There are few things that say "Halloween" like a once-loved, but now creepily abandoned place. There have always been these places, whether it's old Roman ruins underneath modern European cities, Aztec ruins underneath Mexican cities, ancient catacombs, decrepit bunkers left over from long-settled wars, subway lines and stations left to languish after a train line was shuttered or moved to a different station, or buildings left behind after a massive economic shock. The last category of these blew up after the 2008 economic crash and resulting recession and spurred a phenomenon (and practically its own industry) in ruin photography, ruin porn, abandonment obsession, or whatever you want to call it.
However you feel about its newfound popularity, one thing is certain: It's really cool. Amazing photos of spooky places are fascinating. And to celebrate this night of ghosts, we present some blogs and sites that satisfy this obsession really well.
Can This Planner Save Detroit?
We took a stab at our own stab at everyone's favorite location for ruin porn (at least since the financial crash of 2008). To accompany this October 2010 article about city planner Toni L. Griffin, and how she had been recently hired by the Kresge Foundation to help the city get back on track, we sent photographer Noah Kalina to explore the fascinating picked-over bones of the Motor City.
And here are a spooky 12 more awesome sites to check out to get your fill of spooky places today ...
Stéphane Schambion Exploration Urbaine
Schambion, a French amateur photographer, has galleries of 14 ruined locations, ranging from a creepy old sanatorium to a vast and almost slightly repurposed paper mill.
Fuck Yeah Urban Exploration
Pretty much what the title of the blog says ... Check out the abandoned hospital on North Brother Island, which you'll find on a small island in the East River between the Bronx and Riker’s. And just imagine all of the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels you could set there.
Fuck Yeah Abandoned Places
Another blog that isn't trying to trick you with its name, the train tracks that disappear over a cliff and the "Wormhole - 2011" are my personal faves.
Abandoned House Archive
More love and adoration for old houses than fear and fascination, this blog is a mix of houses that you want to give a hug and fix up and others that are waiting for a strong breeze to finish them off.
As their motto states, this site is devoted to "an appreciation for the once stately, picturesque structures that have fallen to the wayside." The Six Flags New Orleans (see above photo) was closed in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, and the company subsequently terminated its lease, leaving the site derelict. Also, check out the photos of Westport Generating Station in Baltimore. Just wow.
From Fukushima back to the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, no roundup of amazingly abandoned places would be complete without a Japanese example. This site shows you forbidden areas of Kyoto, the large island at the southern end of the archipelago nation, and home of Nagasaki.
While this Parisian photographer takes a lot of arty photos of places with no people in them, they're not exactly abandoned or ruined sites. But ... his photos are absolutely stunning, and not to mention more than a little bit eerie. Penfornis's Tumblr is a joy to endlessly scroll through ... and through ...
If you go to their main company website, you'll find a lot of wedding shots and portraits. They are, after all, a photo house and they undoubtedly make most of their revenue via actors' headshots and pics of your new wife hugging the flower girl. But check out their blog, and you'll find a whole 'nother side, one filled with tiled row after beautiful tiled row of long vacant buildings—with the occasional odd fashion shot thrown in.
Land of Abandoned
This photographer is "an explorer and photographer of abandoned places in the northeast USA." Having grown up in the northeast, these shots definitely bring back memories of the more decrepit, forgotten parts of the those old Rust Belt cities. Names and locations of the places in each photo would be nice though ...
Sean Lawrence (or Sean Smurk Lawrence) is a Toronto photographer, taking pretty amazing photos of that pretty amazing city. Wait, you say, isn't Toronto too clean to qualify as ruin porn? Maybe, but Smurk's shots are pretty fabulous either way.
This online publication really hits this niche well. Scroll their homepage, search by category, or pick from the list of links to featured stories on the right, and you won't be disappointed. "10 Creepy Places With Their Own Vampire Legends" is a good post to peruse today. It's sort of like a much more focused version of Buzzfeed or Cracked, but less silly and far more morbid.
And last, but certainly not least ..
If it exists, it's on Reddit. What are we saying? If it doesn't exist, it's still probably on Reddit. Referring to itself as the front page of the Internet, it lives up to that self-labeled moniker as the largest community-driven site on the intertubes, and a place where you can basically find anything. That little smiling alien has his mitts in everything, with a subreddit about anything you'd want to read about (as well as a handful of things you almost certainly never, ever want to read or see.)