The 7 Scariest Ghost Towns in America

Image Credit: Michael Gabler

A ghost town is, by definition, a deserted town with few or no remaining inhabitants. But the name itself strikes such ghastly imagery in our minds. The term itself invokes thoughts of old, gray, cob-webbed towns where only the spirits of the dead walk the streets (and in a few of these cases, that could be true). These places were often abandoned for very specific reasons. In some cases, they were small towns built around the time of the gold rush that just could not thrive, and in some other examples, you will see they were abandoned for very different reasons. Regardless of how or why they were abandoned, these places are undeniably creepy if you ever get to see them in real life, and a few of them even have rumors of curses associated with them for all who visit. Here are 7 of the scariest ghost towns in America.

DudleyTown in Cornwall, Connecticut

Image Credit: National Enquirer

DudleyTown in Connecticut is often also referred to as "the village of the damned" because of the strange rumors that swirl around it. Founded in the 1700's, it was a settlement for farmers, and was actually never a real town (though has since become one of the most well known "ghost towns" in the country). It was actually land owned by the Dudley family who allowed more people to come in as it grew and thrived for a small time.

Problem was, it was not ideal land for farming, so over time, people just sort of left and went to places with richer soil and better farming conditions. Thing is, the place has quite a reputation now. Rumor is (for us locals who live in the Northeast, anyway) is that if you visit this abandoned town and take something with you when you leave, you place a curse upon your family. But that is the thing that makes ghost towns so cool. The (most likely untrue) statements and rumors that seem to surround them.

Bodie in California

Perhaps one of the most well known ghost towns in all of America, Bodie was established in 1859 after William Bodie found some gold nearby. Of course, that brought in a decent amount of people who quickly seemed to figure out that William's find was not common, so just like with most ghost towns, everyone upped and left when they saw it was not going to "pan" out as planned. Get it, because they used pans to find gold? High quality wordplay right there.

What sets Bodie apart from most other ghost towns in the country is that it is the ghost town that still remains the most untouched. In other words, the old shacks people used to live in are all still there. Nothing has been reconstructed or touched. So you walk through it, they say it feels like you are walking through some haunted postcard of a time and place long forgotten.

Animas Forks in Colorado

Image Credit: Flickr User Greg Stelz

Animas Forks in Colorado, as seen from the above pic, is quite chilling. Said to require a four wheel vehicle to even reach (making you wonder how it was established as mining community way back in the day), the reality is, with its backdrop of gorgeous mountains and residences that are seemingly all in good shape still (despite looking like a haunted houses), there is just an eeriness and sense of solace in Animas Forks that you wont find anywhere else in the beautiful state.

Many people who have visited this ghost town have said the looming mountains in the background, though lovely, add a real sense of dread while you are there, walking among the memories of the long forgotten.

Centralia in Pennsylvania

Image Credit: Flickr user Scott Drzyzga

Perhaps my favorite entry on the list, few ghost towns in the entire world are quite as creepy as this smoldering ghost town in Pennsylvania. Originally a mining town that was thriving, this was all brought to a screeching halt when a massive mine fire erupted underground in 1962, causing it to be slowly evacuated over time once the severity of the fire was determined. So how severe was the mine fire over Centralia? Well, um, does this answer your question:

(YouTube Link)

That video is from one year ago, so yes, the fire was serious. Though they installed pipes to drain the smoke and such, the place is still known to bellow from time to time. The reason I love this entry so much is because this town is rumored to have been a big part of the inspiration for the stellar Silent Hill game series.

North Brother Island in New York

Image Credit: Reivax

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the above picture is worth even more than that, and most of them amount to just screaming in terror, rather than words.

What blows the mind about North Brother Island is that people do not normally associate ghost towns with New York. Especially considering how close this is in proximity to Manhattan. This island housed a quarantined medical facility for people suffering from serious and deadly illnesses. North Brother Island is most well-known for having the hospital that housed Typhoid Mary.

Though the hospital took on different causes over the years (veterans and such), it eventually closed down in the 1950's and has been left, abandoned, to scare away people ever since.

Thurmond in West Virginia

Image Credit: Library of Congress

If you had to put a few of these places on a must-see list, add Thurmond to it right now. Though it may have a population of five now (not even kidding), this place is about as visually creepy as it gets. From an abandoned train station to an eerily empty downtown that almost always seems like a zombie may shamble into view at any point, Thurmond may not be the a ghost town in the sense that no one is there, but it sure feels and looks like a ghost town to anyone passing through downtown.

What turned this once a thriving community into a ghost town was the invention of the diesel locomotive in the 1950's. This rendered their coal run railroad obsolete, and slowly turned the place into the ghost town it is known for today. Well, except for those five, really random people. But remember, "few" or no remaining inhabitants, so it is still technically a ghost town.

Seattle Underground in Washington

Image Credit: AdmrBoltz

Did you know Seattle as we know it now was built atop another version of Seattle? All the stuff underground now was ground level in mid-nineteenth century. Essentially, Seattle was fine until some idiot started a fire and spilled some glue which ended up causing it to be a grease based fire that would not go out. Much was destroyed, but in the process of rebuilding, they thought completely out of the box.

They lined the streets with concrete walls, and built up. Though it took years and heavy planning, eventually the Seattle you know now was built on the bones of the old Seattle. Underground Seattle was fully condemned in the early nineteen hundreds for fears of the plague, but now there are certain parts of the Seattle underground that have become open to tours. Tours where you see things like the above photo and realize how utterly creepy the whole idea is.

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Sacramento, CA has a spooky underground, too, dating from the late 1800s when the town was raised-up by 10ft to alleviate the problem of routine flooding.
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"...saw it was not going to 'pan' out as planned. Get it, because they used pans to find gold? High quality wordplay right there."

Actually, this is precisely where the idiom came from!
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