Graveyard Shift The Creepiest Abandoned Towns and Cities in the World  

Christopher Shultz
1.1k votes 535 voters 131k views 13 items Follow Embed

List Rules Vote up the most terrifying abandoned place

There are places scattered across the globe that have been abandoned due to natural disasters, war, poverty, and technological "advancement." These creepy deserted cities and towns, over time, have generated interest from tourists and urban decay photographers and enthusiasts, but they remain uninhabitable, existing only as the remnants of life and prosperity gone by. Take a look at these abandoned and eerie places, from the derelict houses and buildings left in the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Pripyat, Ukraine, to the lamentably submerged Lion City in China. All of them are haunting reminders of civilizations past.

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Pripyat, Ukraine


Pripyat, Ukraine is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Creepiest Abandoned Towns and Cities in the World
Photo:  Ben Adlard/Flikr/CC BY 2.0
Pripyat is the site of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, and thus the location of the worst nuclear disaster in history. The town, which had been developed solely to serve the power plant, was evacuated in 1986 after an explosion and fire at the Chernobyl plant released dangerous radioactive particles into the air. Thirty-one people perished in the disaster, and long-term illnesses among former residents are still a problem to this day. While radiation levels have dropped enough to allow photographers and even tourists to visit the area, Pripyat remains uninhabited, and the amount of decay and ruin visible there is the stuff of nightmares. Check out this drone footage of Pripyat, and see if it doesn't prickle your skin.
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Isla De Las Munecas, Mexico


Isla De Las Munecas, Mexico is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Creepiest Abandoned Towns and Cities in the World
Photo: Esparta Palma/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

Translation: Island of the Dolls, and it's exactly as terrifying as it sounds. The island is situated in a canal outside Mexico City, and its trees are festooned with creepy, broken dollies. Some have bodies, some are simply heads. And it gets better, as Huffington Post writer Suzy Strutner outlines the island's backstory: "The island’s former caretaker, Don Julian Santana, said he found a young girl floating dead in the canal more than 50 years ago... Santana proceeded to collect dolls from the trash and canals for decades afterward, hanging them around the island in an attempt to please the young girl’s spirit. In 2001, Santana was found floating dead in the same spot where he said he once found the girl." It is said that sometimes the dolls move their eyes or heads of their own accord, signifying that the girl's spirit is nearby.

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Ross Island, South Andaman Islands


Ross Island, South Andaman Isl... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Creepiest Abandoned Towns and Cities in the World
Photo:  Biswarup Ganguly/via Wikimedia Commons

In 1858, the British designated Ross Island in the South Andamans as a penal colony for prisoners from the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and similar anti-colonial uprisings. Ross Island developed a dark and terrible reputation; prisoners referred to Ross as Kalapani, or "black water" - the name referenced a Hindu myth about crossing the sea to a hellish place.

Prisoners died from torture, mistreatment, overwork (prisoners were tasked with building roads and clearing brush from the island to make room for buildings), and illnesses like malaria and dysentery. In a four-year period, "3,500 out of 8,000 transportees had been killed or had died of fever." 

Later, the colony experimented with methods of "civilizing" the indigenous people of the Andamans, and terrible methods of torture and inhuman medical tests were performed on island inmates.

The island was invaded by the Japanese during World War II, and in 1941, suffered a massive earthquake - both events caused significant damage. The penal colony was finally abandoned in 1945, though tourists still voyage to the island to see the crumbling, overgrown buildings.

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Hashima Island (Gunkanjima)


Hashima Island (Gunkanjima) is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Creepiest Abandoned Towns and Cities in the World
Photo:  nachans/Flikr/CC BY 2.0
Both an example of World War II-era atrocity (it served as the location of a forced labor camp) and the equally rapid industrialization and collapse in Japan, Hashima Island — casually known as Gunkanjima. It has been abandoned since 1974, when the coal mines located there were depleted and closed down, removing all financial stability the island had. While a small portion of Gunkanjima is open to tourists and has been restored as part of a historical preservation campaign, the remaining island is forbidden to visitors. In these areas, Mother Nature reigns supreme.