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A town or village that no longer has enough inhabitants to be considered a town (or in extreme cases may be abandoned entirely)note . The term "ghost town" is used because the town's business buildings and houses are still there, except they are boarded up and derelict, which gives the place a spooky feeling.

Back in the days of The Wild West, settlements would spring up quickly if news came of a gold or silver strike, or of a good water supply in arid land, and folks would flock in and put up a Boom Town. Many of these survived and grew, even after the initial rush was over (all major cities in the West Coast got their start like this). But many died out and were abandoned. After the gold was mined out, or the spring went dry, or the railroad went through a town 100 miles away instead, there was no way to earn a living there. So the town died, slowly or quickly, and became a Ghost Town.

In a more general sense, in an agricultural society, most people lived on a farm or a ranch and shipped their grain or cattle to the nearest big trading center. When most people started living in more urbanized areas, since they were not farming, either they needed to go to a job or have customers because they ran some kind of business out of their house. If that dried up, whether or not they owned their house, unless they could grow enough food to feed themselves and supply other basic needs, their only option was to pack up and move on. If enough people did that, then you got a ghost town.

Given their nature, ghost towns tend to be far off the beaten path, and not appear on current maps. Thus people who wind up in ghost towns are usually lost on a road trip, or if it was deliberate, because they want to explore the ghost town, they had a hard time getting there. (The big exception is tourist attraction ghost towns, which have relatively easy access, and enough people in nearby areas to keep the place up.)

Ghost towns don't necessarily have actual ghosts in them, but are generally spooky even without them. Crumbling buildings, rotting wooden siding, rusting iron, banging shutters, and creaking floors (or in a Western, an old player piano that suddenly activates) are spooky. Sometimes the evacuation will have been so sudden that it appears that people left in the middle of dinner; there may be old crockery and rusted cans in the cupboards.

Sometimes there will be a single octagenarian inhabitant who will explain the history of the area, or, who will brandish an ancient shotgun and attempt to drive off the intruders. And if it's the horror genre, whatever evil spirits/monsters that caused the place to become a ghost town will very likely still be in the area (and about to wake up and be hungry for a human meal).

This Trope is sometimes found with the Abandoned Mine Trope (one being the reason for the other). Compare Ghost City, where this has happened to a major metropolitan area, and Ghost Planet when an entire world ends up this way. Contrast Boom Town, the beginning of the cycle. See also Dying Town, when a poor community is getting close to becoming a Ghost Town.

Ghost towns are Truth in Television, for a range of reasons. In North America, in addition to the previously-described 1800s-era ghost towns, there are 1900s ghost towns caused by chemical pollution or natural disasters. In Europe, there is a French ghost town which the Nazi Waffen-SS burned down and killed the people; the destroyed town has been kept intact as a monument to this atrocity. Japan has 1990s-era ghost towns caused by that era's economic downturn.

Not to be confused with the 2008 film Ghost Town, whose town is actually quite populous; or with Thriving Ghost Town, which is the Law of Conservation of Detail as applied to the town's population; or with the song "Ghost Town" by DJ Shadow or The Specials.


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Fictional Examples:

    Anime & Manga 
  • DARLING in the FRANXX: The children discover one while exploring a tunnel with lots of overgrowth near the beach. Kokoro finds a pamphlet discussing babies when she wanders into an abandoned clinic.
  • In Dragon Crisis!, several of the main girls get sucked into a painting of a ghost town. Unfortunately for them, there's also an Ax-Crazy murderer here.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • Hinamizawa. It gets wiped out in the Great Hinamizawa Disaster in some of the arcs.
    • Yagouchi, in the side story Nekogoroshi.
  • Saitama from One-Punch Man lives in the Z-City Ghost Town, a mostly uninhabited district of City Z which was abandoned by most of its former residents due to an unusually high frequency of monster attacks which began to plague the area. Despite this however, Saitama's apartment building still has electrical power and running water.
  • Shouan Days. has Hashima Island, an abandoned island where coal miners used to live within its one and only town, is now virtually a ghost town where the only resident is the dynamite girl.
  • Sunday Without God has Ostia, abandoned after the students of Class 3-4 suddenly disappeared. However, when Alice leads Ai and her companions beyond the black surface, they find themselves in the thriving Ostia of fourteen years ago, a timeloop created when the students of Class 3-4 wished to reset time to prevent a classmate's death.

    Comic Books 
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost: In an old comic book, the Ghostly Trio came home from their vacation upset, claiming that the ghost town they went to had no ghosts, only a guy selling souvenirs. It did, however, have a "little haunted house" that they were terrified of, which followed them home. (Actually, it was a ghostly dog in a doghouse, owned by a prospector who was using it to sniff out gold.)
  • Green Lantern: Coast City became a ghost town after its destruction at Cyborg Superman's hands. In Green Lantern: Rebirth, while still under the Spectre's power, Hal Jordan seems to unconsciously recreate the layout of the pre-devastation Coast City. Nonetheless, it took a while until people dared to return to the rebuilt town.
  • Lucky Luke features almost every single The Wild West cliché, and therefore:
    • He once had an adventure in a Ghost Town; this is even the title of the book. In that case, it was a Gold Rush mining town named Gold Hill that was abandoned after it became obvious there wasn't an ounce of gold around the place (The original gold rush had been started by a man named Powell, who'd been tricked into buying a "seeded" gold mine, and still lives in the town as an old man, refusing to accept that the mine was a fake). In the end, after Luke and Powell have stirred the locals out of their greed, it revives as a prosperous farming town. Ironically, almost immediately afterwards, Powell DOES find gold in his seemingly worthless mine, but Luke convinces him to let it go so Gold Hill can prosper.
    • In The Oklahoma Land Rush, the plot centers around a town called Boomville, the first settlement built during the titular Land Rush, when Oklahoma was bought from the Indians and opened for settlers. It turns out to be a "Shaggy Dog" Story; Oklahoma is too dry and arid for a typical Western town, plagued by dust storms and droughts, making the conflict between the heroes and the villains utterly pointless. In the end, Boomville is abandoned, with the only real positive outcome of the story being the Heel–Face Turn of Dopey, one of the bad guys mooks.
    • The Grand Duke: Luke sets up camp in one of these during his journey through the West with Grand Duke Leonid and Colonel Fedor, explaining the prevalence of these types of western towns to his Russian friends.
    • Daisy Town (based off the film Lucky Luke: Daisy Town) ends this way, making the entire fight with the Daltons and the Indians pointless, as all the citizens run off once they hear news about gold being discovered elsewhere. Unlike other stories with a similar ending, Luke doesn't seem too bothered by it, and even laughs about how everything turned out.
  • Marvel Two-in-One #14: Lawless, Arizona. This one had a literal ghost, a hanged outlaw that the The Thing and Daimon Hellstrom AKA the Son Of Satan battled.
  • Knowhere from the Nova series first appears like this. No-one's around, the lights are off, and there's blood on the walls. The only beings left are Cosmo and the Luminals. Oh, and some zombies.
  • Robin (1993): When Tim Drake's attempt to track a gun runner to his source gets completely derailed by an Eldritch Abomination that's been slinking around the Appalachian Mountains for years hiding in human form his research into the creature leads him to a town that's almost entirely boarded up and abandoned save one paranoid holdout. Most of the population had been slaughtered one of the previous times the creature's disguise as a human was ruined.
  • Superman: Supergirl's hometown Argo City, a Kryptonian city which survived Krypton's destruction but became a space ghost town when all Argoans -minus Superman's family- were killed by Kryptonite radiation (in the original The Supergirl From Krypton (1959)) or Brainiac (in The Supergirl from Krypton (2004)). Every so often Kara has travelled back to her city to check it's still a massive, silent graveyard drifting in the void of space.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Reygoch": The River Banewater's damn breaking down starts a massive flood which turns one entire valley into an artificial lake, burying two villages in water. When the flood recedes, the survivors decide to abandon their destroyed villages and build a new single town.

