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Stunning Abandoned Homes Are Surprisingly Full Of Life

03/06/2015 03:21 pm ET | Updated Oct 06, 2015

Abandoned homes are the kind of thing you typically only happen upon when your GPS leads you astray. Unless, that is, you're author Ransom Riggs, who's on a mission to find them.

As part of his sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Riggs wanted to "to find the kind of houses that were described in the pages of his [latest] book", according to the San Francisco Globe. But what he found proved to be a little less macabre.

"When he stepped into these abandoned homes, he discovered something he never expected to see," the Globe notes. "Some of these homes, empty for decades, were completely undisturbed. If not for the thick dust coating everything, it'd be as if they were still lived in."

While the homes aren't exactly livable, they are full of character. So Riggs reached out to photographer Martino Zegwaard. "I was contacted by Ransom after he found a photograph of mine, which he said is exactly how he imagined Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children," Zegwaard told HuffPost Home. From there, Zegwaard and Riggs set out on a four day road trip through Belgium and Luxembourg. Here's a look at what they discovered.

  • Martino Zegwaard
    "I still feel angry when I think back of the moment I stepped into this beautiful old mansion," Zegwaard writes of this home called Maison Souza. "Except for one room, everything was completely trashed and smashed to pieces."
  • Martino Zegwaard
    A look inside Maison Souza.
  • Martino Zegwaard
    "A small chapel with monastery in the middle of a small village," Zegwaard writes of this abandoned space in Italy.
  • Martino Zegwaard
    "We sneaked in an old abandoned monastery somewhere in Italy," Zegwaard says. "The inner courtyard was all overgrown and had two horse-drawn hearses dating back to the late 1800's."
  • Martino Zegwaard
    The hull of an old chapel.
  • Martino Zegwaard
    "Hard to believe that on either side of this house people are living," Zegwaard says of this home called House of Vanneste. "It can't be healthy if this is what it looks like at your neighbors."
  • Martino Zegwaard
    Another look at the interior of the House of Vanneste.
  • Martino Zegwaard
    "A small mill, hidden in the woods of Luxembourg. A great place, with beautiful decay and lots of personal stuff left behind by the owner(s)," Zegwaard says.
  • Martino Zegwaard
    According to Zegwaard, "This small castle is enclosed by the gardens of surrounding villas."
  • Martino Zegwaard
    ...And here's what it looks like from the outside.

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