10 of the world’s spookiest ghost towns

Anna Walker

There’s nothing spookier than a derelict building, and these abandoned towns, castles and theme parks are full of them. Now nothing but ghost towns, here are 10 dwellings that time forgot.

1. Dunblobbin, Somerset

Dunblobbin
Image via 28 Days Later

Cast your mind back to the 1990s, when the Spice Girls ruled the charts, the rubik's cube was king and Mr Blobby was a household name.

In 1994, at the height of his success in Noel Edmond’s House Party, Mr Blobby opened his own theme park, ‘Dunblobbin’.

Intended as the UK’s first TV theme park, Dunblobbin’s success was as brief as its namesake, and the park fell into ruin after its closure in 1999.

Rumour has it the ghost of Blobby still roams Dunblobbin’s halls…

 

2. Oradour-sur-Glane, France 

Oradour-sur-Glane
Image via Atlas Obscura

The story of Oradour-sur-Glane is a tragic one. On June 10, 1944, a Nazi Waffen-SS company massacred 642 of the village’s inhabitants.

Only six villagers survived the attack. The untouched settlement is now known as Village Martyr and stands as a permanent memorial to the lives lost there.

In 2003, German President Joachim Gauck accompanied French President Francois Hollande to the memorial. It was the first time a German president had been to the site of a WWII massacre on French soil.

 

3. Copehill Down, Wiltshire

Copehill Down
Image via Ministry of Defence  

Unlike the other entries on our list, Copehill Down has never had residents. The UK Ministry of Defence built this mock German village in 1988 as a soldier training ground.

In recent years, the village has been updated to include a shantytown so that it can more closely resemble parts of the world where British troops are deployed.

 

4. Wonderland, Bejing

Wonderland Bejing
Image via Reuters

Located just outside of China’s huge capital city, Wonderland was meant to be the country’s answer to Disneyland.  

Work stopped on this enormous undertaking in 1998 following a dispute that went back to the very heart of the Chinese Communist Party.

The park’s developers, Huabin, had secured the backing of Chen Xitong who was then tipped to become China’s next leader. When he was jailed for corruption in 1998.

The project became cursed: no other backers would associate themselves with the park, for fear of guilt by association.

Explore Wonderland:

 

5. La Isla de la Munecas, Mexico

La Isla de la Munecas
Image via La Isla de la Munecas

Lying just South of Mexico, this abandoned island is the stuff of nightmares.

The caretaker of La Isla de la Munecas, Don Julian Santana Barrera, found the body of a little girl who had drowned in mysterious circumstances. As a mark of respect, he took her doll and hung it to a nearby tree.

Apparently haunted by his experience, Julian hung more and more dolls to the trees in an attempt to please the dead girl’s spirit. While visitors to the island found the toys creepy, Julian looked at them as the floating garden’s protectors.

After 50 years of collecting dolls and dispersing them around the island, Julian was found dead, allegedly drowned in the same spot where he discovered the little girl.

 

6. Kolmanskop, Namibia

Kolmanskop Namibia
Image via National Geographic

This abandoned coalmine is situated in the Namib Desert. In 1908, a worker found a diamond in the area and showed it to his German supervisor.

Realising that the location was rich in diamonds, German miners soon began a desert settlement which grew to boast a school, hospital, ballroom, power station, casino, bowling alley and even the first x-ray station in the southern hemisphere!

The diamond supply had depleted by the end of WWI and by 1954 the town was abandoned.      

 

7. Craco, Italy

Craco Italy
Image via Trip Freakz

Deserted due to a series of natural disasters, this beautiful yet spooky town is included in the watch list of the World Monuments Fund, an organisation dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture.

The settlement is as ancient as it looks; residents first arrived here from Ancient Greece. There are tombstones in Craco dating as far back as the 8th century. In 1963 however, the town had to be evacuated due to a landslide. The subsequent flood in 1972 only made the situation worse. After an earthquake struck in 1982, the town was finally completely abandoned.

The residents may be gone but Craco’s cultural legacy lives on. In 2007, the descendants of immigrants from Craco formed a society in the United States. The town has also featured in a wide variety of films, including The Passion of the Christ and Quantum of Solace.

 

8. West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum

Lunatic asylum
Image via Mark Davis

The Victorian public asylums were hailed as places of refuge, but in reality most were more like dehumanising prisons.

The majority of these asylums were liberated in the 1970s and 1980s after pressure from the feminist and anti-psychiatry movements. Many of these buildings have now been turned into swanky flats or office spaces, but others remain untouched since the day they were shut down.

 

9. Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong

Kowloon Walled City
Image via Ryuji Miyamoto

Originally a Chinese military fort, Kowloon became an enclave in 1898 and from then on was densely populated and largely ungoverned.

The city was a point of shame for Hong Kong, with a high crime rate and sanitary conditions far behind those of the rest of the country.

By 1987, its residents totalled 33,000. In the same year, the Hong Kong government announced plans to demolish the city, and issued its people with eviction notices.

A section of the city has now reopened as Kowloon Walled City Park, a public park designed to imitate the gardens of the early Qing Dynasty.

 

10. Chateau Miranda, Belgium

Chateau Miranda

This neo-Gothic Belgium palace, also known as Noisy Castle, has stood empty since 1991.

Originally owned by the wealthy Liedekerke-Beaufort family, who escaped to Belgium from the French Revolution, the castle was taken over by German troops during the Battle of the Bulge.

When the war ended, Belgium’s national railway used Miranda as a summer home for children who could no longer be looked after by their parents.

It seems the days of the fortress are now numbered as a request for demolition was filed in 2013—pay a visit while you still can.