Magical: Haunting places abandoned by man, often reclaimed by nature

In the middle of our busy lives it might be good sometimes to stop and imagine what the world would look like without us. It's useful to get perspective.

These truly stunning pictures capture just that. Sometimes moving, sometimes creepy, the strange, deserted scenes will light up your imagination — and increase your respect for nature's regenerative power. Check them out:

1. The island of Poveglia, Italy

A former a quarantine hospital for sufferers of the plague, and sanatorium, in Venice’s lagoon.

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2. Chernobyl

Abandoned after the reactor catastrophe in 1986, the area was declared forbidden.

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3. A car cemetery in the Belgian Ardennes

After WWII, while in Europe, many Allied soldiers bought a car for personal use. When the occupation ended, many of them were simply left on a road that's now become forest... Leading to this bizarre picture.

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4. A dilapidated theater

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5. A flooded shopping mall

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6. An old electricity plant in Glenwood, New York

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7. A church spire in Reschensee, South Tyrol, Italy

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8. Station for testing seawater near Makhachkala, Russia

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9. A blue spiral staircase in a derelict palace

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10. A deserted Methodist church in Gary, Indiana

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11. The foyer of a run-down castle

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12. A boathouse flooded by melted water in Obersee, Bavaria

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13. Abandoned waterslide in a former amusement park

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14. Lonely footprints at an abandoned nuclear power plant

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15. A jetty damaged by wind and waves

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16. Weathered rails in the Taiwanese mountains

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17. Roller coaster at the Nara Dreamland amusement park, Japan

It closed due to low visitor numbers in 2006.

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18. Staircase to nowhere in Pismo Beach, California

This looks like a set-piece from the movie Vertigo.

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19. A lonely entrance on the Grand Canal, Venice

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20. Abandoned bus on the Stampede Trail, Alaska

This was the setting of the novel “Into the Wild” by Christopher McCandless.

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21. Deserted house on a tiny island, Finland

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22. Former library in Russia

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23. Ghost train of the "Spreepark" fairgrounds in Berlin

This amusement part was closed due to the owner's criminal activity in 2002.

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24. Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture, France

These train tracks use to run all around Paris. 

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25. Wreck of the Titanic

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26. Defunct, antique Bugatti cars

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27. Victorian-style treehouse in Florida

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28. Mare Island wharf in Vallejo, California

Flooding created a mirror effect.

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29. Cinema in Detroit, Michigan

Could it illustrate the collapse of the automobile metropolis better?

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30. Swimming forest in Sydney, Australia

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31. Shipwrecks in the notorious Bermuda Triangle

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32. Nature finds a way...

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33. Former doll factory in Spain

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34. Abandoned church

The cloaked “parishioners” were made out of papier-mâché.

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35. Another church — near St. Etienne, France

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36. Forsaken villa

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37. The roller coaster “Jet Star” in New Jersey

Ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, it was then swallowed by the Atlantic.

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38. A deserted Mansion in Poland

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39. Nature plays the piano

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The stories behind many of these places gave me goosebumps. But seeing the ability of nature to recapture areas we humans have abandoned — it's moving. Life is a powerful force.

And on the other hand, the human ingenuity it took to build all these things in the first place is impressive: they still stand, years — sometimes centuries — after we moved on, asserting the strength and endurance of human creativity!

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