Roadwolf's portal for his random thoughts and ponderings

Lord Rick (archives from 2007)

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January 2007 Lord Rick: Chapter 1 - Introduction

For Those who are unaware. Lord Rick aka AngelofThyNight is a Self Proclaimed "God", who searches abandoned buildings for evidence of ghosts. So far the evidence mainly consists of photos of ORBS and ECTOPLASAM - which is really just a wisp of smoke or Lord Ricks breath, as he is blowing infront of the camera. The image which is one of his favorite images, and his so called proof of seeing and capturing ghosts on film is linked here. As you can see its a clearly photoshopped image, as the floorboards are not even lined up. That is just one of several things I hope to uncover and shed light on in this article.

I was first made aware of Lord Rick, in September of 2006 when he posted on soliciting for $20 from members who wanted to venture to a well known cave with him. Being a very active member in that community, My first impression was "who is this noob? And why is asking for money?" and my second impression after reading his website was "Oh My, this guy needs serious help... he is like, a fricken cult leader!" (another link refering to the cultish style of his website). GeoViolator and myself (and a few others who decided to tag along with us) decided to meet him at the caves that night. He never showed up. Apparently these well known caves were too hard for God himself to find - and on top of that, his followers were paying him, so he could show them where the caves were. Turns out he got lost in the woods. He eventually did make it into the caves the following day however. But I guess his SWAT TEAM Flashlghts did not help him find the cave the night before. As I was there with Geo and Unlisted waiting, with a campfire burning so we could keep warm while we awaited the great LORD's arival.

Now after he finds out we were waiting for him at the caves - and after he finds out how easy they were to get to - he decided to post that we were not at the same caves he was at. Well quite frankly they are the only cave like structures in the area, and we also have photo proof. His post can be found here. "I am not a bullshitter this is for real and no I am not going to the caves you are talking about for the person who thinks they know it all. Again assumptions is the fuck up of all motherfuckers." However... As GeoViolator clearly points out... We have photo proof! Nuff Said? I think Geoviolator clearly sums it up in his post. But just for shits and giggles, here are the two photos.

Nightbird's Photo from Akron Caves - Posted on

Lord Rick's Photo as taken from his website. This photo has since been removed from his website, so I can not provide a reference link.

As you can clearly see, the "FUCK U" at the top of the support column is clearly visible in both photos. However Lord Rick did heavily photoshop this photo to remove most of the graffiti, and add a nice ghostly effect. Not only that, in another article by Lord Rick, he actually calls these caves the Akron Caves.

Pure 100% Bullshit

Lord Rick: Chapter 2 - Legal Aspect

Take a second and read the disclaimer on the Paranormal Ghost Sociey's website...


By entering this site you agree you will not Sue us, Hold us Liable nor Responsible for what you are about to read about and see if you do we will counter sue since you have violated our privacy rights. All photography, buttons, logos are property of the Paranormal & Ghost Society. If you see something that is yours let us know and will ensure you get proper credit or remove it of course with the fact you provide us official paperwork that it is yours or electronic proof so we know if a mistake occurred due to it possibly being found on a free site etc. If y ou support the NWO, are Against the people or Affiliated with the United States Government please Exit. If you work for any law enforcement agency you are not allowed to enter this site if you do again we will pursue charges against the pending officer and any agencies. By entering this site You Agree to these terms by not following them if you enter this site Without following these terms you will be held liable in return. What you are about to see are REAL investigations of the paranormal and some of the b e s t paranormal photography in the world. What you do with the information and knowledge Cannot be used against us. We are a Legal business and we provide some nonprofit services and some commercial services as well although the profits that are concurred are Very Small in margin and get applied towards travel cost and equipment only as well as the funding for this site. You also agree not to enter this site if you have a Weak Heart some photos are Very shocking. We are Crusaders Of The Truth but we also are believers in the Old Ways and you will too after you take our journey. We Believe in the constitution and refuse to have our freedom of speech taken away. Also If you are a hacker or somebody out to cause us Difficulties we keep multiple copies of this site and our evidence with a Variety of people on CD-Rom and the names are hidden. This Ensures our safety for the site and us So think again. Any hacker attempt will be turned into the FBI and law enforcement agencies and yes I will prosecute you to the fullest extent. Most of our graphics belong to PGS some of them have been transloaded from our members and free sites for use. We claim that the Music is not our own and that we make absolutely make No Money from the music it is on our site for your pleasure if you like it Purchase the CD I have purchased all musical songs which Allows me to use it on my site for nonprofit use only.

