28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories

There are many abandoned places around the world, but some are very creepy indeed. Here are at least 28 prime examples.
Christopher McFadden
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  • From abandoned asylums to eerie forests and haunted castles, the world has spooky locations that can send shivers down your spine.
  • Whether you're a fan of horror stories or just looking for an adrenaline rush, exploring these creepy spots can be a thrilling experience.
  • But which, of all the abandoned places around the world, are the creepiest?

Long past their heyday, these 21 creepy abandoned places, wrecked ships, sunken cities, and old military installations are some of the scariest places in the world. 

Some of them have been redeveloped or demolished in recent times, but their legacy is still fresh in the minds of those who visited them. Some are strictly off-limits, yet others are free to see if you are brave enough.

This list is far from exhaustive and in no particular order.

1. The Jet Star Rollercoaster was a spooky abandoned fairground ride

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
This abandoned rollercoaster is very creepy.

Location: Seaside Heights, New Jersey

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned Fairground Ride

Last recorded use: 2002-2012

Abandoned place description: The Jet Star Rollercoaster was a popular attraction between the '70s and '00s. The owners attempted to sell the site but refurbishing it was not financially viable.

It was finally stricken down by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and left to rust for 6 months in the Atlantic Ocean before being demolished.

2.  Pripyat: the Chernobyl abandoned city

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
Chernobyl is obviously creepy.

Location: Ukraine/Belarus border

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned settlement/Ghost town

Last recorded use: 1986

Abandoned place description: Pripyat was founded as a Soviet Nuclear City in 1970 to house workers for the nearby ill-fated Chernobyl Nuclear Power station. It took its name from the nearby Pripyat River and was officially recognized as a city in 1979, with a population of over 49,000.

The entire city was evacuated in 1986 as the Nuclear facility faced a meltdown. 

Ukraine's Ministry of Emergencies currently administers access to the city, which controls activities within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Radiation levels have fallen considerably since 1986, with equivalent doses ranging from 1 to 336 microsieverts per hour.

Today the city is the very definition of a ghost town.

3. The 107-year-old floating forest - SS Ayrfield

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
The SS Ayrfield is either beautiful or creepy depending on your point of view.

Location: Homebush Bay, Sydney, Australia

Building/Facility Type: Shipwreck

Last recorded use: 1972 (Launched from the UK in 1911 under the name SS Corrimal)

Abandoned place description: Homebush Bay was home to various ship-breaking operations during the mid-20th Century. Different wrecked hulls remain in the area, including the most famous of them, the SS Ayrfield.

The ship was built and launched from the UK in 1911 and later registered as SS Ayrfield in Australia in 1912 as a steam collier. It transported supplies during WW2 and returned to service as a steam collier post-war until decommissioned in 1972.

Most of its superstructure was reclaimed and scrapped during the 1970s, and ship-breaking operations ceased in the same decade, leaving the hull to float ominously in the bay. Nature has since reclaimed the ship creating a magnificent, yet creepy, abandoned shipwreck.

4. The Hotel de Salto is a haunted abandoned hotel

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
The Hotel de Salto is freaky.

Location: Tequendama Falls, Columbia

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned Hotel

Last recorded use: 1990s

Abandoned place description: The Hotel De Salto was opened in 1928 to serve tourists visiting the nearby 157-meter Tequendama Falls. Reports of contaminated waters led tourists to lose interest in seeing the hotel, and it was forced to close its doors in the early 1990s.

The building was converted to a museum in 2012. Locals claim that people have decided to use the site to commit suicide leading many to believe it's haunted. 

5. This abandoned Soviet submarine base gives you the chills

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
You wouldn't want to stay here at night.

Location: Pacific Submarine Fleet Nuclear Shelter, Pavlovsk, Russia

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned military or governmental building

Last recorded use: 1980s (Left unfinished)

Abandoned place description: The Pavlovsk Soviet-era nuclear submarine base built between the 1960s was abandoned and left unfinished in the 1980s. It is thought to have been created as a nuclear bunker to protect the Soviet Union's precious nuclear submarines.

The base features two giant tunnels to house submarines with a maze of much smaller ones for personnel. Today it remains abandoned and can often be found with frozen water in the submarine docking areas. 

