The author Ransom Riggs just got back from the strangest trip of his life. He flew from Los Angeles to Europe to road trip with urban explorer and photographer Martino Zegwaard. Their mission? To break into the long-abandoned homes across Europe and film the inside of their spaces.
So why did an author travel all the way from LA to Europe to break into abandoned castles and chateaus?
Riggs wanted to understand what it was like for the families that lived there. He wanted to explore the clues left behind like old clothes, children’s toys, and old handwritten notes – like pieces to a puzzle.
Although Riggs is technically trespassing, that’s the exciting part of urban exploration. Besides the risk of arrest, explores like Riggs and Zegwaard risk exposure to asbestos and other environmental hazards.
One of Riggs main motivations to explore these abandoned chateaus was to give his novel “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” a more realistic setting.
“There’s a certain indefinable look that these old houses in Europe have,” Riggs wrote on Mental Floss, “that’s difficult to find in America.”
Riggs and Zegwaard documented their trip on video (below). Riggs also wanted to show that although these places are abandoned, they’re beautiful in their unique way.
“These houses aren’t graves,” Riggs says. “They’re secret histories, waiting to be read.”
Watch the video tour below to see the old houses!
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