If you pertain to any government, public authorities or any other related group or you are formally a worker of one you cannot enter this Internet page, You cannot hold us liable for any files or photos you see on this page some are submitted and all are used for educational purposes only. All the information the Internet page contains is private property and are not meant for viewing on any other purposes than said above. If you enter this Internet page without agreement to these terms you are violating clause 31.322.12 of the Internet Privacy Act signed by Bill Clinton in 1995 and that involves your being not entitled to threaten our ISP(s), Site, Organization, or any person(s) , cannot prosecute any person(s) affiliated with this page which includes family, friends, the founder or individuals who run or enter this Internet page. You also understand that we do not damage property and any tresspassing cannot be held against us since the photos on this page are only meant for viewing and do not constitute any physical proof that we were there. By continuing to view this Internet page, you are expressly, unconditionally and impliedly agreeing to all the terms set above.


Ok, now back to reality. First of all, telling law enforcment officers or government workers that they are not allowed to visit your website is a great way to attract ALOT of attention, in the bad way.

So many things to say about that disclaimer alone. First off and foremost, no judge will let someone sue someone for violating terms of service on a website - they will usually throw the case out. Website disclaimers are not binding contracts, they never have been, and they never will be. Pirates and hackers alike have tried posting similar disclaimers, only to end up getting busted by the police, and in an attempt to sue the cops who busted them, their case always gets thrown out. Another thing I noticed, was that he depicts the PGS as a non-profit entity, however he goes on to say that it partakes in commercial services aswell. Wikipedia has a good discription of the word Commercial which clearly states that "Commercial" implies a 'for-profit' activity.

in terms of legal bullshit that Lord Rick has posted (and there has been ALOT of it) let us start off here. Ok, so he is offended that a member of UER hotlinked 2 photos from Lord Rick's myspace page. These photos (Photo 1 and Photo 2) are all hosted on HIS myspace account. As such, he is the one controling their posting. He could remove them at any time. He threatens to SUE for posting the photos. Avatar-X responds saying he can not sue under US Code: Section 230. To this Lord Rick responds saying that he has contacted the administration of UER and has requested the photos be removed, and his request was ignored so he is on the phone with his local sheriff's dept who is appartnely telling him that UER is in big trouble for this. Little did he know, he was trying to tell the Admin of UER that he has contacted the Admin of UER in private and asked for the photos to be removed nicely, which didn't happen... so his lies kind of backfired on him. GeoViolator pointed out that perhaps Lord Rick might want the sheriff to see what else he has been encouraging his sons to do. Lord Rick also goes into detail in one of his myspace rants about the reasons behind teaching his son to use obscene hand gestures. Apparently he is mad at the people in WNY for not supporting him in his effort to explore the cave, or becomes god, or whatever... and He is also mad at his own members for not hanging out with him, or donating money to his cause.

We kind of got side tracked there, but none the less. Legally speaking, Lord Rick probably should be in jail. Threats, more Threats ("I think that you will be very happy to know that you messed with the wrong dad I would kill another man for my sons you crossed me brother and wanted my attention well now you have my attention."), more Threats (Threatening to Sue a Flordia News Channel because they refused to do a story on him), Drugs, more Drugs, more Drugs, more Drugs, Impersonation (email me for a link if you want one), Attempted Suicide, Running from the Police, Carrying a Loaded Firearm without a permit (most likely while possessing narcotics - Unable to link the last two, they were mentioned on the old PGS website before he changed it)... the list goes on. As for me, well for one, I am in Canada (notice my website is I am also only posting truths and public knowlege, and linking it all to one central database, so as to further inform people about Lord Rick. I also hope that perhaps he sees where he has gone wrong, and admits that he is wrong, and steps up like a man and admits that he is sorry for the threats against various members of various web forums. His vendictive webpage which he made specifically for posting his responses to members of UER and other web forums who mock the great Lord Rick is vast and constantly growing with new negative comments towards UER members. I have read all of it myself and I know for a fact that it is ALL Bullshit. UER Never tried to blackmail Lord Rick.. blah blah blah. nothing he says happened, ever happened in reality. Perhaps he was stoned out of his mind and he thought it happened. But what someone thinks is reality, is not classified as reality.

Lord Rick was also denied entry into Canada. Therefore it is safe to assume he has committed a serious crome in the past. "Section 19 of Canada’s Immigration Act prohibits the admission of people who pose a threat to public health, safety, order, and national security. Prior to attempting a border crossing, American citizens who have had a criminal conviction in the past must contact the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate well in advance to determine their admissibility as visitors into Canada. If found inadmissible, an immigration officer will advise whether a waiver (Minister’s Permit) is possible."

