Reading Between the Lines of the Profanity House

Creepy as #$&@

Creepy as #$&@.

Most graffiti you find in abandoned buildings is typical teenage nonsense rooted in age-appropriate angst, but there’s something darker and more menacing afoot in the ruins of the abandoned Rutherford Stuyvesant Estate in Allumuchy, NJ. Here, the writing on the wall (and the floorboards, carpets, doors, drawers, siding, and ceilings) reads like the raving of a madman—a troubled soul racked with such incalculable rage he created a monument to his own foul-mouthed fury. This is not your run-of-the-mill teenage rebellion.  This is the Profanity House

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Kitchen cabinetry greatly increased the surface area of this room, and the perpetrator had a field day.

To find it, take a dirt lane off a country road til you reach the remnants of a regal old gate, recently stripped of its intricate wrought-iron bars.  From there, it’s a short walk to the base of a hill where you’ll catch your first glimpse of the house, which proves to be not a single structure, but a collection of several residences, barns, and farm houses that once made up a working component of the sprawling Stuyvesant Estate.

The name will ring a bell for most New Yorkers, and anyone familiar with Bed-Stuy, Stuy Town, or Stuyvesant High School. The Stuyvesants were, in fact, the ancestors of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Director General of New Netherland before it was ceded to the English in 1664 and renamed New York. At the turn of the twentieth century, Rutherford Stuyvesant expanded the family’s New Jersey estate, called Tranquility Farms, to include 5,000 acres of land, including a 1,000 acre private game preserve. At the center of the operation was a 65-room mansion, which burned to the ground in 1959. In the 60s land was purchased by the state for highway construction, and later the expansion of Allamuchy State Park.  Tranquility Farm’s remaining structures have been slowly settling into the wilderness ever since. Just a few are still standing, and many collapsed into their foundations long ago.

Will Ellis_Abandoned NYC_Profanity House-3

The front entrance to the largest “Profanity House”

Be advised: if you’re sensitive to foul language, you might want to skip the rest of this article.

Inside, the Profanity House lives up to its name. On every accessible surface, an unknown penman commands a rotating list of men to commit unspeakable acts to each other, themselves, and their mothers. Harper, Larry, Nate, Elvin, Jack Palmer, Billy Hatley, and the rapper Eminem, for good measure, are invited to drink, eat, lick, cram, f***, and suck just about every appendage, orifice, and human waste product known to man and beast. The most common target is Mark, aka “Miss Mark,” who’s clearly the most detested of the bunch.  The obsenities range from the awkward and amateurish “LICK MY ASS HOLE YOU ASS HOLE,” “GO F*** YOURSELVES YOU F***ING SHIT ASSES,” to the inventive and virtuosic “YOU DRINK PANTHER PISS,” “EMINEM GETS F***ED UP HIS FILTHY DISEASED C**T BY QUEER BILLY GOATS WITH RABIES YOU MOTHER F***ING WORTHLESS C*** SUCKING PIECE OF C*** SUCKING SHIT.”  Well then.

Will Ellis_Abandoned NYC_Profanity House-7

He must have used a ladder to reach the side of this two story farmhouse.

Inside the largest house, the author rhapsodizes on the myriad surfaces of a kitchen cabinet, leading to a thrilling, and mystifying conclusion: “AND FINALLY YOU LICK THE SHIT AS IT SLIDES OUT OF A ZYZZYVA’S ASS HOLE, YOU STUPID C***SUCKER”  (For those that don’t know, the zyzzyva is an African species of weevil, but the word is better known as the last entry in most dictionaries.)  This line in particular gives me reason to believe there is more than meets the eye to the endless vulgarity.  Is there some alphabetic code to unlock the true meaning of all this? Is this diatribe really an incantation, more cryptic than it first appears, or have I been reading too much of the Southern Reach trilogy?

The longer you analyze the words, a picture of a truly disturbed young man comes into focus. Considering how he must have done it, spending days and nights in the woods alone, brooding over some slight or betrayal, venting his anger the only way it could find expression—there’s a sadness and desperation to it all. I, for one, wish him well, and can’t help but admire his commitment and marvel at the scale of his project.

