird luck of there always being one single door open could be true. As we reached the last door in the corridor I said to the others: "If this door is open, then I am officially freaked out and something not normal is going on". I actually half-expected it to be open. As I pulled down the handle and pushed the door opened smoothly.

We couldn't open the door completely. We soon found out why: An old table had been put on the other side of the door, partly blocking it. But we could press ourselves through the narrow opening as we went one by one. I remember going first and standing breathless waiting for the other two to get inside in the now complete darkness inside. I took up my mobile phone and used it to light a short distance around me and so did the other. The room was huge. And it was connected through open doorways to what seemed to be many, many other rooms (probably the ones behind the locked doors). On the floor were all sort of weird things. We found weird files and pictures and notes. There were weird schematics for what looked like really complicated machines. I couldn't help myself from imagining that this was some horrible place and that something would come out of the darkness and get us. But there was complete silence.

We started going further into the place using our phones, being very careful. I can't really explain what we saw there. Weird things. It's still kind of like a dream to me. I remember finding what looked like schematic for a diving chamber. And all those weird rooms. Completely dark and silent. I remember a room with a ladder having been placed in the middle of the room, just standing there. And I remember when we found a old, rusten defibrillator (the machine you use to send shocks through someones heart when they undergo cardiac arrest). Especially that freaked us out. And that's when we decided to leave the place. We never got to go into all the dark rooms, even though they continued for quite a while probably. And everywhere were papers on the ground. It was just too much. I took a weird metal thing I found lying on the ground with me and I still have it today.

We decided we would go back again next year and properly explore the place, but we couldn't find the way in. We found that there had been way later though. I thought that the rule of there always being a way worked, so I went there with the friend one day in the weekend and we started looking. And when I tried pressing on a window, it sort of clicked a bit and could then be opened. We helped each other haul ourselves up and climb through to the corridor on the other side. But the power in the building is only there once a year, so the elevator was dead..

There is also an old mansion that we've explored which lies right next to the old stadium building. In it we found an attic with mirrors and doves both dead and living everywhere. And there was a glass room in there as well full of weird pictures of trees and candles and red feathers everywhere on the ground. And weird writing on the walls which said sort of prophesising things like "the power is inside you" and "this is the house where dreams come true". And just last year we found a cellar entrance hidden in the side of the house. The entrance is hidden behind some trees, and you can't get into the cellar through the house, you need to go from outside. Down there was complete darkness, but this time I had a flashlight. What we found there I still don't quite understand. We found lots of burnt candles and a stack of old rusten numbers spread out on the ground. There didn't seem to be any real pattern and it was quite freakish. As we went further we found old books spread out everywhere on the ground as well as pieces of broken furniture. And weirdest of all were the pictures. Albums of old and young people with distorted faces and warped colours. And they all seemed to have something old, brown and sticky on them. And it looked a whole lot like blood, but I don't want to think about it. I also found what looked like a pill case, but it was full of old coins and I brought that home with me too and I have that as well.

One day I will return to that place again, perhaps this winter if I can. It's the most different and surreal place I've ever found in my life and it has some of the weirdest and probably most frightening secrets. I wonder what happened to the place. Why is all the furniture still there. Who put all the candles there and who wrote the things on the walls? And what the hell are those computers for, and where do you get power one day of the year in the middle of a huge forest? So many things to find out and so little time =).

This post has been too long. Once I started writing all the memories of that place just came back and I just had to write down what I was seeing in my mind, reliving it. I'm going to end this post on a whole other note. Something I found on the internet a long time ago and that still seems surprising to me. Can you read and understand it too?

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid, too.

Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe tuo fo 100 anc.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

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