Ghost town

Ghost towns are abandoned villages, towns, or cities, usually located in areas where the economic condition that supported it has declined or due to natural or human-caused disasters.

A town often becomes a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, government actions, uncontrolled lawlessness, war, or nuclear disasters. Ghost towns may become tourist attractions in themselves where their legal status is tolerated or protected; In contrast, others are abandoned and left to decay. Ghost towns may have existed in a variety of forms. The mining camp ghost town is the result of resource depletion or simple human migration to more productive areas.

sand floor inside house

. Ghost Towns are not limited to Europe and Asia but have become widespread throughout North America (especially western Canada and the United States), Central American, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa.  Ghost towns can even form based on natural disasters. When the Spanish conquistadors reached the Americas, they found native cities abandoned and subsequently destroyed by an eruption of the Santorini Volcano during the Bronze Age. Ghost towns can be created when land is seized to become a protected area: during wartime, some countries have created ghost towns to discourage invaders from using them as staging areas for an attack. This includes some cities in France, Belgium, and Norway that were completely or partially evacuated because of invasion threats. Ghost Towns are featured in comics, video games like Red Dead Redemption, movies, and TV shows like King Of The Hill, Ghost Hunters (2005-2015), Ghost Adventures (2008 – present), Lost (2004 – 2010), Ghost Whisperer (2005-2010), Supernatural (2005-2016) Ghost Adventures (2008 – present),  Death Valley Ghost Towns, Ghost Hunters (2005-2015) Ghost Adventures Ghost Town Safari: A Traveler’s Guide to Haunted Historical Sites in the American West and Ghost Town Mysteries along with books, haunted on-site tours, ghost town historical museums and festivals.

In addition to the natural phenomenon of ghost towns, there are several “man-made” ghost towns created by catastrophic events such as a dam spillway breaking flooding the nearby settlements below. Furthermore, human activities can also cause spontaneous ghost towns to appear, even those that may experience steady economic growth. Mining is one example that has caused many formerly populated areas in Northern Sweden and Finland to become abandoned due to depleted resources.  These so-called ” social ghost towns ”  are caused by the collapse of a significant industry which causes many people to move away. Ghost towns can be included in this category, including many former mining communities in North America. Another reason for ghost towns can occur when land is forcibly seized to create protected areas: during wartime, some countries have created ghost towns to discourage invaders from using them as staging areas for an attack; this includes some cites in France, Belgium, and Norway that were completely or partially evacuated because of invasion threats.

photo of village

In addition to these human factors, geologic hazards such as earthquakes or volcanic eruptions can cause undeveloped or populated areas to become ghost towns through their direct impact on settlement patterns. The term is applied especially to settlements that suddenly became deserted and are usually marked by ruins. Some ghost towns, such as Centralia, Pennsylvania, gradually become overgrown, and typically, little remains except for crumbling buildings. Ghost towns may exist because of government actions or inaction. Sometimes the settlement’s name becomes applied to a new town at the same site called a “blowout,” “boomtown” or “hooverville.” Examples of this are Mount Carmel Township (formerly Penocuik), Pennsylvania; North home, Pennsylvania; and Westwood, California, Towns founded to support nearby mines but abandoned when the mine is exhausted often become blowouts due to their original growth not being sustainable.

empty hallway with light turned on during night time

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