6. The haunted New Bedford Orpheum

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
New Bedford Orpheum is another creepy abandoned place.

Location: New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned Theatre

Last recorded use: Circa 1962

Abandoned place description: The New Bedford Orpheum, or Orpheum Theatre, is a now-vacant theatre and movie house on Water Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts. The building opened its doors on April 15th, 1912 - if that sounds familiar, it's the same day the Titanic was struck down. 

The theatre was closed in 1958 and was only opened for special occasions after that. It was later sold to a tobacco company that used it for storage in 1962, but it is now largely void. Today it's a spookily eerie place to behold, but there are plans afoot to revive the building as a non-profit organization. 

7. This subway tunnel in Kiev is creepy

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
Hella no.

Location: Kiev, Ukraine

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned tunnel

Last recorded use: Unknown

Abandoned place description: There are some parts of the Kiev Metro system that is rarely, if ever, visited or used. These tunnel sections are hidden deep beneath the city and are reminiscent of scenes from the James Cameron classic, Aliens

Many of these tunnels are often flooded and rarely maintained, and stalactites have started to grow from the tunnel ceilings. 

8. This abandoned submarine base in Balaklava is somewhere you wouldn't visit alone

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
Yup, another sub base.

Location: Balaklava, Crimea

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned military or governmental building

Last recorded use: Still in partial use

Abandoned place description: Here's another Soviet-Era submarine docking facility. This one isn't wholly abandoned but it is still very creepy. It seems Russian Communists have a penchant for building imposing and scary underground facilities.  Decommissioned after the fall of the Soviet Union, this was once a top-secret facility near Balaklava.

It was specifically designed to withstand a nuclear strike and is deep underground. The structure was touted as virtually indestructible with its labyrinth of corridors and docks crowned with a shell of concrete and steel designed to resist a 100-kiloton blast.

It was converted into a naval museum recently but has since closed because of the recent geopolitical issues in Crimea. The facility is currently disputed between Ukraine and Russia.

9. A creepy abandoned train station

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
This building has now been reclaimed by nature, more or less.

Location: Sukhumi, Abkhazia, Georgia

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned train station 

Last recorded use: Between 1992 and 1993

Abandoned place description: The now derelict train station at Sukhumi, Abkhazia, in Georgia, was once a thriving rail hub for the city. When the railway finally reached the town in the 1930's construction work began, with the first station opening in 1940. 

The line later became incorporated into the Transcaucasian Railway, with the current facility built in the mid-1950s. Built-in the Stalinist architectural style, the building is beautiful and foreboding in equal measure.

It finally closed its doors during the War in Abkhazia when loyalist Georgian and rebel forces clashed during the early 1990s. Today much of the building has been partially reclaimed by nature, making for an exciting and creepy experience. 

10.  The spooky military hospital in Germany

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
How bad could it be, really?

Location: Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital, Beelitz, Germany

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned military or governmental building

Last recorded use: Around 1994-1995

Abandoned place description: The Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital is situated near Berlin in a little town called Beelitzinitially famous for asparagus. It was originally built at the beginning of the 20th Century to treat tuberculosis, comprising around 60 buildings.

It was commandeered as a military hospital during the World Wars and used for Nazi experiments during WW2. During the war's final days, the facility was captured by Soviet forces and became their biggest military treatment center outside of Russia until 1994.

Small parts are still used for neurological research and treatment, but most are derelict. 

11. The disturbing wreck of the SS America

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
The ship has seen better days.

Location: Playa de Garcey, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

Building/Facility Type: Shipwreck

Last recorded use: 1994

Abandoned place description: The SS America was commissioned and built-in 1940 for the United States Lines and designed by famed Naval Architect William Francis Gibbs. SS America had a distinguished service life of 54 years before ending up wrecked on the Playa de Garcey in the Canary Islands.

Her name changed throughout that time with her last name (at the time of wreckage), the SS America Star. At the time, she was under tow to be refitted as a floating hotel in Thailand when a large storm broke the tow lines leaving her adrift. 

