Ghost Towns from Around the World: Friday San Zhi, Taiwan, and Katoli World, Taiwan

Today, we are traveling to Taiwan for a doubleheader of ghost towns San Zhi and Katoli World. San Zhi, as you will soon see, is a strange and oddly experimental resort for the rich and famous, with building resembling UFO ships. Katoli World, on the other hand, was once an amusement park that brought joy to thousands, until an earthquake struck and the park was shut down for safety reasons. Regardless, lets go on a trip!

San Zhi, Taiwan

San Zhi

San Zhi.

Construction on the UFO homes began in 1978. It was supposed to be a gimmicky vacation resort for U.S. military officers on leave from their Ease Asian postings. Unfortunately, the project was abandoned in 1980 due to lack of financing and several accidental deaths. After the deaths, rumors spread amongst the locals that San Zhi was haunted by the workers who died building these extremely unique homes.

San Zhi

More San Zhi UFO houses.

As the years passed, the buildings felt the effects of nature and neglect, and no one restarted the project. Since it was originally started by the Government of Taiwan, they tried to cover up the failed attempt at bringing life to the area and eventually started demolition work in 2008. There is no current word as to whether or not the UFO houses are still standing there today. These pictures may be the closest we will ever come to experiencing San Zhi.

San Zhi

View from inside a San Zhi UFO house.

You can see a Google Maps view of the location here.

Katoli World, Taiwan


All week we have seen various ghost towns from around the world, but what about ghost amusement parks?

Katoli World

Katoli World entrance.

Katoli World was no Disney World, but it was the first amusement park in Taiwan to host a roller coaster. It opened in the 1980s and met with moderate success. However, on September 21st, 1999, an earthquake struck the surrounding area of Katoli World and killed thousands of people. Some of the park was destroyed during the quake and it was deemed too expensive to repair the damage, so the park was closed down and abandoned.

Katoli World

Katoli World roller coaster.

Katoli World, a place of imagination and youthfulness, turned into a rotting, decaying jungle of rust and disrepair. But, before you go running out to find it, there are rumors that demolition has already begun. Some sources claim that Taiwan is building another Katoli World close to the original location, hoping to bring back the joy once more.

Katoli World

You can almost hear the joy.

Ghost Towns from Around the World: Thursday – Prypiat, Ukraine

On the 26th of April, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, located near the town of Prypiat, sent forth a plume of radioactive fallout. The plume was birthed from an explosion that occurred in reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant. Since that explosion, some 350,400 people have been evacuated and resettled from areas around the site, which have been deemed too contaminated for human survival. With so many people leaving, it is no surprise that most of the towns have been completely abandoned. Prypiat, the closest town to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, is the subject of today’s ghost town review.


Prypiat, with Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the background.

The birth and death of Prypiat stands only 16 years apart from each other 1970 to 1986. It was originally founded to house the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers. In 1979, with the increase of workers, Prypiat was officially named a city. Before the explosion and subsequent evacuation, some 50,000 people lived there, with expectations of housing at least 78,000. Prypiat was an extremely large city.


Panoramic view of Prypiat.

Since the evacuation of Prypiat, the city has been ransacked, vandalized, and turned into a pseudo tourist location. The idea of touring a radioactive ghost town may seem strange, but David C. Haines, a New York entrepreneur, runs a business dedicated solely to providing guided tours through Prypiat. The guides ensure that you are safe from any potential wild animals or thieves, and they take you through almost every building in the city. If I had the chance, you better believe I’d be there right now.

You may be surprised to learn that you may have already seen Prypiat. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, a popular video game for the Xbox360, PC, PS3, and Mac, features two extensive levels in Prypiat. Other various novels, movies, songs, and artworks have been based off of the decaying mysticism Prypiat seems to hold. Honestly, even the mere sight of pictures based in Prypiat brings a sense of dread and terror, knowing that mankind did this to itself. Today, Prypiat stands as a testament to mankind’s own faults and errors.