    Fan Works 
  • In Aeon Entelechy Evangelion the dome where Rei lives is this, absolutely devoid of human presence except for the hidden security detail and no wildlife (especially cats, which are natural detectors of everything abnormal).
  • Bad Future Crusaders: After the battle between Twilight Sparkle and Princess Luna destroyed most of Ponyville, the surviving townspeople fled the remains of the town, which have since been left to rot, with no one daring to enter even to scavenge or steal what was left behind.
  • Clearwater Commune in DC Nation was built on one of these. Currently a thriving hippie commune and farming community, it was once a notoriously nasty mining town in Jonah Hex's day, and popular with cultists, as it's sitting on a node of magical energy. The hippies are clueless about this.
  • Jurassic World (The Geeky Zoologist): A grey guard platoon crosses the ruins of San Fernandez during their track of the Indominus. San Fernandez is a mining colony that the Spaniards had built on Isla Nublar in the 16th century and was destroyed during an eruption of Mount Sibo.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, Supergirl returns to her abandoned hometown Argo City and finds it's still a silent, cold place littered with corpses.
  • The Keys of the Kingdom: Traverse Town is almost completely abandoned, and is falling apart.
  • Respect: At the end, Nanairogaoka has become this, after Yayoi's rampage.
  • The Soulmate Timeline has a variation in that it's the Magical Girl & Witch population of Japan's cities which are vanishing courtesy of the Witch Drought. No Witches lurking around mean no Grief Seeds to hunt and, more cynically, no Familiars to farm on human victims to grow new Witches and thus new Grief Seeds. As a result, cities that once boasted Magical Girl populations in the half-dozen to several dozen are emptying out as they're forced to either head to other cities that still have Witches and clash with local Magical Girls defending their territories, or follow the "migration" to Kamihama where most of the Witches seem to be congregating at.
  • The Tale of Lord Barleycorn: Hollow Shades lost its lifeblood when the lumber mill was closed and is slowly falling apart into physical and financial ruin. Most of the ponies have left, while those who've remained mostly don't have anywhere to go or else can't afford to leave.
  • The World is Filled with Monsters: Maplebridge. While its inhabitants are still there, they're all left unresponsive and catatonic in the wake of the dreamora attack by the time the heroes arrive.

    Films — Animated 
  • Spirited Away has Chihiro and her parents stumble into what appears to be a ghost town at the beginning of the movie. Only to discover that it is a town that belonged to spirits and they appear only at night.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the 2017 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Aftermath (based on the Uberlingen Mid-Air Collision), the airport the doomed plane was supposed to land at is entirely unpopulated except for staff. As anyone who has flown knows, this would not happen - planes fly 24 hours a day, and you would also have family members/taxi drivers waiting to pick passengers up. Later in the film, Arnold's character arrives in a hotel which doesn't seem to have anyone else staying there, nor any traffic outside. The only indication in the film that there's a population beyond people he interacts with in the film is when he attends a memorial for the 217 crash victims. The movie may have been low budget, but it feels glaringly unfinished as a result of this.
  • By the time the Colonial Marines arrive in Aliens to investigate a communications blackout from the normally bustling Hadley's Hope colony on LV-426, the colony's corridors are unpopulated except for a hamster and Newt, as well as signs of since-passed combat. All of the other colonists have been abducted by the Xenomorphs and taken to their hive for use as food and parasitic hosts.
  • In Blackthorn, Eduardo hid the money he stole from Simón Patiño in the Abandoned Mine at a mine settlement that has been abandoned for 8 years.
  • Subverted in the opening scenes of The Blob (1988), which show the small Rocky Mountain town where the story takes place looking totally deserted, with dead leaves blowing through empty streets and a lone cat wandering about... because every person in town is at the high school football game.
  • Bush Christmas: The climax occurs when a trio of horse thieves, being pursued by some intrepid children, lure the kids into an abandoned mining town where they spring an ambush.
  • In The Butchers, The Death Factory is located in a ghost town in the middle of nowhere: built in the expectation of a gold rush that never came.
  • Claw (2021): Much of the movie is set in a ghost town tourist attraction called Golden Cactus. The only person living there is Ray, the guy who runs the place.
  • In Day of the Evil Gun, Warfield and Forbes enter the deserted Mormon settlement of Obed, where they encounter a detachment of U.S. Cavalry led by "Captain" Jefferson Addis, who turn out to actually be a band of Dangerous Deserters.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street film Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare: "Ten years from now" (2001) Freddy has managed to kill off all of the teenagers and children of Springwood, leaving only the adults. The town is a complete wreck, near abandonment, except the adults are still there. They've all been left in a state of psychosis, possibly due to Freddy's influence.
  • In Fried Green Tomatoes, all that's left of the town was a graffiti-laden cafe that's been closed for years.
  • As the title implies, Ghost Town (1988) is set in a ghost town, complete with ghosts. When the ghostly inhabitants are present, the town looks like it did in its heyday, but when they are absent it looks like it has been abandoned for a century.
  • The Hills Have Eyes (2006): The abandoned nuclear test town.
  • Hooded Angels: After the war, Silver Creek is an abandoned town full of burnt out buildings where the Angels go to regroup. It is also the location of their final showdown with Wes and his posse.
  • In Zack Snyder's version of Justice League, the fictional Russian town of Pozharnov where villain Steppenwolf sets up his base is abandoned because of a nuclear incident that happened there, not unlike Pripyat in 1986 or Kyshtym in 1957. This provides nice ground for a destruction-heavy Final Battle.
  • In Keep Off My Grass!, a group of hippies is relocated from a small city to a run-down ghost town 50 miles away to keep them out of everyone else's way.
  • The Killer That Stalked New York, a 1950 film Very Loosely Based on the 1947 New York City smallpox outbreak, shows New York City with empty streets in an Imagine Spot when Dr. Wood imagines what would happen if they fail to contain the smallpox outbreak.
  • Left for Dead: Most of the movie is set in the ghost town of Amnesty: a mining town that was abandoned after every inhabitant was murdered. The town is 'occupied' by a ghost that is bound to the town's cemetery and who murders anyone who enters the town.
  • More Dead Than Alive: Cain first stumbles into the ghost town of Drywood as he is making his way back from the ambush at the mine. It is here that he first meets Monica, who is painting the deserted town as a symbol of the dying of the West. Later Billy flees here after murdering Ruffalo and stealing the cashbox, and it is here that Cain has his final showdown with Luke Santee after Santee has killed Billy.
  • The Muppet Movie: Kermit has a showdown with Doc Hopper in an old ghost town (as described by Dr. Teeth).
  • The Old Guard. The protagonists have a safehouse in a village outside Paris that has been abandoned because it's directly under a busy airport's flight path.
  • Pitfall: A laborer sent to a mine is surprised to arrive at the mining town and discover that it has been abandoned, except for one woman who keeps a candy shop. She tells him that the nearby mine was closed and operations have been moved to a different pit a little ways away. Soon after, the laborer is murdered and discovers that the town is a literal ghost town filled with ghosts of people that have died in the mine and the camp.
  • Princess Iron Fan (the second film of The Monkey Goes West quadrilogy) have Sanzang, Wukong, and their fellow pilgrims arriving in a village somehow devoid of all life, with the corpses of citizens scattered all over the place. An old man, near his death, managed to warn Sanzang and his disciples of the dangers ahead - the long-dormant Mount of Flames just up ahead had suddenly erupted, engulfing all surrounding areas with a sudden heatstroke, and they must figure a way to extinguish it so they can continue their journey.
  • In The Prowler (1951), Webb and Susan travel to the ghost town of Calico to allow Susan to give birth in secret. It is her that the denouement of the film takes place.
  • Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City: The film presents Raccoon City as a largely abandoned Ghost Town whose population has almost entirely moved on due to Umbrella pulling out of the city to set up business somewhere else.
  • Silent Hill was heavily inspired by Centralia, though the explanation is rather different.
  • In Skyfall, Big Bad Raoul Silva has his base in an island ghost town. It was filmed on Japan's Hashiman Island, a Real Life example.
  • The 1953 thriller Split Second has escaped criminals take hostages and hide out in a ghost town, not realising it's the intended target of an atomic bomb test.
  • Tremors:
    • In Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, the Old West town of Rejection is largely abandoned after "dirt dragon" attacks cause the local mine to be closed down. Most of its buildings were barely more than tents to begin with.
    • Sadly, this happens again in the later films as the constant graboid problems and lack of opportunity take its toll on the inhabitants of Perfection. In Tremors 6: A Cold Day in Hell, Burt is the only permanent resident left, with everybody else having moved away, and even he packs up and leaves by the next (and last) film when he refuses to deal with the US government any longer.

