Exploring what’s on the other side!

Gore Orphanage

We moved a temporary “bridge out” sign so we could drive our car across. Clearly, the bridge was not out, but we were, for a good time.

We had driven well across rural Lorain County, a route so many teens have come to know. Mike and Bobby had the munchies. We pulled off at a rickety old roadside store and they went inside.

“Look, is that someone leaning out of the window above the store?” asked one of the girls in the backseat.

I rolled the window down.

“Do-o-o-on’t go-o,” the stranger lobbed down to us.

We looked at each other inside the car. When we looked back up, the stranger in the window was gone.

“What the hell was that?” asked one of the girls sitting behind me.

Surely it was just some guy having fun with us.

Mike and Bobby jumped back in the car. They didn’t believe a word out of our mouths about the stranger in the window.

Eventually, we arrived at a desolate country road which led down a steep, narrow hill. We noticed but ignored the “no trespassing” signs riddled with bullet holes. Near the bottom of the hill, there was a turn-off to the left that veered so sharply it was difficult to see. This offshoot was even steeper and narrower and led to blackness. Our other option was to continue on the main route and ascend up the other side.

We chose blackness.

With windows rolled down on a crisp night, we listened as we puttered up to “heartbeat bridge.”

“Kill the engine!”

We listened. Then, we got out and leaned against the metal bridge.

“I heard it.”

“Me too.”

“I didn’t hear **it.”

The legend was that long ago, there was an orphanage that burned to the ground taking with it dozens of kids. If you listened closely, you could hear their faint cries echoing through the valley. Oh, and if you turned your car off on heartbeat bridge, it wouldn’t restart until you pushed it off. So, we intentionally left it out of gear to spook the girls. They even gave it a try before we pushed it to the other side. Wouldn’t you know it, it started right up. You could probably catch us winking and smirking at each other on the sly if you were looking in the rear-view mirror.

We continued down the all but forgotten road, winding around a bend one way and then back another before pulling over to park.

“They say the foundation of the orphanage is that way,” Mike said, pointing a flashlight in the direction of the trailhead, where the woods met an open field.

Before going there, we ventured up the road on foot. There was a lonely house at the end of a long wooded driveway.

“Holy crap! Someone lives down here!”

Uphill, around a bend, the road was barricaded. We went back to the car.

“Oh no, cops!”

“Those aren’t cops, they’re teenagers.”

And they led us to the foundation. At the tree line was a lone pillar. Large graffiti warned, “You are now entering Hell.”

We sat on the remaining foundation blocks and befriended the new carload of strangers. They decided to leave before us but we weren’t far behind.

As they drove away, I went for some kicks. I threw my flashlight as hard as I could, end over end, high over their windshield, freaking them out. They sped off. Pleased with myself, I ran, laughing, to pick up my flashlight. Within minutes, it died. Worse, unbeknownst to me, my car keys bounced out of my unzipped jacket pocket.

We knew we were up a creek without a paddle after our failed attempts to search for the lost keys. The other flashlight went dead. So, Mike and I left Bobby with the girls and went to the old house to ask for batteries or a flashlight. It was pretty late at night.

A freak rain shower drove down upon us forcing us to return to the car. Everyone bitched up a storm.


“What the …”

We were all staring out of the back window at an old-looking pickup truck pulling off the road near our car.

“Get down.”

Peeking over the back seat, we all witnessed a man jump from the truck. He was carrying something long. He let three dogs out the passenger door and they all ran into the field together and out of our sight.

“What do we do?”


“What the hell was that?”

“Was that a gunshot?”

“Here he comes!”

The man emerged with two dogs, hopped in his truck and motored away.

When we finally peeled ourselves from the floor mats, the rain had stopped. It was past midnight. We were stranded …far from home.

Amazingly, another vehicle appeared. No, it was two cars carrying more teenagers. They were locals. One agreed to drive me back to his parents’ house so I could call my mom. She would have to come out with a spare key.

“Now, listen carefully, Mom. At that point, you’ll have to get out and move a sign that says bridge out but don’t worry, you can cross. Ignore the no trespassing signs. Go down the road that looks like a car should not go down. It gets really steep and narrow …”

It was close to dawn when we got home. But it would be a long time before any of us saw the light of day again.

By Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!