Fascinating AND rant-inspiring:
The website posts photo sets of abandoned (or sometimes just historical and possibly renovated) structures, areas- even towns, all organized by state. The abandoned hospitals and sanitariums are a little creepy but that may be because the photos look like stills from a horror movie set. My imagination tends to run away with me in old, deserted places.
I remember coming across a cluster of old foundations somewhere in the Wharton tract (probably close to Batsto Village in southern New Jersey) on one of our numerous off-road excursions. It may have been the very unique experience of being surrounded by miles of pines (the smell is incredible- very grounding) that skewed my perception- a clean slate that makes me more receptive or something. I got preoccupied by wondering about the people who lived or worked in these structures. What were their lives like? Who were they? And then, I started to wonder, am I really feeling them here? Well, it is Jersey, so it is entirely possible that I was just overloaded in the presence of all of that clean air and oxygen, rather than having some sort of empathic encounter.
In a sense, I guess I do believe in ghosts, just not the white-sheet apparition kind. I like to think that it’s possible for a person to permeate a place (an excellent movie that deals with haunting in this sense is Hitchcock’s Rebecca, in which the mansion itself seems to exude the presence of the deceased spirit). The reverse is definitely true for me. I can be in a place and ten years later be somewhere completely different, but a certain smell will send me back to that place. So if a place can imprint itself on me, can I imprint on a place? I so want to haunt someone- but in a good, unobtrusive, “Dude, you left the oven on!” kind of way.
Oh, and it is amazing what is left behind in some of these buildings, such the abandoned Sun Mircrosystems building in CA.