  • Atlas Shrugged: The town where the Twentieth Century Motor Company used to exist.
  • Ben Snow: In "Ghost Town", Ben visits the ghost town of Raindeer looking for a place to spend the night, and is captured by a quartet of train robbers. Then someone starts picking the robbers off one by one...
  • Bram Stoker's short story "Dracula's Guest": The unnamed protagonist encounters vampiric activity when he goes to investigate an abandoned town in the German countryside.
  • Futuretrack Five: While travelling in Scotland, Kitson and Keri start passing through towns that are shown on their bike's navigation system but no longer exist on the ground; the buildings have been demolished and all that's left is empty streets.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Galaxy of Fear: The town on D'vouran is small but lively when Tash decides to follow an apparently crazy man who wants to show her something relating to the world's dark secret. Within hours she comes back, shaken, and finds that everyone has vanished.
    • Other books explain that in the initial days of Tibanna gas exploitation on the gas giant Bespin, numerous floating boom towns were constructed to try to get in on the market. When most of these went bust, their owners simply cut the power to the repulsorlifts and let the installations fall into the gas giant's depths. The exception is Tibannopolis, a floating ghost town that's been stripped by scavengers to a bare skeleton. Its generators are slowly failing so that the thing currently hovers at a slight tilt, but it serves as Bespin's local "haunted house," a place for daredevil pilots to show off, or for lovers to have a private moment. And in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, it's where Luke recruits Streen, a Force-sensitive hermit whose Power Incontinence drove him away from other people's thoughts.
  • In The Girl from the Well, Kagura is interested in finding Aitou village, a long-lost village rumored to be haunted.
  • The infamous Yi City of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi wasn't too unsettling before it was abandoned despite being a city that traded primarily in funeral goods as well as being in a location with pretty lousy feng shui. After the tragedy that eventually cost it nearly all its (living) residents, it becomes downright spooky, the streets so full of Ominous Fog you won't know when you're near a walking corpse until it's too late.
  • A flashback in Holes reveals that Camp Green Lake, the juvenile detention center the protagonist is sent to, actually used to be a beautiful lake that served as the life blood of a thriving town. But when the locals lynched a black onion farmer for kissing the white Schoolmarm, a drought gripped the area, causing the lake to dry up and the town to go down with it. The narration even states that the drought can be seen as divine punishment.
  • Lone Wolf: In Book 19, Lone Wolf can visit two Ghost Towns on his cross country trip back home. One village was hit hard by a plague and is completely abandoned. Another one, the town of Amory, is a literal Ghost Town. The spirit of old enemy Roark still haunts his former home and his evil presence frightens away any living thing that tries to stay there. After Lone Wolf defeats Roark for the last time and banishes his spirit forever, he is delighted to hear birdsong in the morning after the battle — life is already returning to Amory. Lone Wolf also finds some hidden money in the floorboards of the house he was sleeping in — almost as if the town itself was thanking him.
  • Lumbanico, the Cubic Planet: As exploring the Arista's mountains, the protagonist trio find a beautiful city constructed of blue stone...and completely quiet and abandoned, all signs suggesting that its inhabitants fled abruptly many centuries ago. Later, the kids learn the city used to be known as Astrópolis, "the Fallen Star", and used to be the Arista's capital city. However, the Astropolitans fled the city when a group of refugees of the outer lands travelled through the area. Shortly after, the mountain passes were blocked by an earthquake, and the Aristans were unable to return or find again their city. Seven hundred years later, many people believed Astrópolis to be only a legend.
  • One of the featured locations of Night of the Necromancer is the hometown of Chancellor Unthank, whose inhabitants were massacred by the Chancellor himself, as part of his immortality ritual. It isn't pretty. At all.
  • Comala, the main setting of Pedro Páramo, just seems like a standard Dying Town, but once you realize that almost every character in the story died long ago the real condition of the town becomes apparent.
  • Snowfield, California, in Dean Koontz's Phantoms, after the Ancient Enemy kills every living thing in the town.
  • Momson, Vermont, is described as one of these at the beginning of Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot, and the title village winds up as one due to an outbreak of vampirism.
    • Gatlin, Nebraska, initially appears to be one in King's short story "Children of the Corn". It is not.
    • And plenty of these in The Stand, post-Captain Trips. In fact, the only known inhabited cities in the U.S by the mid-point of the story are Boulder, Colorado, and Las Vegas, Nevada, having been resettled by the main characters and the Big Bad and his followers respectively.
    • And the titular town of Desperation.
    • Carrie: Chamberlain, Maine, is revealed to have become this in the epilogue, after the "Black Prom", and Carrie Whites subsequent telekinetic rampage through the town. With most of their teenaged children dead, alongside several of the adults, something vital seems to have been lost, and the survivors are drifting away rather than trying to rebuild. The local factory is even shutting down because they don't have enough workers left to keep business going.
    • Tull in The Gunslinger isn't one at first, but becomes one after Roland is forced to kill its entire population.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: From Princesses in the Darkest Depths, the party encounters a town that only seemed to have lost all its residents in the last day or two, violently.
  • In The Witchlands, the city of Lejna used to be Nubrevna's main port, but ever since Poisonwitches turned the entire south of the country into a Polluted Wasteland, it's been abandoned, as people prefer to swim further upriver to the non-poisonous capital of Lovats. These days, the only people to stop in Lejna are those who wish to slip under the Nubrevnans' radar for one reason or another.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Brady Bunch episode where the Bradys drive to the Grand Canyon on vacation and stop at a ghost town along the way.
  • Carnivàle has Babylon — turns out its entire population except the bartender is made up of ghosts.
  • Charmed had an episode involving a cursed ghost town that seemed to have disappeared off of the face of the earth.
  • An evocative episode of Dragnet had a few scenes in a ghost town movie set, as a formerly-respectable film director turned pornographer vividly recalls his Glory Days to Friday.
  • Dusty's Trail: When Dusty and the gang stumble upon an apparent ghost town in "Brookhaven, U.S.A", Mr. Brookhaven decides to rename it and turn it into a real town again.
  • Kid Nation revolved around sending a bunch of kids to the ghost town of Bonanza City, New Mexico, where their goal was to make the town work, set up a form of government, and not go Lord of the Flies on each other. While it was largely real, at least as real as reality television gets and garnered some injuries, legal trouble, and controversy along the way, the location itself was actually the fictional Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch.
  • Land of the Giants episode "Ghost Town".
  • In the US Life on Mars (2008), Sam tracks a man to a ghost town — Hyde, the town Sam is supposed to have been transferred from.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Abaddon lures Sam and Dean to a town which was evacuated after a chemical factory spill.
  • The town where the events of the episode "Showdown" in Tales from the Crypt set turns out to be this, decades later in the future, as its future fate is a tourist attraction that is devoid of residents.
  • Top Gear bore witness to the effects of the Spanish real estate crash (see the Real Life folder below) in series 20, episode 3. This included an overnight stay in one of the unoccupied developments, using an abandoned airport for a drag race, and creating a street circuit in another development just outside Madrid.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Where Is Everybody?".
  • On The X-Files, Scully gives birth to her son in an abandoned Georgia town to escape those who wish to kidnap and kill the baby.

