The Carlton Sky Rink is the creepiest place I've ever seen.
If you're old enough you'll remember it differently, but today it manages to tick two boxes at once - rad party venue and the perfect spot to hide dead bodies.
It's rough around the edges but it's pretty much the same place it was when my parents used to skate there back in the day. It just looks like nobody did much since then besides rip out the ice and switch the lights off.
How do you get in? Apparently go to the Carlton Centre and just ask.
One security guard led us to the next. We went upstairs, we went downstairs, then back up and back down. All until a single guard, armed with handcuffs and two industrial-sized torches, finally led the way to a lift, pushed the 'Sky Rink' button and then fell silent, refusing to spill any juicy info about the abandoned place.
What's the big secret, guy?
The lift doors opened into pitch darkness and I couldn't help but picture this guard flipping 180 degrees from security officer to serial killer.
The darkness wasn't the creepiest part of it all though, that came a little later.
After waiting on our eyes to adjust to the darkness, the guard lurked in the background as we moved between cracked and broken bleachers, creeping deeper into the deserted first aid rooms, dodging broken glass and imagining what kind of music must have come out of the empty DJ booth. Then we laid eyes on the space where the ice used to be, now just a white track covered in skid marks.
How did those get there?
If you're an adrenalin junkie, listen up, because the guard did let this slip: just about anyone can drive up the outside ramp to do donuts on the old rink. That explains that mystery.
Even though I have none of my own, the sense of nostalgia this place conjures up is huge. Knowing that, it's sad that the Sky Rink only comes to life when a big brand feels like throwing a party here. One of two things needs to happen: bring back the ice or throw more parties, but don't let this venue go to waste.
Oh and, as for the creepiest part of this little adventure... On our way out, we stopped by what is definitely the most horror movie appropriate room of them all: the shoe room, filled to the brim with dusty unused ice skates. Or perhaps... murder weapons?
What? The Carlton Sky Rink
Where? Carlton Centre, 150 Commissioner Street, Johannesbur
Why? If you're up for something a little creepier, it's a freakin' abandoned ice rink!
Photographs by Dirk Chalmers
by Nicole Samakosky