She can still be seen beached and wrecked but has largely broken up since 1994. A large part of her bow remains visible at low tide and serves as a stark reminder of the power of the sea. 

12. Sorrento abandoned mill is beautiful and scary

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
It is actually quite beautiful in the day.

Location: Sorrento, Italy

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned mill

Last recorded use: Circa 1866

Abandoned place description: The Sorrento Abandoned Mill near Naples, Italy, sits in a deep canyon, Vallone Dei Mulini ("Valley of the Mills"), and has been partially reclaimed by nature. Stunningly beautiful in its decrepitude, it is both enticing and creepy at the same time.

Built-in the 10th Century, it served as a flour mill until it was closed in 1866 when the Tasso Square was built. This event isolated it from the sea, increasing local humidity and rendering the mill impractical. 

The building was finally closed and abandoned to its fate in the 1940s. 

13. This former NATO nuclear bunker is being turned into a cannabis factory

Location: Memmingen Military Base, Bavaria, Germany

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned military or governmental building

Last recorded use: Circa 2003

Description: Built as part of the NATO defenses to combat the real threat of Soviet Russia, this Cold War Era bunker is destined for a very different role in the future. One German entrepreneur, Christoph Rossner, has plans to grow medicinal cannabis in a forgotten nuclear bunker on a partially abandoned airbase.

The recent legalization of Cannabis in Germany will turn a once creepy abandoned nuclear bunker into something the architects could never have imagined. The former 50 meters long by 15-meter-high bunker was once an integral part of the defenses of the Memmingen Military Base between 1956 and 2003.

The facility's existing high-security requirements are ideal for the strict regulations required by the Bavarian Government for its intended use. So its plans might just be a win-win (depending on your views on the drug). 

14. The Paris catacombs are spooky

Location: Paris, France

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned tomb

Last recorded use: Has been open to the public since 1874

Description: Hidden beneath the streets of Paris, this famous subterranean tomb holds the remains of no less than 6 million bodies. The underground cemetery was built in the last 18th Century and was used by the French Resistance as their HQ during the second world war.

The catacombs form a literal labyrinth beneath the city's heart was created in the galleries of former quarries used to build the city. The dead who now adorn the walls of the ossuary was gradually transferred there as graveyards were being closed for public health reasons.

The first to be built was the cimetière des Innocents graveyard in 1786 in the district of Les Halle. 

15. The Tirpitz museum used to be a Nazi bunker

Location: Blåvand, Denmark

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned military or governmental building

Last recorded use: Original (1945) - Currently a museum

Description: The Tirpitz Museum, known as the Blåvand Bunker Museum, features exhibits on the Nazi's ambitious Atlantic Wall project during the Second World War. The museum is built inside an old abandoned German bunker that formed part of the wall defenses along the west coast of Denmark.

The museum has 2,500 m2 of exhibition space that features four exhibitions, including a sizeable amber collection, presentations on the bunker itself, a history museum, and a special exhibitions gallery. 

The ultra-modern design for the museum was shortlisted for the Mies van der Rohe 2017 Awards, and The A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation funded its construction. 

16. The I.M. cooling tower is now off-limits

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
Would you visit this place?

Location: Monceau-sur-Sambre, Charleroi, Belgium

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned tower

Last recorded use: 2007

Abandoned place description: The cooling tower o an abandoned power station in the town of Charleroi, Belgium, still dominates the skyline but no longer bellows out steam. The power plant was initially built in 1921 and was, at the time, one of the largest coal-burning power plants in Belgium.

At its height, the cooling tower could cool 480.000 gallons (1.8 million liters) of water per minute, and the power plant underwent improvements to burn natural gas in the 1970s. 

Later audits found that the power plant alone generated 10% of Belgium's CO2 emissions. This led to protests from Greenpeace in 2006, ultimately leading to its closure in 2007.

17. The former sunken yacht Mar Sem Fim 

Location: Maxwell Bay, Ardley Cove, Antarctica

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned yacht

Last recorded use: 2012

Abandoned place description: A few years ago, if you'd found yourself in Ardley Cove in Antarctica, you wouldn't have been able to fail to notice an odd shape just under the sea surface. This is the creepy wreck of the Brazilian yacht Mar Sem Fim ("Endless Sea"). 