  • The Specials' Ghost Town, about Coventry in The West Midlands, a bitter and ironic song about a city devastated by Thatcher's destruction of heavy industry in Britain in The '80s.
  • The chorus of Sufjan Stevens' song "They Are Night Zombies..." name-drops a lot of Illinois ghost towns.
  • Such a town between Brisbane and Adelaide, abandoned after the railway no longer needed watering stops, is the habitation of the lonely in-song singer of the Tom Waits song "A Town with No Cheer" on his album ''Swordfishtrombones'.
  • In 2020, The Rolling Stones recorded the song "Living In A Ghost Town", during, and about, the major lockdown period in the first half of 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Incidentally, this proved to be the last original song the group recorded before drummer Charlie Watts's death in August 2021.


    Tabletop Games 
  • World of Darkness: Ghost Stories has Fort Assumption, a silver-mining town that went from Dying Town to dead in one brutal night, when the sheriff slaughtered everyone still there to "spare them the pain" of a smallpox epidemic before killing himself. The shock of the massacre caused the town to develop a literal ghost, and it's obsessed with rebuilding itself. The sheriff's own ghost, meanwhile, is not about to let it.

    Theme Parks 
  • The backstory of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Disney Theme Parks mentions that the gold within the mountain caused several boomtowns to form until the vengeful spirit from within the mountain struck the land with a natural disaster, rendering said towns abandoned.
  • Universal's Halloween Horror Nights in 2004 and 2016 had a haunted house outright-named Ghost Town, set in an abandoned western town (called "Lightning Gulch") that's filled with the evil spirits of its former citizens.
  • Knott's Berry Farm has a western-themed area that's outright called "Ghost Town". It was closely modeled after real-life ghost towns, such as Calico, California.

  • This makes up part of the reasoning of The Grossery Gang. After a mega motorway was built towards Sales City, Cheap Town, the location the series takes place in, was abandoned. This left multiple businesses empty. Empty businesses never cleared out of rotting food, combined with a strange toxic leak, caused the Grosseries to take form.
  • Trash Town from The Trash Pack was originally a bustling beach town. However, too many litterbugs flocked to it, causing the town to become uninhabitable, while also bringing rise to the Trashies.

