Skillman part 2!
Skillman Travel Blog› entry 34 of 90 › view all entries
April 23rd, 2010 – by: esterrene
I was told to write an email expressing my desire to preserve the village via photography and to include a few images of my personal work. All of which I did immediately. A couple weeks later I receive an email detailing that I have been granted permission to explore certain buildings and the entire exterior premises in exchange for a handful of the photos I take.
I was allowed to bring a couple of people with me. I explained that I may need help with the equipment and in case of an emergency that there would be someone able to get help.. The real reason was that my two friends were just as eager to legally get inside these wonderful archaic buildings destine for demolition.. Yep the township's plan for the buildings is to tear them all down. They had wanted to preserve some of them, but the costs of repair are too much for the low budget of the town and during the economic recession the local citizens don't feel that their taxes should go to historical preservation... One roof repair would have cost $250,000. According to the engineer dept when the village was abandoned in the mid 90's the people just boarded up the windows on the lower floors and left the upper windows open.
To prep for the photo experience I ordered a wide angle lens from www.Borrowlenses.com. I wanted to make the purchase but I still didn't have enough money to buy the lens and I wanted to try it out to see if I actually like it.. I also had to purchase extra batteries, portable lighting, ballheads for the tripods and compact flash cards among other tidbits... i usually don't use alot of equipment as I find it cumbersome and distracting.
My feelings in the week leading up to the photo excursion was a mixture of excitement, giddiness, pride and a dash of nervousness.. I was slightly nervous that I would take horrible pictures. I was definitely pushing myself further with my skills and trying new things with my camera and hoping that it all worked out!! I would hate to come out of this feeling like a poor excuse for an artist who takes photos..
We started the morning off super early!! I wanted to get there before the sunrise so that I can take advantage of the morning light.
A few times I had an encounter with what I think was a fox... it could have been anything actually! it was reddish in color, short legs and longish body.. I would unknowingly scare them with my approaching presence and they would scare me by suddenly jumping out of the bushes and running the heck away!!! Once I was taken so by surprise that I screamed like a little kid!! so thankful that no one besides my two friends were there to witness that!!
We were allowed to enter the Theatre and Maplewood house along with one hospital building.
The theatre reminds me of the general purpose room in middle school. It was a room that served as a gym, theatre and cafeteria! The Skillman Theatre also seem to serve multiple purposes. The interior space was HUGE and open. a stage on one side and a basket ball net above it that could be lowered and raised as needed.
Interestingly while we were upstairs my friend Kara thought she heard someone walking around downstairs... no one was there... while me and her were exploring the stage together we both could hear creaking steps from the balcony.. no one was up there.. hmmm..
The Maplewood house was fantastic!!! It had like 8 or 9 bathrooms, two kitchens, a room with a peeling world map, dark room, beauty parlor room, a library room with fireplace and several other rooms probably meant to be bedrooms.
we stayed until about 5 pm... since the last building was locked on us and I was feeling creatively burnt out we left... but not before exploring the "newer" hospital building, the one that we were not given permission to enter.. we found a hidden way in and began exploring the well lit upper level.. it had a heavier feel inside compared to the other buildings.. Kara was feeling really uncomfortable here and I was fine at first... I found one room that was obviously the children's ward. colorful glitter was all over the floor along with a child's puzzle and some arts and craft projects.
We wait a few minutes and hear nothing more, but Kara and I are already a bit freaked out! No one else was in that building but us!! The sound came from down the hall and it was PITCH BLACK! you would have to have a light source to be down there and no one would come down there in the dark singing and laughing... There were children outside far across the property. but we could NOT hear them when we were outside the building. so there is no way that we could hear them inside a boarded up brick building.
Looking back it I can't say that the voice or presence felt dangerous to me.. but I was not prepared for such an obvious sign of the village's ghostly inhabitants. I felt a few times when alone that I wasn't exactly alone and thought I had heard steps (like those heard in the Theatre) but this was a definite "hey I am here with you" kind of shout out and I wasn't ready for more...
But I am still planning to go back for a third time for retakes!!!! :P:P:P:P hahahaaha
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