Prypiat carousel, which can be seen in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

As a parting note, here is the official statement released to the citizens of Prypiat before the evacuation occurred:

“For the attention of the residents of Prypiat! The City Council informs you that due to the accident at Chernobyl Power Station in the city of Prypiat the radioactive conditions in the vicinity are deteriorating. The Communist Party, its officials and the armed forces are taking necessary steps to combat this. Nevertheless, with the view to keep people as safe and healthy as possible, the children being top priority, we need to temporarily evacuate the citizens in the nearest towns of Kiev Oblast. For these reasons, starting from April 27, 1986 2 p.m. each apartment block will be able to have a bus at its disposal, supervised by the police and the city officials. It is highly advisable to take your documents, some vital personal belongings and a certain amount of food, just in case, with you. The senior executives of public and industrial facilities of the city has decided on the list of employees needed to stay in Prypiat to maintain these facilities in a good working order. All the houses will be guarded by the police during the evacuation period. Tovarishchs, (Comrades) leaving your residences temporarily please make sure you have turned the lights, electrical equipment and water off and shut the windows. Please keep calm and orderly in the process of this short-term evacuation.”

Chernobyl Radiation

Map of Chernobyl radiation. The red areas were hit the hardest with radioactive fallout.

Ghost Towns from Around the World: Wednesday Hashima Island

Departing from the hellish fires of yesterday, we travel across the globe and out into the ocean to visit Hashima Island, one of the only known ghost islands.

Between 1887 and 1974, the island was a coal mining facility. Most of the coal was mined from undersea deposits, making the work extremely dangerous. Plus, its an island out at sea. Those concrete walls aren’t there for style they’re typhoon barriers. This was extremely dangerous work.

Hashima Island

Hashima Island.

During the industrialization of Japan, the demand for coal exploded, resulting in a massive influx of workers to Hashima Island. In 1916, the population had grown so large that apartments were built to help the growing amount of workers and further protect from typhoon damage. But, as time continued, the workers kept coming by the hundreds.

Hashima Island

Hashima Island apartments.

In 1959, the 15-acre island was populated by 5,259 people. If you do the math, that comes out to a density of around 216,264 people per square mile. To give you a comparison, in the year 2000, New York City contained 26,402 people per square mile. Hashima Island was a crowded, harsh environment, even more so than New York City, and that’s saying something.

When petroleum became huge in the 1960s, the coal mines started shutting down and the workers lost their jobs. Since coal mining was the only draw to Hashima Island, literally everyone left. These days, there is not a single person on Hashima Island, and it is extremely difficult to gain access to the island. Even the rare few that have gained access do so at their own risk, because the buildings have felt the harsh realities of time and decay.

Hashima Island

Hashima Island, as you would see it today.

As a parting note, Hashima Island was given the nickname Gunkanjima. If you translate this to English, it means Battleship Island. Go take a look at the first picture again. Uncanny, right?

Ghost Towns from Around the World: Tuesday Centralia, Pennsylvania

So, yesterday we saw what happened when a whole town was left to be consumed by the harsh desert. Today, though, we are traveling a little closer to home Centralia, Pennsylvania, a ghost town that may be a little more comparable to hell on Earth.

Centralia is a borough located in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. Since 1981, its population has dwindled from over 1,000 to its current number of seven. (The fact that even seven people still live there is baffling.) If you take a minute to look on any recently published maps, Centralia isn’t there it has been wiped away from geographic recordings of history. Even with the few people that live there, Centralia is a ghost town.

Centralia fire.

Why anyone would remain here, I have no clue.

Here’s the story of Centralia:

In 1962, some volunteer firemen were brought in to burn the towns landfill, which happened to be located on an abandoned strip mine. The strip mine was connected to a massive coal vein running near the surface. When the firemen lit the landfill on fire, they also happened to light the coal vein, causing a massive fire to burn beneath Centralia.

Centralia fire.

Seriously, stay away from Centralia.

Let me point something out though: the fire went unnoticed for seventeen years, from 1962 to 1979. Remember, coal burns very slowly, and a massive vein burns even slower. For seventeen years, the whole town was living normal lives above a gigantic coal-burning fire, unaware of the extreme danger they were in.

In 1979, a gas-station owner, and then mayor, John Coddington, tested the fuel level in his gas tanks. He noticed the fuel was hot, much too hot for normal storing conditions. He tested the temperature and found it to be at 172 degrees Fahrenheit. But, the problem did not receive massive attention until 1981, when a sinkhole that was four feet wide by 150 feet deep suddenly opened underneath the feet of a 12-year-old resident.

Centralia sinkhole.