    Video Games 
  • In ANNO: Mutationem, Freeway 42 was once a thriving area until the Mechanika Virus caused such pandemonium that it and many other places were abandoned following the virus's erasure. Despite this, there are remnants that survived by living in a Underground City, along with stragglers that occasionally venture in to find materials for useful gain.
  • Arrogation: Unlight of Day is set in a 1980s Chinese town called Yunlin, who's devoid of life and seemingly abandoned. You're on a mission to find your sister who's reported missing while investigatign Yunlin, only to find out it's the subject of a Japanese cult from the 1940s which took over and starts using the citizens for Human Sacrifice rituals.
  • In Telltale Games' Back to the Future: The Game Episode 5, Hill Valley has become this, due to Edna setting a fire which destroyed the early town.
  • The town of Hope in Beacon of Hope is completely devoid of human life, though it does have sentient electrical appliances living in it. Finding out what happened to the humans (and what brought the machines to life) is the driving goal of the game.
  • The Gravemark Village from Bravely Default is exactly What It Says On The Tin. What remains of the settlement is a cemetery and a lone hut where a trio of old foggies live. One of them explains that a great plague killed almost all inhabitants and the village was quarantined by the Crystal Orthodoxy to prevent the malaise from reaching the rest of Eternia. Edea's parents, Braev and Mahzeer, hail from this place. It is theorized by the old man that Braev's support of the Anticrystallism movement is the result of the Orthodoxy sacrificing his hometown to protect the rest of the continent.
  • In Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, the town of Ghoulash is abandoned but for one resident.
  • Cave Story: After completing the Waterway, you end up in Mimiga Village, but with all of its inhabitants gone due to being kidnapped by the Doctor. All of one intelligent being, Professor Booster, shows up if you fulfilled a certain obscure requirement.
  • Champions Online has a region called the Southwest Desert where there are two ghost towns, both very different. One is a traditional old deserted mining town, Burnside, complete with ghosts from way back. The other is a nameless town ravaged by the effects of nearby atomic bomb tests in the 1950s and completely deserted apart from a few radiation mutants straying around the edges of the atomic wastelands. Quite chilling really.
  • The City of Hanwell in The Council of Hanwell was evacuated due to an outbreak of "anomalies". Unlike most examples, the residents knew the exact time and date that the outbreak would occur on, so most of the townsfolk made it out of the city.
  • Death end re;Quest 2 has the reveal that Le Choara is a long abandoned town made to look active via Julietta's Reality Warper abilities. The inhabitants are reanimated once a year to explot a loophole in gathering the requisite sacrifices to summon Marbus, while luring in the protagonists of both this and the first game to further Julietta's Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Dragon Quest examples:
    • Hauksness/Domdora/Damdara in Dragon Quest.
    • Theddon in Dragon Quest III is this due to being unfortunately close to Baramos' Lair and, therefore, subjected to Baramos' assault. The trope applies to this town both figuratively and literally, as it's entirely devoid of people in the daytime, while the ghost forms of its former residents go about their business at night.
    • Aktemto/Mamom from Dragon Quest IV becomes one as the game continues due to the inhabitants working on the nearby mine eventually digging too deep and unleashing an ancient horror sealed underneath the town.
    • Dragon Quest IX.
      • The ruins of Brigadoom is the first major dungeon that the hero and his party visit. In the post game, a DLC sidequest reveals that 300 years prior to the events of the game, the king of Stornway from back then made a pact with a powerful demon called Yore to protect the city from the Gittinham Empire and offered Brigadoom as a sacrifice.
      • By the time the hero and Co. arrived to Gerzuun, the town has already been overrun by monsters. The only inhabitants left are the ghosts of the townsfolk who, unaware of their deaths, still look over the Bodura grass.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Helgen becomes a ghost town after Alduin destroys it at the beginning of the game. Few people survive the attack and those who did had to flee the burning village. Should the Dragonborn come back and revisit Helgen later, its only "residents" are bandits using it as a hide-out.
  • Fable: The town of Oakvale used to be a small village of farmers and carpenters deep in the forest coasted by the sea, surrounded by a haunted cursed forest called Darkwood. It's a hub and the hero's home. After 300 years from the first game, the town had enlarged and the Barrow Fields region was unified with Oakvale, but because of Reaver and the Shadow Court, an evil and magical organization, the villagers were all killed and the town was cursed and eventually abandoned; within a few decades, the Darkwood forest claimed the village and the surrounding areas, turning it into the Wraithmarsh, a dark and haunted wetland infested with undead, balverines, and banshees. The town's sign is still up when the player visits, though Oakvale's signature bridge is in ruins. The path leading in the inner town is flooded, making it impossible to explore the town further.
  • Fallout
    • Fallout: After the Vault Dweller passes through the area, Necropolis' ghoul population is wiped out by a Super Mutant attack, "leaving a truly dead city behind them".
    • Fallout 2: This is the fate of Broken Hills in the game's epilogue, regardless of what you do while in it. If you sabotage or simply don't fix the air purifier in the mine, the down becomes abandoned quickly. If you do fix the purifier, it will thrive for a time before the mine gives out, at which point it's abandoned anyway. Vault 13 becomes this some time after you find it, due to the Enclave going in and massacring all the inhabitants.
    • Fallout: New Vegas: Nipton and Searchlight became this after the Legion came to town. The former had its residents beheaded, crucified, or enslaved, while the latter was irradiated, turning the NCR troops stationed there into feral ghouls.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy V has Gohn, Town of Ruin. True to its namesake, the entire place is deserted, and no one has been residing within it for many years.
    • Final Fantasy VI: Narshe was abandoned after the cataclysm and subsequently became overrun with monsters, turning the place into a Dungeon Town.
    • Final Fantasy VII: The City of the Ancient AKA the Forgotten City/Capital was the home of the Cetra until the "Calamity from the Skies" fell into the planet, almost wiping them all. The few survivor left the place for the human settlements where they were eventually assimilated into human culture and the city has been an abandoned ruin for a long time.
    • Final Fantasy XII: The Necrohol of Nabudis is all that remains of the capital of Nabradia, a kingdom destroyed by the Arcadian Empire two years prior of the events of the game. The place is now nothing but ruins infested with powerful monsters, including three optional bosses fought as part of a sidequest.
    • Pretty much every town on Gran Pulse in Final Fantasy XIII qualifies but particularly Oerba, as it is the only one with infrastructure still mostly intact—just no people to use it.
    • The aptly-named Ghost Port Kolobos form Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. Once a bustling port, the town died down once crystal farming, the main industry of the island, was no longer able to sustain it.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has quite a bit of these in the desert areas (Las Brujas and Aldea Malvada are two examples).
  • The town on an island you and some other people washed up on in Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness appeared to be abandoned at first. However, when you get to work, it will become thriving once again.
  • Juniper's Knot: The Steam trailer sets the story in "An abandoned town... forgotten by time".
  • Cromwell from Last Scenario. Abandoned after the war many years prior to the events of the game, it serves a pivotal role in the backstory of several characters.
  • Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 uses this and Ghost City. Almost no living human is left in any place you go to since they've all become zombies.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, there's Liber Ark, a sealed floating city from Ancient Zemuria era long abandoned by ancestors of Liberl's inhabitants, which serves as the Final Dungeon.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: The old town of Kasuto. Especially because there are literal ghosts flying around, which can't be seen without the aid of a magic Cross.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The Hidden Village, and its Western music. It was the old Kakariko Village before it was ravaged by enemies, forcing the inhabitants to move onto a safer part of Hyrule. By the time Link arrives, he has to dispatch 20 enemies to meet the last remaining inhabitant (Impaz). Later on, he can play a minigame involving cats.
  • In The Long Dark, one of the key features of the Coastal Highway map is a very small community. Not a single soul lives there and there are no bodies lying around, suggesting that the inhabitants moved out before the geomagnetic calamity struck. The gas station in the centre of the ghost town is a fairly good choice for a player safehouse as it has inside a work bench, plenty of storage space, and a burn barrel next to a small bed; however, wolves tend to lurk around the place so you'll need to stay on your toes while you're there.
  • Loopmancer has Ditch Village, a rural town in the outskirts of Dragon City (what Hong Kong calls itself in 2046) where the local population are completely gone after a viral outbreak years ago. Except that isn't the case - you discover the citizens in an underground hidden lab, used as Human Resources by the local MegaCorp. Yikes.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Promise and Resilience on Eos, the Andromeda Initiative's first attempts at making colonies in Andromeda, until the kett found out about them. By the time Ryder shows up, both sites have been abandoned and left to the elements, save for one black marketer (who's only getting by thanks to an Adventure Archaeologist operating nearby). Even after Ryder makes Eos more liveable, no-one seems in any hurry to try and resettle the areas.