Lord Rick thinks he can get away with threatening to Sue everyone who upsets him (see previous links). However, he claims to have a defence ("2. You agree NOT to hold me liable or Sue - consider this if I do not like my own governments laws do you actually think you would get money out of me seriously? I do not work I am a stay at home dad nor does my organization generate a residual income that is worth even claiming in the books I am also considered disabled.") against people Sueing him. Again, pure 100% Bullshit! Altho he does admitt he is disabled.

Lord Rick: Chapter 3 - Science, Technology and Geography

Lord Rick has a great knowlege of the world around him, and how various sciences and technologies work. Let us examine some of his postings and try and gain some of this vast knowlege for ourselves. For example here Lord Rick explains vampires, or as he calls them "VAMPYRES". As you can see, other Paranormal investigators laugh at his explanations. Feel free to check out his website and make your own judgements on his various paranormal theories. Seeing as common science does not openly accept the Paranormal, I can not say if any are true or false. However, for people who believe in the Paranormal (I am not saying I do not believe) - the fact that most if not all of his theories are pure bullshit, should stand out.

Technology is a topic I can speak on with great ease. In grade 10 I TAUGHT my science teacher how logic circuits (and/or gates) worked. Prior to that he had never known how they actually worked. I was also employed as an Engineer in a Radio Broadcasting Company - as such I was exposed to alot of the gear Lord Rick claims to have. Lord Rick's Equipment Page is quite a laugh. Let us examine it.

"The key to taking brighter photos is having a good flash light. They sell spot lights and good flashlights from the Ckrane company, hardware stores. I use a 10 million candlelight power spotlight, maglite, led wind up light and a 6 million candlelight power spotlight. If you want to get real technical you can get a surefire. "

Well yes, I agree that spotlights can be useful to taking night time photographs and photographs in dark places. However the most useful tool is using a camera with a tripod and a long exposure. I do not see Tripod in your equipment list, and all of the photos I have seen have all been using the cameras Flash. Therefore It is safe to assume you do not know hot to take a long exposure photograph.

"This here is a night vision monacle although not necessary it does wonders on a bigfoot investigation. You can look through it in pitch dark and it will look as if its daylight out there so nobody or nothing can hide from you since having this is as good as having a cats eye site."

Night Vision devices are useful, yes. However if you have ever used one, you will know that without an IR Light Source, they are very hard to use (you can see shapes but can't make out detail, unless there is alot of ambiant light). IR Light Sources have been proven to be able to be perceved by several animals. So you are better off using a flashlight. I myself own a set of Night Vision goggles, and small monacle aswell. Night Vision devices are also very expensive. If Lord Rick actually owns a Night Vision device, why doesn't he show us his actual scope, istead of stealing a thumbnail picture from a website which sells night vision scopes?

"Cell sensors are a useful tool since they measure how strong a field I probably would not be into using them much but then again they come in handy for the gausemeter function which measures the frequencies of sound I believe. We have gausemeters for sale on our site and other unique meters check them out at our paranormal store."

Well, a Cell Sensor is a brand name for an EMF Detection meter. The Cell Sensor was designed for people to ensure that their Cell Phones are not putting out harmful radiation. Basically it measures Electromagnetic Radiation. Many professional ghost hunters carry such a device at all times. The fact that Lord Rick does not even know what it is, shows that he is not in touch with the world of professional ghost hunting.

"This is a very small microphone and there are many types i am sure but what this does is picks up sounds from all directions and prevents your tape recorder from tainting it with static like sounds. This one you see here hooks to a micro cassette player. It does reduce static so you can get better sound. You do not have to have it it just helps is all. You can use a digital recorder with a built in microphone which can eliminate having use to this microphone."

A small microphone like that is constructed out of the exact same mini-microphone components which are usually used in micro-recorders. There is no difference in quality other then the fact that the microphone is further from the recording device and as such the sound from the motor inside the recording device will not be captured.

A Good Quality microphone will improve the sound quality and a good quality microphone cable will shield the microphone signal from that nasty EMF Radiation that ghosts tend to produce. Otherwise you will end up getting very staticy recordings :-)

"Micro-Cassette players are very small yet reliable for recording notes, EVP of spirits and other various things that occur when on a investigation. We would like to find a person in charge of the EVP eventually for this organization."

