Monday, April 26, 2010

Ace Rubber Factory: Some Observations on Natural Defenses

This is the building that beat me on Friday. We tried. But the building was too sneaky, too dirty and devious for us. Also, we finally found a door that was open, after braving all sorts of terrible tricks, but then hey! There was a light on inside? An electric light? I mean, the building was broken and alone and left open to the elements, but someone paid the bills. Unless actually the factory had figured out how to steal electricity from the power plant next door, as a sort of "play dead" trick to hunters like ourselves. These places are smarter than we give them credit for.

Anyway, since I don't have any wonderful pictures of broken plaster or rotting pianos, I thought I'd take this opportunity to educate you on some of the perils you have to face when building hunting. Abandoned places, like decrepit silverbacks hiding in the fringes jungle, outcast from the rest of the family, are dangerous creatures who must be treated with respect. It's important to know what you are up against before venturing into the Wasteland, and to equip yourself appropriately. Here are some of the more common dangers you are likely to come across.

1. Gates

The first line of defense will usually be gates or fences. You can just walk around them. Sometimes, if you want to be stealthy, you crawl. They are silly and unsubstantial things. I appreciate the thoroughness in this example, but as if I would ever walk across a concrete beam with the canal raging below, when there's a perfectly serviceable bridge right next to it. Covered even. So I don't muss my hair. When it inevitably rains. Because it's Akron, where the clouds are constantly crying hot tar tears.

2. Mazes.

Mazes can be made of steel, foliage, rock. They are basically designed to grow up and around the building, to shield it from prying eyes. They are not actively dangerous, if you are careful. But you must watch your step, examine before you place your hands or weight on anything, and not think sad thoughts. Also, if you hear a roaring sound, take four steps to the right.

3. Hypnotism

I mean, the factory isn't trying to convince you you're a chicken or something, but if you're not careful at how long your glance lingers, you may find yourself becoming tired. Having to pee. Wondering if there's a better building down the street. One time I stared too long at a bottle in a parking lot, and found myself wandering back to my car trying to remember all of the words to The Freshman. Any repetitive patterns, be sure to only view them through a lens, and even then only in short takes.

4. Murder Pits

This particular murder pit is filled with water, so I guess technically you could call it a moat. But not all deep vine covered holes are quite so benign. For instance, what if you fell in a pit of poisonous salamanders who tried to eat out your eyes and lay their radioactive eggs in your spinal fluid? Did you bring beef jerky to distract the beasts? Always bring beef jerky in case of murder pits.

5. Land Jellyfish

Land jellyfish live in concrete and mortar, and spread their tentacles out over walls to attract prey. If you touch a land jellyfish tentacle, don't piss on the wound, just cut it off. It may seem extreme, but it's best for everyone involved, honest. Otherwise, you turn into a land jellyfish, then your girlfriend dumps you, you eat your dog, you lose your job and find yourself attracted to only bricks manufactured before 1951. It's nasty.

6. Grass Eels.

Harmless unless you step on them, but they will start rattling vehemently the moment they sense your footsteps in the earth. They are mostly used to activate alarms, which is why if you set one off, avoid the...

7. Raptor Pit.

8. Robots

Most robots from the turn of the century have suffered a significant amount of dementia and power drain. Though they were originally taught humans were the masters, you can never tell if this particular thought structure has held up. The robot, if still active, may try to behead you or make you a winching system. They are easily outrun, assuming you have space to run. Strobe lights are particularly effective for distracting them, I recommend keeping a small one on your key chain.

9. Barrels of Industrial Waste

It's not really the industrial waste you need to be scared of. It's the ape behind the barrels, who's going to try and throw them at you.

10. Outsider Art

Distinguishable from the robots by their strange need for solitude, and collection of cat food tins fashioned into shoes. They are telepathic, and if you come too close, they will destroy your need for approbation or sex. I mean, it's like they have laser eyes and cut off your genitals, only emotionally. If you can find your way out of the maze through the veil of hot tears that will descend as soon as you realize how worthless your own measly accomplishments are
(because at heart you are a shallow money hoarding sellout who would rather have stupid things like CLOTHES instead of artistic integrity), well it's a minor miracle.

Happy Hunting! Hopefully the nice weather will bring out some better specimens next week.


  1. This is just the best. Like maybe it's just people that do this that understand or something, but no, this was totally factual. So far my actual favorite of your posts about these missions.

  2. Nobody gets it except us and the crows Jere.

    Well, and the thousands of other people who do this.

  3. You know, you probably have readers too young to get the Donkey Kong reference. And that makes me feel old.

    I did really like this building hunting post. If raptors ever attack you while you're out, I'll be counting on you to get one last haunting picture before you die.

  4. I'm just going to start telling people I don't get any of their pop culture references ever.

  5. I love these posts, and I have always wanted to wander abandoned urban buildings.

    I am afraid of finding people though, instead of raptors or robots. Find any?

  6. No. Only once we saw a newly cold forty on the stairs. And once we heard noises and hid. But people are soft and not very fast usually.

    Just avoid going in them in inclement weather, when shelter is needed.

  7. I feel like at some point I should really stop cooing about how much I adore these but I can't stop. So, here we go again. I'm going to need a bigger bag for the beef jerky and strobe lights.

  8. This post makes me feel like a kid. What an adventure! This is a series you do?

  9. this is amazing. so are you writing a book or what?

  10. Elly - just wear big booty britches with appropriate pockets.

    Steam - this is how I dealt with a breakup last summer, it was my new hobby. So now its a weekly event.

    NYDD - Would you buy it if I did? Honestly, I don't think my camera resolution is good enough for it, but I'm probably going to coagulate them all in some sort of self-published thing. So I will let you know if that ever happens.

  11. i meant like a fictiony novely book. building hunting seems better in short form.

  12. Dear Bridget Callahan,
    I've just run across this post while looking for info on the Ace Rubber Factory. I'm working on a Master of Architecture at OSU. My research is on transformations of found architectures and I'm using Ace Rubber Factory as my found architecture. I'm wondering if you happen to have gotten any interior images in your failed attempt. Even if they're not at a quality you'd like to share on your blog, I could use whatever I can get to draw a plan of the place.
    By the way, Ace Rubber is apparently still manufacturing in this place!

    1. No, the building was obviously in use, so we didn't try to go inside. Sorry.


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