urbex_gypsy urbex_gypsy

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Becky Baugh 🐝  I explore abandoned/historic places across the US and Europe. All photos are mine. 🛇 Please do not DM me asking for coordinates/shoutouts/follows.❌

The Chamber of Horrors.
The video ends at the exact spot these humans were dumped in the photo.

"How does one mourn for six million people who died? How many candles does one light? How many prayers does one recite? Do we know how to remember the victims, their solitude, their helplessness? They left us without a trace, and we are their trace." - Elie Wiesel
Buchenwald was one of the first concentration camps established by the Nazi regime. Constructed in 1937, it was a complement to camps north (Sachsenhausen) and south (Dachau), and was built to hold slave laborers, who worked in local munitions factories 24 hours a day, in 12-hour shifts. Although not technically a death camp, in that it had no gas chambers, nevertheless hundreds of prisoners died monthly, from malnutrition, beatings, disease, and executions.

The camp boasted a sophisticated-sounding facility on its grounds called the Division for Typhus and Virus Research of the Hygiene Institute of the Waffen SS. In truth, it was a chamber of horrors where medical experiments of the cruelest kind were carried out on prisoners against their will. Victims were often intentionally infused with various infections to test out vaccines. Euthanasia was also performed regularly on Jews, Gypsies, and mentally ill prisoners.

Among the cruelest of Buchenwald’s overseers was the infamous Ilsa Koch, wife of SS commandant Karl Koch and known as the “Witch of Buchenwald.” Among her fetishistic tendencies was her penchant for lampshades, gloves, and other items made from the tattooed skin of dead inmates. She also had a reputation for forcing prisoners to participate in orgies. She was ultimately sentenced to life in prison for her sadism, but she hanged herself after 16 years behind bars.

Buchenwald was liberated by the Allies on April 11, 1945, one day before the death of President Franklin Roosevelt. It was later used by the Soviet Union as a concentration camp for the enemies of East Germany.

About two dozen abandoned coffins. I couldn't figure out if they were for children or just a smaller breed of European people, because my huge American self tried getting into one with little success. I couldn't find any information as to how these coffins ended up here, so if you have any information about them, feel free to share in the comments.

I got caught.
After four years of actively pursing this hobby in abandoned photography, for the first time ever I was caught inside an abandoned home by its infuriated owner.
This was the house that nearly landed us in a Belgian prison. Oh, what a gem this butcher's home was. Every room in this home was as if it were frozen in time, beds made, rosary beads hung, photos, book collections, even an old film projector and reels to go with it. The basement was fully stocked with at least a hundred bottles of unopened wines, and there were jars of pickled vegetables scattered and stored in various rooms. I was absolutely swooning finding all this.
It was all too good to be true, because when I went to shoot on my Sony, it was dead. I got less than a dozen photos on my cell phone before the owner showed up.
He made it clear the police would be coming for us, but despite his anger, I believe he was just as much shocked as he was curious as to why two American females were inside his house.
He demanded we show our passports, and when we told them we didn't have them, he asked why we were there. We reassured him we were only there to take photos and we just thought the house was beautiful.
Slowly, he calmed. Because of his younger friend who was there convincing him not to call the police, he began talking to us. The man explained when his mother died, his siblings couldn't agree on anything so they are just wanting to demolish the house. He couldn't understand why people would travel to see this place.
Finally, he walked us out and explained that he is usually armed and that he is a "dangerous man". After about ten minutes, he reluctantly shook our hands, took my partners name and email address, then let us go on our way.

Throwback to a now collapsed prairie boarding house. This location was midpoint between two larger towns in North Dakota. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of guests had once stopped here for the night to rest before continuing their harsh journey by horse and carriage.
I can't help but imagine what the Native Americans first thought when this structure showed up on these desolate grounds. I can envision a hostile spaceship landing in my neighborhood and presume the Native Americans probably feeling quite similar.

