Dark Tourism – Belgium Horror Labs

Dark Tourism – Belgium Horror Labs


The first time we visited the infamous Belgium Horror Labs, was a cold day in November with Danny, Ian and Helen, it was the reason for our trip, hearing many tales of pickled animals in jars, long forgotten and just rotting away in the basement in an abandoned veterinary school. It was to be my first trip away from the UK to see abandoned buildings, 2 days of road tripping around Belgium in search of abandonment and the horror labs was our number one stop.

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I think there must be something really dark in all our hearts, I think for me it was more inquisitive and surreal, cause you watch horror film after horror film, but it never feels real until you actually see something as horrific as a pig or dogs head floating around in yellowing formaldehyde.

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On my first visit we made a quick and easy entry and remained undisturbed for what must have been 3 hours, the first place we saw was the basement and nothing could have really prepared us for firstly the smell and secondly the creepiness, but also the surreality of the room with a beam of light pouring into the room to light it up like some twisted scene from Texas Chain Saw Massacre. We took a few of the heads upstairs to photograph in the light and explored the lecture theatre and some other rooms that contained different specimens all scattered around.

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The actual buildings were quite spectacular, dating from the early 1900’s they are Neo Renaissance Flemish style. The building was a veterinary school for many years until 1991 when they go up and left. It surprises me that the specimens are all left untouched. Its sad really and I think even though they helped the students in learning how to save animals, it is only right that they are removed from here and buried, instead of being left in a fetid cellar to rot be preserved in their horrific state forever.

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In July 2012 I made a second trip back to the labs, the other guys wanted to see it for themselves as they too had heard the tales but not seen it with their own eyes. We hadn’t been there long and me and Katie where in the basement, getting the one shot I wanted of the cellar light up by a ray of light. Soon we heard Danny shouting down to use to come right up and nothing couldn’t have prepared us for what was up there. Dawid on his knees and 10 armed Belgium police who also ordered us to our knees. Unfortunately due to the site being slap bang in the middle of a residential development, it was very hard to get in without being noticed by one of the residents, unfortunately for us the residents thought we were up to no good. Luckily the police saw our cameras and let us go immediately but nothing quite shakes you up then being held up my gun welding police. Poor Dawid was the one to get caught by them all, poor guy. I will never forget the experience of this place, if you held your eyes closed in that cellar, you could imagine your self right in the middle of a horror film, awesome stuff.

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Photo By Keitei

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  1. 1
    Tina Hyatt

    wow, I see what you mean by “Dark Tourism” now.. still I think these will be my favourites subjects of yours.. primarily cemeteries and burials, also old churches but, anything… well this is as far-removed from normal boring everyday life as one can get I imagine.. the palpability of the darkness is sure there in this series.. (according to spell checker, that’s not really a word but I like it so I’m going with it.. palpability..)

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