17 Photos Of Abandoned Places That Will Make You Shiver
There’s something about photos of abandoned places that really sends a chill down our spine. Perhaps it’s the idea that people can just up and leave a place without concerning themselves of who will take care of it. Or maybe it’s the thought that abandoned places hold the potential for strange things to occur without anyone knowing. Why was this place left like this? And if walls could talk, what stories would this structure tell?
We’ve compiled some truly terrifying photos of abandoned places from around the world that will creep you out and give you a feeling of uneasiness that you just can’t shake.
Unfortunately, because many of these abandoned places have been left to decay and be reclaimed by nature, local government has stepped in in many cases to tear the desolate structure down before someone got hurt. So if you have an “abandoned places bucket list,” make sure to only include those locations where the structure still exists.
Luckily, before those abandoned places were demolished or completely disintegrated into nothing, people took some amazing photos of them to commemorate what once was. As for those destinations that are still standing, if you plan to visit, please be careful and abide by the law.
But if you like to marvel at the spookiness that is abandoned places from afar, then get ready to be shaken. These photos are truly haunting.
1. Shicheng — Zhejiang Province, China
In 1959, the 600-year-old city of Shicheng was purposely flooded to make way for the Xin’an Dam in the Zhejiang Province of China.
About 300,000 former residents of Shicheng were relocated before the flooding. These people were forced to say goodbye to the place their families called home for generations.
Once Shicheng was submerged, it was promptly forgotten about until 2001, when the Chinese government hired divers to check out the lost city. In 2011, new photos of the underwater city were published in Chinese National Geography and Shicheng was dubbed the “Atlantis of the East.” Shicheng remains fully intact, and divers can explore its arches, statues, and architecture.
2. Holland Island — Chesapeake Bay
Before the United States of America actually became the United States of America, Holland Island in the Chesapeake Bay was settled by colonist Daniel Holland in the 1600s.
By the mid-19th century, the island was fairly populated, and by the early-20th century, it housed about 360 residents in 70 structures.
However, by 1914, residents of Holland Island began to notice that their shoreline was receding. Due to the makeup of the island’s soil — plus then-unrecognized global warming — Holland Island began to grow smaller and smaller, leaving residents with no choice but to demolish their homes and flee to the mainland. The last family to leave did so in 1918 after a detrimental tropical storm.
Despite efforts to preserve what was left, Holland was a lost cause. The last house sat on the remaining tiny plot of land until 2010 when a storm knocked it out.
By 2012, Holland Island was completely reclaimed by the Bay. It has disappeared without a trace. You can visit some abandoned places, but you won’t get to see what Holland Island was like in its creepiest days.
3. Jet Star Roller Coaster — Seaside Heights, New Jersey
The Jet Star Roller Coaster was one of Seaside Heights’ biggest attractions from the 1970s through the early 2000s.
But when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, the theme park ride was claimed by the Atlantic and sat abandoned on the shoreline for about six months. Photographers like Stephen Wilkes took advantage of the eerie visual of the roller coaster lost to the sea to raise awareness about climate change. In 2017, a new coaster, called Hydrus, took Jet Star’s place. It was built on the beach instead of the pier to prevent future collapse.
4. Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital — Beelitz, Germany
You say abandoned tuberculosis hospital, we say scary AF.
This facility in Beeliz, Germany, has a grand total of 60 outbuildings spread out over about 500 acres of land. That’s a lot of space for ill people to, well, die from their disease. Beelitz-Heilstätten was commandeered by German forces during both World Wars and used as a military hospital.
Hilter was actually treated for his wounds here during WWI.
When WWII rolled around, Hitler’s Nazi party returned to Beelitz-Heilstätten only to be kicked out by the Soviets in 1945. According to Atlas Obscura, parts of the hospital remains open and is used for neurological rehabilitation and Parkinson’s research. At least not all abandoned places lose use, even if their initial purpose was somewhat sinister.
5. SS Ayrfield — Sydney, Australia
This “Floating Forest” is one of the most beautiful and mysterious abandoned places.
Located in Sydney’s Homebush Bay, the SS Ayrfield is a nearly 1,300-ton steam collier ship that has been overtaken by a lush mangrove forest. Affectionately called “The Floating Forest,” the SS Ayrfield is one of the most serene-but-somehow-still-chilling abandoned places in Sydney and is a frequent flier on many locals’ social media accounts.
