Reading Between the Lines of the Profanity House

There is something deeper and more ominous going on among the remains of the abandoned Rutherford Stuyvesant Estate in Allumuchy, New Jersey. The majority of graffiti you see in abandoned buildings is standard adolescent rubbish based in age-appropriate anguish. The writing on this wall (as well as the flooring, rugs, doors, drawers, walls, and ceilings) reads like the ranting of a lunatic—a tortured person so consumed by unfathomable hatred that he built a shrine to his own foul-mouthed rage. This is not your typical adolescent rebellion. The Profanity House is here.

Abandoned NYC Profanity House by Will Ellis
This room’s surface area was significantly enhanced by the kitchen cabinets, which gave the burglar a field day.

Take a gravel path off a rural road until you get to the ruins of a grand ancient gate that has lately been stripped of its elaborate wrought-iron bars to discover it. The house, which turns out to be not a single building but rather a collection of various homes, barns and farm cottages that previously made up a functioning component of the expansive Stuyvesant Estate, is visible as you arrive at the foot of a hill from there.

Most residents of New York will recognise the name, as would anybody who is acquainted with Bed-Stuy, Stuy Town, or Stuyvesant High School. Peter Stuyvesant, the final Director General of New Netherland before it was given over to the English in 1664 and renamed New York, was in reality descended from the Stuyvesants. 5,000 acres of property, including a 1,000-acre private wildlife preserve, were added by Rutherford Stuyvesant to the family’s New Jersey home, Tranquilly Farms, around the beginning of the 20th century. A 65-room house that burnt down in 1959 served as the operation’s hub. The state bought property in the 1960s to build highways and subsequently to expand Allamuchy State Park. Since then, Tranquilly Farm’s surviving buildings have been gradually blending into the surrounding nature. Few of them are still standing, and several have long since fallen into their foundations.

Abandoned NYC Profanity House, Will Ellis
The front entrance to the largest “Profanity House”

Be warned: the remainder of this post may offend anyone who are sensitive to language.

The Profanity House’s interior stands true to its moniker. An unidentified penman orders a revolving roster of men to do heinous deeds against one another, themselves, and their moms on any available surface. Every appendage, orifice, and human waste product known to man and beast are welcomed to be drunk, eaten, licked, crammed, fed, and sucked by Harper, Larry, Nate, Elvin, Jack Palmer, Billy Hatley, and rapper Eminem for good measure. Mark, called “Miss Mark,” who is undoubtedly the most despised of the group, is the target most often. The obsenities range from the awkward and amateurish “LICK MY ASS HOLE YOU ASS HOLE,” “GO F YOURSELVES YOU FING SHIT ASSES,” to the inventive and virtuosic “YOU DRINK PANTHER PISS,” “EMINEM GETS FED UP HIS FILTHY DISEASED CT BY QUEER BILLY GOATS WITH RABIES YOU MOTHER FING WORTHLESS C SUCKING PIECE OF C* SUCKING SHIT.” Okay, then.

Abandoned NYC Profanity House, Will Ellis
In order to get to the side of this two-story farmhouse, he must have utilised a ladder.

“AND FINALLY YOU LICK THE SHIT AS IT SLIDES OUT OF A ZYZZYVA’S ASS HOLE, YOU STUPID C***SUCKER,” the author concludes his lyrical ode to the kitchen cabinet’s many surfaces in the biggest home. (For those who don’t know, the zyzzyva is a type of weevil found in Africa; nonetheless, the term is better recognised as the word found at the end of the majority of dictionaries.) I’m inclined to think there’s more to the unending vulgarity than first seems, especially in light of this specific passage. Is there a secret alphabet that will reveal what all of this means? Have I been reading too much Southern Reach? Is this rant truly an incantation, more obscure than it first seems?

As you continue to consider the words, a picture of a very troubled young guy begins to take shape. There is a melancholy and desperation to it all when you consider how he must have done it—spending days and nights in the woods by himself, dwelling on some affront or betrayal, and letting out his rage in the only manner it could be expressed. I, for one, wish him luck and am in awe of both the scope of his undertaking and his dedication.

As the sun fell and the shadows grew longer, I followed the route back to the dusty old Stuyvesant Road and made my way to the highway, passing another three or four dilapidated homes that I had missed on the way in. I could make out additional phrases scribbled in a recognisable hand on the walls of the dark interiors through their boarded windows and open doors: “PALMER DRINKS WILDEBEEST WEE WEE THAT C***SUCKER.” The remainder of this strange manifesto would have to wait till I made another journey, since I had only scratched the surface.

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