There is an abandoned mansion near my village.
Now I know, abandoned buildings aren’t anything special, but here is something strange about this one. You see, it’s not an old building, but a brand new one.
The construction started almost a decade ago and lasted for more than nine years. Everyone was sure that some rich, old guy would move in, but that never happened. It seemed as if the place was abandoned as soon as it was finished.
I was still a kid when I heard the news that someone had bought a giant plot of land near our village and soon construction of the mansion started.
My friend and I went to the construction site almost daily. It was fascinating. We loved to watch all the huge cranes, trucks and bulldozers.
The construction workers and the foreman weren’t too happy about us sneaking around. Whenever they noticed us, they’d yell at us and told us to scram.
It wasn’t long before a wall was built around the property to keep other unwanted visitors and us out. Sure, we tried to get in countless times, to the dismay of our parents, but we never succeeded. In the end we gave up.
As the years passed the construction continued slowly and quietly. No one cared about it anymore and it had become another part of life.
People only started to talk about the place again when the construction was finished. Everyone wanted to see who the person was that had spent all those years constructing his dream home.
No one ever came. The construction workers left, the heavy machinery vanished, and that was it. No one was around anymore. No cars ever arrived and none left.
For the longest time, I tried to convince myself that the owner was most likely an introvert. Someone who’d isolated himself from society and had snuck into his new home unnoticed. Why were there never any lights and why was no one ever seen at the mansion?
For the past week, I spent hours watching the place. I grew a bit obsessed with the whole thing. Guess it says a lot about me, doesn’t it? It was summer break and here I was watching some strange, possibly abandoned mansion.
A couple of days ago I was fed up. I could watch all I wanted, but I’d never find out anything that way. I was on my way to the mansion an hour later.
The entry gate was locked as I’d expected. What was strange though was that there was no bell or speaker system, nothing at all. I couldn’t even find a nameplate.
For a couple of minutes, I walked alongside the wall until I was a bit out of view. I was surprised at how easy it was to climb over the wall.
The moment I landed inside I expected a blaring alarm to start or a pack of watchdogs to come running my way. The only thing I saw instead was how overgrown the place was.
Bushes, small trees, and other plants grew everywhere and had transformed the lawn into thick underbrush. Even the path that led from the entry gate to the mansion was overgrown and barely visible.
As I got closer to the building I saw that the plaster was flaking here and there already. The whole building was plagued by signs of aging. It was a new building, why was it already in a state like this?
The windows held another surprise for me. They were bare of drapes or curtains and when I looked inside, I saw… nothing. There was no furniture, no lamps and not even wallpaper. All I saw were bare walls.
While I walked alongside the mansion a thought popped up in my head. What did it look like inside? Was there even anything at all?
I don’t know what I was expecting when I tried the front door. Definitely not, that it would open up.
What I stepped into was a giant empty hall. There was nothing inside. There were no stairs, no rooms, or even walls dividing up the building.
As I made my way from one end of the building to the other, things stayed the same. There were the foundation walls, there was a roof, but nothing else. I didn’t get what this was. It took them seven years to build… this? It was completely empty!
Well, almost completely, I thought, when I found a massive steel door. It was unlocked as well, but so massive that it took me multiple tries before I’d pulled it open.
I was sitting on the floor, panting and looked at the dark stairway behind it. Guess I found the entrance to the basement.
I sat there for a long minute, debating if I should continue my exploration down there or if I should leave. That stairway and the darkness it led to made me not just a bit anxious. I had no idea what I’d find down there. But, wasn’t this exactly why I’d come here? By now I knew that there was definitely something wrong with the place. The only question was, what.
And so curiosity won over fear.
I pulled out my phone and with its dim light I started my descent.
The stairway led into a vast room or better a hall. As I moved my phone around I noticed that his area was much more refined. Workbenches lined what I assumed to be metal walls.
For a moment I scanned the area in front of me anxiously, but I didn’t see anyone.
As I walked through the underground hall I saw that most of the workbenches were empty. On some I noticed empty plastic containers or glass jars, but not a hint of their former content remained. I went to have a closer look and saw how dirty the walls were. When I reached out to touch them, they felt greasy, almost sticky.
The air down here was heavy with something I couldn’t define. Images of hospitals popped up in my mind and I was reminded of the smell of alcohol and chemicals.
This whole basement area looked as if it had been carefully planned and constructed. There was definitely structure here.
I found many different rooms, both small and big, hallways connecting them all, and sets of stairs that led to even lower levels. All of it was empty. Only the workbenches and a few empty boxes and containers remained.
What the hell was this place? Had they started construction down here and ran out of money? If so, why?
As I continued exploring, I found more and more details. There was a giant old generator at one end of the complex and I noticed that numerous air ducts lined the walls.
The second level of the basement was the same. More empty rooms, more workbenches, more air ducts and more stairs. There was something about this place. It felt wrong, but I didn’t know why.
That was until I found the oven.
It was an absolute monstrosity, the size of an entire room.
My first thought was that it must have been some sort of furnace or that it was used to heat the place. The thing was much too simple though and much too crude. It was constructed of bricks and half a dozen steel hatches lined its front. It was a stark contrast to the rest of this basement complex with its fancy work benches and metal walls.
Ever since I’d entered the room, the thing had reminded me of something and finally, I realized what it was: a cremation oven.
My skin started to crawl as I looked at the hatches.
I don’t know why I did it, but I went forward and opened one of these hatches. I guess I hoped to find answers. I wanted to figure out what this place was and what the people who’d constructed it did down here. Instead, it only brought up more questions.
Behind the hatches was nothing but ash and coal. I reached out with my hand, but then I noticed a fire poker nearby.
It didn’t take long for me to find something. Between the ash and coal there was something else, bone. I stared at it with morbid fascination and then I kept digging.
After a while, I’d find not one but a whole heap of bones. At one point I uncovered a skull and for a moment I stared at its empty eye sockets. When I looked away I saw the inside of the hatch for the first time.
Its surface was covered in innumerable scratches.
The oven, the bones, these scratches, dear god what was this place?
I felt sick and stumbled backward as I was pulled back to reality. I stood there, unable to think and a ‘holy shit’ escaped my mouth.
And then I heard it. As if to answer my words a rattling started inside the oven, behind one of the hatches. Suddenly the room was filled with moans and screams. Then unopened hatches began shaking violently as if someone was banging against them from inside.
I screamed and ran from the room. I was at the stairs only a few seconds later. As I rushed to the upper floor, I could still hear the weeping and wailing from below.
Soon after I’d made it back to the mansion and outside.
I called the cops then and there and told them what I’d found.
I learned later that the place must have been some sort of underground laboratory. What exactly they made down there is still unknown. The authorities believe it was drugs or other illegal contraband.
The mansion itself was almost entirely constructed from cheap drywall. That’s why the authorities believe that its construction was nothing but a facade to cover up what was really going on.
Whoever ran this whole thing pretended to build a mansion for almost a decade, while he ran his real operations underground.
They didn’t say much about the bones they found. They were of varying age, but most of them seem to be no older than a year. Which was precisely when construction of the mansion was finished.
When I asked them about the screams, they told me there was no way that they could have been real. There’d been no one down there and in the oven there was nothing but ash, coal, and bone.