Ghost towns are deserted towns that were once filled with inhabitants like any other place. But sometimes, whether it’s because of a tragedy or an unexplainable reason, people decide to abandon their homes forever. These towns have become an adventure for those who seek a thrill. Check out the top 10 creepiest ghost towns.
1. Herculaneum, Italy
Herculaneum was a Roman town and is a sister-site to Pompeii in Italy. This ancient town was home to almost 5,000 inhabitants. The city was destroyed in 79 AD by the pyroclastic surge of the volcanic eruption of Mountain Vesuvius, the same explosion that destroyed Pompeii. However, before the Mountain Vesuvius eruption destroyed it, the town suffered from a strong earthquake in AD 62. The earthquake had caused severe damage to their buildings and homes, and they weren’t yet repaired when the volcano erupted. And unlike Pompeii, most people successfully were able to evacuate Herculaneum, and only about 120 human skeletons were found.
The town was completely buried and forgotten about until the 18th century. In 1709, while digging a well, they discovered a wall that was once the Herculaneum theatre. Herculaneum was preserved exactly as it was, and a lot of furniture is still conserved in storerooms. Herculaneum is as exciting and fascinating as Pompeii but not as popular. It gives you an idea of how the Romans lived.
2. Kayakoy, Turkey
Kayakoy, previously known as Lebessos or Lebessus, is an abandoned village nestled in the Taurus Mountains in Turkey. Built in the 1700s, Kayakoy was home to almost 10,000 of Anatolian Muslims and Greek Orthodox Christians. Both the Greeks and the Turks lived side by side in peace and harmony. The community was thriving. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the defeat of Greece, Greece handed back the territories it gained back to Turkey, including Kayakoy. There was a lot of bloodshed and violence among the residents, and to stop that, the population-exchange agreement was signed by the Turkish and Greek governments. The Greek Orthodox Christians had to change their location from Kayakoy to Greece, and the Muslims had to relocate to Turkey.
Thousands of Kayakoy Greek residents abandoned their town and fled to Greece. And in 1957, a strong earthquake occurred in the village and destroyed a lot of buildings. Today, Kayakoy remains a deserted town. Almost 500 houses now sit empty and are served as a historical monument. It’s one of the largest ghost towns in Asia. The abandoned town is now seen as a symbol of peace between Turkey and Greece.
3. Belchite, Spain
Belchite is an old village in the province of Zaragoza in Spain. It’s one the most haunted and abandoned town after the Spanish Civil War. Roughly 3,000 people died in one of the bloodiest battles in Spanish history.
The reason Belchite is empty is that during the Spanish Civil War, thousands of men, women, and children were killed in just two weeks in 1937. Belchite was on the front line during an offensive launch by the Republicans. The nationalists defended the town until it was finally taken down by the Republicans. Belchite was destroyed in the fighting. It was ordered that the destroyed town would be left untouched and a new city was built next to the ruined one.
The remains of the ghost town were featured in movies such as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen in 1988. Locals from neighboring areas have claimed to hear the cries and the voices of different ghosts in this town.
4. Spinalonga, Greece.
Spinalonga is a Greek island located In the Gulf of Elounda near Crete and was known as Leper Island. In 1904, after the Turks were evicted from Spinalonga, it became a leper colony, and anyone with Leprosy was sent there. Once a citizen was diagnosed with the diseases, they would get shunned and mistreated by their communities. Their items would be seized, and they would be sent to Spinalonga.
The cure for leprosy had not yet been discovered, and people were frightened of the contagious disease. Lepers, the people suffering from Leprosy, had to wear a belt to warn others that they were approaching. The idea of an island to isolate lepers was ideal, and the decision to transport them to Spinalonga was signed in 1903. Lepers on the island lived off of a monthly allowance that wasn’t sufficient.
When the cure for Leprosy was discovered, the numbers of leprosy sufferers decreased, and the recovered returned to their original homes. The island was abandoned in 1962.
5. Fordlandia, Brazil.
Fordlandia is a deserted town in the Brazilian rainforest. Henry Ford, an infamous automobile, tycoon arrived at Fordlandia in the late 1920s to create the largest rubber plantation on the planet. He needed rubber to make tires for his cars, and with the majority of rubber being held by a cartel of Dutch and English rubber barons, he decided to establish Fordlandia. He hired a native to find a suitable location to plant the rubber trees and began to build the town soon after. It included a hospital, a hotel, restaurants, bakeries, and shops.
