Surrounded by a barricade of poison ivy, sat nearly creek side deep within the forest, sits the remains of Dr. Faymore’s castle. Like a forgotten medieval mystery, the castle towers loom from the overgrowth of forest that has come to surround the structure today. Dr. Faymore had ordered the building of this structure to begin in the 1970s, which was coming along quite smoothly, until Faymore was arrested on drug charges in 1982.
Leonard Faymore was a licensed doctor, who had graduated the College of Osteophathic Medicine in the 1960s, taking a job within a clinic in 1968; finally purchasing the facility in the 1970s. By 1980, Faymore had hundreds of addicts flocking to his clinic, from 9 different states and 99 cities in Ohio. The man was a well-known drug lord, and people from all over knew exactly where to go to obtain their prescription medications, including the DEA. Due to the constantly high visitation to his clinic, the DEA began watching over, and even selling him 21,000 Quaaludes, 7,200 Talwins, 7,200 TBZ+’s, which had finally led to his arrest; but it wasn’t just that easy.
Upon the doctor’s final agreement in this transaction, one of the two agents quickly pulled his revolver, tried to slap the cuffs on and was met with a struggle. The doctor had wiggled his way to freedom, but in this attempt to detain Faymore, the agent let off one shot, grazing his right ear. Faymore quickly made his way to a vehicle, beginning a dangerous high-speed chase with police. It wasn’t long into this chase that he had finally reached a dead end, resulting in his capture. Faymore was arrested on 11 counts of unlawful possession and intent to distribute the substances, along with 1 count of use of a dangerous weapon against a DEA agent. The doctor was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but was released after only 13 in 1995, dying shortly after.
Since 1982 this gothic-style castle has sat empty and unfinished, surrounded by forest on all sides, it’s easy to get lost within these walls. I looked upward towards bright green vines climbing the walls of a lost dream, inching their way towards the absence of roof where bricks have begun to crack and crumble. I felt submerged in a world imagined through fairytales, only these particular fairytales had been stripped of any innocence, covered by a dark blanket of decay alongside a strange history, as overgrowth began to destroy the land and reality came into play.
Normally, I imagine dragons to be delivered in the same package as castles, but seeing such desolation I wouldn’t be surprised if their bones simply just sat beneath my feet while walking these grounds.
Peering through the main entrance, a large bricked archway, I was presented with a glowing view of forest inside a floorless structure unlike any I had seen before. Carefully balancing on narrow brick walls, which would have held floors in place to stretch from one end to the other, I angled myself into position to photograph the different views. Most people would never imagine that such a mysteriously odd castle could lay buried so close to city life. One of my favorite parts of my photojournalism is this exact adventure, experiencing and documenting strange structures such as this. Perhaps hundreds of years from now, people will talk about these stories and a legend will be born, carried for centuries to come. I have to admit, it was quite a strange place to wander around, all the while, incredibly interesting and fun.