It starts with a phone call made by a man who said his friend found a dead body in the elevator shaft of an abandoned building on the city’s west side. “He’s encased in ice, except his legs, which are sticking out like Popsicle sticks,” the caller phoned to tell this reporter.

Why didn’t your friend call the police?

“He was trespassing and didn’t want to get in trouble,” the caller replied. As it happens, the caller’s friend is an urban explorer who gets thrills rummaging through and photographing the ruins of Detroit. It turns out that this explorer last week was playing hockey with a group of other explorers on the frozen waters that had collected in the basement of the building. None of the men called the police, the explorer said. They, in fact, continued their hockey game.

Before calling the police, this reporter went to check on the tip, skeptical of a hoax. Sure enough, in the well of the cargo elevator, two feet jutted out above the ice. Closer inspection revealed that the rest of the body was encased in 2-3 feet of ice, the body prostrate, suspended into the ice like a porpoising walrus.

What happened to this person, one wonders? Murder in Motown is a definite possibility. Perhaps it was death by alcoholic stupor. Perhaps the person was crawling around in the elevator shaft trying to retrieve some metal that he could sell at a scrap yard. In any event, there the person was. Stone-cold dead.

Life and death in the big city.

Thanks, Mr. Justin




  1. bobbo says:

    Everyone involved seems to be acting reasonably. Whats the issue?

    Dead is dead. Be different if he was alive and moaning for help?

    I was in South Chicago walking from the last subway stop to the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum and came across what looked liked a bombed out neighborhood of abandoned buildings. Around one corner, a black kid popped his head out a window and ducked back in. Vandals I assumed. Then I came across a guy on the ground with pants torn and babbling somewhat incoherent ly. His legs were swollen and he looked to me like he really couldn’t walk and he needed help. I asked him if he wanted help, or should I call an ambulance for him. He said no. So I left him alone and continued walking to the museum.

    I’ve always felt I should have at least filed a report==but as you say, life and death in the big city. South Chicago==scary place. A japanese couple would not even leave the subway car they were so unnerved.

  2. pfkad says:

    I taught an A+ Certification class to adults at one of the larger non-profits in Detroit. I remember one of my students asking if he could miss a class to attend the funeral of his uncle who was killed stealing electrical wiring from an abandoned building. It seems the Public Lighting Commission had never gotten around to turning off the power. “Copper mining” is fairly common in this decaying city.

  3. Paddy-O says:

    What else would you expect in a city that elected Kwame as mayor?

  4. Jeebers says:

    Do you know how hard it is to get a good ice hockey game going?

  5. Mr. Fusion says:

    Sad to say but the decline in metal prices has helped stop “copper mining”.

    Even sadder is that the original discoverers of the body played hockey around the corpse. Truly sad.

  6. Ah_Yea says:

    Nice shoes.

  7. Mr. Fusion says:

    #6, Ah Yea,

    You like those? Well I found them in an old building. They were just sort of, sitting there. It isn’t like they were being used by anyone. Plus, I seriously doubt the original owner will miss them.

  8. Improbus says:

    “Why didn’t your friend call the police?”

    Everyone knows that no good deed goes unpunished. Especially when the police are involved.

  9. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    “Why didn’t your friend call the police?”

    It’s not as if he was going anywhere real soon.

  10. Ah_Yea says:

    #7, Fusion. LOL! How much?

  11. Otzi says:

    Heck, why not leave him there to be found by some future society in, say, 15,000 years?

  12. AC_in_Mich says:

    But the rest of the story is even better

    The Reporter Has to Call the Cops THREE times over two days before they get there

  13. Steve says:

    Seems like we’re going to get nonchalant stepping around dead bodies just like they’re passed-out homeless guys. It’s a beautiful world we live in.

  14. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz says:

    I called police because my neighbor house was getting rob!
    Then I was labeled Witness and I have to miss a few day of work, meeting with police talking about it. Then I have to go to court 3 time because one of the thieve got a good lawyer.


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