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The Time Capsule House

There's an ever going debate among explorers as to whether sharing content on the internet is harmful to locations. The wide online exposure of properties to an unknown audience increases the likelihood that a house may meet with vandalism, arson or thefts. Without sharing content however, networking with other people is more difficult as is learning of new places to explore.

The discovery of the "Time Capsule House" perfectly preserved for three decades resulted in fierce resistance when other explorers began asking that famous question - "where is this place?". Some explorers didn't want select individuals to have access to the house, and as a result many people were excluded from being able to visit this place.

When a new location is discovered that's still very much intact, the future of that location depends on who you share the address with. If discovered by two exploring friends, a location is relatively safe. Should one of those people tell a 3rd party, the future of the location now depends on how many others those three people tell. In other words, every additional person who learns of a rare find presents an increased likelihood for increased (and unwanted) traffic to the property. People feel a sense of loyalty to friends and it can be uncomfortable having to deny them information, therefore some people prefer not to want to share to others who have large groups of friends.

In the end, what began as a single person discovering this house and sharing it with one social media explorer, ended with approximately 15 people learning where to find it. That number is still quite impressive, that this location remained off of the 'attention whoring circuit' and was limited to people who could be considered trustworthy.

As for the debate of whether places such as this should even be shared online, there's no easy answer. We like others to see our photography and with that comes risks. At the same time, were it not for social media and database sharing websites such as OAP and UER, many people would never learn of these locations.

Information must be treated carefully, for we're all aware of what can happen to properties that become too well known.

Beginning in the 18th century Scottish land owners who had been using their land for crop farming began to switch to the more profitable sheep farming. As a result the workers who'd lived on the land and tended to the crops were no longer needed.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

The workers were evicted off the land in a process that became known as the 'Highland Clearances'.

John Banks was born in the town of Annan, located in southwest Scotland.  He married Mary Irvine, also a resident of Annan. The couple had been crop workers up until they were also forced to vacate the land that they were living on. In 1855 the Banks fled to Canada along with their five children. Their journey to Canada took nine weeks and was financed by money that Mary had inherited.

The family settled in Ontario where they built a log house and John was able to find work as a blacksmith. His travel to work required him to walk almost twenty miles each way daily.

The Bank's oldest child
Robert, left home in 1887 and purchased his own land. Richard married Maggie Blair and the couple had six children. One of the boys born to the couple was Richard, born in 1888.

In the early 1900's, Maggie required medical services and was treated by a nurse named Mary Turner. Through fate, the couple's son Richard ended up marrying Mary - the nurse who'd attended to his mother.

Richard and Mary married in the 1930's. Their home didn't have an indoor bathroom or telephone service. They 
had a daughter named Cora who was born in the mid 1930's. 

Cora would grow up and marry a man named Howard. 

Cora and Howard

Cora belonged to a woman's club that worked to developer better communities. The women baked food which was packaged with clothing and sent overseas to soldiers fighting the war. The women also sponsored dental and immunization clinics for children, and to provide electricity to their church.

The women's club lasted well into the 20th century. It's sad to see small town community groups like this disbanding.

Howard was also active in volunteer work and giving back to the community. He was involved for over 40 years with his church. Howard belonged to a group that opposed alcohol use and whose members used secret rituals and handshakes. Howard was involved in the local farmer's community through animal vaccination programs and reforesting.

The couple had a daughter named Alice who was born in the late 1930's.

Howard passed away in the 1950's, exactly 25 years after he married Cora. Cora lived up until the 1980's - and it was at this time that the Time Capsule House appears to have been abandoned.

Shortly after Howard passed away, the land that Howard had previously farmed was rented out to a local farmer. This brought in income for Cora, now a widow. The farmer also raised pigs in one of the barns on the property.

It's believed that Alice continued to live in the Time Capsule House for a few years following Cora's death in the 1980's.

The reason for the house being left full of possessions and untouched remains unclear. My research had determined that Cora willed the house to the church - which her and her husband were dedicated to. It could be that a legal battle followed in which Alice believed the house should have been hers, it could be that the church had no immediate use for the house. Some of these questions would be answered in the end.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

The small but cozy kitchen. Note the pans hanging from the wall. The cupboards are filled with plates and china. Commemorative plates are hung above the cupboards, just out of view in the photo.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

The power to the stove stopped at 8:10 yet other parts of the house are still powered. It's not uncommon to explore a house in which some rooms have working electricity and other rooms don't. Who pays the hydro bill?

Time Capsule Abandoned House

Beautiful silverware still in the box and sitting on a beautiful hutch.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

Five record players. Today's media devices are the size of a pack of playing cards and can hold thousands of songs. It's sad that many of today's generation will never know the smell of a new vinyl record being pulled out of the album, or the numerous dials to adjust the sound quality.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

An antique record player - powered by cranking a lever. An assortment of acetate records sat on top of the record player. The record that you see was placed here for photographic purposes by myself.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

Look at this photo and tell me that it isn't reminiscent of visiting your grandmother when you were a child. The table is ready for visitors and the cups ready for tea. Before you complain about the lack of dust and the appearance of a plant, pay close attention to the water damage on the wallpaper and the snow on the floor. The floor is just beginning to rot as there are basketball sized holes in the floor. Walking in the dining room requires care. For now the beams are holding up the floor but that won't last forever.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

Time Capsule Abandoned House

Books are everywhere in this room. It was a cozy little den that also served as a bedroom. Notice the large piles of raccoon feces on the filing cabinet. The smell in this room was disgusting. Unfortunately the hole that allowed these animals inside is still there.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

A view of the main bedroom which is found as you reach the top of the stairs from the main level. The book den is found approximately 50 degrees from the angle this photo was taken.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

Another bedroom you access through a door in the main bedroom upstairs. Everything here is packed away neatly. Not a single husband and wife picker team has been here, rummaging through items which they can easily sell at yard sales.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

Time Capsule Abandoned House

The plant isn't real my cynical followers. That's Alice that you see in the photos.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

This is the bathroom, it was dark in here so a flash was used.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

Several months later and the racoon poop continues to grow. It's summer now and it's quite humid upstairs. Certainly this can't be healthy to breath.

Time Capsule Abandoned House

This would have been the bed that Cora and Howard slept on. They'd have awoken each day in this room to tend to their animals and crops.

Current Status

Upon discovering the state of this house and the inevitable collapse of the kitchen into the basement, I contacted Alice the daughter. It took some detective work to learn where she lived, as there's no phone listing for her. I'd expected that we'd be able to have a long conversation about the history of the house. That wasn't to be. Alice sounded quite upset to be discussing the house. While my intentions were good, there's always the possibility of upsetting people when you bring up their past memories.

The story of the Time Capsule house reached an end in May of 2015. Alice had been living in the home of an elderly man who was in his 90's. Alice (a senior citizen herself) provided around the clock care for the man who was part of Alice's church group. After the man passed away in May of 2015, Alice moved back into her mother's former home.

We met Alice during an exploration of the house, it was an uncomfortable experience at being caught. She stated that the house was hers, so it would appear that the church didn't own the home as previously thought. There will be repairs necessary to the floor, the carpeting is moldy, and the roof will likely require further repairs. One day I might stop in to see if she's doing well - or maybe I won't. Sometimes people's pasts are best left in the past.

What we do know is that Alice has returned to the home which had been untouched for close to thirty years. The story of the Time Capsule House is complete.

Please note that real names have been changed so that the identities of the former owners remain private. The location of this house will remain private.