First, the “Good Church.” This was the St. Stanislaus Kotska Roman Catholic Church. It was built in 1878; it was struck by lightning and burned down in 1927.
|A picture from the 20s. |
It’s now almost completely fallen in and in ruins, and it is also absolutely beautiful. It’s unknown enough that for the most part there’s very little vandalism, and aside from some broken glass and a fire ring, there’s little evidence of people there.
|I love the vines over the walls.|
Now, Alex wanted to do a brief photoshoot of him in some of his clubbing attire here. (We’re so goth we sit in ruined churches.) He hiked all the way there in these clothes, in the miserable heat and humidity. But we joked that it was appropriate that he look miserable, since he was taking goth-y pictures.
These were my favorite pictures of him from there:
And I decided that I might as well do the same. I didn’t hike up in this, so yes, I did change clothes in the middle of the woods. Turns out, the dress was about a thousand times more comfortable than the jeans and t-shirt I wore up there, so I didn’t change back. Didn’t even get my legs too torn up walking back.
A couple pictures of me:
I really do love this place. It’s very peaceful and quiet, and it’s a beautiful place to be. We didn’t stay long, since it was a hot day, but it was still lovely.
The so-called “ Bad Church” is kind of the opposite.
This one is actually The Pentecostal Holiness Church. It was one of the churches that was owned by the Daniels mill company, I believe, and was destroyed in the flood.
|Image from the 50s.|
This church is right along the path if you follow it far enough, and it is a creepy sight. This church has long been rumored to have Weird Shit going on. Alex and a friend experienced a very strange thing in the vestibule once, where on a hot summer day, it was freezing inside. Other people have claimed to see strange lights, or just get strange feelings. Some of it seems ridiculously overblown, but some of it I’m perfectly fine believing. It’s a weird place, and while nothing too bizarre happened to us the previous time I went there, it felt very tense.
|It always manages to look so dark.|
We walked into the vestibule, and saw that the ladder that used to lead up to the upper part has been pulled up. I actually climbed the ladder last time we were there. But then we heard a noise above us and we both jumped.
It was a vulture, sitting in the window. We heard it rustling its wings. (The vulture isn’t visible in the pictures we took of the exterior of the church, and we didn’t hear it move until we were inside, at which point it was already at the window.)
We went out to the other side, and saw that it was a black vulture, not a turkey vulture like we were expecting. This is… interesting in its own way. The creepy church that no one feels very comfortable in, housing a black vulture? Interesting symbolism there, yes?
The vulture quickly flew up into a tree overhanging the path up to the church. And it did not leave.
The church has a lot of graffiti all over, and is also largely fallen in now.
|This one looks like a little squid or something.|
While there’s nothing odd I see in the image directly above, while taking this picture, something just slightly odd happened with my camera. It’s a digital camera, and the screen kept darkening by just a little, and then lightening again, the way it would when someone walks past, casting a shadow on the front of the camera. (Not a shadow on what I was taking a picture of; but a shadow on the camera lens itself.) I didn’t see anything around me “in real life,” and nothing showed up in the image, but it was just a little strange. I haven’t had that happen before with this camera, and it didn’t happen again.
|This one at least shows some skill, I guess.|
Again, the vulture never moved. It just watched us.
We did each take a picture of us in this church, but we left pretty quickly after that.
On our way back, we talked about how odd it was to have a black vulture residing in the church that’s so widely regarded as creepy, bad, threatening, or evil in some way. (And no, I don’t think that vultures are evil or anything, but they are associated with death.) Unrelated to that, I mused that I was disappointed that I hadn’t gotten to see any snakes, since Alex said the two times he’d brought me to Daniels with him were the only times he hadn’t seen at least one. And then he said that the “bad church” was usually where he saw them. To which I replied “really, you see snakes at the Pentecostal church?” [Pentecostals are known for their tradition of “taking up serpents” and handling snakes.] We both found that kind of interesting too, at least in an amusing kind of way.
I can’t definitively say anything about whether the bad church has some evil influence surrounding it. I think that the claims of it being a “vortex” or a “portal” that demons will come flocking out of is a little ridiculous. But I do think it’s a very strange place. I’ve gotten a feeling of tension, or negative anticipation, like things are all right at the moment, but staying too long would be a bad idea. Alex experienced the very significant cold spot when he went with his friend Kat, and has gotten a range of weird feelings on different trips there. We’ve both had minor weirdness with our cameras. Very interesting.
Going to these two places made this my favorite day we spent in Maryland. Definitely a gorgeous area, and some amazing places to visit.