Everyone loves an eerie, abandoned building. Many abandoned buildings are home to famously haunted areas, while some possess significant historical meaning behind them.
Get Ready For A Possibly Haunted Tour…
Regardless of the unique narratives behind these famous unfinished and abandoned buildings, they remain some of the most impressive and attention-drawing properties standing in isolation. What would it take for you to go inside a haunted abandoned building? There are so many in the world so get to thinking. From the depths of China to mysteries within our own backyards here in the U.S., check out the history behind these great abandoned buildings!
Jet Star Rollercoaster, Seaside Heights, NJ
The state of New Jersey was hit hard in 2012. Hurricane Sandy left the Jersey Shore in ruins and was the second-costliest hurricane in American history. After the natural disaster hit, The Jet Star Roller Coaster was left submerged in the Atlantic Ocean. It stood in the ocean rusting away for six months until it was finally removed from the water. Not only was the Jet Star Rollercoaster left in shambles, but the entire boardwalk of Casino Pier has nearly stripped away as a result of Hurricane Sandy. It wasn’t until five years later in 2017 that a replacement coaster has gone up, called Hydrus.
Duomo di Siena, Siena, Italy
The Siena Cathedral is a medieval church in Siena, Italy, originally constructed to be a Roman Catholic Maria Church. It was built between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an earlier structure. Since then it has been dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. Today it holds the form of a Latin cross with a slightly projecting transept, a dome, and a bell tower. The Cathedral is definitely a sight to see. It was originally built to be the largest cathedral in the world, built in the highest point of the city. While not much is known of the original church that was built there, it was once the site of a bishop’s palace and a church in 9th-century A.D.
Goodwood House, West Sussex, England
The Goodwood House was built circa 1600 and was obtained by Charles Lennox the 1st, Duke of Richmond in 1697. A south wing was added to the house by Matthew Brettingham and a north wing by James Wyatt. It seemed that the house was built with the intentions of creating a unique octagonal layout, but only three of the eight sides were actually completed—leaving the home unfinished. Sir William Chambers was commissioned to build and design a stable block in 1757. By 1802, the Goodwood Racecourse was established and it is now the site of the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Herrenchiemsee, Bavaria, Germany
The incomplete Herrenchiemsee Castle, also known as the New Palace, was designed by Christian Jank, Frank von Seitz, and George von Dollman. It was built between 1878 and 1885. King Ludwig II had the chance to stay in the Palace for only a few days before drowning at the age of 40. Following his death, all construction work on the palace had concluded and it was opened to the public. By 1923, the palace was given to the State of Bavaria by the Crown Prince Rupprecht. It was reported that upwards of 16 million Marks were spent on the building while it was being constructed.
Prora, Island of Rugen, Germany
Prora was meant to be a resort for the average British worker. Construction began in 1936 and during the time that Prora was under development by every major construction company underneath the Reich, employing nearly 9,000 workers. When World War II hit in 1939 construction on Prora had stopped and the workers were sent to perform labor at weapon plants. The eight housing blocks, cinema, swimming pool and festival hall were never completed. This would have been interesting had the resort panned out because its ideator Adolf Hitler wanted it to be the “most mighty and large [sea resort] to ever have existed.”
Szkieletor, Krakow, Poland
Szkieletor, also known as the Unity Tower, is a high-rise building located in Krakow, Poland. The building’s initial purpose was to become the regional office for the Main Technical Organization. Its name was intended to be the NOT Tower. The construction of the building started in 1975, but it was permanently halted in 1981 due to economic and political reasons. Szkieletor translates to Skeletor and the building was named such because it resembled the arch-villain of the same name from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. It has since been repurposed for billboards and other advertisements while there are debates over what should be done with it next.
Woodchester Mansion, Gloucester, England
Woodchester Mansion is a massive, Gothic revival house located in Woodchester Park. It was previously known as Spring Park and was mysteriously abandoned by the builders in the middle of construction. The building appears to be complete from the outside, but the interior is lacking finished floors, plasters and bedrooms. It has remained unfinished since the mid-1870s. Around the 1830s, a man named William Leigh bought the estate and as a zealous Catholic convert, he had planned to build a church and a monastery on the property with the intention of creating a Catholic community in Gloucester. After those were built, he commissioned the mansion.
