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.
Isla De Las Munecas, Mexico
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.
Poveglia Island, Italy
This island between Venice and Lido in the Venice Lagoon had been used as a refuge and a military base since the Middle Ages, but things took a dark turn in 1776, when the island was turned into a quarantine check point for people and goods going into or out of Venice. In 1793, two ships were found to be carrying plague-infected passengers and they were held in quarantine on Poveglia. The quarantine was originally intended to be only temporary, but in 1805, Napoleon declared the island a permanent lazaretto, or quarantine station.
So many people died there, there are rumors that the island's soil is up to 50% human remains. Poveglia has not yet been searched for mass graves, but "mass graves have been found on the nearby islands of Lazaretto Nuovo and Lazzaretto Vecchio containing the remains of thousands of plague victims."
As if that wasn't bad enough, in 1922, the island's buildings were converted from quarantine buildings into a mental asylum. They continued in this capacity until the asylum was closed and whole island abandoned in 1968. Not at all surprisingly, the island is rumored to be haunted.
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.
Oradour-sur-Glane is a haunting locale not only for its weather-beaten age, decay, and hollowed out buildings, but for the reason why this village became uninhabited. In 1944, German soldiers lead by SS-Sturmbannführer Adolf Diekmann, massacred 642 citizens of Oradour-sur-Glane, nearly the entire population of the village. Details of this slaughter are horrendous and harrowing. Following World War II, France's president Charles de Gaulle ordered the village be maintained as-is, to serve as a permanent and grim reminder of war's devastation.