House of the Syrup Folk

There is always that one place that stands out from the rest – and on a breezy August morning, I stood in front of what has to be the most unnerving house I have ever explored, and it was the question of why that really bothered me the most…

Skulking off a quiet backroad underneath the canopy of dense forests, on a slope with at least a 9 percent grade – this fading weathered house sits in the forest like an infected sore – a strange world where nature slowly undoes the deeds of man, with skin so thick, it’s empty eyes were like knives, not worried about who was receiving them.

The awkwardness started from the moment I got out of the car, and got a good look at the place over a forest of thorns and vines that had been tangled in the wind – a solitary trail sleuthed its way through the growth towards the house. Something had been through here recently. Staring up at it’s faded and splintery facade that almost matched the wilderness around it, there was something unsettling about the place. You could actually feel it’s age, and you could smell the smells – that typical old house perfume and rot that hung around the property like musk. Through the broken windows, the interior was pitch black, with secrets smothered in dirt. Though my fears weren’t routed in anything empirical, my skin was trembling.

Deciding to get a better look at the place, I proceeded to stumble through the grass. I was already regretting it. The thorns immediately sliced my arms and legs to ribbons, and I began to stumble over things that were previously hidden. Rusted trailers, oil barrels, broken glass and a knotted web of disused sap lines lay along the weedy floor, all covered in condensation which coated my boots, and made me slip more than once. Just getting over towards the place was turning into an adventure. Bees swarmed from flower to flower, and unseen creatures slithered in the grass, making the stalks snap and rustle.

Standing at the foot of it’s darkness, I noticed some things that immediately made me stop my pursuit. There was a new looking satellite dish on the side of the building, and an even newer looking utility box. But, there was no electrical hookup to the house. Some of the wires sat exposed, pulled out of the walls, and chewed on. Could someone actually live here? There were giant holes in the wall, and half the windows had long been shattered, but from my experience, that isn’t always evidence…

Upon closer investigation, I noticed an odd sight. Someone had actually taken the time to pick up the large fragments of broken window glass, and set them back into the wooden window frames. Other windows were barricaded from the inside, with chairs pushed up against them holding curtains in place. Someone made vague attempts to keep people out it seemed, but just around the corner, there was a door that was wide open, and a broken window would easily allow access. What was going on here? Peering inside a window, the interior of the house was cast in shadow, further and further, until there was nothing but strange land. A cold dampness settled on my face, and I could taste the musk as it settled in the air on my tongue.

I couldn’t explain it, I was incredibly uncomfortable at this point. I felt like something was watching me, like something was lurking just beyond the lens of my camera, offering no explanation. Though the inside of the house was smoldering in an entombed silence, there were strange noises coming from the places out of reach, like something was moving, something unknown saying, if I stay here, trouble will find me. To add to my unnerved state, tree branches around the house started to snap, but no one was around.

Eventually, I trekked back towards the road and rejoined my friend, who had opted not to go any closer to the place. I guess I couldn’t really blame him at this point. “I heard weird noises coming inside – I decided to leave” I said when I saw his questionable face. “Oh, I thought I heard something as well” he said. “I thought it was the syrup folk or something coming by” I stopped. “syrup folk?” He then pointed to the labyrinth of active sky blue sap lines that criss-crossed around the property. Though I now understood what he meant, there was something cryptic, almost ominous (and probably uniquely Vermont) about the term “syrup folk” that really stuck with me, hence the name for this blog post.

Though my trip here was discomforting, it’s these sort of experiences that often can be regarded as some of our finest ones – allowing you to discover what’s deep between your own skin and bones. And at the very least, they make for the best stories.

As we were about to leave, just to confirm my suspicions that something was inside, a raccoon popped it’s head out of the third story window, through a broken section of shutter, stared at us for a few seconds, than dipped back in to the deep cold darkness inside.DSC_0702_pe_pe_pe

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This conjured up a few "Breaking Bad" jokes.

This conjured up a few “Breaking Bad” jokes.

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10 Comments on “House of the Syrup Folk

  1. It is so sad seeing the remnants of a what was obviously a well loved and cared for home – beautiful wallpaper, lace curtains, elaborate carpets. What a lucky raccoon, to be able to find refuge in this place!

  2. This is genuinely weird — very strange, and you have recreated the feeling for me — how you felt. It is true you have done some stuff that would seem to be more creepy in subject — but this one — the mix of stuff just waiting for someone to come in from the next room — the turquoise chair, the laundry basket, still bright, the Lego — and the sad, sordid, and abandonedness right at hand. Let’s play basketball, it looks ready, but the bike has a tree growing through it. Was this door closed just last week, or last century? Very Ray Bradbury…

  3. Now you I would fund! I won’t do it on the internet though. Let me know if I can just send you a check? If this info was out when I was younger I would have tried to check ALL these places out too. Fascinated by O. V. ! I wondered what type of flashlight might be the best cause I plan on going into some abandoned places myself and sometimes they are boarded up so no light source. Guess I’d need tools too! Lol! Thankfully one was restored in Cornwall, that is a fav. Was going to go into the Hyde but have to settle for the out buildings now as I think the front part finally collapsed. Walked the grounds last fall expecting someone to come out and ask us to leave but never saw a soul? We walked the whole lot wishing we were more prepared cause we wanted to go inside then but decided we should wait.

    • Thank you Sue! Do you have a way to contact you, so I can give you my mailing address? I just use a mag light,it’s worked for me pretty well! Often, smaller ones are nicer because they’re easier to carry around – and if you’re in a hurry, you don’t want to be weighed down by stuff. Hyde’s gotten very dangerous I’ve heard. I haven’t been back this year – but heard from a few others. The owner lives on the property, and she’s very adamant against trespassers, so be careful! I used to walk around without a care, because I never had a run-in with her, until 6 years later! Haha

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