Far from Home

Exploring the Abandoned Skinner House

By Sean and Amanda

There’s a knock at the door, but nobody answers. The sounds echo through the house’s empty rooms. There’s a hole in the roof that will never be fixed. Birds and wildlife come and go through it as they please. The old shed collapsed years ago. It lies in ruin beside the decaying barn. An old car sits in the driveway. The tires have been flattened over time. Wild vines have started to take it over. Blocked in behind it sits an old truck. Its original color and model name have become unrecognizable. If these old walls could talk, I don’t think they would talk at all. I think they would scream. They would scream because they have seen too much, and they’ve had to go through it all alone. They would cry out in pain and anguish, because whoever once called this place home clearly left a long time ago. This is the Skinner House.

Down a back country road in a forgotten part of a little town lies an old house. Who lived there? How long has it been abandoned? Why was this house left to rot? We don’t know. And in fact, nobody around here seems to. The neighbors of this place were either no help or could not be reached for comment. What we can tell you about the Skinner House is that it has clearly been empty for many years. To be perfectly clear, we can neither confirm nor deny that it is in fact called the Skinner House. It has earned this nickname due to the fact that it sits right on the corner of Shoddy Mill Road and the windy Skinner Road in Bolton, Connecticut. It is barely a mile from the border of rural Andover, Connecticut and a stone’s throw from the heavily trafficked Route 6A.

I drive past the Skinner House almost every day on my way to and from work. It took me awhile to even notice that it was in fact abandoned. No offense to the people that live in these rural towns, but most seem to have at least one house that is not very taken care of. But after weeks of driving past this old house in the early mornings and late afternoons, I began to notice things. I never saw a single person come or go from it. There was never a light on inside of it. The two broken down cars in the driveway never moved. Every single day passing by it, the house seemed to be sitting there frozen in time. Nothing ever seemed to change. Using our standard methods of preparing for an investigation, (see The 5 Rules), I found absolutely no information on the house. It had simply been forgotten.

So during a chilly winter day in December, we decided to go have a look around. The Skinner House isn’t too difficult to find. It is nestled at the crossroads of a nice little neighborhood and a backcountry road. As stated earlier, it is almost right on top of the border between the towns of Bolton and Andover. It stands right next to a small bridge covering an even smaller stream. Just in case there actually was someone living there, we didn’t just pull up the driveway. There is a little spot beside the bridge that we could easily pull up to. The Skinner House is actually a good sized building, with at least two floors. There is also a large barn standing beside the street. The remnants of what looked like a shed or even a smaller barn lay next to that. Behind the house is just wild trees and wilderness.

Not only did we find not a single sign of life, but we also didn’t find a single NO TRESPASSING sign. There was nothing here. In the woods behind the house, there were plenty of signs warning off any potential hunters or fishermen. But no such signs were posted on the property itself. After a quick look around and a knock on the old door, it became perfectly clear to us that this wasteland was indeed abandoned. Inside of the house, there was nothing but trash left behind. And in fact, the caved in roof and the old floor boards are so unstable that we did not even go inside. To do so would be incredibly dangerous. We also found evidence of some sort of large animal, or animals, taking up residence inside the old house. Even though there are no KEEP OUT signs, it is best to do so.

What we found most interesting about the abandoned Skinner House were the cars that had been left behind. They sit alone in the driveway, with brush and foliage all over them. In the front is an old red Mercury sedan. Its tires are flat, but it could still be in salvageable shape. Blocked in behind it is an old truck. This thing was so old and beat up, we couldn’t even tell what Make or Model it was. It is now just a rusty hunk of metal. Remarkably, we didn’t find much of any vandalism on the property. None of the windows on the house have been smashed, there was no liter on the grounds, and we didn’t find any graffiti. Inside the house may be a different story though. The barn is in just as poor shape as the house. Paint is slowly chipping and the wood frame is rapidly decaying. On a lighter note, we did find a family of rabbits now occupies the old barn.

The Skinner House is by far one of our more unique investigations. Not only did we not find any information at all about this place, but it seems like it has been relatively left alone in its state of decay. Not a single FOR SALE, NO TRESPASSING, or KEEP OUT sign can be found on the property. With the cars still in the driveway, it seems like people just got up and left one day. Nature now rules this place. The wild now lives where humans once did. Though the house still stands, it is far from a home. We are still left to wonder why the Skinner House was abandoned. And what happened to the people that lived there.

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