Graveyard Shift
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Horrifying Things About Centralia, The Real Life 'Silent Hill' Right Here In America

Updated April 27, 2021 914.2k views14 items

Desolate vistas, noxious gas, people sinking into the ground – no this isn’t a description of a scene from a horror film. It’s every day life in Centralia, Pennsylvania, a creepy abandoned town that’s been on fire since 1962

There aren’t escaped mental patients roaming the streets of this abandoned coal mining town, but that doesn’t make it any less of a creepy tourist destination. Past the barricades set up to keep people from driving down a collapsing road (and the random spurts of lethal smoke that can seriously harm if inhaled), there is an empty town that was once home to thousands of people whose only sin was living in a town built on top of a coal mine.

If Centralia, Pennsylvania, seems familiar, that's because it was the basis for the design of Silent Hill, a psychological horror game based around the mysterious happenings in a desolate town. Thanks to a fire still raging below the town, Centralia has become the very essence of a ghost town - empty, creepy, and dangerous to those still living. 

  • Noxious Gasses Destroyed The Vegetation

    Photo: rocbolt / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    The fumes of Centralia's underground fire didn't just destroy the roads and homes, the carbon monoxide also managed to taint the vegetation around the town. It turned the town into an eerie wasteland where nothing seems to be living, but rather hovering just at the point of demise.

  • The Closer You Get To The City The Worse The Road Gets

    Photo: rocbolt / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Route 61, the four lane highway that leads into the town, was finally shuttered in the '90s after the ground began to crack open and sink holes destroyed any possibility of the road being useful.

    In fact, the closer you come to the city the worse the road gets. People who happen to be in the vicinity are warned to keep watch of their children at all times in case a sink hole opens in the road.

  • It Is Dangerous To Stay In Town For Too Long

    Photo: rocbolt / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Due to the constant release of noxious fumes into the air, it's very possible to asphyxiate due to smoke inhalation - even if you're outside.

    The most likely cause of suffocation in Centralia is a random release of smoke or gas that strikes without warning and fills your lungs before you can take refuge. 

  • The Fumes Made The Mayor Collapse

    Photo: rocbolt / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    In 1981, after a 12-year-old boy was almost swallowed by a sinkhole in his grandmother's back yard, Centralia's mayor collapsed in an apartment above a gas station he owned and operated. Even though he was on the second story of a building, he had become overcome by fumes that managed to work their way up to his home through a vent pipe in the building.