I wanted to jump ahead a bit... Magnetic tape is very sensitive to EMF Radiation. I do not recomend using any magnetic recording device to any paranormal research. Try some solid state devices. They have a much larger frequency response range, and are not as likely to be effected by EMF Radiation.

"Its pretty obvious that if you have no proof not many will believe you especially if you seen a UFO or Sasquatch. The best type of camera to get is a 35mm with a zoom lense I do not use this type since kodak instamatics do the same however any camera is good when coming on a investigation with me. Digitals are great as well since you can extract the photos immediately for viewing. This is only an example but there are better cameras I have seen some 120mm cameras but they are very costly."

Ok, well first of all, Kodak cameras are generally well known to be very botton of the line cameras. They are nowhere near a 35mm SLR Camera in terms of how they function, and they have poor image compression (JPEG) which can cause blur or noise in photos. Perhaps you should sell your night vision device and purchase a higher quality camera? Like a Nikon or a Canon?

"Handguns these days are very important to have. Its not about using it as a weapon its about protection some abandoned houses and buildings in the city do not have exactly the nicest people in them there are times when you may deal with something that can hurt you people maybe even something that comes out of a vortex who knows but you got it and its there if you need it. I have been demeaned for posting this but I have to be honest with you we have 3 investigators up in the PA mountains who have carried pistols on our mountain hiking trips. You could come across a rabid bear or animal then for example up in Kinzua there have been strange human mutilations so should you carry a pistol at times? A big yes!"

Using a gun for protection still makes the gun a weapon. Do not fool yourself. As for things coming out of a vortex... well, I am not too sure about that? If you have a CCW Permit, then if you were smart, you probably shouldn't be posting photos and telling stories of you breaking the law so many times. And if you do not have a CCW Permit... well my friends, you are just breaking another law. I do however agree, firearms are a smart thing to have in the wilderness.

There are a number of other examples of Lord Ricks lack of knowlege about science, technology and geography. If you had time to go thru all of the links I have posted so far, clearly you will have seen several examples of this. His lack of knowlege, and his stuborne and holier then tho attitude prevent him from actually seeing things clearly and understanding how the rest of the world works.

The Life of an Explorer

By: Panic!

When I was a kid I used to head out in the suburbs to explore Melbourne. I always took it for granted that I could get around, see what was over that next hill and find a new place to explore. Melbourne is a city that lends itself to exploring by kids and teenagers. First of all it is big, covering a huge area as compared to many cities or similar population. Second, it is relatively flat. A kid on a push bike can ride for ages without encountering any steep hills. Thirdly there is the public transport, and that makes a huge difference.

When I was about 8 or 9 I got my first push bike. It took me a little while to learn to ride but after that my brother and sisters would go out riding around Melbourne on a regular basis. This was I guess, true urban exploration. Exploring the suburbs to see what we could find. We’d ride around to places we’d never been to discover new parks, new fish and chip shops or places we’d just never seen before. Initially we used to live very close to the Yarra River in Melbourne so we rode down there a fair bit. We’d ride around, explore, play in the parks (Melbourne has lots of parks of all different sizes) and discover the occasional secret place to explore. I recall we found a cool spot down by the river where we could sneak under a big bush and play around in a sort of hidden space under this bush where no one could see us. It was like a sort of cubby house.

I recall the day when we rode down to the river to the mouth of what is now known as Anzac drain in Melbourne. I must have been about nine by then. Here I was, this little kid with my brother and sisters, looking in to the mouth of this big huge drain. Occasionally we’d hear huge thumping noises from down in the drain. It was pretty scary for a nine year old, but we still went in a fair bit. No torches, no knowledge of drain exploring, but in we went.

Later on as a teenager when I got my first 10 speed bike I used to ride around for ages. I’d ride and ride, finding new parks, new shopping areas, new places to see. I would also catch trams or trains around the city. Melbourne’s heart was always a happening place, plenty to see and do. It was all so easy to get to as well. Always less than an hour away by train or tram. I didn’t realise how blessed I was as a teenager by living in a city with such a great public transport system. It was no surprise that I was 26 before I finally got my car licence.

It was then when my urban Exploration really began to take off. Having worked a variety of low paid jobs it finally dawned on me that to get good pay I needed a university degree. So I applied to go to university and gained entry. This left me with a low income, but plenty of spare time. I decided to finally get out and explore some of the drains I had seen around the place. I started out exploring one of the biggest systems under Melbourne, Dungeon. I have walked for more than ten hours in that drain starting at one end of the northern branch, walking to the main entrance and then exploring the southern branches and still not reaching the end.

