15. Santa Claus, Arizona

In the middle of the Mojave desert, one of the hottest places in America, someone decided to put together a town to the man we most often associate with soft tumbling snowflakes. Founded in 1937, a real-estate agent named Nina Talbot, decided to make a town built around Christmas year round to attract residents to the unlikely locale. With Christmas themed buildings, the town became a tourist attraction, but no one really wanted to buy any properties. Cutting her losses, Nina sold the town in 1949. While the town was still an attraction over the next decade, in particular for people curious about a desert town always celebrating Christmas and for some high-quality restaurants, by the 1970s it was falling apart. By 1995 all businesses were gone, and now very little is left standing – nothing has been left unmarked by vandalism.

14. Rhyolite, Nevada

Rhyolite was founded in 1904 by prospectors looking for gold. At its height the town was bustling, with money flowing freely as prospectors gathered to take their chance at fortune. In a relatively short time, they even got electricity and other industries, including a bottling plant, started to rise up. Along the way prostitutes came as well, looking to serve the newly wealthy clientele. As soon as things built up, they started to wind down. A financial crisis in 1907 crippled the town, and banks started failing. In 1911, they closed the mill, and the final death blow came just five years later when in 1916, electricity was cut from the town. To this day remnants of the town still stand, overlooking the smoldering death valley desert.

13. North Brother Island, New York

Abandoned since 1963, more than a dozen buildings remain on North Brother Island which used to host a hospital. The place where the infamous Typhoid Mary was kept in isolation, the stories of disease, isolation, and abuse echo through photos of the abandoned halls. Of all the creepy abandoned buildings perhaps none are more unsettling than hospitals, which are supposed to be a place of wellness and care. Cities or towns abandoned more recently also have an extra flair of horror, reminding us that life can quickly fade out or burn out in an instant. While you need express permission from the New York Parks Department to tour the island now, a number of photographers have documented the decaying landscape with their work readily available online.

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