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3 Ghost Towns That Are Too Toxic to Live In!

Have you heard of ghost towns that became so because they were too toxic to live in?

While we are used to the idea of a ghost town resembling those from old Western movies, they are more common than we would like to think.

After all, there are towns all over the world that have opened with a purpose or are adjacent to a big business, and when the thing that kept it going moved or disappeared, the town slowly followed.

We can also see the likes of ghost towns when we think about Japan, where they are starting to have an issue with this; most youngsters are moving out of the countryside in order to find better jobs, which leaves all the small towns almost deserted.

However, the ghost towns we are going to be discussing today are the ones that have become too dangerous to live in!

Maybe the residents would have loved to continue living there, or some are even desperate to go back to their homes, but the situation is so toxic and dire that they are not allowed!

Join us and discover some of the world’s most toxic ghost towns, the stories behind them, and what makes them so special!

You may be surprised to find out that several of them are in the United States! Keep on reading to find out the details!

What are other curiosities you may have about these types of towns? Let Mind-Bending Facts know in the comments, and we may investigate to bring you all the best details in a future article!

ghost town
Public Domain,

New Idria, California

Founded back in 1854, New Idria was established to host the people working in the nearby mercury mine. It soon became one of the biggest and most productive mercury mines in the United States, so as a result, the town also kept on growing.

The mine was so valuable to the state and so lucrative that, during World War I, it was even guarded by soldiers to ensure that nothing would disturb their operations.

And so it did up until 1971 when the company that owned the mine closed. This marked the end of 124 years of mining, and slowly all the residents left, and New Idria was abandoned, but the story of this town was not about to end.

No one bothered to clean the mine after operations closed, which meant that the 30 miles of underground tunnels were left unattended. Slowly, water infused with mercury from the mine started to lead from them into the local river.

The poisoned lake turned bright orange, and when it was tested, it was discovered that it was tainted with not only mercury but also iron, aluminum, and nickel, and the water is just as dangerous as battery acid!

The polluted water has been known to flow into nearby streams and poison the local wildlife, and slowly, over time, it has mixed with bacteria, becoming methylmercury. The town and its nearby region are considered highly toxic, with nearby rocks also being discovered to be full of asbestos!

As a surprise to no one, this toxic ghost town is not open to people, with most of the former ton site being needed, including the road to get there.

ghost town
Image By Everett Collection From Shutterstock

Bikini Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands

While the picture may make you think of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, it is actually from the Marshall Islands on the island of Bikini Atoll.

Back in 1946, members of the United States Navy managed to convince the people living on this island to temporarily leave so that they could test the atomic bomb in the area, under the guise of “preventing future wars.”.

While the islanders agreed to leave for a little while, the United States government then proceeded to use the land for the next 8 years to test their atomic bombs.

They dropped about 67 bombs in the area, with Bikini Atoll getting about 23 of them alone! One of the biggest ones was a thousand times bigger than the one that destroyed Hiroshima, and there have been some islands that have been completely leveled due to these atomic bombs.

In the late 1960s, the government decided that most of the effects of their tests had disappeared and that Bikini Atoll Islanders could return if they so wished. This later proved to be a mistake.

Ten years after the islanders returned, they started to show effects from the intense radiation in the area. Women started to have frequent miscarriages and stillbirths, and those who managed to give birth often realized that the kids had birth defects.

What’s more, the locals also started to develop cancer at a high rate, and most of them developed thyroid problems, all because of the extremely high amount of radiation. The islanders were then soon forced to leave their homes, and they remained displaced to this day.

Bikini Atoll and its surrounding area are considered uninhabitable, with residents forced to take asylum on other Marshal Islands and in the U.S. since the radiation there is almost double the amount deemed safe for humans to be exposed to.

ghost town
Image By Walt Bilous From Shutterstock

Centralia, Pennsylvania

You may have heard of Centralia before, as it is wrongly named to have inspired the horror franchise Silent Hill.

While this town has nothing to do with that franchise, what happened in his now-ghost town is nothing more than horror.

In 1962, town officials decided to set fire to the trash in the town’s dump, but they forgot one key detail before they did that.

Both the dump and the town of Centralia are sitting on top of an abandoned coal mine. Despite the trash fire burning down, it still led to the ignition of the leftover coal in the abandoned mine.
The coal in the mine was enough to feed the fire, and it spread all through the mine corridors, slowly but surely creating an inferno underneath the surface.

People started to faint in their homes as carbon monoxide started to lead from the ground, and the roads and town started to sport cracks and sinkholes.

In the 1980s, over two decades passed, and a boy fell into a sinkhole that was still burning. The boy served, but it proved that authorities had to treat the fire more seriously.

However, nothing could put out the massive fire. It had been burning for over 20 years at that point, and it showed no signs of stopping.

In place of anything else, all residents were relocated since the town became uninhabitable.

However, today, despite the town being almost abandoned since then, there are still a handful of residents who refuse to leave.

The town is still toxic since the fire has been raging on for over six decades now with no sign of stopping. It is extremely dangerous to walk around since the fire has consumed most of the mine, and the ground above can collapse at any moment.

The air is barely breathable there, with sulfurous steam emanating from the fissures in the road and mud holes on the side of it. If you are caught in such a steam blow, you can easily suffocate from the poison.

Centralia is one of the country’s biggest tragedies, and despite its deadly sound, you can still visit the town if you dare, compared with the other ones on our list!

If you’re curious to delve deeper into the history of Centralia and what has happened, we recommend you read this book here: Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy Of The Centralia Mine Fire.

There are several ghost towns in the U.S. that we have not mentioned here, but they are definitely spooky. The reasons people do not dare to go there are vast, but much like the ones we mentioned, they do hold a dark past. Would you dare to go there? Check them out in this article, and let us know!

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