Phone room still running in abandoned building

Originally published at:


Cntrl, Alt, Delete.


I definitely saw this building in the Pripyat level of STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl.


Recently was told that a BBS still sits in an nearly abandoned cellar of a well-known research institution, running on a machine with MS DOS 6.22. The local IT knew about it, at the time. It is still working. And I doubt the local admin has any idea, today…


ISTR an apocryphal story about a US Army base that was being closed in Germany.
There was some unidentified telecom equipment in one building. The people in charge tried to contact everyone that it might belong to but nobody seemed to know anything about it. So they resorted to cutting the power to see who complains. Come to find out it was a link on the hotline connection between the White House and the Kremlin.


In the 1970’s The US Army was trying to use eminent domain to absorb land around Ft. Hood, Texas. Even then, it was the largest military base in the US in terms of size.

One incident that was used to shut it down was an attack helicopter live-fire exercise that got shut down because there was apparently an armored unit maneuvering in the same area.

There was supposed to be no one else in that area. It turns out it was a baker’s dozen Korean war era armored vehicles that had been parked and abandoned 20 years before.

Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen was reputed to have said something like, “if you have enough land to lose a company of tanks for 20 years, you have enough room.”


There Will Come Soft Rains


Even when I unplugged it… the phone continues to ring!


I can see that place becoming quite popular as a destination for vintage gaming LAN parties.

… actually maybe not.


I recall a version of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy where Ford Prefect hacks a long distance sub-ether call to an Earth speaking clock recording from a Sirius Cybernetics line. The idea was that the eventual bill for the call would bankrupt the company.



Secret government project running Windows 95… sounds about right. It was all rather creepy though. Assuming the building has been abandoned long enough that WIN 95 was running on the console, it’s pretty strange the power is still on and the PBX is up and running. Someone must still be paying the bills.


Gee, I hope he made it out without being killed. [/s]

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Tomorrow I go into a 5 story defunct shoe factory, closed in the 80s. For work. :smiley:

I get this feels about once or twice a month, in person. Well said @beschizza


Not to worry comrade… we know who you are.

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It would have been interesting to take a copy of the hard drive to examine, but probably awkward to do. Even if the machine had USB ports, Win95 would need a driver to talk to it.

Insert floppy 1…
Insert floppy 2…


the HTTP 500 code is coming from inside the house


Bring a screwdriver, a PATA drive and cables, and a disk cloning live CD. Not really any other way to do it that won’t take forever.

ETA: make sure the PATA drive is less than 32gb or the BIOS might not see it. An old SSD and a SATA->PATA adapter might be in order since finding a working 32gb PATA hard drive that isn’t on death’s door can be a challenge these days.

OTOH, if you want to be authentically retro, with a parallel port iomega zip drive and a stack of disks (don’t forget drivers for it on a floppy), you’ll only be at it for a few hours instead of days with 3.5" floppy disks.

ETA2: if the site’s internet connection is still live (no reason to think not since they’ve still got live phones and power), the best/fastest option would probably be to upload your backup to an FTP site.


Macgyvering an 8-bit IDE port on RPi GPIOs wouldn’t be that hard, the driver would be more work. But, not exactly the stuff that an urban explorer usually has in their pocketses.

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he had lots of canon, that one