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Creepy Stories From Chernobyl

Updated September 24, 2019 72k votes 22.4k voters 2.1m views16 items

List RulesVote up the stories about Chernobyl that creep you out the most.

On April 26, 1986, one of the world's worst disasters occurred in the Ukrainian city of Pripyat (then part of the USSR). There was an explosion caused by a flawed reactor design at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which spewed radiation into the air. Only Chernobyl and Fukushima have been rated as a level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale - and that's the highest the scale goes. 

The city of Pripyat was evacuated, and a total of 31 people died as an immediate result of the accident itself, while as many as 500,000 were affected. The destruction was so massive that it took nearly a million people to clean up Chernobyl. In 2011, Pripyat became a tourist attraction, and three decades later, the ghost town is still captured by photographers who snap haunting images of abandoned toys and dilapidated buildings.

Lore and legends surround the area, from ghosts, Chernobyl mutants, and radioactive animals to a strange ominous black bird that some believe to be the harbinger of disaster. In addition to these stories, you'll find creepy true tales of people and places that fell victim to a catastrophic nuclear meltdown. 

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    The Chernobyl Amusement Park

    Video: YouTube

    The Pripyat Amusement Park should have been a fun addition to the town. It was slated to open on May 1, 1986, just days after the disaster. Obviously, the park would never open and has simply been left to rust. The amusement park had a Ferris wheel, bumper bars, a paratrooper attraction, and swing boats.

    Even though high levels of radiation still exist in the mossy areas of the park, it's a popular backdrop for ruin-photographers. The park was also used as a setting in the game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

    It bears similarity to Six Flags New Orleans, another eerily abandoned amusement park, which has been empty since Hurricane Katrina. 

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  • 6

    The Elephant's Foot

    Video: YouTube

    Elephants are cute, so you'd think anything named after their feet would also be cute. You'd be wrong, however, as this particular euphemism refers to a flow of hot lava that will end you after 300 seconds - that's a mere five minutes - of exposure. And not quickly, either, as your life will reportedly slowly cease within two days. 

    According to Kyle Hill in an article for Nautilus, this black lava was discovered by emergency responders who entered a steam corridor underneath the No. 4 reactor. The crews' radiation sensors warned them to stay away. 

    What happened was this: The radioactive particles got so hot, they melted and turned into a flow of lava, which in turn melted through the bottom of the reactor vessel and all the way down until it cooled enough to form the big glop you see above. 

    Photos of the "elephant's foot" were taken via a camera on wheels. It was determined that the blob consisted mostly of concrete and other materials that the fuel melted on the way down. Still, going near it was a bad idea, and experts advise not going near it even today. 

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  • 7

    Chernobyl's Mutant Animals

    Many reports of deformed and strange beasts near Chernobyl can be found all over the Internet, indicating that radiation had severe effects on the animal population. To be sure, some severe mutations were seen right after the accident. The piglet in the photo above suffered from dipygus and is on display at the Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum. It was born near the site of the explosion.  

    Contemporary animals, however, are typically okay, even though their internal radiation levels are higher than most. They do not suffer significant genetic mutations, though some species have issues. For instance, some birds have developed smaller brains and some rodents have decreased litters or do not live as long. However, overall animal populations seem to be doing better now than they were when humans were farming there before.

    According to a 2016 report, some species are actually increasing within the Exclusion Zone. Yet scientists continue to debate what the long-term effects of exposure will be for the animals that live there. 

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  • 8

    An Entire Village Was Bulldozed - Only Its Kindergarten Remains Standing

    Kopachi was a small village about 4.5 miles southwest of the Chernobyl plant. After evacuating the village, Soviet authorities found such high radiation levels in the area they decided to bulldoze everything in Kopachi other than the elementary school and bury it all in the soil.

    Unbeknownst to those who made this decision, burying radioactive materials results in their radioactivity leaking into the ground. In the case of Kopachi, the radioactivity of buildings became part of the soil and water table, making the region uninhabitable for generations. The surviving school is an attraction for ruin-photographers, who have captured eerie Kopachi images of old toys, school materials, dolls, and stuffed animals three decades on from the meltdown. 

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