Halloween is coming, and together with its atmosphere of mystery and scary stories, there is a feeling of magic at this time of year. The spookiest and most magical places in the world are often those that have been abandoned, often for centuries. We have created a guide to show you the most beautiful (and spookiest) abandoned places in the world. If haunted houses exist, these are the places where you are most likely to find spirits.
This majestic ghost town has a long history with some scary stories behind it. The area has a long history, which stretches back to its early beginnings in 540 AD. In the 20th century, the town was evacuated due to a lack of food during a drought. In fact, the area had a string of bad luck. In 1963, the area suffered a landslide, and then in 1972, terrible flooding led to the city becoming abandoned altogether. You may remember the town’s majestic and mysterious look from movies such as The Passion of the Christ (where the town was used as the scene for Judas’ hanging), or from James Bond’s Quantum of Solace.
A landmark of Semarang, Central Java, Lawang Sewu (which translates to “Thousand Doors”) is a former Dutch colonial era building rumored to be haunted by headless ghosts. This largely deserted structure is open to the public 24 hours a day, so if you’re looking for a scare this Halloween, why not take a midnight visit?
Gougi Island, China
Gougi Island is a fishing village in the Zhoushan Archipelago. Fishing used to be a primary industry in this region, but with the development of other industries (e.g. shipbuilding, shipping, and tourism), many fishing villages became abandoned. Most of the buildings on Gougi Island are now covered with green ivy and have been given the nickname “the Wizard of Oz’s dream.”
The Metropolitan Theater, Philippines
Completed in 1931, the Metropolitan Theater played host to different theatrical performances in its heyday, which included Zarzuelas, operas, and concerts. “The Met” sustained partial damage during World War II, but after the war, the Art Deco building was undeservedly used for some other events; as a boxing arena, a low-quality motel, and even a home for illegal settlers.
The Met was renovated in 1978, reclaiming its prestige as a cultural center, although this was short-lived. It closed its doors in 1996 due to a conflict of ownership between the Manila City government and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). Plans for a revival in 2010 ultimately did not push through, and while sporadically used in 2011, the Met has been closed since 2012.
Dundas Castle, USA
Dundas Castle was designed by architect Ralph Wurts-Dundas for his wife Josephine Harmar. Mr Dundas died before the project was completed and his wife was committed to a sanatorium and therefore never had a chance to live in it. The building looks like it was taken from a medieval fairy tale but its construction actually began in 1907 and it’s located in New York. Legends say that Mr Dundas’ wife used to ride on a horseback through the town of Roscoe and was imprisoned in the castle. There is little evidence she lived in the castle’s unfurnished rooms, but her ghost is said to watch over the property.
Marroquín Castle, Colombia
This stunning mansion, built in 1904 near the Colombian city of Chía, was used as an asylum for several years. Allegedly, the castle is haunted by the ghost of a nun who once worked there, numerous patients who met their demise in the asylum, and ‘La Zancona,’ a mysterious woman dressed in all black, who roams the building.
The Island of the Dolls, Mexico
Xochimilco, a district just south of Mexico City, is home to a number of artificial islands and canals, one of which was owned by a caretaker named Julian Santana Barrera. When Barrera discovered the body of a young girl in one of the canals near his island, he began to collect dolls to hang around the island to ward off any evil spirits, and to make the young girl happy. The island, known as Isla de las Munecas (Island of the Dolls), is now visited by thousands of tourists a year, who bring dolls to carry on Barrera’s work.
Maunsell Army Sea Forts, England
Created and used during World War II, Maunsell Army Sea Forts are armed towers which were built to protect the United Kingdom. They were decommissioned in the late 1950s and for a short time served as offshore sites for pirate radio stations. Now they are completely abandoned and rather spooky shells from the past.
Temple of Santiago, Mexico
This Roman Catholic Church was abandoned because of a smallpox epidemic during the 18th century. After that, it was never used for ecclesiastical purposes again. In 1966, the Temple was completely submerged after the Nezahualcoyotl Reservoir was completed from the construction of the Malpaso Dam. It has reappeared periodically. Incredibly, in 2002, the water levels were so low that the church floor was dry. Currently, the water level is approximately 80 feet.
Mohatta Palace, Pakistan
Located in Karachi, the Mohatta Palace is an elaborate, pink and yellow stone building, consisting of 18,500 square yards. Legend has it that there is a superhuman presence at the palace, with guides believing that the building is haunted. Whilst on guard, workers are rumored to have felt the presence of spirits, and experienced objects moving without human touch.