Parliament House, Wellington, New Zealand
The original wooden Parliament House was destroyed by a fire in 1907, along with all the other Parliament buildings except for the library. The government held a competition for the design of the new parliament building that was to replace it. Regardless of cost concerns, the Prime Minister permitted the beginning of construction in 1914 after selecting the winning design. At the start of World War I the project created a labor and material shortage, slowing the construction of the building. The building remained indefinitely under construction as Parliament moved in 1918. The building would not officially open until 1995.
Bishop Castle, Colorado, USA
Named after the building’s architect, Jim Bishop, Bishop Castle was originally intended to serve as a family cottage. Jim started work on the structure in 1969 when he was just 15 years old after having purchased the property site for $450. The property’s neighbors had suggested that it looked like a castle after he landscaped the home with rocks and boulders. He therefore altered construction to make the cottage resemble their suggestion. Jim Bishop worked on the castle for nearly 40 years and it was never completed, but it was eventually turned into a major tourist attraction.
Boldt Castle, Thousand Islands, New York
Boldt Castle was formerly owned by George Boldt, the general manager of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City and the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. He retained a cottage on Hart Island which his family enjoyed for several summers, then decided to expand on in 1900. The construction of the Boldt Castle was abruptly stopped in 1904 after his wife’s death, and he dedicated it as a monument to her life and the love they shared. After the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the island for one dollar, revenue was ordered to be used towards restoration. Although it was only supposed to be restored to the state it was in when construction first stopped, they’ve gone beyond that and added a marble floor and glass dome.
The National Monument, Edinburgh, Scotland
The National Monument of Scotland is the country’s second national memorial to the Scottish sailors who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. It was designed in 1823 by Charles Robert Cockerell and William Henry Playfair, taking up a lot of space on top of Calton Hill. Construction of the monument began in 1826 and due to a lack of finances, it was abandoned in 1829. It was given the nickname “Edinburgh’s Disgrace” because of the structure’s lack of profit potential and being rendered incomplete. Although it is now known as a “disgrace,” it was originally intended to be “A Memorial of the Past and incentive to the Future Heroism of the Men of Scotland.”
Ajuda National Palace, Lisbon, Portugal
The Palace of Ajuda is a neoclassical monument, built on the site of a temporary wooden building to house the Royal family. Manuel Caetano de Sousa was the original architect. Over time the building experienced several occasions where the construction was delayed because of financial limitations or political problems within the country. Work on the structure first began in 1796 and was eventually left undone by 1807. Probably the only people to have permanently resided at the palace were King Luis I and his wife, Maria Pia of Savoy. Their own architect made several aesthetic changes to the original design.
Cuenca Cathedral, Cuenca, Spain
According to legend, this cathedral will be the only Cathedral for the Salvation of the desperate at the end of days as predicted by Nostradamus. The Cuenca Cathedral was built on an ancient Muslim mosque in the country of Spain. It was the first Gothic cathedral to be built in Castile. Construction of the cathedral began in 1196 and was completed during the year of 1257. Like with many other religious buildings, it went through consistent renovations throughout the following centuries to come. However, the greatest tragedy to occur at the church was the impact of a lightning strike, which caused the collapse of the Tower of the Giraldo. The plans to restore it were never taken into action.
Torre de la Escollera, Cartagena, Colombia
Torre de la Escollera was designed to be a tall, residential skyscraper with 58 floors. On May 13, 2007, a catastrophic storm struck the city of Cartagena. The storm’s powerful winds caused the steel structure to twist and ultimately destroyed its form. Construction was suspended and the building was dismantled later that year. If the building had been completed, it would have been named the tallest building in Colombia. It would have also been a swanky place to live, especially if you were the owner of the three-story penthouse that was planned for the top of the building. A helipad as your driveway? Yes, please!
Plaza Rakyat, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Plaza Rakyat, more affectionately known as the People’s Plaza, is a skyscraper complex in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Planning for the building began during the 1990s, but was quickly put to a stop in 1997 due to the Asian financial crisis. The plaza sits abandoned as of 2016. The project was supposed to be comprised of a 79-story office tower, a 46-story apartment complex, a 24-story hotel, and a 7-story shopping center. The site has largely been abandoned for 20 years, as the Deputy Minister of Federal Territories announced that work should commence in June 2017. Who’s to say how long until it will be finished?