One of the many sinkholes in Centralia.

Now, you may be thinking, Phew, glad Centralia is dealt with and that fire is out. Wrong, the fire is still burning today. There has been a massive, toxin-spewing fire burning underneath the town of Centralia for the last 49 years. And seven people still live there


Centralia, as it can be seen today.

Ghost Towns from Around the World: Monday Kolmanskop

Kolmanskop, or Colemans Hill, was once a small mining settlement located in the Namib Desert in southern Namibia. The settlements name comes from a transport driver named Johnny Coleman, who left his ox wagon on a small hill opposite the settlement. In 1908, when one of the miners discovered a large diamond, people rushed to the Namib Desert in hopes of making a fortune. Within two years, Kolmanskop grew from a small settlement to a thriving town, equipped with a hospital, theater, school, ice factory, residential buildings, casino, and the first tram in Africa.


Welcome to Kolmanskop.

Unfortunately, the diamond-fields of Kolmanskop were exhausted roughly around the end of World War I, leading to a swift decline in residents. In 1954, the town was completely abandoned.


Kolmanskop’s decline.

Due to the geological placement of the town, almost every house has become infested with knee-deep sand. Kolmanskop has become a very popular tourist attraction, and there are a few vigilant photographers who brave the journey out to Kolmanskop to get a picture of the deserts consumption of this once thriving town.


Inside a Kolmanskop house.


Another house.

Nowadays, very little remains of the once booming town of Kolmanskop. There are no streets, no gardens, no people, and even most of the buildings have felt the degradation of age. This is truly a ghost town.


Come back tomorrow for another ghost town.

The Jack-o-lantern: Or, the Story of Jack the Smith

Several centuries ago, there lived a drunkard known as Jack the Smith. He wandered the many towns and villages of Ireland, drinking, yelling, and making trouble wherever he went. Overtime, Jack became widely known as a deceiver and manipulator; he was a total blotch on society. On one cold, windy night, the Devil heard the stories of Jacks careless, evil deeds. The Devil, astonished that someone might rival his own evilness, set off to find Jack.

Traditional Irish Jack-o'-lantern.

Traditional Irish Jack-o’-lantern.

Jack was drunk, walking through the countryside, when he found a body laying on the pathway. The body, with a grimace across its face, was none other than the Devil. Jack sobered up and realized that his end was coming, quickly. But before the Devil could take Jack to Hell, Jack asked for a final request: a drink of ale. The Devil agreed and the two made their way to a local alehouse, where the Devil supplied Jack with copious amounts of alcohol. Once Jack had his fill, he asked the Devil to cover his tab, but the Devil had no money. So, Jack, using his manipulative tongue, convinced the Devil to metamorphose into a silver coin to pay for the tab. Instead of using the coin to pay for the tab, though, Jack stuck it in his pocket, next to a crucifix, disabling the Devils ability to escape. For his freedom, the Devil struck a deal with Jack: the Devil would spare Jack for ten years, if Jack let him go. Jack agreed and the years passed.

Ten years later, Jack was once again approached by the Devil. Jack feigned acceptance of following the Devil to Hell, but, similar to last time, he asked for one last request: an apple from a nearby tree. Foolishly, the Devil scampered up a local apple tree to get Jack his last and final apple. While the Devil was in the tree, Jack placed numerous crucifixes at its trunk, trapping the Devil in the tree. Frustrated at his entrapment, the Devil demanded a deal for his release. This time, thinking that he could avoid the Devil forever, Jack requested that his soul never be taken to Hell. The Devil agreed and was set free.

As with any living being, Jack eventually felt the tinge of death and he passed away. However, due to his evil deeds, he was denied the entrance to Heaven, so Jack turned to Hell for a place to rest his soul. Unfortunately, the Devil, committing to his deal, denied Jack entrance, dooming him to walk the Earth until the end of days. Taking pity on Jack, the Devil gave him a lantern, so Jack can see his way around the world, even at night. The Devil called it a Jack-o-lantern.

Ghosts: Unknown Aerial Sightings Caught on Film

Since February 23rd, 2010, the National Geographic has been hunting down and documenting paranormal activity in the television series Paranatural. Whether it is a haunted house or a mountain range, they have been scouring for strange occurrences. Unlike most Youtube videos and other questionable ghost sightings, the National Geographic tends to utilize professional equipment and experts within the field of paranormal activity. One such area they have investigated, Lineville Gorge, lies within Western North Carolina.

