One of the creepiest and most fantastic places you can visit while doing urban exploring is visiting an old abandoned church. Not only is the atmosphere almost always already set, but church buildings are also always larger and more intricate than others. Which means you’ll soon feel the itch to go explore one of these wonders.
When exploring abandoned churches, you must never take anything that lies around, break anything on purpose, deface the property, or stay over for the night. Like all abandoned buildings, they should be respected, and restraint should always be shown.
Exploring a church is still one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have. The darkness, the mystery, and the creep factor all make it worth the trip. However, knowing exactly what to do when exploring an abandoned church will mean all the difference once you finally find one.
These are the things you should never do while exploring an abandoned church:
Don’t take anything
This applies to most abandoned places that you can go to and explore, but it rings especially true for churches. These places are sacred grounds, and there are multiple reasons from a mystical side that should stop you; however, this may only encourage some people to do so.
A true reason, and one that you should always remember, is that even abandoned churches and buildings belong to someone. For everything that you take or damage, someone will have to pay for, which means that you are actively hurting someone if you take things left at abandoned buildings. You are there to explore, maybe to see some hidden sights, not to scavenge for lost parts.
Many first-time explorers in churches will be tempted to take some of the debris lying around, especially since these can include things such as parts of chandeliers, statues, and other symbols. Taking these things from a church shows a large deal of disrespect and goes against the rules of urban exploration.
For more on this, feel free to check out our article: “Can You Take Stuff From Abandoned Buildings?“
Never go alone
While there are many scary buildings that you should never enter alone, there are several that are less so, and even some that are more fun when going alone. However, churches are not at all part of this group.
Just from a structural standpoint, many abandoned churches are extremely dangerous to enter, even with someone else. Because churches are large and open, they tend to deteriorate quickly while letting in almost no fresh air or light. This means that after only a few months, some parts can become unstable and dangerous.
This is compacted further by some abandoned churches not being maintained even when operational. An abandoned church was never left empty overnight, and many times they will still have all the pews and other items in them that churchgoers used while it was active. This lends perfectly to the atmosphere you will find in a church but also means that if you go alone and get hurt, no one will know about it.
Having someone there to help you or call for help will mean your abandoned church exploration will be much safer and enjoyable.
Don’t break anything
Sometimes, things break, especially if no one has walked or used them for a long time, which is something that can be accepted as you explore an abandoned church. However, you should never willingly go into a church in search of something to break.
Remember, many times, someone still owns the church, and damaging the property will negatively affect the value of the building.
One of the creepiest things of some of the largest churches is the pipe organs that are built into them, which are usually left as is when a church becomes abandoned.
It may take months or even years for the owner to find someone willing to buy the organ, and in this time, the church could become a popular place for explorers to go. If the organ is damaged in any way, this can be disastrous to the owner, who may have been waiting for someone to buy it.
Many times the money made from selling a pipe organ can be enough to demolish abandoned churches properly, letting owners finally move on from what could have been a difficult time in their lives.
Never stay the night
As tempting and daring as it may seem to spend the night in an abandoned church, it is never recommended. I would even advise not to stay the night in a newly abandoned 5 star hotel. The accumulation of gas, bugs, and animals, or other explorers can all pose a serious threat to your safety.
Further, if you are caught sleeping in an abandoned church, you may be arrested and accused of things you had no idea was even possible. Many times abandoned churches are used for rather unsavory rituals by the some more fringe people of society. Police prefer not to ask and will charge you with trespassing rather than risk something odd happening in creepy places.
There is also the danger of being attacked by homeless people, the owner, or any kind of animal in the area, while you are asleep. These dangers should never be taken lightly and should be at the front of your mind whenever you even think of exploring an abandoned location.
Be sure that it is abandoned
It may be shocking to know, but many times places that look abandoned are not.
This happens more often with larger places like churches than it would with houses. This is because the property may only be used by one last person or be maintained by someone hired specifically for that purpose.
Churches sometimes have clergymen and others that live in them even when the church no longer accepts Sunday service. When you encounter these people during your exploration of the not entirely abandoned church, you may find they are more freaked out than you are because of the surprising encounter. This is similar to suddenly finding someone walking through your house at 2 in the morning.
This can lead to you being attacked by their dog, accidentally being stabbed or even worse, shot, or just having the police called on you. Always make sure that a church, or any building, is abandoned before you decide to go exploring it.
Ask permission if possible
If you see that there is a security guard or lone groundskeeper at the church you are planning on exploring, it is always best to ask for permission. This may seem odd, but many times they will let you in and show you around the place.
The true goal of being an urban explorer is not just getting to places no one else can, but to learn the untold histories of forgotten places. Groundkeepers, clergymen, or owners can tell you some of the most amazing stories of the abandoned properties they tend.
No place has as many interesting, creepy, or fantastic stories as churches do.
Exploring abandoned churches is almost a right of passage for young urban explorers. Getting to see one of the most amazing but creepy places imaginable, where you will truly get to know the wonder and exhilaration of exploring places no one ever goes.
Go out and explore your abandoned church, just be sure nothing in the dark bites, maybe take more than one friend with you for this one!