In the United States, ghost towns are mainly associated with the Old West. The idea is usually that a city emerged next to a mine or as part of another form of speculation, and then the business opportunity eventually dried up and forced everyone to move away.
Reality looks very different around the world. Communities have been abandoned for reasons unrelated to economic busts, sometimes so quickly that personal items are scattered around the house. Let’s drive the globe to these abandoned places that are often as fascinating as they are tragic.
Bodie was named in honor of W.S Bodey a miner who found gold in 1859, starting a small gold rush years after California's most famous gold rush subsided. The city was founded in 1861. Her namesake was frozen to death the previous winter. Bodie became the scene of his own onslaught in 1875 when a mine collapse revealed a rich gold vein. While Bodie is hardly as famous today as San Francisco or Los Angeles, it seemed to be a major metropolis for a time, since in 1880 it was the third largest city in California with 10,000 inhabitants. It was so rich in cash that there were 200 restaurants and 65 salons. It was also a huge crowd and there were rumors that the city endured six shootings a week.
In the 1890s, the gold supply and the population began to decline. In addition, a fire broke out in 1892 and burned much of the city down. By 1917, Bodie was so dead that his rails were raided for scrap. Then in 1932 another major fire burned down much of the city. The city mine was officially killed in 1942 when all mining work that was not essential for the Second World War was banned.
Since the city was so completely cleared in 1962, it was designated as a preserved historical site, which ironically made it a tourist boom town with up to 1,000 visitors a day in summer. However, winter is a completely different story. They are so bad in Bodie that in 1999 it was the coldest measured point in America 71 times the largest number this year. Even the toughest snowmobile drivers won't put up with it.
. 9 Ordaur-sur-Glane
After the Allies landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944, the Wehrmacht intensified its operations to halt French partisan activity. Ordaur-sur-Glane was a target of the 2nd Armored Division, whose leader had just arrived from the Eastern Front, where thousands of civilians were killed by default after a partisan attack, retribution for having anything to do with the attack had or not. On June 10, 1944, the SS arrived in the city with 650 inhabitants – about half of whom were newly arrived refugees. The soldiers gathered the population in the town square, then placed the women and children in the town church and lit them, including throwing grenades. With the exception of eight, all other residents were gunned down and the rest of the village looted before being set on fire. Unusually for the atrocities of the Second World War there was a subsequent public outrage, to which the Wehrmacht tried to devote itself with a farce from an investigation and a show trial which inevitably led to the conclusion that the atrocities were justified.
In 1946, the largely destroyed city was to be preserved as a historic site by the French government. Ordaur-sur-Glane became such an important event that the massacre was referred to during the Nuremberg trials. In 2013, the federal government considered restarting proceedings against the SS officers involved.
. 8 Craco
More than 1,400 years is a good run for every community. Craco, a rock-cut village in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, was founded in the 6th century AD. It endured crises like raids and black death. What ultimately resulted was a series of earthquakes and landquakes in the 1950s and 1960s that made the village completely unstable. The government was unwilling to take the risk that around 1,800 citizens would be knocked down or to their deaths and displaced. This was a difficult process, with many of them essentially refugees in tent cities for years.
Given that the village is still there more than half a century later, this may seem premature, although who knows how much more wear and tear the citizens doing their business have contributed to the terrain over the years have. The feeling is reinforced by the fact that the village hosts festivals every two years. Not to mention that film productions such as The Passion of Christ were in part classified as sufficiently safe. Who knows how many of the displaced want to withdraw now?
. 7 Hashima Island
Given that it lies off the coast of the notorious city of Nagasaki, it is not surprising that Hashima Island is overshadowed. In the 1850s, the island was exposed as a rich coal mine and attracted miners who were ready to go 2,000 feet underground. It was such a business hotspot that it attracted 5,000 people, which may not sound like a lot considering that it is a 16-acre island that it was most densely populated for  made place on earth. It should be noted that many of the miners were prisoners of war from Korea and the United Kingdom . It was not until 1974 that the coal mine became dry and in a short time everyone left the island city to collapse.
Not to mention that people have stopped taking care of it. Japan also tried to make the island a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. Given the history of slavery, it surprised many that the application was approved in 2015 . Today the site accepts tourists from Nagasaki, although much of it is considered too structurally incorrect for visitors.
. 6 Wittenoom
Speaking of unsafe ghost towns: This mining town in Western Australia, about 800 km from Perth, was founded in 1950. Around 20,000 inhabitants lived at their height. It wasn't until 1966 when it was discovered that the asbestos mine that the city was building to support filled the air with so many toxins that an estimated 300 miners died of mesothelioma. The government closed the mine and the population quickly declined. Despite the evacuations, the city was only deleted from government cards in 2007.
Despite the risks, as of March 2019, three people insisted on living in the city built for 20,000. They would also invite tourists to visit one of the most contaminated places in the southern hemisphere. Some tourists are even ready to go down into the deadly mine shafts. The government had to resort to expensive voluntary property buybacks to eliminate some of them. The cost of unsafe houses rose to $ 325,000 not to mention $ 50,000 for moving expenses. If the death threat from cancer is not enough to eradicate it, money is unlikely to get much better.