The yacht and her Brazilian film crew were filming a documentary when the vessel was hit by strong winds and stuck in the ice. The crew abandoned the ship leaving the Mar Sem Fim to its fate. 

All four filmmakers onboard were eventually rescued by the Chilean Navy. All crew was unharmed. The winds engulfed the ship in seawater that duly froze, cracking its hull and leaving it wrecked. Her remains were salvaged in 2013 and towed to shore.

18. The Maunsell sea forts once housed pirate radio stations

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
They used to be used for pirate radio.

Location: River Thames, England

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned military or governmental building

Last recorded use: 1950s

Abandoned place description: Designed by Guy Maunsell, these army and navy forts were built in the Thames and Mersey estuaries during the Second World War to defend the waterways in case of attack. Post-war, with the immediate threat from Axis forces removed, the forts were decommissioned and left to their fate.

Although they are collectively called Maunsell Forts, they comprise two distinct designs. The forts closest to the mainland were army forts (pictured below). Those further out to sea were for naval purposes serving as gun platforms. 

The forts have since been used for pirate radio activities with one famously declaring itself independent from the UK as the Principality of Sealand. Though its declared sovereign status is not officially recognized.

19. The Sanzhi UFO houses have now been demolished

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
These are now gone, sadly.

Location:  Sanzhi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan

Building/Facility Type: Ghost town

Last recorded use: Circa 1980

Abandoned place description: The San Zhi UFO houses, or Sanzhi pod houses, were a set of UFO-like housing pods in the Sanzhi district of New Tapai City. Their design was undoubtedly bold, but the project was never completed, and the units were left abandoned in the 1980s unfinished.

Construction began on the building project in 1978, and they were intended to be used as a vacation resort. Lack of investment meant the project stalled and was never completed.

The buildings were a tourist attraction for a time and were used as filming locations. The buildings were finally demolished in 2008, and by 2010 all UFO pods had been removed.

20. The underwater city of Shicheng is a sight to behold

Location: Qiandao Lake, Zhejiang Province, China

Building/Facility Type: Underwater city

Last recorded use: Circa 677 AD

Abandoned place description: The sunken city of Shicheng ("Lion's Gate") dates back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-200AD). It was flooded in 1959 when construction began on the Xin'an River Hydropower Station, flooding the region where the old city was.

The sunken abandoned city is also often called "China's Atlantis Re-Discovered." 

Its current predicament benefits the site as it is now protected from wind and rain erosion ravages. Today it is beautifully preserved and can be found just 26-40 meters underwater.

21. St. George's Church has some scary residents

Location:  Luková, Czech Republic

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned church

Last recorded use: Circa 1968

Abandoned place description: The now dilapidated St George's Church in the Czech Republic is not only spooky from the outside but is equally creepy on the inside. The church was abandoned in the 1960s but has recently become home to some ghostly shrouded statues.

The church was left to rot when its roof collapsed in 1968, taking it as a bad omen; the resident boarded up the church soon after. Services were held outside the church instead. 

Despite this, residents wanted to see it restored, so artist Jakub Hadrava was commissioned to turn it into an art installation to raise funds for the work. The plaster ghosts were installed in 2014 and have become a minor tourist attraction.

22. Bannerman castle is pretty much horror movie material

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
You wouldn't book a room here.

Location:  Hudson Highlands State Park, NY, USA

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned mock castle

Last recorded use: Unknown

Abandoned place description: Bannerman Castle is yet another of the most creepy abandoned places in the world. The wealthy Bannerman family purchased the island on which it was built in 1900, and construction on the mock-Scottish castle began in 1901. 

After its construction, it was used as a military surpass stockpile. The castle was severely damaged by fire in the 1950s and has been abandoned ever since. 

23.  The Ryugyong Hotel is not somewhere you'd want to stay the night

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
It is still not finished.

Location: Pyongyang, North Korea

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned hotel

Last recorded use: N/A

Abandoned place description: The Ryugyong Hotel, or Yu-Kyung Hotel or 105 Building, is one of the world's creepiest abandoned places. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is also the tallest unoccupied building in the world. 