6. The Ghost Town Of Kolmanskop, Namibia
If you visit the Kolmanskop ghost town in Africa’s Namib Desert, there’s no way you’re getting out of there without a creepy photo.
The structures that have been overtaken by desert sand are the remains of a 20th-century German mining town, built after a railway worker discovered diamonds in the sand dunes. By 1930, miners had completely depleted the region of its natural diamond resources and the colonizers left to track down new locations. And by 1956, Kolmanskop was completely abandoned.
The ghost town is now a tourist attraction and reminds us of the fleeting nature of riches.
7. Hotel del Salto — San Antonio del Tequendama, Colombia
Architect Carlos Arturo Tapias built Hotel del Salto, or Salto Hotel, in 1923 as a private residential home for himself and his family. He later converted it into a hotel in 1928 after building an addition onto the existing home. And for the next 60 years, the hotel was a hot destination for wealthy travelers.
By the 1950s, the original hotel was falling into disrepair, and the polluted Bogota River didn’t help matters. Eventually, Salto was closed in the 1990s, and the beautiful building has sat abandoned ever since.
Reports that numerous suicides have taken place at the hotel have led many to believe it’s haunted. Though it was a popular site for those who loved the dark and spooky nature of the place, the Ecological Farm Foundation of Porvenir and the National University of Colombia’s Institute of Natural Sciences restored and turned Hotel del Salto into a museum in 2013.
8. Chernobyl Disaster Zone — Pripyat, Ukraine
Any photo taken at the Chernobyl disaster site in Pripyat, Ukraine, is bound to be spooky.
In 1986, a flawed reactor design resulted in an explosion at the Chernobyl Power Complex located in Pripyat. The disaster killed 31 people — two from the initial blast and 29 in the aftermath, who expired from radiation poisoning. And between 1991 and 2015, at least 20,000 cases of thyroid cancer were diagnosed in patients who were under the age of 18 and lived in the area in 1986. Although citizens have begun the process of resettling evacuation areas, the site is still a total ghost town.
9. IM Cooling Tower — Monceau-sur-Sambre, Charleroi, Belgium
Built in 1921, the IM Cooling Tower, also called the Power Plant IM, was one of the largest coal-burning power plants in Belgium.
According to Atlas Obscura, “Water would be let into the cooling tower where it would be cooled by the wind that swept in from portals in the base of the tower, releasing billowing columns of hot air.” By the 1970s, it was cooling about 480,000 gallons of water per minute.
Sure, the power plant was doing what it was built to do, but was also releasing about 10% of all CO2 emissions in Belgium.
And with a rising concern about global warming, the plant was shut down in 2007. The inside of the plant looks like a set from The Hunger Games. The place has been locked up and reopened several times, and is currently waiting demolition. Atlas Obscura says that if you plan to explore–as with many abandoned places–be ready to dodge some security guards.
10. Nara Dreamland — Nara, Japan
There’s something about abandoned theme parks that gives us major heebie-jeebies.
Nara Dreamland, a deserted theme park in Nara, Japan, is a whole bunch of creepy wrapped up in one site. Built in 1961, Nara Dreamland was supposed to be the Japanese equivalent of Disneyland. However, after Disney established parks in Tokyo and Osaka, Nara Dreamland struggled and was ultimately shut down in 2006.
The entire park was left completely as is for 10 years after closure.
It was a prime spot for photographers and those who like to be creeped out for fun. Nara Dreamland was sadly demolished in 2016. Luckily, there are plenty of photos of the abandoned and overgrown theme park for those who never got to make their way to Nara, Japan, and visit the park.
11. SS America — Playa de Garcey, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
On August 31st, 1939, over 30,000 bid the SS America adieu as it set out from Newport News, Virginia.
The very next day, the Nazi party invaded Poland, and the SS America, built originally as a cruise ship, became a troopship and delivered thousands of troops around the globe during WWII. After the war, she returned to her duty as a cruise ship and transported over 500,000 passengers safely over 2.8 million nautical miles by November 1964. She was bought, sold, and bought again By 1979, the ship finally settled into retirement.
In 1992, the SS America was set to be turned into a 5-star hotel.
However, on her way to Thailand, her towline broke during a storm and she ran aground and cracked in half off the coast of the Canary Islands. And it’s there that she still sits to this day, haunting the shoreline. Most of the debris has floated out to sea, but tourists can still see parts of the bow during a low tide.
12. Georges Island — Boston, Massachusetts
Situated in Boston Harbor, Georges Island is home to the abandoned, dark, and dank Fort Warren.
