Sure, haunted houses can manufacture fear and elicit some frightening responses, but for some truly homegrown horror, take a look at these abandoned outposts. They suffered extremely severe fates, and were left as ghost towns that're so creepy, just reading about them will make your hair rise.
The world's creepiest ghost towns
7. Agdam, Azerbaijan
Once home to 40,000 people, Agdam saw a fair amount of violent fighting in the mid-'90s that forced the population to flee. After the fighting ceased, the city was overtaken by looters, and to this day is illegal to visit.
6. Bodie, California
In 1859 a bunch of whirly-eyed, white-bearded prospectors headed east of the Sierra Nevadas in search of some serious gold. Because of obvious facts, Bodie exploded with a population boom that saw 7,000 people, as well as actual townie stuff like churches, brothels, and bars (more than 65), move in. Picture shootouts, brawls, stagecoach holdups, and an incredulous outtake on Pace Picante salsa, until everyone moved away.
5. Varosha, Cyprus
What used to be a booming beach town on a Mediterranean island is now a completely abandoned, decrepit beach town on a Mediterranean island. Ch-ch-ch-changes! In the '70s a ton of really cool people like Brigitte Bardot and Raquel Welch vacationed here, and the streets were lined with high-rise buildings and expensive hotels. Now it's decidedly Welch-less, making it sad and creepy.
4. Hashima Island, Japan
When the zombies inevitably come, this is where you'll want to be. Stupid non-swimming undead. Hashima operated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility, housing workers and the mine itself on a bona fide concrete island. At its peak, the island's population was around 5,000, but after the petroleum boom in the '60s, Japan's coal mining industry went kaput and literally everyone had to vacate.
3. Pripyat, Ukraine
Officially proclaimed a city in 1979, Pripyat was only around for seven years before the Chernobyl disaster in '86. In its prime, Pripyat housed 49,000 people, 18,136 trees, and 27 cafes & restaurants where you could probably find your fair share of pierogies. Nowadays, the city is closely guarded and remains uninhabited. Bonus fact: A Good Day to Die Hard was partly filmed here (the flick where Bruce Willis partly cared about his role).
2. Romagnano al Monte, Italy
Following the Irpinia earthquake of 1980, Romagnano was pretty much destroyed beyond repair. As such, folks were all like "screw this" and built a newer, better town 2mi away. Though uninhabitable, many of the town's structures remain somewhat intact, and have become pretty popular with tourists who wish to check "visit abandoned Italian village" off their bucket list.
1. Oradour-sur-Glane, France
Hauntingly tragic, Oradour-sur-Glane was once home to around 640 inhabitants, who were rounded up by by a German Waffen-SS company and systematically massacred, with only a handful able to escape. The city now serves as an evocative memorial, and its artifacts have been left mostly intact.