Many of the ghost towns that we have today are aftermaths of natural calamities like violent volcanic eruptions and floods, and industrial accidents in nuclear plants and underground coal mines, while some are man-made like brutal massacres by soldiers or even cult leaders.
The abandoned town in Pripyat, Ukraine is probably the most popular ghost town today. It was in 1986 when the entire community was evacuated due to a nuclear accident at the Chornobyl Power Plant. Discover more of these eerie places in this list of 10 Scariest Ghost Towns Around the World!
10- Oil Rocks, Azerbaijan
The Oil Rocks in Azerbaijan was once a Soviet-era town that sheltered more than 5,000 workers residing on the man-made island, which was built solely for the purpose of extracting petroleum. It is situated just 40 kilometers away from the Caspian Sea, so it was once a thriving community.
It has residential apartment buildings, schools, libraries, and movie theaters. However, today, almost two-thirds of the island’s infrastructures are sinking but some workers still preferred to remain living in the area. They live on the top floors of the buildings to stay above the water surface.
9- Chaiten, Chile
In May 2008, when the Chaiten Volcano erupted, the whole community of Chaiten in Chile was covered in volcanic ashes. The entire community was evacuated to safety. And owing to the flooding of the Blanco River after the eruption, the place became entirely abandoned since then.
The buildings and residential houses were all covered in sand and despite the government efforts to rebuild the town, the town never really recovered. Now, the once noisy streets of the village turned into an eerie ghost town.
8- Centralia, Pannsylvania
It was way back in 1962 when a fire broke out at the town’s landfill and spread immensely through out its large network of underground coal mines. Now, the small town of Centralia in Pennsylvania stands as an eerie wasteland with smoke coming out of the cracks of the roads.
According to geologists, they estimate that the fire can continuously burn up to 250 years more. The town became a complete wasteland, with sulfurous stream pouring out of cracks, poisonous gases, and massive sinkholes.
7- Oradour-sur-Glane, France
This small village in France has a horrendous history dating back during the World War II era. On June 1944, 642 residents were massacred by German soldiers due to the French resistance. The soldiers originally intended to target the Oradus-sur-Vayres, a nearby town, but mistakenly invaded the town of Oradus-sur-Glane.
The male residents were shot at the legs and herded into barns to die slowly, while the women and children were held in a Church. Anyone who escaped was showered with machine-gun fires. Afterward, the soldiers burned the whole town to the ground.
6- Cañada de Benatanduz, Spain
In 1198, the town of Cañada de Benatanduz in Spain was one of the first towns to receive its charter during the reign of the Knights Templar. However, upon the advent of the Spanish Civil War and the horrors it brought, the town was abandoned by its residents little by little.
Today, the town is almost deserted, aside from a few grain farming families who remained residing in the secluded and isolated community.
5- Kowloon Walled City, China
In 1987, almost 33,000 residents were living within the small area of the Kowloon Walled City in China. It was originally intended as a Chinese military fort but was transformed an enclave during 1898.
Subsequently, because of the high population density in the area, massive slum areas, and lawlessness, the government entered into an agreement for the demolition and evacuation of the entire community. Interestingly, in December 1995, the Kowloon Walled City Park was opened.
4- La Isla De La Munecas, Mexico
At south of Mexico, one of the most eerie and mysterious islands is the La Isla De La Munecas – an abandoned island filled with rotting dolls hanged on trees. The story goes back almost fifty years ago when a man named Don Julian Santana lived with his family in the island.
Sometime later, they found a corpse of a young girl floating in the water. In order to protect his family from evil spirits, he started hanging dolls from trees all over the island and continued such ritual until he died.
3- Plymouth, Montserrat
In 1995, the Soufrière Hills Volcano in Plymouth, Montserrat erupted violently. Because of this, the southern region of Montserrat was covered in ash – even Plymouth, which was then the capital and seat of the government.
The island was gradually abandoned until the entire settlement became a barren land. However, there are still few residents who remained in the area despite the few intervals when the volcano still erupts.
2- Jonestown, Guyana
The abandoned village of Jonestown in Guyana is an aftermath of the brutal mass murder and suicide instigated an American cult leader, Jim Jones.
In 1978, the cult The People’s Temple forced roughly 918 residents of the village (who were also cult members) to drink a Flavor Aid laced with cyanide, while infants were injected instead. After the incident, the media discovered that there were widespread human rights violations and abuses committed in the area, such as putting children inside wells overnight as punishment.
1- Pripyat, Ukraine
The abandoned town in Pripyat, Ukraine is probably the most popular ghost town today. It was in 1986 when the entire community was evacuated due to a nuclear accident at the Chornobyl Power Plant. However, there were still subsequent casualties due to radiation-related cancers, ranging from 4,000 to 250,000 deaths. Although there are known tour operations in the area, most of the buildings are no longer safe to enter as gradual decay consumed the abandoned town.