At about that time I made contact with the Melbourne Cave Clan and started to explore with them. While later on conflicts developed with me and some members of the Cave Clan I have to say that over all I enjoyed the time I was exploring with them. It was great to head out with experienced explorers and learn from them. It was also great to meet people with a common interest. Most of all it was great to find new places to explore with them. I guess I was mainly interested in finding out from them the location of drains.

Having now become a fairly experienced Urban Explorer myself I guess I can now see Doug’s point of view about "newbies" back then. I was this new guy on the block who kind of waltzed in with all sorts of opinions and ideas on the way tings should be done. I was always wanting to explore and always bugging people for information on drains to explore. With plenty of spare time on my hands and a car and driver’s licence I was out exploring almost all week ends and several week nights. I was just getting in to exploring abandonments, bridge rooms and train tunnels too. Whenever I’d turn up to expos to explore with the Cave Clan I’d be saying "Yeah we explored this and that and so on." I guess it kind of got annoying to someone who had to actually head out and find those locations that me and my mates were reading locations off a sheet of paper and were easily finding and exploring them.

I recall that Doug once wrote something like "I explored 1 drain in my first month." In a drain. I ended up writing something like "I explored 28 drains in my first month" while a friend wrote that they had explored 30. Sure we had explored those drains, and plenty of abandoned buildings and bridge rooms, but we had not done the hard yards to find those places. Later on we started heading out to do true Urban Exploration, seeking out places to explore and find new locations of our own.

It was around about this time that the differences between me and the Cave Clan really came to the surface. When I look back on it, it was all just minor differences of opinion, somewhat similar to what is happening now between some prominent explorers. It was essentially a difference of opinion over how free information about locations should be. I feel that Doug and I have pretty much sorted our differences. During the whole time we have occasionally been in contact with each other, sorting differences out and chatting online or on the phone in a fairly friendly manner. So while the public appearance of our conflict may have seemed like we were mortal enemies, in reality it wasn’t that bad. These days we don’t communicate with each other much, but when we do it’s usually civil and even friendly. I guess we both got tired of the conflict, especially when other people would come in and stir it up. I kind of laugh about it now. Old crap. I remember driving home one night through the suburb Doug lived in and having to slow down for an obviously drunk pedestrian crossing the road bare metres in front of me only to notice it was Doug and thinking, "well I can’t hate the guy if I’m taking active steps not to run him over." He wandered on his merry way into the night and I drove off home giggling to myself thinking that it would be nice if people o the web realised the conflict was not as bad as it looked.

Anyway, those were fun times exploring in Melbourne. I ended up exploring over 100 drains, about 15 bridge rooms and 20 abandonments there. I used to go exploring every opportunity I had over the next 4 years I was in uni. Me and my mates used to do regular week end forays into the underside of Melbourne. We also did trips out into the suburbs, exploring anything that looked interesting on the map. We ended up finding some great new abandoned buildings. I started documenting some of thee on my web site. Back then there just wasn’t any web sites on Urban Exploration. I used to search the web using all sorts of search terms and never find a thing. Eventually I found Wes Modes spoon gallery web site which I think may have been the oldest Urban Exploration web site on line. Then I found Ben Hines’es College Tunnel web site. Eventually I found Ninjalicious’es Infiltrations web site.

Urban Exploration has been around a long time before the Internet was invented. I’m sure it has been around for as long as ere has been suburbs to explore. People have always wanted to know what is over the next hill. The Internet however lets us see more of what is out there. When there was about 5 UE web sites out there a thing could web ring started off. My mate Lord_Emor and I hit upon the idea of creating a web ring for draining web sites. Emor crafted the web ring and we started emailing web sites to join. In a short space of time we had 5 draining sites on the web ring. Eventually though we realised the Cave Clan web sites would not join the web ring because of their conflict with us, so we contacted Ninj to ask if he would run the web ring. Under Jeff’s guidance the web ring has grown into what it is now. Ironically my web site isn’t on the web ring any more because I grew somewhat tired of having to constantly change the HTML required to link in to the web ring.

About 1997 I hatched upon the idea of driving my car in a drain. There was this big huge drain called Mini 10th not far from where I was living at the time. It was pretty big, cool, and best of all, there was a ramp down into the drain. I had seen dumped cars in it from time to time so I knew it was possible to get a car in to it. So one night I decided to give it a go as a proof of concept. It turned out to be easier than I expected. So the next night when my mates and I went drain exploring I said "Let’s go do Mini 10th". I guess they were expecting me to stop and park like normal. Instead I drive up on to a bike track and kept driving. That was not so unusual, we’d done that before. But this time instead of stopping I just drove down the ramp and in to the drain. It was a buzz! Hooning along in a big he drain at 60 Km an hour. It was great! We got to the end of the drain, did a 6 point turn and buzzed back again. We loved it! We decided straight away to get the event on video. We had a ball doing it. Eventually I ended p driving through seven drains in Melbourne.