  • Mega Man Battle Network 2 has an online equivalent: This game introduced the Net Square concept to the series. These are spaces on the web where Navis are safe from viruses, can interact with each other, buy stuff from stores, and read notices from bulletin boards. Basically, the online counterpart of your round-of-the-mill town. During the events of the game, ShadowMan.EXE, under the command of Gospel, destroyed the Net Square of Yumland, deleting all of its inhabitants, including their King CookMan.EXE. Save from a lone MrProg, the square remains uninhabited for the rest of the game.
  • A location in Mother 3, at the end of chapter 7. It's Tazmily Village, as the residents are making their way towards New Pork City.
  • In Myst V, Myst Island became this after Atrus and Catherine abandoned it after Myst because it held too many memories. Nothing on the island works anymore, and even flipping one of the switches causes it to break. The imaging room is inaccessible, and there are no linking books or journals to be seen. If you visit the age of Myst at all in this game, Eshar will leave you stranded here, which also makes this The Alcatraz. Don't count on Yeesha coming to rescue you either since she wrote in one of her journals that she will never return.
  • Bitterford, Maine, the setting of Mystery Case Files: Shadow Lake.
  • Nancy Drew visits one called Dry Creek in Nancy Drew: Secret of Shadow Ranch.
  • Octopath Traveler II has Healeaks (or the Abandoned Village as it's called on the world map), home to only the old man who first found the village after it was abandoned, a thief, and a man running a makeshift tavern in the dilapidated town square. In Castti's story, it is revealed that Healeaks was ground zero for a Mystical Plague that wiped out all of the village's inhabitants, as well as all of Eir's Apothecaries except for Castti herself and Trousseau.
  • In The Oregon Trail II, Fort Boise and Sutter's Fort are abandoned in the 1850s, as in real life. The Whitman Mission will also be abandoned after 1847 or so.
  • Both PAGUI games are set in one in the outskirts of Taipei, where the town is devoid of living inhabitants until night falls, and spirits roams the streets. The second game has a flashback revealing the town to be subject of genocidal war crimes, when a group of CCP soldiers during the Taiwanese civil war arrives and starts shooting the place up.
  • Molcum from Phantasy Star IV. The motavian town was razed to the ground by Zio who also murdered most of the inhabitants, including the parents of Gryz and Pana. The survivors managed to relocate to the small village of Tonoe, north of the devastated settlement.
  • Parasite Eve 2: Dryfield, Nevada. This small town in the Mojave Desert is the main setting for much of the game. The only inhabitants are a Vietnam veteran and gun enthusiast called Gary Douglas and his pet dog Flint. Everyone else seemed to abandon the place after grotesque creatures began to appear near the town.
  • Pokémon: Cinnabar Island became this during the Time Skip that separates Red and Blue from Gold and Silver. Because the town was ravaged by a volcanic eruption, the inhabitants and Pokémon who once lived there were evacuated and moved elsewhere. The few people still residing in Cinnabar stay in the now-rebuilt Pokémon Center, though even then it's implied that Cinnabar is now merely a stop-gap location.
  • In idSoftware's adventure shooter Rage (2011), the level "Dead City" is an abandoned megapolis, complete with crumbling skyscrapers, sand-covered vehicles, and bloodthirsty mutants. But then again, most of the planet is post-nuclear-disaster, with crumbling everything and bloodthirsty inhabitants.)
  • Red Dead games:
    • Tarnation from Red Dead Revolver was about to be recognized as a bona fide settlement by the local authorities until the town's sheriff was murdered. No other lawman was willing to replace him, so criminals and other evildoers quickly seized up the place and the original inhabitants fled.
    • Red Dead Redemption has the aptly-named Tumbleweed. Except for the bandits that hole themselves up there, it lives up to its name (and yes, you can clean up the town to fully restore its uninhabited state). The town is filled with disturbing Easter eggs, including ghost footprints on the steps, bizarre animal behavior, and strange barking coming from the graveyard.
    • The town of Pleasance in the prequel Red Dead Redemption 2 had only been established for a month before a double whammy of mass murder and plague outbreak rendered it abandoned. Tumbleweed is still populated but clearly on the decline, while the town of Armadillo, which is thriving and well in the future, is nearly deserted due to a cholera epidemic.
  • Wakatu from SaGa Frontier. Mondo from Trinity used his connections to be assigned as the ambassador of this region and then proceeded to destroy it, massacring all of the population, to built his secret base here. Gen was the Sole Survivor and can be found drinking himself into a coma at the bar in Junk over having failed to protect his home region. He's needed to access Wakatu as it is otherwise declared off limit by travel agencies.
  • El Muncho from Scooby-Doo! and the Spooky Swamp, due to El Scaryachi scaring most of its inhabitants away.
  • Garvoy Valley from Shadow Hearts: From The New World, Shania and Natan's Doomed Hometown. The place was destroyed and all its inhabitants killed by Lady... Simply because the settlement was in her way.
  • Secret of Evermore Ebon Keep. The original city within Gothica, it was completely vacated when Queen Bluegarden's evil twin usurped the throne, with the residents all being moved to Ivor Tower under the pretense that cleaning up their old city was harder work than just building a new one and according the a few folks, to have more control over the place. Only Cecil Harvey remained behind, later joined by the real Bluegarden and Tinker after she escaped from prison. Once the twin is defeated, the situation gets flipped with the populace relocating to Ebon Keep again.
  • Silent Hill was once a prosperous large town that seemed to have been suddenly abandoned by everyone except a handful of locals and people who either purposefully or accidentally end up in it. Perhaps it was the dwindling tourism industry or, more likely, the monsters and the periodic threat of the Otherworld that led to its abandonment. It has been theorized that the abandoned version of Silent Hill is in fact an alternate dimension, and in the real world, it is a normal, prosperous town.
  • In Sonic Forces, Avatar's home town falls under attack by Dr. Eggman's robot army, forcing the survivors to flee. Classic Sonic is the first hero to arrive in the area to fight back Eggman's robots, and the stage in which he does so is aptly named "Ghost Town." The city's inhabitants, including Avatar, return by the end of the game.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has two examples.
    • Pripyat is of the more common type – while it's thick with radiation and anomalies, it was evacuated in 1986.
    • Limansk-13, on the other hand, is more on the actually ghostly side: unlike Pripyat, its citizens remained after the CNPP disaster, and in the 2006 incident, its citizens (who were part of a mind-control experiment involving the Radiowave Institute and the Duga-3 radar system, which effectively turned the place into a man-made Lovecraft Country) simply evaporated, with only their shadows left. You can even hear the ghosts of children during the daynote .
    • In the first game, any town or camp occupied by friendly Stalkers could become a ghost town, as they would slowly be picked off by mutants, the military, bandits, and their own stupidity by standing in the camp fire; then another group of stalkers settle in those places (often after the Player Character has killed everything hostile in the area) and the cycle begins anew.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario 64's Wet-Dry World features an abandoned town hidden away by a tunnel at the very corner of the stage that requires a cannon to access. The world's main gimmick is that you can adjust the water levels by touching small rainbow pyramids, and it's hinted (and confirmed in the Super Mario 64 Guide) that flooding caused the former residents to leave. The world itself only has water striders and toy-like robots as enemies, with the town portion lacking even the robots.
    • Wario Land 4's Crescent Moon Village, in both senses of the word (no inhabitants, but plenty of bloodthirsty undead ghosts).
    • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.
      • Hollie Jollie Village was destroyed by the invading shroobs early in the game. The exploration of the ruins of the town is accompanied by the most depressing rendition of Jingle Bells ever.
      • Toad Town suffered the same fate. The only survivors of the attack are a pair of grannies who act as shopkeepers. The rest of the inhabitants were kidnapped by the aliens after they laid waste to the place.
  • Tales of Berseria has Aball, Velvet's hometown. Thought to be lively and inhabited despite what happened years prior, it's revealed that Melchior used his illusion magic to create illusions of the people of Velvet's past. Once Velvet breaks the illusion and defeats Orthrus, all illusions dissipate and Aball becomes an utter Ghost Town with not a single soul inhabiting the city.
  • Astoria from Trials of Mana. Not too long after the heroes visited the place, the lakeshore village was razed to the ground by the Beast Kingdom of Ferolia. It remains destroyed for the rest of the game.
  • In Undertale, killing everyone you meet will result in all the towns you enter being almost completely empty. Partly because, well, you killed them and because the rest of the monsters are fleeing for their lives. The music also slows down to a crawl, adding to the empty and desolate feeling.
  • In The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the protagonist Paul Prospero enters Red Creek Valley only after it's become an abandoned town, and he has no idea what happened.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: After the Time Skip and the loss of some of its people, one section of Balfur City:
    Guard: This section of Balfur mostly consists of the garrison and housing for high-ranking officials. In other words, it may as well be a ghost town now.
  • The handful of maps with obvious residential buildings in World of Tanks show no sign of human habitation (even your open-topped vehicles don't have a visible crew, after all) meaning all of them look like abandoned towns. This is doubly true of the map literally named Ghost Town, inspired by ruined communities near the blighted Aral Sea.

