1. Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Kentucky
The now decrepit Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky, which operated from 1910 to 1961, was once home to hundreds of tuberculosis patients. While many survived, many others died—the body count estimate ranges from hundreds to thousands—some due to treatments which would be considered barbaric by today’s standards, such as removing muscles and ribs from the chest cage, and overexposure to the elements. One of the abandoned building’s most unusual aspects was the construction of a “body chute,” a 500-foot-long secret tunnel that allowed hospital workers to dispose of the deceased without alarming the surviving patients.
2. Central State Hospital, Milledgeville, Georgia
Once one of the largest insane asylums in the country, the deserted ruins of Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, Georgia, encompass about 2,000 acres of land. Opened in 1842, Central State housed the mentally disabled and ill for over 100 years before being shuttered bit-by-bit, beginning in 1970, and closed completely in 2010. In 1959, the doctor to patient ratio was 1 to 100. Primitive treatments, such as lobotomies and insulin shock were prevalent, and, supposedly, due to overcrowding, adults were kept in straightjackets while children were confined to cages.
3. Underwater City, Shi Cheng, China
Called China’s Atlantis, Shi Cheng is an ancient Chinese city that lies perfectly preserved beneath Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai. Known as “Lion City” in its heyday, Shi Cheng features architecture dating back to The Ming and Qing Dynasties, which ruled China from 1368 to 1912. In 1959, the need for a hydroelectric plant called for Shi Cheng to be flooded, and the city was forgotten until 2001, at which point the government began organizing expeditions to the lost city. It remains perfectly preserved under the water, protected from the elements, and has become a popular destination for divers.
4. Isla de las Muñecas, Mexico City, Mexico
This tiny island in Mexico’s Xochimilco Canals was home to one man named Don Julian Santana Barrera who claimed that one day, the body of a small girl washed ashore. The next day, a small doll drifted in, leading Barrera to believe it contained her spirit. He placed it in the trees as an offering. Another doll drifted by, then another. Now the entire island is filled with the rotting faces of plastic dolls, giving it its name, the Island of the Dolls. After 50 years of collecting, Barrera was found dead, drowned in the same waters that surround his island home.