The Lineville Gorge is well known to the residents living within the vicinity, telling tales of strange lights, dancing orbs, paranormal appearances, and all sorts of ghostly happenings. There have been so many occurrences that the residents have taken to calling them ghost lights, The Ghosts of Brown Mountain, or The Brown Mountain Lights. These lights are described as glowing orbs of bright light that manifest suddenly, float upward, and often move unnaturally quick.

Traditionally, glowing orbs, more commonly known as will-o-the-wisp, can be easily explained. Decomposing flesh can potentially give off the chemicals phophine and methane. Phosphine will spontaneously ignite when contacted with oxygen in the air, thus lighting a small fire above the decaying corpse. This fire continues burning for a prolonged period of time, often until the corpse has completely decomposed and no longer can produce phosphine gases. However, unlike the video above, these lights are not known to move, hover, and change colors. Will-o-the-wisps are merely a natural bacterial byproduct.

The ghost lights in Lineville Gorge do not represent a singular occurrence. There have been countless sightings of dancing, glowing orbs around the world. And even today, in our modern society, we are still trying to figure out where they come from and why they appear. Whether they are the restless souls of the deceased, or the oxidation of phosphine and methane, we may never know. One thing is certain: they have captured the attention of the human race and continue to freak us out.

Sleep well, lock your doors, and keep a camera close by for those late night ghost sightings.

Dispelling the Rumor: Porphyria, or The Vampire Disease.

Some historians, chemists, doctors, and scientists are constantly searching for an explanation for the creation of our human folklore, specifically the origin of vampires, werewolves, zombies, krakens, etc. Unfortunately, one of the by-products of this search is the mislabeling of modern diseases and conditions. Rather than producing a resulting explanation for why we are so fascinated with reanimated corpses and blood-drinking cannibals, we are pointing fingers at individuals currently plagued by severe illnesses and conditions similar to that of a vampire or werewolf.

Vampire Folklore

Traditional vampire folklore.

In 1964, On Porphyria and the Aetiology of Werwolves, an article in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, pointed at porphyria, a group of rare blood disorders, as an explanation for werewolf origins. The article went widely unnoticed for twenty-one years, until biochemist David Dolphin created an extremely controversial paper about the origin of vampires, using some of the articles ideas and theses as evidence.

In his paper, David Dolphin claimed that some of the varieties of porphyria have very similar symptoms to that of an individual suffering from vampirism. Pointing out that intravenous haem helps treat this group of porphyria, David Dolphin suggested that vampires were merely porphyria sufferers who were consuming large amounts of blood to simulate this process. However, there is no medical evidence that individuals diagnosed with porphyria crave the taste of blood.

These same variants of porphyria also cause the individuals skin to become hyper-sensitive to light. If the individual is exposed to prolonged sunlight, their skin burns and itches, and the application of Calomine lotion does little to deter the itching and burning sensation. David Dolphin used this as further evidence that porphyria is the origin of our vampiric beliefs. Unfortunately, the original vampire folklore claims that vampires are more active at night, not that they are vulnerable to sunlight. Sunlight as a vulnerability for vampires did not develop until the 19th century.


Photosensitivity reaction in porphyria.

Dolphin also noted the other symptoms of porphyria as evidence of its vampiric ties: anemia, reddish-brown urine and teeth, excess body hair, and the mutilation of the nose, ears, eyelids, or fingers. Depending on the time period, only some of these symptoms match the appearance of a vampire, but none of them are concrete enough to support his claims. To put it simply, David Dolphins whole paper was based off inaccurate information, mixed folklore, and a general misunderstanding of porphyria. This did not stop the media from loving it up though.

After the release of Dolphins paper, the media exploded with talk about realistic vampires. Some individuals suffering from porphyria were said to have been shunned by their friends and family  forced exile, something that is almost unheard of in modern America. There are even rumors of a husband leaving his wife out of fear for being bitten and turned into a vampire.

Before you go rushing out and yelling about how vampires are walking among us, remember, David Dolphin had no idea what he was talking about. Vampires live in castles and drink fine wine duh everyone knows that.

