By J. Berndt

HALLOWEEN!–As we move into October, when the leaves begin to change, so does everyone’s mood, preparing for the cold weather to come. The changing air outside cools the sidewalks and forces you to pull out your hoodie to keep you warm for the next few months. As you all know, it is also Halloween season where kids get to act like monsters and adults get to act like children. Then there are some of you that might stay in and try to watch 31 of the best horror movies ever made. Then there will be some of you who will celebrate the 13 days of Halloween by organizing groups to dance around your back yard, robed, illuminated by candle light.

What do you know about the old building known to many as “The Slaughterhouse?” Photo by Sarah Berndt.

For some reason as an adolescent we spent a lot of time in cemeteries, with no good explanation for this, except for a few minor reasons, wink-wink, and it almost felt like a different world. Just recently I came across some pictures of one of the more adventurous days. The pictures were of the old Slaughterhouse. The disposable camera managed to capture the past and bring it back to life in just the right season.

I am not sure what the Slaughterhouse was actually called, I have asked around, everyone seems to know of its existence, but can’t tell me any of the history behind it. When looking at the pictures I was taken aback by The Slaughterhouse. It was stunning, creepy, and mysterious. “Keep out” was boldly written across the sides of the building, and a smoke stack reached high in the sky–undoubtedly to keep the smoke from the burning carcasses away from the workers’ lungs.

So…With these pictures, I have the opportunity to tell the story of the Slaughterhouse. I have been asking around and the first thing that everyone says is, “didn’t they tear that place down?” This I don’t know, because truthfully I don’t remember how to get back out there. When we were out there in the daytime it just seemed like the set for a horror movie. I do know one thing that’s for sure, that is I never would go out there at night, not a chance–well maybe for research purposes.

Walking around the Slaughterhouse, your footsteps echoed off all the machinery and tainted light beamed in through broken windows. No one in the group decided to venture too far from each other. The up- stairs above was frail, splintered floor boards hung just waiting for the right shift in the earth to bring the whole place down. It looked like it had been many years since this place was in operation.

I think what amazed me the most about the Slaughterhouse was the pro-Christian graffiti. Someone must have felt this place needed to be cleansed, but from what? I have come across a few brief stories about witchcraft in The Slaughter house. Some found buckets of dead birds as well as the bones of large mammals. If you looked around you could find pentagrams on almost every wall. By the time we made it there in the early 2000s, it didn’t look like too much was going on; blankets and empty beer bottles flooded the corners. I assume all séances had all passed when the 90’s Goth phase died, or… maybe not.

The reason this is the first part on the Slaughterhouse is I want to find out more. For the next two weeks I’m going to make it my mission to find out as much as I can about this place.

It deserves a name, and the history and stories should be told.