Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Village of the Wolves


View Larger Map

What the hell?

First, photographer awayfromkeyboard mentioned "a trip to find a fabled cult-driven neighborhood called Village of the Wolves" in Flint.

Next, an anonymous reader added:

"Village of Wolves was a a bizarre agricultural community of sorts on Groveland and West Boulevard Drive. Tucked between junk yards, Eastern European Cemeteries, and a mobile home park its residents did seem a bit zombie like. A very strange place indeed, the farms and graveyards were just a few of the draws. The dirt roads were used for dumping all manner of detritus, dead dogs and the occasional human included. Grave desecration, prostitute sex, makeshift shanty construction, and ditching stolen cars were also popular VOW activities.

"Today VOW is quite a bit different. The roads are paved, a barrier has been erected to prevent through traffic, the flooding problem has been fixed, the makeshift shelters are gone, and a number of the houses have been torn down. Part of the Flint River Bike Trail now courses through the portion of Riverside Park that abuts the neighborhood."


I’ve never heard of this place in Flint. There's nothing about it on the web. I demand more information.

UPDATE FROM MOOKIE:

"Wow! Talk about a weird place. I always knew it as VOTW and thought that my friends (known as the Jew Crue) had christened it that, so it was cool that someone else used that title. It was a weird place all right. For starters, it was a horseshoe street but both ends had a sign that said "Dead End." We had many adventures in that place, including propping dead dogs up in various disturbing poses and interacting with the people that lived there (if you could call them people or that living.)

"I always wondered about the lives of the people that lived there and was always amazed that there was so much trash along the road. Maybe the trashmen were afraid to go back there, but we never were. We were simply fascinated, and bored. It was definitely a place that defined Flint for me during the time I was growing up there.

"Actually at the time I knew it it was not a "neighborhood" in the classical sense like Mott Park or East Village. There were a collection of trailers, woods, and cemetery but no solidly built housing. You would of course drive in off of Dort but then park and roam. It was always this very mysterious place, in that no one knew why the things that were there were there (dead dogs included). The people that were there definitely had this "mutant" feel to them. I think that danger came from the mystery and never knowing if the residents would go Dawn of the Dead on you. As Smurfs Inc said, imagination definitely played a part, but there was a reality of a really messed up [place] that was just under the surface.

"If you are confused, all the better because I think that anyone who has ever experienced that area has walked out of there a little confused themselves."




26 comments:

  1. Hey Gordon, Smurfs Inc here. Forgot my password so I hadta write a slew of anonymous posts.

    Anyhoo, my pals and I christened that neighborhood "Village of Wolves"(no "the" and really, no idea why it was given that name) sometime during the late 80s.

    Two of my friends' fathers would jog 5 miles every morning. Their goal was to cover every mile of every road in Flint. The Urinal even wrote an article about them. Both dads agreed that Groveland was the weirdest stretch of Flint they had seen.

    The place was quite odd, but looking back I think our imagination infused it with more weirdness than was really there. Then again, one time when we were goofing around back there the cops pulled up and told us to leave- it was a VERY unsafe area. Never before or since has the FPD ever said something like that to me, and I've hung out in some pretty seedy neighborhoods.

    Other VOW stories? Hmmmm.

    - One time we ran into a few scary metalhead accquaintances in the VOW. They were riding dirt bikes and dragging a length of steel cable. Seems they were looking for people to clothesline.

    - Davison based goth band Red Thread stole the big shiny Jesus off of the 10 foot tall crucifix in All Saints cemetary.

    - A story related to me by a Carpenter Road Elementary School teacher revealed that a child molestor named "Bobo" lurked in Riverside Park.

    - Cars would occasionally get stuck in the wet mud near the curve where Groveland meets Boulevard Dr. Kinda scary amidst the dead dogs, zombies, and police line tape. One dude I know could not get his big ass pickup out. I still can't remember how he freed it. The road was so deteriorated that it was not even as wide as a car. You could only drive half of your car on the actual road surface.

    - On the infrequent visits where we would actually see the residents, we were usually quite freaked out. They seemed hollow-eyed, gaunt, and of undetermined racial origin. Maybe it was the same two people we saw over and over again or MAYBE a cult of inbred zombie farmers lived there.

    So, there ya go.