. 5 Fordlandia
In 1926, Ford Motor Co. began growing and harvesting its own rubber trees in a community deep in the Amazon Basin to ensure that the company's rubber supply was not susceptible to trade embargoes. 5,000 people lived in the city, of whom 3,000 were workers. It would be abandoned by Ford within eight years.
One of the problems was, but is not limited to, the fact that the imported rubber trees were extremely susceptible to all types of caterpillars, snails and other pests in the Amazon where workers had to try to pick them up by hand. Other animals caused more serious damage, e.g. B. as a large river fish the maid of the manager bit off his arm or as a jaguar carried a baby away. The houses that the company built were prefabricated houses for the American Midwest and much too hot and stuffy for the Amazon. In the first three years, 28 Ford employees were buried in the city cemetery.
In the meantime, the local workers as migrants did not want to be tied to the same strenuous work for long periods of time. As a result, most would work to get high wages in the short term and leave, except for the unhealthy and physically disabled people who needed generous medical care from Fordlandia. Fordlandia never came close to its rubber production quota, and in 1945 Ford sold the country back to the government after losing a total of $ 7.8 million, although some sources put it at $ 20 million (over 200) Dollars) million today). The Ford Company people were apparently so eager to leave that they left behind a lot of personal items like clothes. Who could blame them?
. 4 Kolmanskop
If diamonds are so ubiquitous in a city that only sand nearby has to be sieved, it is understandable to believe that the offer will last forever. In 1912, the mines in the Namibian city of Kolmanskop produced approximately 12% of the world's diamond supply. This is particularly impressive for a community where the population never rose above 1,000. What was once a city founded because its namesake John Coleman gave up his ox cart was changed forever when a Zecharia Lewala discovered the precious jewels in 1908 while working on the railway. The boom times ended unusually quickly. In 1930, the city's mines were picked clean, and by 1956 the last traffic jam had left the rapidly impoverished city.
The fact that the city ruins are in sand dunes turns out to be a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, they threatened the city for a long time. On the other hand, due to the lack of vegetation and moisture, the buildings are so well preserved that the color on some walls is still bright. It is well located to be a permanent, if well hidden, time capsule.
. 3 Tyneham
In December 1943, the 225 residents of this village near the Dorset coast were evicted because the Royal Armored Corps Gunnery School wanted to extend their range and this village was in the way. Even after the end of the First World War, the British military claimed that they still needed the country for their shooting range, and despite considerable protests, the villagers were never allowed to withdraw. Despite the proximity to the shooting range, the most significant form of building damage the village suffered was a demolished mansion so the parts could be recycled.
The village was classified as exceptionally well-preserved and produced a number of rare plants, such as dark green mother-of-pearl due to the lack of human activity apart from tourists during military downtimes. Not that it was almost perfectly preserved. In 2019, the Department of Defense closed access to seven of the buildings for tourists because they were classified as unsafe. Hopefully the daredevil tourists who went to the asbestos mines in Wittenoom did not consider this a challenge.
. 2 Dhanushkodi
Dhanushkodi had the distinction of being close to the only land border between India and Sri Lanka, especially the southeastern section of the island of Pamban . It was also near a place that had a bridge that was important for Hindu history. It was a very successful fishing community of several thousand. This success ended abruptly in 1964 when the community was hit by a hurricane. That night up to 1,800 people died . The village has been left to the elements, and part of the former village is now submerged as the sand erodes.
Due to the religious importance of the village, many people wanted to visit the destroyed city. Pilgrims who want to perform a ritual in which they go out into the sea water and say prayers have come in groups of up to 1,200 . As far as the permanent residents are concerned, only a few fishing families who are cut off from modern facilities want to take the risk of being on the way to another cyclone.
. 1 Pripyat
It is the most famous community that was evacuated after the Chernobyl disaster on April 26, 1986. The day after the explosion at the core of the nuclear power plant, nearly 50,000 people were evacuated, slightly less than half the number of people who used to live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. The area for which the government identified a vulnerability was still unsafe to live in. Due to the sudden evacuation, the city became a particularly eerie place where numerous possessions, even half-finished meals, were only left in an uncanny state as if their owners would simply have disappeared. Since the radiation made the city so unsafe to visit, only the bravest could take photos of their creepy views.
At least that was how it used to be. In recent years, Pripyat has become fairly lively with visitors, many of whom are quite hideous. The city has many examples of obscene graffiti that have been added in recent years, along with such strange rituals as people putting medallions around metal bars. Despite its harrowing content, the 2019 HBO / Sky co-production Chernobyl actually increased the number of visitors to the city.
Even before curious people flocked to Pripyat, there was a small group that refused to stay away after the evacuation. It is estimated that 200 villagers live in the exclusion zone . Few young people who leave the restricted area for further education are ready to ever return. For many of our readers who live in rural communities, this is an overly reliable situation.
Dustin Koski is also one of the authors of A Tale of Magic Gone Wrong a story about a village at risk of becoming a ghost town because everyone turned into monsters.
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