Ghost Towning – Not Your Usual Thrill Vacation!
There are very few people who passionately think about going ghost towning, but those who do cannot forget these experiences for life. Horror fiction and movies of the eighties made these kinds of journeys quite popular. Some movies centering on ghost towns have become cult hits now. Each time we watch movies like Silent Hill and even Children of the Corn, a surge of unspeakable horror courses through our veins. Things may be over the top there and mostly figments of the writer's fertile imagination, but still, imagine the thrill that you could experience if you visiting a real ghost town!
That's what a ghost towner does. In this very unusual kind of hobby, people set out to locate some ghost town and go visit it. The term 'ghost town' itself has different meanings for different people. For some, a town that was once inhabited by people but is not completely abandoned is a ghost town. For some, the town need not be completely abandoned. But if there is a drastic decline in the town's population making several structures empty and – more thrillingly – dilapidated, it could qualify beautifully as a ghost town. There are also some people who want some kind of economic activity in their ghost towns so that they could act real 'touristy'. However, for the real adventure seekers, going ghost towning is going to a completely desolate area with nothing but the stuff in their backpack to rely on.
So if it is in your gut to take up such a vacation, read on! Try to go all the way and locate a place where not a soul lives (oh, you cannot be too sure about the souls!) and experience the real joyride.
Alcatraz in California makes for a great ghost town vacation. Located in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz is an island that can be reached by ferry. This town was a military prison in the past, but now is a sordid reminder of the past. On the other side of the nation, Fort Dallas in Florida is a wonderful ghost town destination with virtually zero population and relics of its past unfortunate history. Florida is actually a goldmine of ghost towns with various places such as Bayport, Eldora, Fort Jefferson, Fort Lonesome, Indian Key, Kerr City, Magnolia, Picture City and Yamato Colony having very less or no people living in their land.
But the real wealth of ghost towns can be found in areas of Arizona and Nevada, which is where most of the ghost towners head to. These states have some of the most unfortunate histories, full of bloody wars and savage natural attacks, which make great grist for ghost town fiction. Arizona has Bumble Bee, Charleston, Cochran, Fairbank, Jerome Junction, La Paz, Piedmont, Santa Claus, Swansea and Vulture Mine among others. These places are a must see, and the more lonely you are when you go there, the better! Nevada has the beautiful Silver City, along with Bonnie Claire, Mottsville, Oriental and Palmetto, all old age mining towns that are now completely desolate. You will see several relics of bygone mining times, including railroad engines, roadside ruins, remnants of mining camps and other such mementos of what the towns were like in the past.
There are different kinds of ghost towns, which depend on the reasons why people evacuated those areas. Some towns became ghost towns when people left the towns en masse to other cities for greener pastures. The desolate mining towns of Nevada are examples of this kind. Then there are ghost towns that are historical relics; these may be victims of a war that either wiped off the population or scared them into moving elsewhere. Some towns are victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes that killed hundreds and thousands of inhabitants before scaring the rest of the population away. These towns are archeological relics; they contain various treasures hidden in their thick layers of soil.
But one thing is certain – every ghost town has a handful of spooky tales to tell. That, and the very thrill of ambling about in a town where people used to live but no one's home at present, is enough to provide the kind of Hitchcockian thrill you are looking for.
When you are planning a ghost town visit, the first thing you must do is to look at the history of the town and see if that interests you. You must find out why the town emptied its coffers. Also, locating a town wouldn't be easy since they are not located on maps. However, you could find a list of these towns over the Internet, zero in on the one you want to visit and find the closest inhabited city to it. Reach there and ask the local people how to get to the town you are looking for. You will be sure to hear a lot of folklore and caution on the way!
Each ghost town visit is a memorable experience in itself. You will surely come back with an enriched experience and several tales of your own to tell the folks back home.