    Yeah, y'know I have no idea who awayfromthekeyboard is. I assume he must know some of my old Flint pals. I dunno how else he could have heard about the VOW. I'd like to know if he ever found it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Northeast Flint and surrounding environs always used to give me bad vibes. Others who have said they feel the same way. Bad mojo. Must of been an ancient Indian burial ground or the site of a UFO landing or the dumping grounds of a satanic serial killer cult or...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! Talk about a weird place. I always knew it as VOTW and thought that my friends (known as the Jew Crue) had christened it that so it was cool that someone else used that title. It was a weird place all right. For starters, it was a horseshoe street but both ends had a sign that said "Dead End." We had many adventures in that place, including propping dead dogs up in various disturbing poses and interacting with the people that lived there (if you could call them people or that living.) I always wondered about the lives of the people that lived there and was always amazed that there was so much trash along the road. Maybe the trashmen were afraid to go back there, but we never were. We were simply fascinated, and bored. It was definitely a place that defined Flint for me during the time I was growing up there.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Okay, I'm still a little confused. This is a regular Flint neighborhood with houses and everything, right? Is the weirdness/danger from the residents? Or was there some sort of homeless population in the woods? And what's with the dead dogs? And why is everyone hanging out in there? And how exactly do you hang out there...drive around in cars or roam the cemetery or venture into those woods near the river? I'm still confused.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Actually at the time I knew it it was not a "neighborhood" in the classical sense like Mott Park or East Village. There were a collection of trailers, woods, and cemetary but no solidly built housing. You would of course drive in off of Dort but then park and roam. It was always this very mysterious place in that no one knew why the things that were there were there (dead dogs included). The people that were there definitely had this "mutant" feel to them. I think that danger came from the mystery and never knowing if the residents would go Dawn of the Dead on you. As Smurfs Inc said, imagination definitely played a part, but there was a reality of really messed up that was just under the surface. If you are confused, all the better because I think that anyone who has ever experienced that area has walked out of there a little confused themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  6. VOW was like a little slice of "Deliverance" set in depressing late 80s Flint. There really wasn't (isn't?) much for kids to do and if you weren't into drinking, drugging, fighting, or gangbanging, exploration was the next best option. VOW was always good for a an hour or so of amusement on a boring Saturday night, and of course half of the fun was the anticipation of what might happen.

    There were some halfway decent structures back there- a brick ranch, a few decent wood frame houses, and a pole barn. Last time I cruised through it looked like some of the homes had actually been remodelled.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Smurfs Inc is right, exploration was a great option for passing the time. I ran into a documentary entitled "Echoes of Forgotten Places: Urban exploration, industrial archaeology, and the aesthetics of decay" While it has nothing to do with Flint it did remind me of high school. Also...Smurfs Inc-who are you cause I'm betting I know you and have a few guesses as to your identity. If I do then you'll know who I am by my posting name. Drop me a line at poetryman1972@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. During my years as a Flint Journal police reporter I was actually in this neighborhood twice on bodies that were found dumped there.
    Never heard of the VOW designation before, but come to think of it, it fits.
    In general, the East side of Flint provided many more challenges than any other neighborhoods in the city.
    In fact, the only time I was physically attacked as a reporter, other than a close call at the Croation club on Dort Highway, was on Minnesota.
    Eastsiders were always more unfriendly to the press than anyone else in the city.
    Can't say I always blamed them, just sayin'

    Jim

    ReplyDelete
  9. Where off of Dort was this? I thought I knew most nooks and crannies in Flint but I have never heard of a place such as this. I agree with Smurf's - that end of town gave me the heebeejeebee's too. Never could put my finger on it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've been there - I know Mookie. Those people were mutants. It was terribly frightening to see tons of dead dogs frozen in the ground, police tape surrounding some woman's clothing, a HUGE pit with children's toys and clothes in it - never saw any kids there...

    I was also around when Rick got his truck stuck in the "mud". It was more like toxic cement goo. I also saw a manhole type thing in the mud where someone had spraypainted the words KKK Boss Hog on it. What does that mean?

    I was also there when the police refused to get out of their vehicle, but told us through some kind of megaphone to leave the area because it was too dangerous, mentioning something about Satanic cults hanging out there. Then they promptly drove off without bothering to see if we would actually leave.

    I recently (summer 2008)went back for a visit and it is different...a bike path, huh? I like how all along the bike path are signs that read, "Caution, Sanitary Sewer". I developed huge red welts under my armpits after visiting there. It took 1 month for them to go away. I will never go back. It's toxic there.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was JC. It was called VOTW because of the all the dead dogs that got depositing there from Dog fights. I remember KKK BossHog.