The fort was used to defend Boston during the Civil War through World War II. It was officially decommissioned in 1947 after housing countless Confederate prisoners, as well as (supposedly) Mrs. Melanie Lanier, a wife to Confederate soldier, who journeyed to Georges Island dressed as a man in order to free her husband.
Tragically, both Lanier and her husband died at the hands of Union officers.
Lanier’s last request was to be hanged in women’s clothing, but supposedly, all the Union officers had on hand were black robes. She reportedly still wanders the pitch-black halls of the fort as The Lady in Black. For ghost-hunters and fans of the supernatural, Georges Island makes a great (but very creepy) destination vacation.
13. Maunsell Sea Forts — Thames Estuary, England
No, these are not robot aliens coming to destroy the human race — although they look just like that.
These odd structures are actually WWII-era forts, totally isolated in the middle of the Thames Estuary. When they were decommissioned in the 1950s, they were overtaken by pirate radio stations in the ’60s and ’70s.
The remaining forts are in disrepair, and though one can travel to them by boat, it’s not advised that one attempt to enter the abandoned places. But if you want to convince your friends you’ve been transported to some other alien world, a photo taken from afar would definitely be just the ticket.
14. St. George’s Church — Lukova, Czech Republic
As if visiting a 13th-century abandoned church isn’t spine-tingling enough, St. George’s Church in the Czech Republic is filled with ghostly apparitions, each of whom is veiled, faceless, and totally creepy.
Artist Jakub Hadrava constructed each ghost from plaster and glow-in-the-dark phosphorus. The artist installed them in the church in November 2014 as a unique way to draw attention to the site and push preservation. So far, we would say this tactic is working, as these seriously disturbing figures officially have our attention.
According to Hadrava, the plaster ghosts are meant to represent the Germans who lived in Lukova before World War II broke out.
However, others believe they could represent those who were attending a funeral in 1968, during which part of the church’s roof caved in — a frightening sign that many took as an omen. No matter who they are meant to represent, the ghosts are drawing tourists to the church, and those tourists are happily donating the funds to possibly repair the place before it’s too late.
15. Isla de las Muñecas — Mexico City, Mexico
Perhaps the most bizarre abandoned place on this list, Isla de las Muñecas, or “Island of the Dolls”
Isla de las Muñecas is a small island off the coast of Mexico City. As the name suggests, the island is completely overrun with thousands of dolls. The disturbing toys are meant to be offerings to a young girl who drowned and was found washed up on the island decades ago.
Some locals believe the dolls to be possessed by the girl’s spirit, and some even claim to have seen the dolls move their heads and open their eyes on their own.
The first person to put a doll on the island was Don Julian Santana Barrera, the island’s caretaker, who reportedly found the drowned girl and her doll. Barrera became obsessed with collecting dolls and hanging them around the island, so much so that those close to him report that it was as if he, himself was possessed by something to do so.
50 years after he began collecting the dolls, Barrera was found drowned in the same location where he found the little girl.
Now that the island has become a tourist attraction, more and more people bring dolls to the island, both for the young girl and the island’s caretaker. The locals claim there is no evil on the site, but judging by the looks of those dolls, we can’t be too sure.
16. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum — Weston, West Virginia
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, also called the Weston State Hospital, opened its doors in the mid-19th century and was built to house 250 patients.
However, in the 1950s, the asylum was packed with 2,400 patients, all of whom were living in overcrowded and heinous conditions. Due to a breakthrough in the treatment of mental illness — as well as the deterioration of the building itself — the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum closed in 1994. According to the asylum’s website, the surrounding local economy has yet to recover from the building’s closure.
Thousands lived here, and thousands may have died here.
Those who visit the defunct hospital have reported seeing apparitions, hearing voices and sounds, and have experienced other types of paranormal activity. It’s a hot spot for paranormal junkies and has been featured on several ghost hunting shows. The asylum also has an overnight tour during which you can stay in the abandoned building for the night.
17. Garnet, Montana
The town of Garnet, Montana, looks more like a movie set than an actual place where people once lived.
During the Gold Rush of the late 19th century, miners set up shop in the Garnet Mountains, where gold was found embedded in quartz. After the first gold strike, about 1,000 residents built homes in Garnet, hoping to get rich quick off the land. After depleting the mines in Garnet, the town’s population shrank about 150 by 1905. And by 1940, Garnet was one of many abandoned places of the Wild West.