Centro Financiero Confinanzas, Caracas, Venezuela
The Centro financier Confinanzas (also referred to as The Tower of David), is another unfinished skyscraper, this time located in Caracas, Venezuela. It is ranked the third highest skyscraper in the country, after the twin towers of Parque Central Complex. The construction of the skyscraper began in 1990 but was discontinued in 1994 due to the Venezuelan banking crisis. As of 2016, the building remains unfinished and will be unoccupied for the foreseeable future. As a result, the building is now home to a population of 5,000 squatters with about 700 families occupying the building! Using motorcycles to navigate the first ten floors, there are also bodegas and an unlicensed dentist using the building.
Aspotogan Sea Spa, Nova Scotia, Canada
The Aspotogan Sea Spa was envisioned to be a luxury hotel development. German siblings Brigitta Hennig and Wolfgang Spiegelhauer privately financed the idea. The hotel was supposed to include 131 rooms, five stories, and 175,500 square feet of luxury enjoyment. Its primary purpose was to attract the attention of traveling Europeans who would splurge on such an extravagant hotel. The construction was put to rest in the mid-1990s after expectations exceeded realistic funds. This left a lot of contractors unpaid and forced smaller businesses to go out of business. Alone and unbothered, the hotel sat for almost two decades until it was demolished in 2016.
Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York
The Cathedral of Saint John was first designed in 1888 and the construction work began in 1892. Since then, the cathedral has gone through major stylistic changes which have been interrupted by two World Wars. Its original design was in the Byzantine Revival-Romanesque style, but in 1909 it was changed to a Gothic Revival design. The cathedral went through a devastating fire on December 18, 2001. It was closed for repairs and then reopened in November 2008. The cathedral has since been given the name “St. John the Unfinished” as a result of its current development status. Although unfinished, Cathedral of Saint John the Divine is still the fifth largest Christian church in the world.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
This large, Roman Catholic Church was designed by a Spanish architect named Antoni Gaudí. It’s still an incomplete structure and is currently labeled as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The construction of the building started in 1882, although Gaudí did not become involved until 1883. He combined the styles of Gothic and Art Nouveau to create and execute his vision. The construction was a slow process and relied heavily on private donations for funding. The Spanish Civil War also put construction on hold and even after Gaudí’s death, less than a quarter of the Sagrada Familia was completed. Construction continues to this day, with an expected completion date of 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death.
Kaliakra Transmitter, Cape Kaliakra, Bulgaria
The Kaliakra Transmitter was originally built after 1988 by the former Soviet Union as a relay transmitter for Southeast Europe. Once communism collapsed in 1989 there was no need for the facility anymore, leaving the transmitter to fend for itself. At the time when construction stopped, nine out of the ten masts were already completed. A Bulgarian broadcasting company tried using the transmitters for longwave broadcasting in 2001, but the results were less than what was expected, giving more reason for the lack of attention the transmitters still get. It is currently used for local radio stations.
Westminster Cathedral, London
Westminster Cathedral, not to be confused with the already-completed Westminster Abbey, is the ongoing project of architect John Francis Bentley. The church itself was heavily influenced by Neo-Byzantine style, but Bentley had also turned to spiritual guidance in preparation for the construction of the house of God. There were two failed attempts to start constructing the cathedral, but progress wasn’t made until 1985 when Archbishop Cardinal Vaughn took control. The building may stand as a busy and sought-out location for prayer, but until funds increase completion of the project will continue to be stalled. Despite being incomplete, the structure is still used as a place of worship.
South China Mall, Guangdong Province, China
The South China mall opened in 2005, with five million square feet of shopping area. It has the capacity to accommodate 2,350 stores — making it one of the largest shopping centers in the world. This happens to be more than twice the size of the Mall of America. However, the mall remains deserted and there are an outrageous number of vacancies unfulfilled by potential shop owners. The mall is aging along with time, proving day after day that only a strong, innovative renovation on the building will save it from impending abandonment. Even after renovations and improvements, the mall attracted few tenants. It was supposed to appeal to affluent shoppers but was built in a demographically poor area.
Sci-Fi Structures, Yugoslavia
The sci-fi structures were once commissioned by former Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito in the 1960s. They were constructed with the intention of commemorating past sites of World War II battles and where concentration camps had once been. All of the structures were designed by different sculptors and architects. The message behind the forgotten structures was a powerful visual impact to show the confidence and strength of the Socialist Republic. During the 1980s the structures attracted millions of visitors each year. However, the Republic dissolved int he early ’90s which caused a decrease in visitors. The structures are mostly abandoned as no one remembers their symbolic meanings.