Long before this abbey was constructed, the Celts had called this forest location home between 1200 and 500 BC and had built a fortress on these same grounds.
A castle was built here in the 9th century, but in 1024 it was decided that the family castle be converted into a Benedictine Monastery.
In 1036, Princess Guinheld of Denmark was sent by King Canute (from the tale of "King Canute and the Waves"), to marry the Emperor's son. Only two years later, the pregnant princess followed her husband to Italy, where she gave birth then contracted a fatal illness. Her body was brought back to Germany so she could be buried in the center of the abbey, where her grave marker still rests today.
It was here at this monastery in 1038 that the decision was made regarding the dates of Advent. It was established right here within the walls of Limburg that the dates of the Advent season would be from November 27th to December the 3rd, which remain the Advent dates to this day.
Limburg was actively used until the mid 1600s, when the French destroyed most of the area during wars. Today, Kloster Limburg is still an impressive ruin sitting above Bad Dürkheim, reminding us of the rich history within Germany's Palatinate Forest.

"In an ossuary full of basics, be a golden skull." Why a golden skull among the 20,000 souls resting here? It's not that interesting.
The church once allowed a movie set to film at this location, and despite the film members promises to not disturb the ossuary, someone working on the set painted it gold. So gold the skull remained. #rude

All your possessions will not be your legacy. One day, your photos, your car, your letters, your clothes, your furniture, your every aspect of physical life will be robbed of all monetary and sentimental value. Everything that you think represents your life will inevitably be lost, discarded, or simply taken back and gently destroyed over time by mother nature herself.
Looking through my photos of all the abandoned places I've photographed brings me comfort in a strange way. This week many of my own personal possessions have been destroyed - original photos, all my mail throughout my tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, souvenirs from all my travels, military uniforms and letters from my deceased father are among some of the many items. Was I devastated at first? Without a doubt. Do those possessions define who I am? No.
I thought these items defined my character, but I was forced to realized as wonderful as it would have been to line every inch of my future nursing home bedroom walls with the memories these items brought, these items are just things. Despite them being destroyed, these physical reminders don't define who I am, and unless I get Alzheimers, my memories of the significance these possessions brought me are not going anywhere.
Anywho, this photo seemed like a good "such is life" representation. I don't know much about the family that once occupied these walls, but their possessions that have yet to be taken back by nature showed they probably had a long, joyful life. I think that in the end, that's all that truly matters.

"You will never travel the world and see Paris if you keep making excuses for why you can’t go. Just buy the plane ticket, pack a bag and go. Let the world shape you and open your eyes. Let it challenge you and frustrate the hell out of you. Struggle with language barriers and get lost. Surrender the control you posses in every day life and just go."

By the 17th century, so many people had lived and died in Paris that its cemeteries were overpopulated, overflowing and becoming a major inner city problem. The solution the Parisians found was simple; move the dead into the same underground quarries Paris was constructed from centuries before.
In 1763, Louis XV banned all burials within the city, but with heavy dispute with the church, no cemeteries were moved until 1780. It took twelve years to empty all the city cemeteries and relocate all six million bodies twenty meters below Paris. By the time relocation had begun, the smell of decomposing flesh and spreading of disease was too much for citizens to bare. The largest cemetery, Les Innocents, had rotting corpses spilling out of the ground, meanwhile grounds had collapsed unearthing corpses throughout Paris. Movement was imperative.
This weekend I made a trip to revisit Paris specifically for the catacombs. With no pre-booked tickets in hand, I waited nearly 3 hours in line to see the Empire of the Dead. Despite the wait, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The catacombs of Paris have long been on the top of my bucket list, and on top of crossing this huge event off my life goals, I was unexpectedly blessed beyond belief to see a section that's closed off to the public (unique photo with three skulls, the center one "eating" the other). What a humbling experience being an undead amongst 6 million Parisians.
PS - zoom in for shotgun holes and teeth on some skulls.

Abandoned military bases are some of the most fascinating places in my eyes. This German site we snuck into was an American base that once housed nuclear warheads. The warheads were held in the center of the site, in two massive munition storage bunkers. The security that surrounded these two bunkers once consisted of interconnecting (now flooded) tunnels, two barbed wire fences, a camera system, towers, and sensor alarms along the perimeters. There were also military working dogs living on site in a kennel that housed six dogs. Last but not least, this was a post that was manned by military 24/7, from the day that it was opened to the day the assets were moved out.
When I look up at this watch tower, I can't help but picture a crew of young, American soldiers up there, bored out of their minds and just causing shenanigans.

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