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File:Pripyatfair 7345.jpg

This town is coming like a ghost town...


Sally Sparrow: I love old things. They make me feel sad.

Kathy Nightingale: What's good about sad?

Sally: It's happy for deep people.

Abandoned places make good settings for fiction. Normally seen in fiction that evokes types of horror, the concept of a place just being abandoned makes an unnerving feeling in the viewer. It also creates suspense and increases the surprise when it turns out that the place isn't really abandoned. The use of abandoned places as an aesthetic aid, as it normally is, often overlaps with Scenery Gorn. Depending on the state of the location, it may give a justified example of No OSHA Compliance, because, really, would you be bothered with health and safety in somewhere you've abandoned?


Also see Never Recycle a Building. Beautiful Void is a related trope.

Examples of Abandoned Area include:


  • Frederik Pohl's novel Gateway was about, obviously, Gateway, an abandoned alien space port.
  • The abandoned mall plays a semi-significant part in John Dies at the End.
  • The Robert A. Heinlein novel I Will Fear No Evil portrays the future United States as being filled with "AA's," i.e. Abandoned Areas, which are lawless no-man's lands that one doesn't travel through except in an armored vehicle.
  • An abandoned construction site features prominently in Animorphs.

Live Action TV

  • Page quote comes from the Doctor Who episode "Blink", when Kathy asks her friend why exactly she broke into an abandoned house. There's a reason why she's so loved by the fanbase.
  • Buck Rogers in The 25th Century has these too.
  • The abandoned space station Empok Nor in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • Life After People is about what would happen to the Earth if people suddenly disappeared, and uses a lot of real abandoned places to illustrate how things will decay.
  • The broken Ascension Point in The Fades is located in an abandoned shopping centre.

Manga and Anime

  • Spirited Away takes place in an abandoned amusement park that just so happens to feature a bridge to the Spirit World.

Tabletop RPG

  • In Dark Conspiracy, areas filled with otherplanar monsters are called "Demonground" and are avoided by humans.
  • Shadowrun. You don't want to go into areas rated Z security unless you're heavily armed, armored and in numbers.

Video Games

  • Super Smash Bros Brawl has The Ruined Zoo. The Opening Cut Scene gives off a sufficiently creepy atmosphere, but then the Music that plays over the level are fast paced Pokemon themes. but when you revisit the area in the great maze, the track that plays is a somewhat creepy version of the Earthbound theme "Snowman".
  • Several of the levels of Half-Life 2 and its subsequent episodes, including one in the abandoned part of a prison and one in an Abandoned Hospital. The latter, incidentally, being modeled after Pripyat.
  • Call of Duty 4 has two levels (a sniping mission and an escape mission) in Pripyat. They're really unnerving.
  • The Space Colony ARK in Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog.
  • In Fable II you travel through Wraithmarsh which was once a pleasant little village before everybody was killed so one villager could become immortal. The surrounding marsh has recovered much of the village and it's populated by all manner of foul things.
    • It also has many other examples like the heroes guild, the temple of Light/Shadows and the forsaken fortress.
  • Every single area in Zork Nemesis probably fits. Each area besides the first has only one inhabitant, all of whom have been driven insane by the solitude and the Nemesis.
  • The STALKER games are set in Pripyat.
  • Shadow of the Colossus IS this trope.
  • Lé Monde, in which all of Vagrant Story takes place.
  • Everywhere you can visit except the tube stations in Hellgate London. Includes warehouses and cityscapes. In the late game, a depot is set up in an aboveground courtyard, but even that's expected to be temporary.
  • Last Window: The 4th floor of Cape West apartments was left abandoned for 13 years, left to look like a ghost hotel rather than apartments when the rest of the apartment complex was converted.
  • Most of Portal 2 takes place in an abandoned research facility.

Web Comics

Web Original

Real Life

  • Haikyo refer to "ruins" in Japanese, specifically, ruins and abandonments from the modern era. Some of the haikyo are a relic of the Japanese Economic Bubble, which, during the 1980s, led to an era of growth, and companies expanded and built in the hopes of capitalising on the profit, but since the bubble burst, the financial strains of these projects meant that they were no longer viable. Demolishing these facilities were also costly, so they are just left behind to be reclaimed by mother nature. There are other haikyo in Japan arising from the end of a mining era; once newer resources and mechanisms were developed, the need for older mines and factories disappeared. 'Haikyoing' is the act of exploring these old ruins, and is something of a popular hobby in Japan, although as with most urban exploration endeavors, a degree of risk is present, whether it be laws, structural stability and the like.
  • High on the list of places urban explorers visit. The legality and safety of such is debatable, as abandoned buildings tend to be still privately owned and covered in pigeon poo, syringes, or both.
  • Pripyat, Ukraine, a worker town for the Chernobyl Power Plant about eighty miles from Kiev, and evacuated after the Chernobyl disaster. It's more or less a perfectly preserved Soviet ghost town. You can actually visit it under supervision, but you wouldn't want to live there. The picture on this page is from the amusement park in Pripyat.
  • Centralia, Pennsylvania, evacuated due to a massive underground coal fire, which has been described as "the real-life Silent Hill".
  • The Six Flags park in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It was scheduled to be torn down on January 2011, but those plans have since fallen through, so it still stands today, empty and creepy as fuck.
  • The "lost theme park" Splendid China, in Kissimmee, Florida, which went out of business in 2003, is now an "attraction" for local skateboarders who brave potential arrests for trespassing in order to skate in the abandoned park.
  • Dead malls are a subversion of this. A dead mall is a mall in which huge majority of the store spaces are unoccupied and there are very few patrons (if any), but the mall is technically open for business. One of the most extreme versions of this is the New South China Mall—it's one of the largest malls in the entire world, with 2300 store spaces and amusement park-like attractions such as a roller coaster and a replica of Venice...yet less than 20 store spaces are in use and patronage is abysmal to the point where photos of it give the impression that the mall is closed for good.
    • there was one very infamous abandoned mall, the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois. after only a decade and a half in business, the mall closed and a year later it was used for the Mall chase scene in "The Blues Brothers", and then it was left to rot for 33 years before finally being demolished in 2012.
  • The Ambassador Hotel In Los Angeles (notorious for being the location of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination), despite enjoying a very active afterlife as a movie set for various films and TV shows, still steadily decayed for two decades to the point where spores grew through the floor and carpets. Ironically, its final role was a younger version of itself in the Day-in-the-life movie Bobby, even as it was being demolished.
  • Forgotten Ohio is filled with pictures of abandoned locales within the state of Ohio that the author has paid visits to. They run the gamut from factories, warehouses, and schools to ghost towns, drive-in theaters, and weird houses. Unsurprisingly, these places usually come with ghost legends.