In our busy world today, it’s hard to imagine that ghost towns exist, but there are plenty of abandoned towns even in the UK, that time has left behind.
From eerie haunted villages in California that previously attracted thousands of gold miners, to a fake UK villages designed to train the British Army to fight German soldiers, there are some incredible empty settlements across the globe.
Today, many are only attractive to ghost hunters or photographers, with some sites left totally abandoned by society.
Lots of these eerie spaces have doubled up as filming locations thanks to their scenery, and some have even been listed by UNESCO.
But visitors should take care – some of these locations are claimed to be cursed, with locals warning tourists to be on their best behaviour.
We’ve pulled together a list featuring ten of the most intriguing ghost towns across the globe – and there’s even one here in the UK.
1. Bodie, California
Bodie was a gold-mining town east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range that has been left preserved in a spooky state.
It is described as “a town frozen in time in a state of arrested decay.”
While it once had a population of more than 10,000 during the gold-rush era, it has now been left abandoned.
At its peak, it had streets filled with more than 70 saloons, a bowling alley, gambling halls and stores and churches.
But the town’s mines began to decline in 1913 before eventually closing in 1942.
Now, more than 100 abandoned buildings remain, giving tourists an incredible insight into what life was like in the Wild West.
Furniture is preserved in empty homes with family pictures still on the walls and crockery in the drawers.
Some deserted bars even have filled bottles of beer clouded with dust after owners shut their doors due to no trade.
But visitors beware – locals warn that the Bodie Curse will haunt anyone who leaves town with any of the old artefacts.
2. Sanzhi Pod City, Taiwan
These incredible UFO houses were built in 1978 as a seaside holiday resort visiting US personnel.
They were supposed to give a nod to the future of design – but instead ended up being dubbed “ruins of the future.”
The project was abandoned in 1980 after it ran into financial difficulties and there were several suicides by construction workers.
There were also numerous car crashes reported on the site.
Terrified locals say the resort was built on a burial ground for Dutch soldiers, leading to reports it was haunted.
Another theory claims that the site was cursed by the spirit of a dragon, after a statue of one was destroyed during construction.
In Asia, dragons are associated with good luck and power, so many locals claimed the action led to the misfortune.
Although some of the buildings have been torn down, the site of the failed futuristic vision can still be visited.
3. Hashima Island, Japan
This tiny underwater coal mining facility, which was also known as Battleship Island, was once populated by more than 5,000 people.
At its peak, it was home to several home-rise buildings for the workers, along with a school, hospital, town hall, cinema and swimming pool.
But it officially closed in 1974 as oil began to replace coal in Japan.
It remained closed for 35 years until enterprising tour operators began to run trips to the island, after the government allowed access.
Among the empty work buildings are the deserted homes of the workers, with televisions and telephones still in place.
The abandoned 16-acre island became a cult tourist attraction after it was featured in a James Bond film.
Part of it was used as the hideout for villain Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem, in 2012 hit Skyfall.
The island was approved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2015.
4. Oradour-sur-Glane, France
This small farming village was the site of France’s biggest massacre of civilians by the Nazis during World War Two.
Troops from the SS killed 642 villagers on 10 June 1944, almost the entire population of the town, and then destroyed the village.
After the war, a new village was built nearby but the ruins remain as a memorial and museum to mark the atrocities that occurred there.
5. Kilamba New City, Angola
Built by a Chinese firm, just 17 miles outside of the capital city of Luanda, this sprawling city can house 500,000 residents.
But many of the city’s buildings still remain empty, as prices remain too high for Angola residents, who don’t wish to live in an empty city.
According to Architectural Digest, by 2018 only 80,000 residents had moved in, leaving many of the 750 apartment buildings, shops and schools empty.
Building the city cost an estimated £2.72 billion but in an article from March this year, Wallpaper reports that Kilamba still looks like “a place that looks like it’s at the end, not the beginning, of its existence.”
6. Pripyat, Ukraine
Home to thousands of families working at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, 50,000 residents were abruptly evacuated on the day of the disaster.
The explosion from the nuclear reactor on April 26, 1986 means the town now lies as a tribute to that tragic day as it sits as it was left.
Visitors can now visit the crumbling site which is slowly being reclaimed by nature.
But schools, shops and homes are still locked in a time warp, with books still on children’s desks and debris strewn across the town.
Hundreds of discarded gas masks litter the floor while children’s dolls are scattered about, abandoned when they were rushed away from the town in a hurry.
7. Copehill Down, Wiltshire, England
Copehill Down is a mock village built by the Ministry of Defence to resemble a East German village.
It was created so the army could practice close quarters fighting and has never been inhabited.
But it includes an incredible level of detail – including curtains in the windows and flower beds, giving the impression that it has just been evacuated.
8. Varosha, Cyprus
Before the division of Cyprus in 1974, holiday resort Varosha was one of the most glamorous destinations in the Med.
Described “as the French Riviera of Cyprus”, it attracted Hollywood celebrities such as Liz Taylor.
But after Turkish troops invaded northern Cyprus, its residents fled, and the holiday hotspot has become a no-go zone.
Visiting the site is restricted but homes can be seen totally abandoned, with plates and cutlery left on tables as people left in a hurry.
9. Ruby, Arizona
A mining camp 50 miles southwest of Turson, the town of Ruby thrived during the gold-rush era.
Activity at Montana Mine attracted hundreds of people seeking to make their fortune.
But when the the Eagle-Picher Mining Company closed in 1941, so did the town, with residents abandoning it for more prosperous places.
Now the town is considered to be one of the best preserved mining ghost towns in Arizona, with visitors able to tour 25 abandoned buildings, including a jail, school and houses.
10. Texola, Oklahoma
The town of Texola is located along America’s most iconic road – Route 66.
But its rural position combined with a decline in cotton production and the Great Depression, has led to a huge decline in residents.
Around 30 people are now said to live in the town, which has become a tourist attraction thanks to its well preserved abandoned structures.
Roadtrippers visit the Magnolia Service Station and tiny town jail before heading off along the famous route.