With the sun setting and the shadows deepening, I took the trail back to the gravelly old Stuyvesant Road and headed to the highway, passing three or four more tumbledown houses I hadn’t noticed on my way in.  Through their boarded windows and gaping doors, I caught more words on the walls of the dark interiors, written in a familiar hand: “PALMER DRINKS WILDEBEEST WEE WEE THAT C***SUCKER.”  So I’d only scratched the surface of this bizarre manifesto; the rest would have to wait for another trip.

Click to enlarge and find your favorite obscenity:




30 thoughts on “Reading Between the Lines of the Profanity House

  1. An abandoned piano. With ivory keys, strings, pads. Name plate of the maker. No home for it? Why do we get so lost?

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Lasttime | 9-28-14., 8:09 pm
  2. WOWZA….Quite the find! Such angst in such an isolated spot. I would have loved to been there with you.


    Posted by Janet Hale | 9-29-14., 8:52 am
  3. So much pent up anger and hatred…


    Posted by aquaticbarefoot | 9-29-14., 10:03 am
  4. nice place for paintball would be 😉


    Posted by Best Abandoned Places Photos | 9-29-14., 2:55 pm
  5. Will, Another EXCELLENT post –both words and photographs. When is the new book arriving?


    Posted by LouAnne Brickhouse | 9-30-14., 11:51 am
    • Thanks LouAnne, this was a great day. The book is well on its way, just made the final corrections on the layout so I’m hoping before Xmas. You will definitely be hearing about it!


      Posted by Will Ellis | 9-30-14., 8:40 pm
      • Wow, Will, a book for Christmas!! I had no idea, but I know it will be top-notch with great photos, can’t wait…big time fan, please keep us in the loop.


        Posted by Frank | 10-3-14., 6:00 am
  6. Do you know if this place is still standing? I would love to photograph it, but it’s almost 3 hours away from where I live. I don’t want to get there to find an empty lot like I did with the Purgatory house!


    Posted by Brianna Lynn | 11-3-14., 1:52 pm
    • I was there only a couple of months ago, pretty sure its still there!


      Posted by Will Ellis | 11-3-14., 3:54 pm
      • Made my way out here today, and I can definitely say this was totally worth the two and a half hour drive. Thanks for sharing your post. If you hadn’t, I might not have ventured out there.
        Sometimes it’s sad to see places so tagged, but it works here in an eerie way. The non-stop words remind me so deeply of a person with bipolar disorder. You become manic, or depressed, or outraged, and sometimes you just can’t stop going and you just have to write. I’ve seen people write on their bodies, covering themselves in ink with their thoughts when I was in the hospital. I could almost see him sitting there doing the same on the walls. Regardless, the dedication is beautiful. I found another blog that says they have been there twice, and the boat is an addition. The boat that’s tagged in the same handwriting as the house. Whoever it is, they still come back.
        Love your page, thanks for sharing!


        Posted by Brianna Lynn | 11-5-14., 12:19 am
      • It is frightening to see them in a rage. I worked in a half way house for people moving from long term hospital care to re establish them in the real world. I had seen the aftermath of a manic phase but never one in real time. “John” was 6’6″ tall and came in at one time 275 lbs. A teddy bear most of the time. On the days he got his shot for the month you just left him alone. He snapped on day and started writing on himself. In around 15min he had covered his neck, chest, arms and face in written rage. What stunned me and still does to this day is how he did it. It was line after precise line. But it was in mirror print. If I had written it when you looked at it, it would have been upside down an bass akwards. Not him. It was looking at large type newspaper. He even had it going about 1/3 of the way around his side and onto his back. Sorry for rambling but seeing this brought it all back.