Kittiwat Unarrom: Eat Like a Zombie at the Human Bakery

The Human Bakery, doesnt that just sound nice? Say it out loud with me, The Human Bakery. It sounds so dark, disturbing, and a little cheesy, like its the central plot point of an old 50s science fiction movie – The Human Bakery is people, its people! Well, if you ever take a trip to Thailand, you can venture into the Human Bakery, where you will find hyper-realistic sculptures of bloody, gruesome human body parts. Don’t worry though; all of them are baked lovingly by the infamous Thai macabre artist himself, Kittiwat Unarrom.

Human Bakery

This is the Human Bakery.

Since 2006, Kittiwat Unarrom has been combining his childhood upbringing in a bakery with his fascination of the human anatomy. Upon entering the Human Bakery, you are exposed to a sensory overload of hands, feet, heads, torsos, and internal organs hanging on hooks. To give the body parts a sterilized morgue feel, Unarrom uses a blood-like sugar glaze. That’s right, a blood-like sugar glaze, because you can purchase these sculptures and bring them home for dinner, or a late night zombie snack.

When asked about his art, Unarrom said, Of course, people were shocked and thought that I was mad when they saw the works. But once they knew the idea behind it, they understood and became interested in the work itself, instead of thinking that I am crazy.

Kittiwat Unarrom

Kittiwat Unarrom at work.

So, what is the idea behind sculpting and baking human body parts out of dough? Lets go back to Unarrom for the answer: When people see the bread, they don’t want to eat it. But when they taste it, its just normal bread. The lesson is don’t judge just by outer appearances.

All of Unarroms works are made from dough, raisins, chocolate, cashew nuts, and other traditional baking ingredients, making them edible and grossly delicious. Next time you’re in Thailand, stop by the Human Bakery and taste a human face for yourself. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy it.

Black Eyed Kids: Hide Your Everybody

In 1998, Brian Bethel, a struggling journalist at the time, had a strange encounter with something nearly unexplainable. Brian was sitting in his car in a parking lot when he was approached by two boys. They looked younger than the average teenager, but too mature to be thought of as kids. They were wearing normal clothes and had olive colored skin. Brian later stated, I could feel fight-or-flight responses kicking in. Something, I knew instinctually, was not right, but I didn’t know what it could possibly be.

Black Eyed Kids

Black Eyed Kids.

The boys claimed they were on their way to see a movie and had accidentally left their money at home, and they asked if Brian would give them a lift back to their house. Following his instincts, Brian denied to help them. Immediately, the kids became annoyed and agitated, demanding that Brian let them into his car. For some reason, Brians surmounting anxiety and fear led way to actually wanting to let the kids into his car, as if his thoughts were being controlled by someone other than himself. With his heart pounding in his chest, Brian then noticed the coloration of the kids eyes: completely black, like pure coal, lacking pupils or irises.

Sensing that he was dealing with something otherworldly, Brian immediately reversed his car and drove away. Recounting the event, Brian said, I noticed the boys in my peripheral vision, and I stole a quick glance back. They were gone. The sidewalk by the theater was deserted. Where exactly the boys went, no one will ever know. But, one thing is certain: this is the first piece of documentation involving the Black Eyed Kids.

They approach quietly, yet boldly. They’re young, usually teens or slightly younger. They insist on coming inside your house to use the bathroom, the telephone or just for a drink of water. But for some reason you’re afraid. Why? They’re just kids. Then you notice their eyes black, as if the pupil had poured over its banks.

No one really knows anything about the Black Eyed Kids. Some say they are the ghastly reanimation of murders, sufferers, or sinners; however, others claim they are demonic in nature. Regardless of their origin, Brian Bethels interaction with them is not a singular case.

Stephen Wagner, a marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, experienced a similar encounter to Brian Bethels. He was watching a movie at home when he heard a knock on the door. Upon opening it, he was greeted by two kids matching the same description as Brians. When asked later to comment on the event, he said, “I couldn’t take my eyes of their pitch-black eyes; it was like they were sucking me in. I felt horrible and was suddenly frightened for my life, like I needed to immediately take cover. They just stared at me, with those goddam eyes.”

As stated, no one knows the purpose of these Black Eyed Kids. If you have had an encounter with one, let us know about it. Or, you could dress up as one for Halloween and really freak some people out.