I had my taser at the ready in case he was a fast runner.
The squatter set up homestead above the abandoned barn and hung a pirate flag to establish his territory. This was just one of many unusual and unexpected finds at this particular site....
I had been to this location many times over several years. This photo above was the place months before the encounter with the angry squatter with the pirate flag.
At this point, he had put up the sign, hoping to scare folks off and was living out of his truck as he constructed the nest up in the barn. (see the top picture to see the nest floor he built and the outline of him angrily shaking his fist)
We avoided exploring the house nearby because it was obvious desert pirate man was keeping an eye on the land.
One thing about urban exploring, there can be homeless people trying to seek shelter, but often you can run into drug dens, wild animals, asbestos, or illegal aliens hiding out. You have to be ready when you do this and follow some basic safety tips. This location, however, had proven to be a real curse for us and the locals.
Years earlier, Julie Ferguson and I used that site for photographing our book Zombie Housewives of the Apocalypse. We had a vision of a post-apocalyptic suburban neighborhood that was still lived in by the zombies created by the toxic germ warfare bomb.
The housewives of the 1950s, still got up and put on their lipstick and continued their routine, not even taken aback by their zombie state. Living the same day over and over, in a dark humor about women's roles in that decade.
It was a cursed decision to put on pantyhose, heels, zombie makeup and pose in 114-degree heat. I began to faint at one point and had to crawl into my car and get the air going.
We first found the location by having great connections on Facebook. One fan of Julie's and my book Abandoned Places: Abandoned Memories (Desert Edition) had talked to Julie on Facebook about a location the locals called "The Slaughterhouse."
Julie and I were on a road trek to Tucson and she realized she was missing a charger plug for her phone, so we pulled into a town and went to the Walmart.
Julie mentioned "this is the town that Slaughterhouse is in."
I asked, "can you contact the women and ask where it is?"
Well, the woman did more than just answer the request, she and her family showed up to show us to the site.
It was amazingly eerie. The woman asked if I could do a psychic read like I had done in our book. I did the read. The woman happened to know about the house's history. What I told her was dead on. It was wonderful to get a verification from someone who knew the history.
As we explored, we ran into some creepy things like a spot where someone had sat in a tiny room off the barn and shot a rifle into the desert, leaving a lot of casings on the ground and tons of beer cans and the heavy smell of urine still in the soil.
Then, there was the mummified puppy found held down by a towel and some concrete chunks.
There were bones out back from dead animals, picked clean by turkey vultures and desert critters.
The site got the name The Slaughterhouse because of the rancher who built it and used to slaughter animals inside the barn.
The man had a very dark energy. And it seemed as if the very site attracted dark things including the angry squatter, the shooter, and whoever killed the puppy.
It was on the edge of the fields outside of the town proper and an easy place to hide secrets and attract locals to the abandoned site.
The last time Julie and I were driving by there, we stopped by The Slaughterhouse to see if the squatter was gone. He was gone. The entire site was leveled. And all I could think was, "sow the soil with salt."
Julie's post on it
Photos of the site