After I graduated uni I was offered a scholarship with an organisation in Canberra. As I wanted to get away from the Melbourne scene I took it and moved up to Australia’s capital. Big mistake.

Melbourne is a jewel, an amazing cosmopolitan, multicultural city where there is always something happening. Canberra is a hole. Melbourne has great public transport that is so efficient and frequent that you really don’t need a car. God help you if your car breaks down in Canberra. The busses are infrequent, slow, have stupid windy routes and are expensive. Melbourne is a great vibrant place with people from all over the world there. Canberra is a dark, dim, cold city with no soul and lots of country bumpkin red necks who take a very parochial view of the world and have never been out of their home town much. Melbourne has world class storm water drains that attract urban explorers from all over the world. Canberra drains are mostly made from 6 foot round concrete pipes and only a few of them are worth seeing, and then only worth seeing once. Melbourne has some massive and intriguing abandoned buildings and some great bridge rooms. Canberra had one of the best abandoned buildings in the world in it, but they bulldozed it a couple of years ago. Then when we found something nice to replace that they bulldozed that too. There are no bridge rooms in Canberra. I’ve checked.

It was little wonder that after a year or two of living up here that I decided to head out over seas and explore what was there. I was initially just planning to go to Paris to explore the catacombs but when I worked out the cost of the air fares I figured why not just go around the world. Back then the late Paul Rice’s online news-list was alive and well. I communicated with various people and climbed aboard a plane and took off.

It still amazes me that we can get on board a 747 and 13 hours later be on the other side of something that took early sailors months to get across. It really is an amazing achievement. Los Angales was the first place I encountered I the US. It really was great to be able to meet up with local explorers there. Both of the guys I met there were great people, great hosts and really showed me some amazing sites, including the massive abandoned Hawthorne Mall. Throughout the 2002 trip I met some great people, great explorers. I think really the trip was as much about meeting people as exploring. To me Urban Exploration is not just about the sites, it is about the culture and the people too. I mean for some people it is about the equipment and how great your tabi boots or 10 D cell mag light is. I don’t give a crap about that stuff. I just enjoy talking to other explorers I’ve met online and exploring with them.

I don’t mind if I don’t see great sites either. But gee I’ve been shown some nice ones. Hawthorne Mall, the UCLA steam tunnels, Manteno Asylum, the now gone Dixie / Blues Brothers mall, the Armour building in Saint Louis, Great lakes Carbon, downtown Gary Indiana, Michigan Central Station, Triple Helix drain in the Twin Cities, abandonments in Fort Wayne, the Cincinatti subway, college tunnels at Pennsylvania State University and Virginia Tech, Lower Bay, Park Creek Drain and the brick works in Toronto as well as many other sites. And that’s just in AmeriCanadia. Other nice explorers showed me around London and the Paris Catacombs.

Paris Catacombs. They wee everything I expected and more. The first time I went in was with Stonga, a great French guy who showed me around there. It was pretty scary at first, because it was a new place, and despite being a prolific drain explorer I suffer a bit from claustrophobia. Stonga and I were down in the tunnels about 7 hours the first time. The next time I went in was on my own. Stonga had some work to do and I wanted to see more of the tunnels. So I suggested I go on my own. He lent me a map and some chalk to mark my way and suggested I be cautious. So in I went. First I followed the tunnels I knew, marking my way with the chalk. After looking at the map, I realised I didn’t need the chalk. I really didn’t need the map either. I had studied the map at home for well over a year before finally venturing in to the catacombs. Even now I can bring t up I my mind with absolute clarity and would be confident entering the catacombs with no map today.

It was incredible down there. Mile after mile of tunnels. Carvings in walls, paintings, bunkers, water filled tunnels, rooms, stairways, paths to the surface, even the occasional fellow explorer wandering around. I ended up doing two trips on my own, a 7 hour one and an 11 our one. I got to explore most of the places I wanted, but there’s so much more to see. I hope to head back in 2007.

In 2003 a number of explorers including myself, Ninj and Paul Rice started to raise and push the idea of an Urban Exploration meet up in the US. I admit I was a bit self centred about the idea, thinking it would be a great way to meet many explorers at once. The Infiltration news list was up and running then so I raised the idea, oping such a meet up could take place in Chicago. There was no real serious planning then, just a dream. It was a bit of a surprise to me when OPEX was announced. I decided straight away that I wanted to attend.