    For Hire

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michelle, thanks for the comment. And my apologies for the tone of this post. It was a little unclear to me that there were houses in this area when I first saw the references to it. I'd never even heard of this area or the wolves designation. It sounds like maybe people dumped things in the area simply because it was rural and out of the way. Glad you had a happy childhood there. On google streetview, it looks like a typical suburban area now. Curious when you lived there? And thanks again for your thoughts.

      Delete
  13. Just WONDERING WHY my comment DEFENDING my Childhood Home was not posted?
    VOTW aka Groveland Ave?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I moderate comments. They don't get posted automatically. Your comments are both up now.

      Delete
    2. I DO remember vehicles getting stuck, down where the 2 roads joined together (Groveland & Boulevard).It WAS like a BOG, down there! When I was little, we all just called Boulevard Dr., "River Road".

      Delete
  14. Gordon, PLEASE, Don't apologize, it's not Your fault! (People referring to the neighborhood, as VotW.) At first it hurt me, but now, I can see the humor in it. But if I HAD known, way back then, when I saw new people coming down the road, I could've stumbled & staggered out of my yard, as if I WERE a zombie, Ha-Ha! But, seriously, the only "strange" things that I can remember, was the time some teen-agers came down from those trailer parks, and tried to steal veggies from my Grandpas garden. My cousin, David Mooney, & my Grandpa, chased those kids all the way down Groveland Ave., THROUGH the 3 cemeteries, and back into the T. parks! I'll be honest, at night, cars would drive up to the cemeteries, someone would call police, and usually it WAS a guy with a prostitute! I'm not sure what people meant by "dead dogs", and stuff, but I think You hit the nail on the head, when you said, "dumping because it was an isolated, rural area". Even though technically "in the city", of Flint, I got to grow up "out in the country". It really WAS Beautiful!!

    Thanks for the kind replies, Gordon. Btw, I lived there from 1959-1973, maybe 74. I went out to Skateland Arena every Sunday pm. Wonder if I knew "Redgirl"?

    Sincerely,

    Michelle

    ReplyDelete
  15. If I remember right, there was the "City Dump", down at the end of Groveland, where the 2 roads met? Maybe that's why there were animals dropped there? Sad.

    Michelle

    ReplyDelete
  16. Gordon, is there ANY way that you could delete my post, where I referred to people as "morons" and "idiots"? I feel REALLY awful about that, now! I was just very hurt. After I thought about it, I realized that these folks were JUST LIKE ME, I LOVED to explore, too! I knew the Magic of VotW, but since those people didn't LIVE there, they saw it in an entirely different
    light!!So, as stated, I feel awful about that, now. I would LOVE to correspond with others on Flint Expats, if they want to know anything about VotW, Ha-Ha!!!

    Thanks Much, for putting up my other comments, Gordon. I LOVE that you are DOING this!! I still live in Flint, (unfortunately!)but it's SO MUCH FUN to go back, & revisit the "Good ole days"!!! (I just turned 57)

    Sincerely,

    Michelle

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey, when I was Very little, my Grandpa, who had lived on Groveland Ave. since about the 1920s!(I GUESS)He used to tell me Stories about that area. The so-called Village of Wolves, Ha-Ha! He said, that WAY BACK in the 20s and 30s, there was a "dance-hall"/"juke-joint", back in the woods, right on the banks of the Flint River. He said it was just off of Boulevard Dr., just past where the two roads met. I THINK the path back to the old place, was where those tree trunks had been chopped down, and laid across, blocking cars from going down the path. I have ALWAYS wanted to go back there, & explore, but being female, never really GOT to. I'm wondering if ANY of You, "Mookie","Smurfs Inc.", Anonymous, or ANYONE else got to explore back there in the woods, along the river?

    Thanks Much,
    Michelle

    P.S. I'd still Love to explore back there, but I would want to take my big dog along!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank You SO Much, Gordon!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I explored the woods extensively. West side had lots of garbage (actual bags), crime scene tape, a dried up retention pond, while the east bank of the river was actually quite bucolic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gar Ga Mel, Did you find anything like an old foundation, on the banks of the river, that COULD have been an old juke joint/ dancehall?

      Delete
  20. Thank You, Gar Ga Mel. But you didn't see any old foundations, that might've been an old dance-hall, or maybe an old outhouse ,or something? According to my Grandpa, it was ON or Very near the Riverbank. What years were you exploring back there? Lucky Guy!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I don't recall any, but if you look on Google maps there does appear to be a squareish clearing in the woods that might very well be the foundation you speak of.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank You, Boss Hogg! I 'll Definitely check that out!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting.
www.teardownbook.com