Giving Up the Ghost (Town)


I love a good abandoned structure. The creepier looking the better. Something about the post-apocalyptic vibe of places that the dominant species has just abandoned is both unsettling and oddly fascinating. So allow me to bring to your attention some of the most interesting ghost towns I’ve come across on the internet.

Pripyat, Ukraine

Probably the most striking ghost town if only because of speed at which it had to be abandoned. If you want something that really does look like it’s from the apocalypse, Pripyat is your town. Abandoned when Chernobyl melted down, toys are still on floors and books are still on desks. The whole city is simply frozen as it was the day the disaster happened.


Bodie, California

The quintessential ghost town by American standards, Bodie was founded on gold mining and abandoned when that fickle trade dried up. Now a historic park, people are welcome to wander the streets of the ghost town (which housed 65 saloons in one mile).


Hashima Island, Japan

Originally built around coal mining, Hashima Island (also known as Ghost Island and Battleship Island) was once a thriving community with many impressive hi-rise buildings. Recently it’s seen a bit of a revival as a tourist destination.

Hashima Island

Kowloon Walled City, China

Once the densest place on earth (33,000 people were living in one city block), a loophole in whole actually owned the area allowed residents to build their dwellings in any manner the liked, ignoring safety codes and seemingly reason. The aesthetic ended up being something that even after the city was demolished 20 years ago has inspired movie makers and comic book writers with its imposing uniqueness.

Kowloon Walled City

Kolmanskop, Namibia

A former diamond mining town, Kolmanskop is what happens when the desert is allowed to reclaim something. Sand has slowly taken over most signs of human life, but what remains is strikingly beautiful.


Centralia, Pennsylvania

The city that inspired a video game and movie, Centralia was just a normal town until a mining fire lit the coal under the ground into an inferno that no one has been able to put out. Smoke pours out of cracks in the ground and the population has moved on, but the town continues to attract attention with its otherworldly aura.


For a fast paced Western YA novel that involves some mining towns BEFORE they were abandoned and a determined heroine out for blood, try Erin Bowman’s Vengeance Road


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