OPEX94 was, well incredible. Great, Brilliant. Wonderful! It was so nice to meet up with so many fellow explorers at last and put faces to names. It was brilliant meeting people like Mark, The Great Wolf, Jester, Boffo, Avatar-X, Blue Skunk, Ferret, UEM-Tux, Freak and so many more. So many came from so far to meet up. It was also the fist time I met Jeff after chatting with him online for so long. I was very grateful for Blueskunk and Ferret for not only putting me up for the trip, but for arranging a dinner with Jeff before OPEX. When I look back, I wish I had gotten to know him more. I feel the same about Predator from Sydney, only having been able to meet him once before he died.

OPEX94 was really the highlight of my Urban Exploration experience. I guess I am lucky to have explored with so many great people, not just great in the sense of their standing in the Urban Exploration community, but also for just being really genuine people, caring, kind and down to Earth. I loved the exploration and the talks we had at OPEX94. I also loved the dinners even if some were slower than others. Good old Rancho Relaxo. I really felt that OPEX gave people a chance to talk, to meet an just explore. In light of the current disputes going on in the UE community I feel that if people met face to face more often they would come to realise that a lot of issues are really differences of opinion. No two people will ever agree on everything all the time. I also feel that meeting up brings people together in a more respectful way than any online forum can. When it comes down to it, treating people with respect instead of just dropping to the school yard mentality will make a big difference to things. Though I have been guilty of a bit of disrespect at times.

So, looking towards the future. My immediate goals regarding UE is to head to the US and Canada for OPEX86. I plan to spend a few days in Hawaii before heading out to Colorado to meet up with a number of explorers there that I have a huge amount of respect for and would love to finally meet. I’d like to explore a missile silo if I could, as I’ve never seen an abandoned one (I went on the silo tour in Tuscon in 2002) and I figure that is about the only aspect of Urban Exploration I have yet to do. But even if I don’t, and only get to meet the explorers in Colorado that would be great. I really love meeting up with the friends I have formed online. After Colorado I’m looking forward to Vancouver and OPEX86. Once again there is the opportunity to meet up with great people whom I’ve come to know on line.

While I don’t usually like to blow my trumpet, I am still proud of what I have managed to do in the Urban Exploration field. I’ve explored drains, abandonments, college tunnels, transit tunnels, catacombs (In Paris and Rome), lift riding, bridge rooms, roof topping, infiltrations, boats, aircraft and even a space shuttle. Missile silos I’ve never explored and really want to take a look at. I had one of the first UE web sites online. I started the UE web ring. I was one of the first people to drive cars in drains. I have now done two round the world UE trips and will soon be doing a third major UE exploration overseas. For an Australian I’ve managed to explore a fair many sites in Europe and North America. Most of all though I’ve managed to meet a number of wonderful explorers out there.

2007 for me will hopefully become a year of exploring. Having sold one of two campervans I own I hope to use that money and money from my job to head out to Europe to explore. I hope to buy a campervan and travel around, not needing to work, and just explore. I’m getting older now, so I want to get out and see the world while I still can. If things go well I’d love to spend six months in Europe and six months in AmeriCanadia just exploring, meeting people and seeing what is out there. I hope to explore more of the catacombs in Paris, Rome, Naples, Alexandria, Malta and Sardinia. I also want to see Chernobyl, despite the high price of the flights and tour there. There are also many sites in AmeriCanadia I want to see.

Beyond 2007 it may be time to settle down a bit, meet up with a nice UE female and start raising a little mob of UE kids. I can imagine it now "Daddy, why are we in the drain again?" ;) I imagine I’ll still try head out once a year to explore. I still want to see Gunkanjima, The Raratonga Sheridan, Wake Island, Truk Lagoon, the huge abandoned hotel in Korea, Metro 2 and Ankor Wat. I’d also like to consider starting up a more formal UE group in Canberra. Certainly if the Cave Clan were to ask me to form a branch here I’d be open minded about it.

I hope that the UE community works on healing some of the rifts out there. Differences of opinion will happen. It’s not worth fighting over or ostracising people over. I hope that future OPEX meetings will build stronger relationships and that people will come to agree to disagree or to live with their differences of opinion.