The Ryugyong, North Korea
North Korea wanted to change its image by creating a massive building that would be world-renowned. The project was supposed to symbolize progress for North Korea and bring in new western investors. It was decided that they would build a hotel, taller than any other in the world. The construction started in 1987 and should have been completed in 1989 in time for the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students. However, developers ran into every financial obstacle imaginable and the project was abandoned by 1992. The building was not surpassed by any other hotel in height until 2009.
Sanzhi Pod House, Taiwan
Along the coastline in Northern Taiwan lies an unusual housing complex known as The San-Zhi Pod Village. The abandoned, luxurious, yet futuristic vacation spot is a complete mystery to both locals and tourists. No one knows exactly how the buildings fell into their state of disrepair. It was constructed to accommodate U.S. military officers, as an escape from their posts on the weekends. Numerous deaths led to the property’s closure, which also led the locals to believe that the area is haunted. many people believe this is due to the fact that developers tore down a Chinese dragon sculpture at the gate of the resort, while others believe it is because it was a formal burial ground for Dutch soldiers.
Hashima Island, Japan
This abandoned island sits about nine miles off of the Japanese coast. During the late 1880s coal was found on the sea floor underneath the island. While Japan’s Mitsubishi Company started mining the island, they thought it would be convenient to build houses for the workers and their families on Hashima. Giant, multi-story concrete apartment blocks were built, along with schools, bath houses, temples, restaurants, markets and even graveyards. Once the island hit a population of 5,000 people it was known as the most densely populated place on earth. Unfortunately, the coal ran out. Mitsubishi informed the inhabitants that new work would be available on a first come-first serve basis, leaving the island deserted.
Deep in the Chenzhuang Village of China sit the ruins of a partially built amusement park called Wonderland, surrounded by houses and corn fields. In 1998, construction of the amusement park was brought to a halt after a government disagreement with the local farmers regarding property prices. Wonderland aimed to be the largest amusement park in Asia. Construction did resume briefly in 2008 but proved to be unsuccessful. The abandoned amusement park now receives attention from local children and photographers, who trespass at their own risk. Most of the site has been demolished, leaving few buildings that have since been graffitied and abandoned. Since the demolition, there were plans to put a shopping center on the property.
Battersea Power Station, England
This isolated building is a decommissioned, coal-fired power station located on the south bank of the River Thames in Battersea. It’s comprised of two individual power stations, which were built separately in two phases. Power Station A was built in the 1930s, and Power Station B was built in the 1950s, built to be identical designs. It was no longer creating electricity by 1983, but it’s now become a well-known landmark in London. The station had numerous failed redevelopment plans but still remains to be the largest brick building in Europe. In the 2010s it has been repurposed, opening residential apartments in 2013. Apple has plans to open its London headquarters there with 1,400 staff across six floors.
Kellie’s Castle, Malaysia
This grand castle was brought to life by William Kellie Smith, a Scottish businessman in Malaysia. He decided to build the castle as a gift for either his wife or his son. Construction on the castle began in 1915, but sadly it was never completed. The construction was stopped as a result of the Spanish Flu, directly causing the death of the site’s many workers. Without the right men to finish the structure, there was a loss of funds that was irreplaceable, making it impossible to continue to the project. Today, Kellie’s Castle remains a popular tourist attraction, primarily for the fact that it is possibly haunted.
Unfinished Obelisk, Egypt
The photographed obelisk has remained untouched and currently sits in Aswan. It’s quite hard to believe why this project was abandoned. The unfinished obelisk was left unattended without return solely because it developed a single crack in the structure. It’s still a mystery as to which pharaoh may have commissioned for this plan to be implemented but few archaeologists believe it was commissioned by Hatshepsut and meant to compliment the Lateran Obelisk at Karnak. If it was completed it would weigh 1,200 tons which are equal to the weight of 200 African elephants. The site is protected by the Egyptian government as an archaeological site and give insight into stone-working techniques of ancient Egypt.
Unfinished Church, Bermuda
This unfinished church in Bermuda was recently placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the historic town of St. George, the first permanent settlement on the island. Construction of the church began in the 1870s, replacing another church that had burnt to the ground before it. However, the parishioners couldn’t come to an agreement on the development plan, leading to a lack of funding and its imminent abandonment. In 2010, weathering on the structure has proven to be a threat to tourists, so the site was closed for repairs for three years until it was opened up again.