  • The Village in Elf Blood was once a ghost town, abandoned by the humans and taken over by the homeless magical races. It is extremely dilapidated and contains many areas devoid of life.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Grace comes across one of these which is now populated entirely by skeletons.
  • In Girl Genius ghost towns are apparently quite common across Europe, which isn’t so strange given how many monsters and rampaging experiments wander around in the Wastelands.
  • In High School Lessons, Rowan mentions there's a lot of ghost towns in that part of Idaho, and suggests that wendigos might have been responsible.
  • Scurry: The unnamed suburb where the mouse colony lives. The humans have been gone for a long time and anything edible has long-since been picked clean.

    Web Original 
  • The Call of Warr is set in an abandoned town with only one remaining resident. The entire town is surrounded by forest, and may not be controlled by the government.

    Western Animation 
  • Count Duckula: After reading a newspaper story about gold being discovered in the the Yukon Territory and not noticing the newspaper is from 1896, Duckula, Igor, and Nanny travel there to find gold. They visit a ghost town full of actual ghosts.
  • Parodied in The Fairly OddParents! with Mr. Turner's hometown, now a ghost town even by wild west standards. He went for the feeling of nostalgia before remembering that it was just plain awful.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures had a "historical flashback" episode starting by the Chan clan stopping in a ghost town.
  • The Felix the Cat (Joe Oriolo) TV cartoon "Felix-Finder and the Ghost Town" is set in a western ghost town, where Felix is heckled by Professor and ends up getting trapped inside of a derelict hotel hanging over a cliff.
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "Mine Your Own Business" takes place in an Old West Ghost Town.
  • There's one in The New Scooby-Doo Movies debut episode "Ghastly Ghost Town," but it's actually a theme park run by the Three Stooges.
  • The Secret Saturdays: In "Where Lies the Engulfer", Doyle takes Zak on training mission in an abandoned Canadian resort town. It turns out there was a very good reason why it had been abandoned.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Marge vs. The Monorail", Marge goes to North Haverbrook, the town Lyle Lanley sold a monorail to before Springfield. She finds the town nearly deserted after their monorail crashed on its maiden voyage. North Haverbrook recovered and became a flourishing community again in the episode, "Little Big Girl".
  • Subverted in Star Wars Rebels. Lothal looks bleaker even without Star Destroyers, and it's led to believe Lothal was razed by the Empire, but as it turns out only the neighborhood of Ezra's old home was razed, there are still Stormtroopers and people in that area.
  • Transformers: Cyberverse: In the episode "Ghost Town", Windblade takes the Allspark to a seemingly abandoned city on an unknown alien world without explanation. It is revealed that the city is the dormant form of a titan named Croaton who's inhabitants have been taken by mysterious abductors.
  • Wacky Races has a ghost town cleverly called "Spook-ane" in "Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist."

Real-Life Examples:

These Wikipedia and Wikivoyage articles have lists of ghost towns around the world, and usually also gives the reasons why a place became a ghost town (none of them having to do with literal ghosts).


  • Japan has a large number of what are called "Haikyo", or urban ruins. They come in all forms, ranging from entire abandoned towns to single buildings. Most of them are remains from Japan's mining era, or else became abandoned when their economy slipped in the 1990s.
  • Hashima Island, Japan. A former coal-mining town that, at its height, was the most densely populated area in the world, and the site of the first concrete building in Japan. When oil became a favored energy source, the coal mine closed down and the town died with it. Japanese photographer Saiga Yuji has two online galleries of black & white photos taken on Hashima: one containing images from just before its abandonment, and one of the more recent photos, "Views of an Abandoned Island."
  • Kantubek, Uzbekistan. During the Cold War, it was a testing ground for biological weapons.
  • Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia
  • Quneitra, Syria was a Ottoman-era city in the Golan Heights captured by Israel on the last day of the 1967 Six-Day War. When the UN set up a buffer-zone after the 1973 war, Quneitra was placed within the zone on the Syrian side of the line. However, the Israeli Army leveled the city on its way out and Syria has refused to rebuild it. It remains the de jure capital of Quneitra Governorate (most of which is now within the Israeli-Occupied Golan Heights).
  • (Old) Cheorwon Town, the former county seat of Cheorwon County, which has been split between North and South Korea since the Korean War, with the old county seat stuck in the middle of the DMZ. There is a new town with the same name south of the DMZ that serves as the seat of the Southern half of the county, though.

  • Pyramiden, Svalbard, a mining town that was abandoned in 1998 after there was nothing left to mine. It would remain uninhabited for years before being repurposed as a tourist attraction.
  • Famagusta, Cyprus, specifically Varosha. It's hard to thrive when your economy's based on tourism and tourists can't get in because of barbed wire and the whole place is sealed off to everyone.
  • Prypiat, Ukraine. Ever since the Chernobyl Meltdown, the town has been largely uninhabited; of the handful that do live in the area, most are stubborn, elderly holdouts.
  • Jeoffrecourt and Beausejour, in north-eastern France. Actually a subversion: they are not empty abandoned towns but full-scale sceneries built for training purpose inside a military camp specialized in urban warfare training.
  • The Spanish property bubble led to the creation of several major property developments in the mid-2000s that never got the chance to be occupied when the bubble burst as one of the effects of the global financial crisis. However, despite a lack of full utility service, squatters have started to move in to some of these locations.
    • There's also a ghost airport, which opened in 2010 but was abandoned by 2012. The airport was one of the sites visited by Top Gear in their Spain road trip episode in 2013, and Volvo Trucks filmed their YouTube promo "The Epic Split" with Jean-Claude Van Damme there later that year.
    • Belchite, Spain has a similar background, having been destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, and standing as it was left.
    • Spain has also in some regions a significant number of villages that ended abandoned when young people looking for a better life left to the cities and the remaining old ones died. Said situation is currently a major problem there.
  • Similarly, Ireland's Ghost Estates are housing estates built during The Celtic Tiger, but remained either unfinished or unsold due to the subsequent recession.
  • Oradour-sur-Glane, France - Unlike most examples on this page, the town is abandoned not because of economic forces, but because nearly the entire population was massacred by Waffen SS troops from Nazi Germany in 1944. A new Oradour has been built nearby since; the old town's ruins still stand as they were left after the massacre as a haunting memorial to the incident.