10th June 2006

June 1st, 2006 - Lead Us Not Into Temptation

by Explorer_H

In a post on an online forum, Chris Barrus writes a "public service announcement" to all Urban Explorers; taking pictures of an abandoned building and then posting them and writing about your visit will get you arrested. Barrus continues to tell about Robert Pless, of Wayne, New Jersey, who was arrested when the owner of an abandoned building found out about Robert's visit via pictures posted on Robert's now defunct website. Pless being arrested seems like a small misunderstanding blown way out of proportion to me. He wasn't there to vandalize, he was there to take some pictures and absorb as much history about the place as he could. The problem is that to distinguish between who is exploring for preservation and who is breaking in to damage stuff is impossible in the eyes of those who catch trespassers.

Urban exploration is the art of getting into places normally off limits to the public. Anything from underground steam tunnels and mechanical rooms, to long abandoned mental hospitals, and factories are very fertile grounds for exploring. Urban explorers go into these once occupied structures with nothing more than an interest to take pictures and leave only footprints. Hundreds of people all over the world share this interest, and have posted many pictures of their activities; all of which tell a sad story of urban decay.

To the property owner, anyone who enters one of their structures is a trespassing vandal. Most places I have been to show signs of damage from local kids with nothing better to do. Sinks lie smashed in pieces and old morgues become a canvas to the spray paint-wielding artist. Many places hold many dangers to the average kid looking to poke around. Asbestos, lead paint, rusty wire, weak flooring, molds, and even squatters are a pretty common sight in once pristine locations. To a property owner this spells lawsuit. Most places, especially old state hospitals, have full-time security to help keep anyone and everyone out.

But what about Robert Pless? He only went to an old abandoned asylum to document it. His only motive was to try and capture some history. To be arrested, I think, is going too far. I do not feel he should have been punished; Robert should be held as a hero. Often these types of efforts to preserve this history often go unnoticed. The focus only goes as far as being a trespasser and even a vandal.

Yes, I am violating a few laws by ignoring the signs posted on the doors through which I enter. Around every corner awaits an old weathered chair begging to be photographed. Inside every corridor a fine picture of times long gone sits, wasting away. Knowing that there is a chance my camera could capture a moment of that lost time draws me in every time I see a boarded-up structure.

But unfortunately for Urban Explorers, old boarded up buildings also draw kids looking to break things or leave their marks. It’s obvious in many locations I visit. Old toilets lie smashed all over dirt-covered floors. Graffiti finds its way onto just about everything in some buildings. And here I am at the scene of the crime, only I am taking pictures and leaving nothing but footprints.

Why not just ask permission? A lot of what I like to photograph I find while I am out driving, asking permission isn’t always convenient. I have been part of many discussions amongst other explorers who have all tried asking for an ok to trespass, the majority of them have all heard the same responses, no. The reasons vary from a simple no to “well, we really don’t want to have pictures taken in its current state if disrepair. Hey, newsflash, your current state of disrepair is exactly what I like to point my camera at.

Should exploring old buildings with a camera really be considered a crime? Isn’t the passion for preservation enough to clearly separate me from the common troublemaker? I realize what I am asking. I am basically saying that only some people who trespass should be punished. Anyone caught trespassing without proof of documenting the place will prosecuted. I doubt any of that would hold up in court. Most people who have authority regarding abandoned cannot see past stereotypes. They think anyone trying to get into their buildings is there for one purpose–to wreck the place. Perhaps I should lobby our government to include an urban exploration clause into trespassing laws. If an explorer caught trespassing could prove they were there to only take pictures, they would be released and not charged with a crime. All you have to do is look at the pictures on their camera, being that most are digital, you can quickly scan the photographs already taken.

Urban explorers have a common motto; leave only footprints, take only pictures. We follow that rule very closely. The more attention we bring to being able to get into an empty building, the harder it becomes to get in, not to mention real troublemakers following your footsteps. We like to keep most of what we find a secret, only sharing information about a specific place with other explorers who we trust.

I have found that many people who have never heard of Urban Exploration find it fascinating. I have struck up many conversations because someone saw me at my favorite watering hole, online, researching possible abandoned buildings. Not one time during those conversations has anyone really comment on the illegal aspect of urban exploring. They were usually amazed at the stories I shared verbally, and visually through my photography. If it’s such a crime, why weren’t these curious folks turned off immediately? They were sucked in every time, and I hope I even encouraged a few to explore something on their own.

I am not condoning the violation of any laws, but being an explorer I put myself at risk every time I go to an old, long forgotten, abandoned building. I can only hope that if I do get caught my camera and calm demeanor will get me out of being charged with tresspassing.

June 1st, 2006

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