And now, something different.
Summer 2009. The day was about to end when we checked our little todo list of that day. 4 locations, 1 fail. Not too bad. Let’s call it a day, lads. While driving home we spotted this venue along the road. It’s one of those spots you’d skip right away, but the overwhelming ivy and the columnar gallery/terrace had a certain appeal.
As soon as we entered the gardens a local granny working her tan rushed towards us. Don’t go inside boys! This place is sealed by the police! Please, don’t go inside! As to what happened here the old lady dug up the most frightening story.
This place used to be in royal hands. Baron Charles D’Udekem d'Acoz lived here, the grandfather of Princess Mathilde of Belgium. He left the place in 1933. The castle was heavily bombed during WW2, and the building in its current state is the result of numerous reconversions. In recent years it was a record label with a small recording studio. It went bankrupt and a very strange lady with three kids moved in. And that’s when the trouble started.
She neglected her kids. They didn’t go to school, they missed out on basic education, and weren’t fed properly. The story of social isolation. On top of that the poor kids got beaten and mistreated as well. Horrifying facts. The police did a bust and captured the woman. She’s now doing time. The kids got placed in an institution and the house got sealed by the police.
Sealed in Belgium equals open windows and doors all along people. Welcome, Strangers. With the story still fresh we were in doubt. We check this place? Or we skip this joint? There might be traces of a recording studio, and with the legendary Panacolor Studios being down this might be a rare find. Let’s do this.
We entered. We were immediately struck by a horrifying smell. And the enormous amount of undefinable stuff, trash, rotten clothes, faeces, fungi, shriveled plants, litter, plastic & dirt. This was gross. We entered the kitchen and a big nest of rats with younglings looked up from the main seat. I was gutted! And the stench was getting worse in every next room.
My buddies couldn’t stand it any longer and left the place. I wanted to check the upper floors for a minute. Just in case I find, err..., whatever I was looking for.
The upper floor was even worse. Crawling onto huge piles of human debris and clothes, all in a rotten state. You know what’s an explorers’ worst nightmare? Finding a body. If it happened in Schotte and in Fort de la Chartreuse, it could happen in here as well. I was feeling sick of the smell and a decomposed body was all I feared.
And then, amidst this surreal scene, inside this horrifying place with that horrifying story, I stepped on a kids toy that still had batteries in it. A laughing toy. I triggered a fucking laughing toy while balancing my way onto the rotten junk. It laughed. I cried. Well I didn’t. But you can picture this insane scenery, right?
I sincerely hope those kids got a better home now.
NeQo, Christophe & SuspiciousMinds, 2009.