In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the indie folk band, Good Morning Bedlam, talk about one of their crazy moments from touring. You can check out the feature, after the break.
When we embarked on our trip across the East Coast, we were not expecting a good deal of comfort. We were prepared for the worst. Our tents were packed in case of finding ourselves in a new city with no home to sleep and as for the few people who had agreed to house us, we couldn’t be sure what they had in store. A few of us having some brief and odd Midwestern tour experience, we imagined sketchy homes that reeked of alcohol and other recreational substances, and things that go bump in the night, or perhaps with luck, a few nice basement floors to set up our sleeping bags for the night.
What we never expected was the initial good luck and interesting generosity that we encountered. We didn’t go one night without some friend of a cousin’s neighbor welcoming us into their home, and every place we stayed seemed nicer than the next. From a Chicago apartment owned by Grandpa Leo, who served us pots of steaming green tea in his Japanese wife’s old beautiful tea sets, to a jazz pianist’s mansion, to a family built house with a giant sweet monster cat, and a woman who cooked us gourmet meals, to another bigger mansion… We had never expected such luxury and kindness. We were living the high life, feeling good, comfortable and safe every night, that is until that one fateful night in Buffalo.
We hadn’t had a place to stay that night and figured we’d be pitching a tent or getting a cheap motel. But after some scrounging about on social media, we got a bite. A nice church pastor contacted us and said he’d be happy to let us into the church that night. He’d give us the keys, and there were a few bunk beds and showers. He seemed such an average man, cheery, the normal cargo pants and baseball cap of a pastor off duty, almost Midwestern in his demeanor.. and we were taken in. But this seemingly kindly pastor failed to mention one thing, the place he was sending us… Was a huge abandoned catholic school… AND WAS TOTALLY HAUNTED!
(Now you may not believe in ghosts, and the band’s view on the subject is scattered but if you were there with us that night there would be no question in your mind that at least one place in the world is haunted, and it is this place.) We arrived there late after a none too enjoyable show. We were tired , it was one in the morning, and we were ready to sleep. But when we drove up to the address we were given, a creeping confusion nudged us awake. The place looked like it had jumped out of a classic Scooby Doo haunted mansion story- rickety wooden panels, spires topped with crosses, stained glass windows, foggy with age, and it looked like it had gotten burned in a fire. Noah,our banjo player, looked around and said jokingly, “ It looks haunted!” We all chuckled a bit, but the joke died quickly as we pulled in by the church doors, illuminated by our head lights near a pile of rubble was an old Winnie the Pooh teddy bear lying face down directly in front of us. After a few nervous laughs, we grabbed our backpacks and headed into the dark. The church door opened onto a long dark hallway. We turned on our phone flashlights and began our journey. In a tight clump we headed down the hall, and as we looked around at the foggy windows and up gray staircases my flashlight fell on something strange.I gasped,and the others turned. They gasped. In the shadowy light, it looked as if a hand was lying alone on the tile floor. It turned out only to be a stiff rubber glove but for some reasons it still gave us shivers, with imagining why it just was left there, who left it, what were they doing…of course, it was 1 in the morning and we were tired…it was just a building.
We climbed up the 2 flights of stairs to the hallway where our bunk beds would be. The hallway was shadowy too and filled with broken stuff. The thick windows cast strange reflections. And as we slowly walked down the hall we looked into the old classrooms- one had rows of old desks and chairs sitting empty in the dark, one had odd covered piles that cast shadows on the creaky walls and in the corner sat an old wooden cross, lying sideways in the back of the room. In one room beyond the small plastic chairs arranged in strange shapes,was a white board, with pictures… Pictures like a man staring forward with black eyes, oversized hands and feet, and pointed demonesque teeth, and a singular strange face with horns, a long smile and scribbled blotches of eyes. Still, it was only an old school building. In our room were rows and rows of plain rickety bunk beds. And somehow when we each claimed a bunk bed and a majority sat unused. The empty ones seemed hauntingly not empty. On our wall was posted a sign detailing how to resuscitate a choking victim, which seemed not a coincident. We uneasily all started drifting to sleep, and when all was quiet and we were nearly sleeping our door suddenly shook violently. Our hearts all simultaneously jumped into our throats. And we turned like deer in headlights to look to the door.
While all these things could be passed off to our exhaustion, love of horror movies and overactive imaginations, the next morning two of our own decided to explore, and the things they found were as frightening in the daylight as in the dark. Of course, Jonny(our bass player) and Tori(our lead guitarist’s wife) decided to go into the basement. There in the dank basement, they found a closet which when opened contained stacks of broken porcelain Jesus statues and crucifixes. Plodding on, they went down another flight of stairs and at the bottom, lying there in the dark they made out a strange shape. It was a cardboard clown cutout lying at the bottom of the staircase smiling up at them. In the boiler room under a chair lay a white mask for reasons unexplained.
The abandoned Catholic school church looked as frightening by light as by dark when we finally left it the next morning. But this time, we were filled with relief rather than a sense of dread. The classic scenes that hit on every horror movie theme out there remain unexplained, but we have discussed creeping suspicion that some nice, seemingly innocent Midwestern-like pastor who decided to have some fun with that stupid band who agreed to stay at an abandoned Catholic school, is laughing at us somewhere as he imagines that silly band that took his offer to stay at an abandoned church. Either that or he is back in his churchy home, haunting the halls himself.
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