Take Owliver’s most exciting and creepy Ghost Town Tour7 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
What comes to your mind when you hear the term Ghost Towns? Are you imagining a place where all the ghosts of the world meet to chill and party? Are you imagining scary ghosts emerging out of nowhere? Eerie silence disrupted by scary laughs? Vampire coffins and dungeons? Zombies and witches? Well, before your imagination (and mine) runs wild, let’s pause and reflect for a few moments on the real meaning of ghost towns.
A Ghost Town is a town that has no human residents for a prolonged period of time. It is completely abandoned by humans. It could have been a thriving space for human settlement at one point in time but it assumes the title of a Ghost Town when this settlement moves out as a whole. The reasons could be many! Towns have been abandoned because of natural (floods, droughts, volcanoes etc) and manmade disasters (nuclear activity, mining, wars etc). Many times, towns have also been abandoned in lieu of better economic opportunities elsewhere.
So, a ghost town has nothing to do with ghosts! It is a town that looks ghostly because it has no person in it.
Imagine taking a turn on a road and landing up in a big area where you cannot see a single person. It is spooky! And hence, the title of ghost towns.
In our first tour, join us as we navigate a route all over the world to towns that became ghost towns because of nature. We will be travelling all over the world so fasten your seatbelt and get ready!
Think with Owliver – Do we, as humans, play a role in the occurrence of natural disasters like tsunami, cyclones, droughts etc?
If yes, then how?
Our first stop is Ross Island, India
Ross Island is one of the 527 islands that make Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India.
Named after Daniel Ross, the first man to inhabit the island for a period of a year, Ross Island was used by the British as a penal colony for Indian freedom fighters. In 1941, a massive earthquake struck the island causing people to move to neighbouring islands. Presently, the island is controlled by the Indian Navy. Now, the only residents of the island are deer, rabbits, and peafowls supported by the ever-expanding forest cover.
Stop #2 is all the way in Balestrino, Italy, the land of landslides and earthquakes
In 1888, this town of farmers was struck by a massive earthquake which caused a decline in its population. Balestrino was finally abandoned in 1950s because of a string of landslides, coastal erosions, and other instances of geological instability.
For our next stop, we are going back to the coast. But, this time, towards the Pacific Ocean.
Owliver’s Obscure Observations-
Also, if you are interested, we can stop by to look at some real estate.
The Italian Government is selling houses for the cost of one euro (INR 87) in the picturesque town of Salemi in Sicily. This is an attempt to rehabilitate the abandoned city.
Would you buy such a home?
Break open your piggy bank! We can vouch for the view.
Stop #3 is a village in Fiji Islands, Oceania
Vunidogoloa is the first village in the area to become a ghost town. The residents of the village moved 2 km inland because of the constant threat of erosion, storms and rising tides. The residents have moved to a new area which they call Kenani or the promised land. Rising sea levels and cyclonic threats (like Cyclone Wilson of 2016) are complicating the simple life of coastal villages in Fiji. 80 other villages will have to be relocated creating more ghost towns.
Stop #4, our penultimate destination for the day, is Plymouth, Montserrat in Beunos Aires, the only capital city in the world without a single resident!
This one is hard to find because a part of it submerged underground. The submergence happened because of a powerful volcanic eruption from the Soufriere Hills in 1997! Plymouth was home to 4000 residents but was finally abandoned after a second volcanic eruption in 1997 which left the entire town covered in 4.6 feet of solidified ash. The volcano is still active but has been silent since 2010.
Like every great journey, we are returning to the place where we started, to the southern part of India.
Stop #5, our final stop is Dhanushkodi in Pamban Island, Tamil Nadu
A super cyclone destroyed Dhanushkodi that was earlier a busy port. This cyclone with a velocity of 270 km/h hit Dhanushkodi on 22nd December 1964. The surviving residents never returned.
So, we’ve have travelled across the world visiting ghost towns born out of nature’s operation on humans.
As an exercise, look out your window and count the number of people you see in the next hour. Now, imagine the weirdness of the places we just visited. In the crowded world we live in with noisy marketplaces and busy roads, it is shocking to know of spaces that have no trace of humans. And that is the only thing that makes the ghost towns scary! Their impossibility.
But all must yield before nature, and so must humans.
We will go on another journey at another time but keep exploring on your own.
Till then, bon voyage!