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The summer of 2013 held some interesting moments in exploring, and there are a few here or there that seem to stick out more than others. This is one of those.

While exploring the wonderful and clean streets of Ashtabula, Ohio we wandered upon one of the most quaint little rural churches I have seen in…well…forever because I haven’t seen too many of this sort.

What we had discovered was the abandoned (or what we thought to be) first spiritualist church.

A quick inspection around the outside had revealed that the front door was unlocked, making an easy entrance to quickly take some photos and leave. However, our visit was cut much more unexpectedly short.

Inside, the church’s walls were crumbling from the ground to the ceiling. Any remains of what had covered the underlying wood had been stripped clear, leaving it a skeleton. Among the strange, seemingly random objects scattered around, the small suits of metal armor were probably the coolest, if not weirdest of the things we had found that day.

While we had already crossed the entire room from the front door, which also happened to be the only exit, a sudden dog bark startled us.

“That definitely sounded like it was inside here,” I whispered to my friend, now confused as to where this dog was and why it was inside the church.

We both stood still for a moment and waited to hear the bark again, which is obviously never a good idea, and you should probably make your way for the exit while you still have a chance to slip out unseen. That, however was not how our minds were working at the time, so there we were, very possibly about to be trapped in by police.

After a second dog bark sounded, we could hear a man speaking back to his canine companion. The uneasy feeling just got about ten times more awful…there is definitely a man here, with his dog…what do we do now? Do we jet for the door, or listen again?…

Clearly the option to jet for the door was the best out of the two, but we decided to make a third option because…well I guess there is no super logical explanation for what we did next. We stayed. I took photos, we had a wonderful time…

Walking ever so slightly to not make a peep, we maneuvered in and out of seating, to the front and back of the room, all the while listening to this dog talk to his human, and of course the human talking back. They seemed to be tucked away in the basement, and the man seemed to be ignoring the better judgement of his dog that someone was in the building. I needed to get these photos, right? When would I get another chance? Maybe never.

I finished up with all of the photos I could take within a 5 minute time period, being as quiet as…well, church mice, we made our way for the exit…why did it have to be ALL the way across the room?…

Should we lock the door? Should we shut it? Let’s leave it cracked open…

Upon reaching the bottom of the steps outside, we hear “can I help you?…”

I don’t think I have ever thought up a more conveniently placed lie.

“Oh, I was wandering by taking photos of the town and I noticed the door was open, I peaked my head in to ask if someone was in there and knew it was open, but didn’t hear an answer so I was going to go back to my car.”

“Oh, yeah I’m here.”

“Okay, well have a nice day. By the way can I maybe get some photos of the inside? It looks really cool in there if you don’t mind, it would help my project.”

“No, not today. When it is fixed up you can take some photos.”

“Oh, okay well thank you…”

Thus ends the short adrenaline rush. Oh, and I have photos of the inside…oops.

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