Winchester House, San Jose, California
The construction of the Winchester House adhered to a round-the-clock schedule for 38 years under the guidance of the heir to the $20.5 million Winchester Rifle fortune, Sarah Winchester. Once Sarah passed away, construction ceased to move forward without her direction. Modern myths claim that she was frequently haunted by ghosts of those who were killed by a Winchester Rifle, prompting Sarah to constantly alter the interior of the house to confuse her uninvited guests. Sarah was prompted to move out West from the East Coast after a medium suggested that she build a home for herself and the spirits of people killed by a Winchester rifle as she believed her immense fortune to be haunted.
Nakheel Tower, Dubai
It’s been said that the city of Dubai sensed the onset of the 2008 recession after halting dozens of their own high-profile projects because of increasing financial hardships. One of these debilitating problems was the Nakheel Tower, originally expected to be a 3,300-foot tall skyscraper that would include an impressive amount of 156 elevators. The tower was supposed to be the visual and economic focal point of the man-made Palm Jumeirah, a pseudo-series of islands off the coast Dubai. These neglected islands are now experiencing terrible erosion and other environmental problems. Although the tower remains unfinished, it is still quite a site and a main focal point of the area, which was the main goal in the first place.
India Tower, Mumbai
Unlike the Nakheel tower built in Dubai, the India Tower was thought to be possible to build after the recession hit in 2008. The tower was planned to reach a height of 2,356 feet and was to be positioned in Mumbai in 2010. Construction was placed on a hiatus in 2011, with the promise to resume in a more economically stable society. The projected 126-story skyscraper was put on hold after disputes arose between the structure’s developers and Mumbai’s civic authorities. Although its projected completion of 2016 has passed, the indefinite hold on the project’s completion was officially canceled in 2015.
Russia Tower, Russia
In 2008, the international financial crisis impacted almost every country around the globe, hindering many already in-progress architectural plans. The 2,008 foot Russia Tower was steadily under construction when the recession hit the year after it was planned to be finished. A significant factor that contributed to the abandonment of the project was the main developer pulling out his $3 billion investment, which was essential to funding the construction. The Russia Tower was intended to be the world’s tallest building, originally with 125 stories and was continuously updated to include more floors until development stopped in 2008. By 2009, the building was canceled and the site was to be turned into a parking lot.
Doha Convention Center Tower, Qatar
This tower in Doha was projected to become one of the world’s tallest buildings, reaching 1,808 feet. However, the ending details didn’t quite turn out as expected. The major issue affecting the building’s progress was the officials’ concerns regarding height complications in relation to a newly-built airport close by. Landing and taking off would jeopardize the efficacy of the flying pilots’ job responsibilities. The plug was pulled on the project until Doha’s new airport was complete. Eventually getting lost in the noise and perhaps time itself, the tower was never attended to again. What stands of the building will now house apartments, a hotel, and penthouse residences with offices on the lower levels.
Burj Al Alam, Dubai
As previously mentioned, Dubai had to halt an abundance of high-profile projects due to financial troubles. The city’s real estate took off at a profitable rate until the financial crisis in 2008. Many over-the-top and dramatic buildings became neglected during their construction and work was never resumed. This marvel of a flower-shaped tower was set to rise 1,670 feet into the air. The construction was discontinued in 2010 after the building process stalled at a molasses-like pace, eventually coming to a stop altogether, primarily due to the global financial crisis. By 2013, the entire project was canceled and it now awaits a liquidation hearing.
Palace of the Soviets, Russia
The Palace of the Soviets was designed to be a meeting place for the newly-formed Soviet Republic. It was enormous, standing at 1,624 feet. The Palace still holds the title of the tallest building in the world. It made headway in the construction phase, but like many other extravagantly planned buildings, it was counteracted by the events of World War II. The foundation was then turned into a massive swimming pool, which was the world’s largest pool for decades. A Cathedral was rebuilt on the property in the late ’90s, as the original Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was demolished to put up the Palace.
Michigan Central Station, Michigan
Located in Detroit, Michigan, the Central Station was constructed in 1913, during the period of automobiles. The building had Beaux-Arts style which shows the era when Detroit could afford to emulate Parisian architecture. It has since been abandoned and is now the home of graffiti artists and vagrants. The abandoned Central Station shows how rail travel in the United States has become extinct. Developers, investors, and even the Detroit Police Department have discussed the possibility of renovating the old station, but no action has been taken and probably won’t be despite minor repairs and efforts to keep out vandals by putting up barbed wire.