Construction of the building began in 1987 and was summarily halted in 1992. Construction resumed in 2008 but was again suspended in 2011. 

The building is yet to be fully completed and has never been occupied. 

24. The abandoned railway station of Michigan Central Station will creep you out

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
This building has seen better days.

Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned railway station

Last recorded use: Circa 1988

Abandoned place description: Michigan Central Station in Detroit, Michigan, is another of the world's creepiest abandoned places. The building has been entirely unoccupied, a historic former main intercity passenger rail depot since around 1988.

It was built to replace a former depot severely damaged from a fire in 1913 and remained in service until the cessation of Amtrak in 1988. 

Since around 2011, demolition works, minor structural repairs and other alterations have occurred. The Ford Motor Company purchased the building in 2018 and planned to develop the building into a mixed-use facility. 

25. The underwater Christ of the Abyss is also a little creepy

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
Would you dive to see it?

Location: The Mediterranean Sea, off San Fruttuoso, between Camogli and Portofino on the Italian Riviera.

Building/Facility Type: Submerged bronze statue

Last recorded use: N/A but first installed circa 1954

Abandoned place description: The Christ of the Abyss is yet another of the world's creepiest abandoned places. It is a submerged bronze statue of Jesus Christ located off San Fruttuoso on the Italian Riviera. 

The statue was created by an Italian sculptor called Guido Galletti, and various copies can be found worldwide. In 1954, the original statue was installed approximately 15 meters under the sea surface.

It was first created in honor of Dario Gonzatti, the first Italian to use SCUBA gear, who died in 1947. Since then, it has undergone various restoration works. 

26. Wonderland Amusement Park was never completed

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
Ironic really.

Location: Chenzhuang Village, Nankou Town, Changping District, China

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned/never completed amusement park

Last recorded use: N/A

Abandoned place description: Wonderland Amusement Park is an abandoned, well never completed, amusement park just outside Beijing. It was initially proposed by a Thai property developer and hoped to become Asia's largest amusement park. 

The site features several abandoned structures, like the framework of a castle-like building and other medieval-themed outer buildings. Construction ceased around 2008, and other attempts to complete the work have since failed.

Local farmers have reportedly reclaimed some of the sites to grow their crops. Since around 2013, demolition works have progressively reduced the site to its foundations. 

27. Who knows what secrets the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane holds

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
This can't be a nice place to visit.

Location:  Willard, New York

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned asylum

Last recorded use: Circa 1995

Abandoned place description: The Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane, as the name suggests, is also another of the world's creepiest abandoned places. A listed building on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, it first opened its doors in about 1869. 

"After Geraldo Rivera’s 1972 expose of the deplorable conditions at Willowbrook Asylum, numbers in large institutions declined sharply. Willard Asylum discharged its final patient in 1995 and shuttered its doors for good." - Atlas Obscura

Today, some facilities buildings are still used for training and dormitories by the Department of Correctional Facilities. They also maintain most of the former asylum grounds, but many have been left to rot.

28. The Mirny Diamond Mine is rumored to suck in helicopters

28 of the most creepy abandoned places and their stories
This mine is enormous.

Location: Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, now Eastern Siberia

Building/Facility Type: Abandoned opencast mine

Last recorded use: Circa 2001

Abandoned place description: The massive opencast diamond mine in Mirny, Russia is another mysterious and abandoned place. One of the largest man-made excavated holes in the world. This former-kimberlite diamond mine was one of the richest deposits in the world.

It is over 525 meters deep (making it the 4th deepest in the world) and has a diameter of around 1,200 meters. Mining operations began in about 1957 and ceased in 2001. 

Since 2009, the underground extraction of the diamond deposits has recommenced. Some believe helicopters can be sucked into it, but there is no evidence for this myth.

And that is your lot for today.

Exploring abandoned and creepy locations worldwide can be a hauntingly memorable experience. As we've seen, the world is full of places shrouded in mystery, intrigue, and even fear. Whether you're a brave adventurer seeking out thrills or just enjoying learning about the darker side of history, there's no denying the allure of these eerie destinations.

So, next time you're looking for a spooky adventure, consider adding one of these creepy locations to your travel bucket list.

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