Henry Ford hired hundreds of workers and gave them free housing, good healthcare, and food. However, employees began to riot and complain about housing and the strict rules about women and alcohol. They would go to the outskirts of Fordlandia to drink rum and enjoy the company of women. They didn’t agree with the healthy lifestyle and strict rules, so they began to riot by breaking windows and chasing the American management team with machetes. The army was called to restore the peace three days later, and the work resumed. A botanist discovered the soil where he planted the rubber trees were found to be unsuitable. He started from scratch again, but with the development of synthetic rubber, he finally retired and sold the land.
The empty buildings and structures stayed empty for decades and remained the same.
6. Hashima Island, Japan
If you have seen the movie ‘Skyfall,’ then you will probably recognize this island as it was featured as Raoul Silva’s island. Hashima Island, which means Battleship Island in Japanese, is an abandoned island in southern Japan. It was once a home for over 500 miners and their families.
When petroleum replaced coal in Japan, most coal mines shut down, including Hashima’s coal mines. The workers on the island decided to abandon their homes as there were no reasons to stay.
7. Tyneham, UK
Located in England, south of Dorest, Tyneham is a ghost village that was abandoned in December of 1943. It’s one of the towns that was forgotten World War II. It’s currently open to the public to visit.
The residents of Tyneham were ordered to leave their village after it was taken over by the military and to be transformed into military training. The village’s location and space, it was ideal for the army to test machinery and train their soldiers. The locals were promised that they would be able to return after the end of the war, but the government still kept the land for military use. There were protests by its former dissatisfied residents to return home, but after the purchase of the property to be under the ownership of the Ministry of Defense, no one could return to live in Dorset. The buildings had suffered from years of military practice and deemed inhabitable.
8. Bodie, California
Bodie is a ghost town located in California, east of the Sierra Nevada Mountain. Not only it is deserted, but also many claim the town to be haunted by ghosts who guard the town. It had a population of roughly 5,000 to 7,000 people by 1879.
Bodie’s story began when four people discovered gold in a shallow valley in California. They mined briefly and were joined by other miners looking for gold until a blizzard killed one of the discoverers named W.S Body. The town was named after him, although it was changed to Bodie instead of Body by a painter. As time went on, hopeful miners arrived at Bodie in the hope of finding more gold. They built a ramshackle town, and there were at least 60 saloons in the town.
In 1914, the mining profits began to decrease, and Bodie was officially declared as a ghost town in 1915. The last people living there were hired by the Cain family who was the owners of the land of the town. Today, Bodie is an authentic Wild West Ghost town. Two hundred thousand tourists visit the ghost town each year.
9. Pripyat, Ukraine
Pripyat is a ghost town that was named after the Pripyat River. The town had a population of over 40,000 before one of the most destructive nuclear bomb hit. The town had to be evacuated the day after the Chernobyl disaster happened, and thousands of people left their homes forever.
In 1986, employees at the Chernobyl Power Plant had switched off the cooling system to do an unnecessary test. This lead to an explosion of steam, which set off a nuclear blast and more than 500 tons of toxic and radioactive material was freed into the air. The residents were evacuated a day later under the assumption that they were going to come back.
The Chernobyl nuclear bomb has caused clocks to stop working immediately. Hundreds of houses were evacuated as people left their belongings and fled the town. To this day it’s not a safe place to live in, but it’s a popular destination for tourists to visit.
10. Island of the Dolls, Mexico
Island of the Dolls might be one of the creepiest ghost towns in Mexico. Located in the South of Mexico, the area around the island has thousands of inhabitants, yet the ghost island is completely deserted.
Legends say it that there was a young girl that off a small island half a century ago. The only resident of the small island was named Don Julian Santana Barrera. After the girl had died, Barrera would find and fish out a doll after another from the canals. Don was convinced that what was happening was a sign of an evil spirit and started to hang the toys on trees. He continued hanging them until the whole island became a shrine. Don died back in 2001 after living on the island for 50 years. He had suffered the same fate as the little girl’s, drowning in the canal.
The dolls that are littered around the town, and are said to be possessed by her spirit. Witnesses claim to have heard them talk and whisper and move their heads.