    North America 
  • Plymouth, Montserrat was abandoned after the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano buried the town in 1997. Despite this, the place is still recognized as the capital city of the island by law, making it the only ghost town that serves as the capital of a political territory.
  • Centralia, Pennsylvania, built over a mass of anthracite that was hard to ignite but practically impossible to extinguish. The coal seam caught fire decades ago and the town was abandoned as unsafe, due to unstable ground and toxic gases. The seam remains on fire and is predicted to continue to burn for 250 more years. However, there are still a few holdouts living there, and as of a settlement in October 2013, they're allowed to remain there as long as they live. Bill Bryson wrote a book about it, and the film version of Silent Hill was based on it.
  • The village of Byrnesville, just south of Centralia. The last house was demolished in 1996.
  • Times Beach, Missouri became a ghost town because of dioxin poisoning. The town's buildings were razed and the soil burnt to rid it of the dioxin. It's now a state park.
  • Love Canal, an infamous neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York that was evacuated in 1979 after it was learned that it was built on a toxic waste dump.
  • Rosewood, Florida was a mostly-black village in an area of the Deep South notorious for lynchings. In 1923, a mob of several hundred whites, spurred by the alleged rape of a white woman in a nearby town, burned Rosewood to the ground and massacred several residents. The incident was largely forgotten, with both the victims and the perpetrators (and their descendants) remaining silent for decades. It was not until The '80s that the massacre became public knowledge.
  • Elko Tract, Virginia was originally a decoy city back in World War II, built to resemble nearby Richmond and protect the actual city from Nazi bombers. The site is now private property closed to the public, but still contains remnants of the decoy city including a water tower, building foundations, and park benches.
  • Dana Common and Prescott Peninsula in Massachusetts, the last significant above-ground areas of four towns (Dana, Prescott, Enfield, and Greenwich) that were flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir in the 1930s. Despite the removal of all significant buildings in the area, Dana Common is still regularly kept up by the Massachusetts parks people as a waystation for hikers, parts of the old golf course in Prescott are still visible (but off-limits to the public), and building foundations still dot the area, including under the water.
  • Iditarod, Alaska, the namesake of the Iditarod Trail and the annual dog sled race.
  • Bodie, California, which had some five thousand people at the height of a gold rush in the 1870s, went into a long slow decline in the early 20th century when the mining petered out and was abandoned by World War II. It is now a National Historic Landmark in a high state of preservation due to its isolated, dry location high up in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
  • Monte Ne, Arkansasnote , a popular Ozark resort town of the early 20th century located near Rogers, AR, and founded by William "Coin" Hope Harvey. The town at one time had a general store, a livery stable, a grist mill, a post office, and a hotel. After failed attempts at a railroad and a turnpike, he helped co-found the Ozark Trail System, a forerunner of the U.S. Highway system. After the death of his son Hal, his wife and other son left him, and he attempted to build a pyramid as a monument to his legacy, but only a retaining wall was ever constructed. He attempted to run for president in 1932 as a member of the short-lived Liberty Party, gathering 53,425 votes but ultimately losing to Franklin Delano Roosevelt by a landslide. Harvey eventually died in 1936 after a losing bout with deteriorating health, and after the property was sold off in lots, the rest of the resort and town was submerged after the construction of Beaver Dam, which formed Beaver Lake. However, the Corps Of Engineers misjudged the water level, and the lodge's multi-story concrete structures were not submerged (they're popular grafitti targets though).
  • Fort Ord, California, while still technically containing a military presence due to the Naval Postgraduate School, it is abandoned in the visual sense with a large number of boarded-up buildings and overgrown plant life.
    • Fort Ord also serves as the base housing for servicemembers and their families stationed at the Presidio of Monterey, which specializes in language training. Since billets are limited, most end up living off post anyway. Even without a more or less permanent military presence via that, large areas of Fort Ord are kept under the ownership of the United States Army and are explicitly government property due to unexploded ordinance and other hazards from the vairous training ranges.
  • Rhyolite, Nevada
  • Feltville, New Jersey
  • Indianola, Texas: previously its county's seat and a rival to Galveston for biggest port in Texas, it got obliterated by two major hurricanes in an 11 year period (1875 and 1886). Rain and storm surge from a hurricane further down the coast just five weeks after the second storm led to the remaining residents evacuating the town and the post office shutting down, marking the official end of the city. Now all that remains are the buildings having been claimed by Matagorda Bay through erosion, a Historical Marker, and a small unincorperated fishing village.
  • Cassiar, British Columbia, once a thriving mining town of 1500, it is now devoid of life. The highway in that area retains the name of Cassiar.
  • Thistle, Utah was abandoned after a landslide and flood in the early 1980s.
  • The state of Oklahoma, which has gone through numerous booms and busts over the years (oil, coal, lead, etc) is littered with literally thousands (to be exact, over 2,500) of these, to the point that there's actually an official state list and classification system for them. There are even several which are partially underwater due to the construction of artificial lakes, and many more which are entirely underwater but still visible from the shoreline.
    • The most notable Oklahoma ghost town is Picher, a dangerously toxic and structurally unstable former lead & zinc mining town polluted from residue and featured in an episode of Life After People. If the toxic chat piles (which kids back in the day played on, as no one at the time understood their danger) weren't enough, it was hit by an F4 tornado in 2008, which convinced most people remaining to leave. Picher's last resident, a pharmacy owner named Gary Linderman, resolved to stay until the last resident left. Linderman died in 2015, bringing Picher's population to zero. The last families of nearby Cardin received notices that the town's water supply would be shut off, and the last remaining residents accepted buyout offers, making it an official ghost town with zero residents. Both towns are within the EPA's Tar Creek Superfund Site. Both also happen to be on land belonging to the Quapaw Tribe, which has been very vocal about cleaning up the site and reclaiming its territory.
    • One mile north, across the border in Kansas, Treece was part of the same lead/zinc mining district and has been similarly abandoned.
  • Adak, Alaska, an otherwise standard isolated fishing town that was for many years home to a naval operations base. Several buildings were constructed to complement it, including a college, movie theater, and a bowling alley. They even had Pizza Hut, Baskin-Robbins, and McDonald's. Almost all of the town was abandoned in 1993 when the naval base closed, leaving about 300 people (less than 10% of its 1990 peak) and a bunch of decaying naval support buildings. Here is a video showing the abandoned McDonald's.
  • Kitsault, British Columbia, an upstart town that was built in 1979 around a molybdenum mine. It had 1,200 residences, a shopping center, and all the modern amenities. But in 1982, the price of molybdenum plummeted, and the town died out after only 18 months. It was bought in 2004 with plans to revive it.
  • The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is loaded with ghost towns from the peak of copper mining in the 19th and early 20th century.
  • The UNESCO world heritage site of Teotihuacan was already abandoned by the time the Aztecs arrived in the general vicinity and there is still no scholarly consensus who exactly built it and what happened to them. Due to it being a major tourism hotspot (and quite close to Tenochtitlan, which modern people know as Mexico City) there is now a settlement in the area, though.
  • The city of León, Nicaragua was originally situated at the Western shore of Lake Xolotlan or Lake Managua as it is known today. After several natural disasters, the city was moved dead in the cemeteries saints in the churches and all a bit further to the West to the place where it stands today. Nicaragua's only UNESCO World Heritage Sites are the ruins of old León and the cathedral of new León.
  • The province of Québec has a few:
    • Val-Jalbert was established in 1901 with a pulp mill powered by the nearby waterfall provided the bulk of the jobs. When it closed down in 1927 the village was quickly abandoned. With its 70 buildings, it's one of the most well-preserved ghost towns in Canada and it became a national park in 1960.
    • The city of Gagnon had, at its peak, 4000 habitants and was established very remotely in the north of Québec by Québec Cartier Mining Company. Construction began in the winter of 1957 and it was formally established as a city in 1960. Despite being only accessible by plane, it was fairly well-thriving, with churches, an arena, schools, a hospital, and a shopping center. By 1985 the mine was closed down as it became unprofitable to exploit it and the town was nearly completely demolished, with only the airport runway and main street remaining. Today the old main street is part of Québec Route 389 and a sign reminds travelers that there once was a town there before the wilderness reclaimed it. As an interesting bit of trivia, Gagnon was the first town in Québec to have a black mayor, Haitian immigrant René Coicou who held office from 1973 up to the end in 1985.
  • Jeffrey City, Wyoming is an example that went from Boom Town to Ghost Town in record time. After the uranium mines closed down in 1982, it took only 3 years for the place to lose over 95% of its population.

    South America 
  • Jonestown, Guyana was abandoned following the 1978 mass poisoning which occurred there and has since been decayed and reclaimed by the jungle.
  • Many many pre-1492 cities were abandoned or had their population wiped out due to plagues brought by the European conquerors or warfare. Some are still rumored to lurk out there buried in the jungle. Machu Picchu came only to widespread attention in the West in 1901, centuries after it had been a major city.
  • Examples from Chile:
    • The former mining towns of Humberstone and Santa Laura. Everyone moved away after the nearby sodium nitrate mines closed down.
    • Puerto del Hambre (Port Famine) is the country's oldest ghost town. It was founded in the Straits of Magellan in 1584. By the time that English explorer Thomas Cavendish arrived at the place three years later, the town was in ruins; starvation and the harsh climate had killed all of its inhabitants.
    • Chaitén was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 2008. The survivors were relocated to Santa Barbara to the North of the now abandoned settlement.
    • Sewell was a Company Town known as the "Ciudad de las Escaleras" (City of Stairs) due to being built on an exposed slope too steep for wheeled vehicles. The city was founded in 1905 and abandoned in the late 70s when Augusto Pinochet's regime deemed the settlement no longer viable. It became a UNESCO Heritage site in 2006.
  • Armero, Colombia was abandoned after a volcanic eruption and subsequent mudslides devastated the town, killing more than 20,000 of its almost 29,000 inhabitants.
  • Villa Epecuén, Argentina was a tourist town destroyed in a freak flood caused by a seiche (a standing wave in an enclosed body of water) in a nearby lake in 1985. The town was deemed a total loss and was abandoned. Two decades and a half later, the water receded enough for the ruins of the place to reemerge.



Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Abandoned Town


Nature reclaiming the town

Tetsuro navigates through the deserted streets in Ryugan Island. He's shocked that nature has started to claim the island with vines on the houses. He also saw the other houses having some damage done.

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Main / GhostTown

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