Jul 14, 2011

Places of Mystery...Places with a Past

Reading: The Iron Witch: Karen Mahoney

Watching: The Block (reality tv..again)

Listening to: My bubbling home brew

Making me Smile: My daughter turning 4 (gone so quick!)

As a writer I think it’s normal to play the ‘what if’ game. Have you ever walked past an old, run down or abandoned house and wondered who lived there, what happened to the family to allow their ‘home’ to get that way?

I don’t write historical fiction, but something like this really stirs my interest and I really want to know the history attached.

There is a really old house (pictured) just visible through the trees alongside a road where my daughters and I go horse riding. It’s ramshackle with the walls crumbling down, a sink at the back and an old sofa turned on its side on what’s left of the floorboards. There’s a tiny, twisted looking old iron tank, and a little bit of garden along its front near the track of a driveway.

All this begs the question: who built the house in what would have been quite some way out of town once-upon-a-time? What family lived and (hopefully) loved in this house, and who made it their home?

Right away I imagined it being the home to gold prospectors, one of many people who flocked to the area wanting to make it rich. I also imagined ghosts even now hanging around the house (I don’t suppose I write paranormals without reason!), clinging to their memories.

What do you think when seeing the picture?

Have you too seen a house/place that stirs your interest?


  1. Mel

    I often do the same thing. Many years a go when I was still in school my grandparents had a little hobby farm on the Central Coast of NSW and we spent most of our holidays there and we would go for walks and on one of the properties ajoining ours there was a tin shed fairly large that someone had been living in we had never seen anyone there but the door was wide open and everything left like the person or people had just got up and ran there was food and clothing kids toys everything left there and it was always a source of wonder from us as to what happened to the people who lived there it was real spooky.

    Have Fun

  2. I usually try to, but in the city, the houses are all pretty much the same... and hence no inspiration ;) But then, that's what the internet is for !!! LOL! Love researching (aka hanging around the internet, without working on anything) ;)

  3. I love seeing old houses, Mel, but I also find it rather poignant. I can't help imagining the people who built it. They must have been so excited moving in and had wonderful hopes and dreams for the future -- and now the house is abandoned and derelict. It always makes me wonder what happened.

  4. Helen that does sound spooky!! Gets the mind going with all sorts of imaginings doesn't it!?
    Lets just hope whatever happened, that family was safe!

  5. Ju you're soo right - the internet is great for what you can't find around you. Having said that, I'm betting there would be lots of city apartments and houses whose walls have seen many generations come and go =)

  6. Poignant is the perfect word Emily. All those families with their own stories too tell who've come and gone, rather sad in many ways.

  7. Mel, I've imagined creepy stories about creepy houses from as far back as I can recall. There was an abandoned house up the street when I was very young. My friend and I would skulk through the trashed rooms and imagine splattered paint was blood and torn clothes in a corner must mean murder.
    Now I have dreams about spooky places.
    Wouldn't it be cool to happen upon a *real* haunted house!?!Like the one in The Others maybe...

  8. Oh Robbie, sounds very creepy!! Sounds like even way back when you were little you were geared toward writing stories =)
    And no *shudder* I lived in a haunted house!! It was so not cool LOL!!

  9. You *lived* in a haunted house, Mel??? I so want to hear about that =)

  10. Oh I definitely have asked the questions, Mel when I see an old house. But I especially ask the question in Greece when on Santorini and visiting an ancient village they had found. Absolutely fascinating.

  11. LOL Robbie - next lunch date or maybe after a few too many drinks! *wink*

  12. Hi Eleni,

    that would have been amazing!! I could only imagine all the questions seeing an ancient village brought to mind!

  13. Mel, I grew up in a country town so there were several abandoned, run-down houses in the area. I don't know what it is about places like that, but all of us kids were drawn to them (although they were definitely off-limits). We'd make up stories and dare each other to go inside etc. Murder, madness and mayhem all figured in our stories. :-)

    You lived in a haunted house?! I think there's a blog topic right there!

  14. You're so right Michelle, those old houses attract kids - I think it's the air of mystery surrounding abandoned homes, the unanswered questions. And of course, a child's natural curiosity (and maybe the thrill of being where he/she shouldn't!)

    I'll have to think about that blog topic, it's not a subject close to my heart LOL!

  15. Mel, that house is gorgeous. I love the look of really old houses, even the ones that are falling down.

  16. Hi Rachel!
    There's something about old houses isn't there? A character that new ones just haven't yet obtained.