        Posted by gwenedgett | 8-19-15., 8:15 pm
  7. And second Bunker


    Posted by Ammie Oswalt | 1-15-15., 7:52 am
  8. the Graffiti in that house goes for miles and miles along an abandoned railway called the Lackawanna Cut Off – somewhat of an engineering marvel when it was built.From what I can remember..it started sometime around 1984.the farthest east I know it goes is into Dover,nj….from there all the way west to the Del.Water Gap.Every old building,bridge,sign..you name it had the painted on it.I’ll have to look for this place in my travels one day….

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Groby | 1-26-15., 9:18 pm
    • Believe it or not I used to live in the large home pictured there. Those buildings comprised a group of staff homes and support structures for the old mansion that burned down. I last lived there in 1979. I visited the property around 2003 when it had no graffiti and 2005 when it did.


      Posted by Anonymous | 4-24-15., 3:50 am
  9. Why are you so certain that the person is a man?


    Posted by Mimi | 5-31-15., 11:07 am
  10. This graffiti makes me envision a sort of dweeby guy in high school letting out his anger towards a group of bullies who all listen to Eminem, not unlike the bullies in my home town in the suburbs of Chicago actually.


    Posted by Max | 10-27-15., 9:29 pm
  11. Will, have you been back? I recently read about this place in Weird NJ and that’s how I came across your page. The dedication/commitment is extraordinary and the correct use of grammar is astounding. The “conclusion” comment about the zyzzyva leads me to believe too there is something more to this profanity than meets the eye and that this person is very intelligent. I found out by googling that “Yanotti” is a judge and Jack Palmer is a lawyer. Hmm…


    Posted by Algal | 1-3-16., 8:14 am
  12. I love your work, Will. This is the first I’ve been on your site and I’m hooked! I just Googled one of the graffiti words “BROLO” and found a few interesting things. (1) means brother-in-law in the urban dictionary, and (2) see also “BROLO DEVIANT ART”.


    Posted by HookEm | 3-22-16., 1:12 am
  13. This actually makes me truly wonder if the individual had Tourette Syndrome. The specific words and such. I myself have TS so its just something that automatically came to mind.


    Posted by Christina | 4-14-16., 11:30 pm
  14. Maya Angelou had to get her start somewhere I guess.


    Posted by Anonymous | 3-12-17., 8:26 pm
  15. The guy (I don’t think it was a lady) put in one hell of a lot of work and a considerable amount of time to do this. I think he must have had a van or truck to transport all the brushes, cans of paint, a ladder, etc. Moreover, he exhibited quite the profound artistic flair. I note that he very carefully used contrasting colors to get his points across.


    Posted by Robert | 11-29-17., 2:02 am
  16. I’ve found these people on Facebook.


    Posted by Anonymous | 1-6-18., 1:59 pm
  17. i first rode the lackawanna cuttoff in a railroad track car before the rails were removed in 1983 or 84 and this person had written on almost every structure on the line by then, i can recall my brother mentioning that this was just plain sick, in a RR switch shanty behind byram bus this was the most likely reason the johnsonburg station was demolished,i also saw it on the old railroad bridge in flanders since replaced, on the highbridge line in 1984 and i have a pic of it from that date, i believe he used a motorcycle to get around on, as the area he painted was immense, and it was unmistakable, all the same vulgarity and pennmanship, the last entry i saw was about summer 2015 at the johnsonburg station location, i hopped on cutoff there as i was on a street bike the cement station had been demolished, an attractive nusiance, and the only thing remaining to write on was a large 4×8 or so piece of door or plywood dumped illegially or maybe brought by him, propped up for all to see with his sick ramblings in red paint, and it looked to have been done very very recently, like a day or so ago,, the person is local to the netcong , byram area i feel as this area is heavely marked, the buildings are gone now i just traveled the road sunday dec27 2020, so the person was writing i know for sure from 1984 to 2015,, that’s a 30 year stretch from age 25 or so to age 55 or so, with the same vulgar flare


    Posted by walter antonik | 12-27-20., 2:03 pm
  18. Very cool….perhaps an artist?


    Posted by Gary Trujillo | 3-25-21., 1:18 am


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