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Seven ghost towns and why they’re abandoned

Ian Harvey

Early in the year, we heard the story of Lui Shengiia, who has been living by himself in the abandoned village of Xuenshanshe in China.

For one reason or another, even thriving towns and communities can become ghost towns that have empty street and crumbling ruins. Lui Shengiia is living in one such town.

Below, you will learn about some very interesting places from around the globe, including a deserted island, an abandoned property development, and a pod village, and the reasons nobody lives in them anymore.

7. Sesena, Spain  

The Residencial Francisco Hernando – By GRUPO FRANCISCO HERNANDO – CC BY-SA 2.0

The Residencial Francisco Hernando – By GRUPO FRANCISCO HERNANDO – CC BY-SA 2.0

Located inn Spain, South of Madrid, is the town of Sesena. There were plans for a huge development in the middle of the town, with a variety of high rises and vacation homes, but it was never completed.

All of the leftover buildings are now dilapidated and unsold, making the huge estate a ghost town.

6. Imber, England

Imber Village, Salisbury Plain, UK. Photo Credit

Imber Village, Salisbury Plain, UK. Photo Credit

Before the invasion of Europe in WWII, Allied troops used this village to prepare. In December of 1943, the village, which is located on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, was evacuated.

The residents were never allowed to return there, and today it is still a training ground for British troops. Several times a year it opens to tourists.

5. Farina, Australia



In 1878, some optimistic farmers who were looking for the perfect place to grow wheat and barley settled in the town of Farina in central South Australia. However, their hopes for the new town were sadly misplaced.

Normal rainfall was not near enough to sustain their crops, and although Farina was located along the former Ghan railway and had two breweries, two hotels, and a bakery, it fell into decline in the 1900s and is now deserted.

4. Sanzhi Pod City, Taiwan

Abandoned Sanzhi UFO houses Photo Credit

Abandoned Sanzhi UFO houses Photo Credit

Sanzhi Pod City is a strange UFO-looking pod village that is not currently inhabited by either humans or aliens.

Originally planned as a seaside resort for vacationing American military personnel posted in Asia, these colorful flying saucer-shaped houses were never finished, and the project went bankrupt.

3. Hashima Island, Japan

Hashima Island, which is also known as Battleship Island (Gunkanjima), is a place that any true-blue James Bond fan should recognize. It was a major inspiration for the movie Skyfall, in which Bond’s enemy, Raoul Silva, used an abandoned island as his base. Exterior shots of Hashima were actually used in the film.

In April 1974, the island’s 5,000 residents abandoned it after the coal mine shut down its operations. After being battered by the elements for the past few decades, the towering residential and industrial buildings have been left to deteriorate.

2. Bodie, United States

Bodie, California Photo Credit

Bodie, California Photo Credit

Bodie was a mining town in California, located about 20 miles from Bridgeport. It was established by W.S. Bodie after he struck it rich when he found gold in the area in 1859; its mines have produced a whopping $100 million in gold.

Although legend states that the town had over 10,000 residents, a Census in 1880 states that the population was only 5,400.

There were 65 saloons in this one town at one point in its history. Like most of these towns, Bodie was abandoned after the mines ran dry. It officially became a ghost town in the early 1900s. The California State Historical Parks System finally took over the town in 1962 and made it into a State Historical Park, dubbing it the official gold rush ghost town of California.

1. Centralia, United States

Centralia, Pennsylvania Photo Credit

Centralia, Pennsylvania Photo Credit

Even though Centralia, Pennsylvania, has a population of 10 residents, it is still considered a ghost town. It was once a thriving mining town and was founded in 1866. Almost all of its 1,400 residents fled after a coal fire was started in 1962, a fire that continues to rage today.

The fire was supposedly started by sanitation workers that were incinerating trash near one of the mine entrances. The fire is burning underneath the city in an eight-mile stretch, and will most likely continue to do so for another 250 years. Authorities gave up on trying to put the fire out in the 1980s because of the prohibitive cost.

The town was condemned in 1992, the US Postal Service removed Centralia in 2002, but in 2013 the remaining residents were allowed to stay in their homes after a settlement that included a payout of $350,000.


In addition, check this awesome video about Ghost Towns: