Chilling Abandoned Places Of Worship
The Saint Nazianz cemetery in Wisconsin was once overseen by a heretic priest, now rumored to be haunted 👻
There are so many beautiful places of worship around the world, and no matter their focus they all give off an energy that can make us feel new again, and give life to a community. But when they fall into disrepair, or when their parishioners abandon the temple these astounding pieces of architecture become chilling.
Looking into the crumbling remnants of a place of worship is creepy enough to send goosebumps up your spine, leaving you with an unsettling feeling for the rest of the day. Many of these dilapidated churches and former holy grounds have been closed for decades… if not longer. There’s no way to know what goes on inside them now…
Warning some of these photos may not be suitable for all audiences...
Try not to gasp as you look closer at this collection of chilling abandoned places of worship.
Cemeteries are creepy enough as is, but the cemetery and church in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin are thought to be some of the most haunted places in the midwest. Founded by Father Ambrose Oschwald, a former priest who was suspended from the Catholic Church for practicing “mystical, prophetic, and heretical works” in the Black Forest of Germany, even if this place isn’t haunted it definitely has an unsettling past.
The community founded by Oschwald called themselves “The Association,” claimed to be led to the town by a “divine white heifer,” which is the least weird thing about the group.
Members of The Association claim that when Oschwald was on his death bed there was a mysterious pounding sound around town that only ended when he finally succumbed to his illness.
The church is abandoned today, although Oschwald’s body is still entombed in the mausoleum at the base of the hill where he overlooks the cemetery.
A year after the deaths at Jonestown, Reverend Jim Jones' chair still sat in its place at the front of the eerie, abandoned pavilion 😱
This eerie photo shows the abandoned pavilion where Jim Jones gave many of his sermons to the people of Jonestown, going on hours long tirades that could be anything from funny to frightening. He often pitted members of Jonestown against one another in order to make them prove who was most loyal.
While this isn’t the “normal” place of worship, at the onset Jones’ congregation was a Christian organization who wanted nothing more than to help people in need… how quickly that turned sour.
During his sermons in Jonestown, Jim Jones mentally poisoned his followers into the belief that they there were spies in their midst. In actuality, it was Jones who did the most damage.
The creepy abandoned Pennsylvania mansion "Bella Vista" served as a place of worship for a religious cult, it was demolished in 2013 🛐
Bella Vista didn’t just begin its life as a half mansion/half mental institution, but it was constructed out of found materials from other homes that were scheduled to be razed. While it wasn’t initially the site of a cult, when the Reverend Fred Drummond took it over the place became one of the spookiest religious homes in Pennsylvania.
It’s not entirely clear what Drummond got up to in Bella Vista, but he’s left a series of bad vibes in his wake. After ditching his cult and leaving Bella Vista he moved to Florida and the mansion sat in disrepair until 2013 when the community of Bethel Township decided to raze the property.
An Abandoned church in the Czech Republic filled with......Ghost statues 👻 👻 👻
Sometimes you see an abandoned place that’s so creepy that it’s hard not to investigate it further. This church in the Czech Republic is one of those places. Kostel Svathéo Jirí - St. George’s Church - was first built in 1352 but a series of fires over the generations have left it noticeably scarred.
In 1968 the church was finally abandoned when the roof fell in during a funeral, causing the superstitious congregation to leave as quickly as possible. They’d long believed that the building was haunted and this final act of destruction was proof.
Decades after the roof caved in and the place was looted, sculpture student Jakub Hadrava decided to build a monument to the region’s hard life. He built and installed ghostly statues who resemble the people not only built, but worshipped at the church. Visitors to the ghostly church have donated enough money to fix the roof and the building’s structural problems.
The music room in "Bella Vista," a mansion that served as one of the places of worship for a Pennsylvanian cult 🏥
Built in 1947 by a man named “Dr. Dimedio,” Bella Vista served multiple purposes - all of them sinister. It was a hospital, a home, and it was where Revered Fred Drummond ran the Church of Our Savior.
In the 1970s Drummond ran this cult as if his followers were his servants. He took their money to buy a pink Rolls Royce, and spanked his followers when they got out of line.
Drummond’s followers claimed that he had a kind of mind control over them, which led them to getting into creepy relationships and giving him all of their money. The cult is now defunct and the mansion sits empty, waiting for a new group to take the last one’s place.
Abandoned temple in Indonesia. 🐉
The stairs to this eerie and sprawling sight are lined with the massive figure of a snake god welcoming visitors, but in spite of its ancient look the building underwent construction in the early 1990s, not hundreds of years earlier like it might look.
The building was never actually finished because its main investor, Tommy Suharto, went to prison for ordering the assassination of a judge on Indonesia’s Supreme Court. Construction came to a halt in 2002 and never started again.
Now abandoned for nearly 20 years, the building is overgrown with weeds and creepy crawlies, making it a seriously frightening destination.
Carn Cottage, the place where Aleister Crowley attempted to summon the Devil 😈
An unusual place of worship if ever there were one. Carn Cottage may not be a church, but it was used a private temple by Aleister Crowley who is said to have been in contact with the Devil while staying in this charming little home.
Surrounded by bracken and empty fields, the cottage is said to be cursed thanks to the wicked nature of Crowley’s worships. Locals claim that the home is haunted, and those who venture to the property do so at the risk of their soul.
The cottage has changed hands many times, but the curse continues as one former owner passed away mysteriously and another ended up in an asylum.
City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana... eerie and ethereal ☁️
No longer the shelter from the cold that it once was, the City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana, has become a place that visitors must be wary of when exploring its ruins. No longer with a roof, what beams survive threaten to fall at any moment.
The bones of the building and many of its ornate window survive, either by luck or from visitors respecting the work that went into the church’s construction. But the floor, the walls, and the furniture are long gone.
It’s disheartening to see a place that was once so clearly beautiful slowly turn into rubble.
Roots winding throughout the Ta Prohm temple at the ancient city of Angkor in Cambodia 🍃
As we’ve seen with many of these abandoned places of worship, the fight between nature and architecture is real. Constructed in 1186, the Buddhist monastery consists of a series of smaller and smaller enclosures, with the sanctuary existing around the elevated stone face of Prajnaparamita, the personification of wisdom.
No one knows exactly why the temple was abandoned, but when it was rediscovered in the 20th century by French archaeologists the temples were overgrown with massive vines and limbs.
Ta Prohm has been maintained since it was rediscovered, although the bigger trouble is the cultivation of the trees that have grown through the foundation of the building. They’re a part of the structure now, it’s impossible to remove them.
An unidentified real estate consultant makes his way in the rain March 25, 1998 up the front steps of the house in Rancho Santa Fe, California where 39 people in the Heavens' Gate cult committed suicide
On March 26, 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult ended their lives in order to leave their bodies and board an alien space craft that was tailing behind the Hale-Bopp Comet. At the time they lived and worshipped inside of a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
After the members of the Heaven’s Gate cult took their own lives - each of them with exactly $5.75 in their pockets - the mansion stood but no one wanted to move into the home, which is understandable.
The creepy mansion attracted so many rubber-neckers to the property that the neighbors bought the house and bulldozed it in order to free themselves from the creepy grasp of the cult once and for all.
Abandoned temple in Bhangarh, Alwar, Rajasthan feel the energy
The energy flowing from this long abandoned temple in India is truly inspiring, even if it’s a long lost temple. It’s hard to understand how an awesome temple like this could be allowed to fall into such disrepair, but being in such a remote part of the world it’s likely that with no one around to take in its splendor it simply began to fall apart.
Luckily we can enjoy these structures today thanks to travel and a renewed interest in getting in touch with our spiritual side.
Less chilling and more of a lonely giant, this fortress of spirituality is certainly one of the most fascinating places of worship that we’ve come across in a long time.
Here is another creepy image captured at Jonestown. In 1979, a year after hundreds of Jones' followers drank cyanide-laced Flavor Aid, a photo was taken showing flowers blooming at the abandoned village
In the heart of Guyana sits one of the most disturbing places of worship that’s ever been constructed. Led by Jim Jones, more than 900 people gave their lives by ingesting Flavor Aid laced with cyanide.
The survivors of this nightmare say that even though Jones forced his flock to train for such a moment, that many people believed that they’d never really end up ending their time at Jonestown that way. Many of the people who perished did so under duress.
It’s ironic that such beauty grew in a place that was host to one of the worst tragedies of the 20th century.
Spahn Ranch was one of the main suppliers of livestock and Western props for motion pictures... but then the Manson Family moved in
Watch any western from the 1950s and you’re likely to see Spahn Ranch, a 55-acre movie ranch in Los Angeles County, California, where everything from Bonanza to The Lone Ranger filmed. However, by the late 1960s there wasn’t much filming going on, making it the perfect place for Charles Manson and his family to call home.
They may not have been the standard congregation, but the Manson Family worshipped at the feet of Charlie. He stayed up late into the evening talking for hours about deep philosophical subjects and singing songs, inspiring his followers to dig through the trash and give up their worldly possessions.
Today, Spahn Ranch is a ghost of what it used to be, but it still has the creepy vibe gleaned from its time with the Manson Family.
A concrete platform and filled outline of a swimming pool are all that remain of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh's home
Whether you know him as Rahneesh, Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh, or simply Osho, you probably know about the damage that this cult leader caused when he settled on a 100-square-mile ranch in central Oregon with 2,000 of his disciples in 1981.
Once they were in Oregon, Rajneesh instructed his followers to build their own city, called Rajneeshpuram, and over time he attempted to take over the entire state of Oregon through tactics that were both underhanded and criminally insane.
In 1984 his cult carried out a mass salmonella poisoning that affected more than 700 people. He was caught by the federal government and after copping a plea he was allowed to return to India. This slab of concrete is one of the only things that remains of his commune in central Oregon.
It's strange to think that this area was once thriving with cult activity. Today, it's nothing more than farm land.
A volcano fills the sky over an abandoned church during an eruption in Karo, Indonesia.
Take a look at the awesome power of the Mount Sinabung volcano. This awe inspiring and terrifying natural occurrence has such a nasty reputaton that its forced people from the surrounding area to flee their homes as well as this church, leaving it to the mercy of ash and fire.
As beautiful as it is, living on Mount Sinabung comes with one major downside - dealing with the threat of a volcanic eruption. The people who lived in the area were forced to abandon their entire lives in order to survive. Many people escaped with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.
So far this church has managed to stand up to the elements, even though it’s a humble place of worship. Hopefully one day people can return to this beautiful temple.
Deep in the forests of Indonesia sits an abandoned church shaped like a chicken 🐔
Even though this massive, crumbling piece of architecture has been dubbed Gereja Ayam (chicken church) by Indonesian locals, the church was actually meant to resemble a dove.
Designed by Daniel Alamsjah, he received a vision from god that he should build a church in the sharp of a dove. Alamsjah felt that the forests of Magelang would serve best for his tribute, and after constructing a realistic head, wings, and feathers, Alamsjah opened the church’s doors in ‘90s to anyone who wished to worship.
In 2000 the Alamsjah ran into financial problems and the church had to be left to deteriorate in the forest. The rotten church was left desolate for years, but lately locals have been cleaning it up and taking care of it, maybe the church of the chicken will fly again.
Everything was left behind at this empty synagogue
The most unsettling thing about many of these abandoned places of worship is the way that it looks like the congregation up and left in a hurry, without saying goodbye or even thinking to grab anything of value - be it monetary or spiritual.
This ornate synagogue still looks like it could host any number of ceremonies, so why was it left empty? It’s chilling to think that we’ll never know exactly why so many of these places were emptied out and left to fall apart.
Something about this synagogue is so inspiring, hopefully the people in its community will fill it up again and bring it back to life.
This Italian Church is in a state of beautiful deterioration
Watching any piece of antique architecture fall into disrepair is sad, but when a gorgeous church like this falls apart it hurts your soul just a little bit. Imagine trekking through the hills of Italy and coming across this gorgeous, empty church. It would feel so strange.
It’s likely that this place of worship was once the meeting place for villagers across the countryside, but as cities grew and people moved, there was no use for a place like this in the middle of nowhere.
Now, this empty church is for those of us who appreciate abandoned architecture, and maybe a loan traveler who’s alone in the Italian countryside.
A view of the entrance of Jonestown, Guyana
It’s chilling to think that such a cursed place had such a normal, welcoming sign. The People’s Temple in Jonestown was a community in Guyana filled with American ex-patriots who worshipped at the feet of Jim Jones, a charismatic religious figure who turned his forward thinking church into his own personal cult.
As kind as this sign may seem, the people of Jonestown were forced to work their fingers to the bone for Jones while he tortured them with sermons that he read constantly throughout the day over a P.A. system in a drugged out haze.
On November 18, 1978, Jones ordered his followers to take part in a group suicide, leading to the deaths of more than 900 men, women, and children.
Abandoned St. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Active from 1860 to 1992, the St. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church provided a congregation for the people of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that sadly went into decline following World War 2. The church did okay in the mid-century, but once the city’s steel mills began closing in the ‘70s it was curtains for this church.
Once the church folded in ’92 it sat empty for years even though various congregations have attempted to jumpstart themselves in the vast building for years. Most famously, the building was used in 1999 for the final scene in Kevin Smith’s Dogma.
Sadly, this bit of media buzz did nothing for the church, and in 2012 the building was set on fire by squatters who were trying to keep warm.
The Krasnogorsky Monastery is but one of many fallen places of worship that exist throughout Russia. Much of the architecture is technically still standing, but with little upkeep during the Soviet years this monastery is a shadow of its former self.
During the Cold War, a commune was built inside of the monastery but that didn’t last long. A camp for young people followed, and then a mental hospital were put in its place before it was completely left to its own devices.
Today, its rotting walls and empty hallways are a treat for urban explorers, but everything about this building screams that something is not right at the monastery.
This woodland abandoned church is more tree than sanctuary 🌲🌲🌲
If there were such a thing as fairies this is where you’d find them. Something about this decrepit, empty church has a touch of magic to it. Maybe it’s the way the trees and vines have overrun the stones, or maybe it’s the way the light catches the architecture, maybe it’s al of the above.
Abandoned churches don’t have to be a sad thing to see. Some of them can be downright gorgeous - and this one fits the bill. Don’t you wish that you had this kind of church in your backyard? Just waiting for you whenever you needed to read or simply watch the world go by?
Nothing to see here, just an abandoned church in the middle of a Romanian forest
If there’s one question that continues to pop up in this collection of abandoned churches it’s, “How?” How does a massive and seriously beautiful church like this just wind up abandoned in the middle of a forest?
To venture a guess, the church once served as a communal place of worship for everyone in a ten to twenty mile radius (or maybe further… it is a nice church), but as people moved to the cities they had no way of returning to this amazing specimen.
Romania isn’t exactly the most populated area, so it makes sense that this temple is still standing, even if it’s falling apart more and more by the day.
Autumn leaves take over this mysterious church 🍂
Like many abandoned places of worship, this church has been reclaimed by nature and transformed into something otherworldly. In any other area or time of year this place would look like any old empty building, but it’s perfectly positioned to be a harbinger of autumn, and a canvas for the leaves as they change with the seasons.
It’s chilling to think of the experiences that were once shared here. The births, reunions, and friendships that have dissipated with the time like ghosts in the night.
Even so, this picture makes us feel like fall can’t come soon enough. Can’t you smell the crisp hint of apples and spice on the air?
Inside the chapel at Little Bethlehem
Built in 1970 by George Pike, this neon lit church was constructed completely from the donations of the parishioners. Rather than stick to a specific theme, Pike constructed the building in a hodgepodge manner that gives the now abandoned church an eerie funhouse feel.
The main room feels like a bowling alley from the ‘70s, and while that’s kind of cool for a man cave or, you know, a bowling alley, when that kind of design is used for a church it’s genuinely creepy.
The church of Little Bethlehem was in operation until the early 2000s, but since then it’s just been sitting vacant in the hands of the Pike Family. At least someone is watching over this obscure little building.
What secrets does this German church hold
If any of these churches is haunted it has to be this one, right? There’s something very Brothers Grimm about the design of this ancient German holy place. Maybe it’s the way that every time it looks like there couldn’t possibly be another angle, there’s another corner waiting for you. Or maybe it’s all the darkened windows.
The design on his building is definitely fascinating. The large wooden shingles give the church a thatched feeling that’s very homey even if it’s also extremely creepy.
The window shaped like a snowflake is especially interesting. If only we could see what this church looked like before it was left to fall apart… now that would be astounding.
An abandoned church in Russia has become a gigantic flowerpot
Imagine a world where everything is covered in greenery, it’s like something out of a fairytale, or even just the distant past. This empty Russian church has done something that’s so rare for a pile of brick and mortar, it’s supporting life.
Do you think that the architects behind this church thought that one day their massive building would serve as a way for plant life to explode and grow?
It’s fascinating to see how aesthetically pleasing the plant life is on this church, kind of like the plants know we’re looking at them… spooky. Do your best not to think about that.
Who goes there? A Canadian church in the dead of winter
The snow, the lights, the lopsided and dilapidated church. Everything about this photo screams that something strange is going on in the Great White North.
Walking up on this sight in the middle of the night must be a strange experience, especially with the stark white light blasting through the windows and the trees. A lonesome traveller might turn the other way rather than discover exactly what’s going on.
Many of these one room churches are still standing today, even if they’re not in the most pristine of condition. If you’re going to go exploring we suggest using extreme caution.
Look closely... there are still hymnals in the pews of this abandoned church
Why do people abandon a church like this? Its bones are solid and there’s plenty of seating. Could it be a vast move out of the town or something more sinister? Did the church run out of money? Did the parishioners all find a new place of worship? A photo like this contains so many unanswered questions.
Look closely at the pews. Do you notice the perfectly placed hymnals waiting to be picked up and used? When the church workers left this place they must have done so in a rush, there’s no other way to explain why so many pieces of church property would be left untouched.
It’s as if this building is waiting to be filled again, and with the right group of people it can be.
A beautiful abandoned church located in Detroit, Michigan ⛪
There’s a strange beauty to the abandoned 20th century churches of America. Many churches from the era have a similar feel - the rounded pews, the two decks, and the ornate stained glass are just some of the similar features that you’ll find in churches throughout the country.
Designed by a host of different architects, it’s likely that even if the churches aren’t Catholic the are designed to mirror the holy places of Italy, specifically Roman churches with vaulted ceilings and large interiors meant to hold extra parishoners during high holidays.
These buildings are so gorgeous that it’s sad to see them fall into disrepair, unfortunately that’s just the way things tend to go.
Abandoned church in France where nature has taken over. ⛪🌿
It’s inspiring and a little frightening to see the way that nature so easily takes back the Earth when no one is looking. This French church is extremely ornate, and clearly people spent a lot of time working on it, but nature is unsympathetic to the plight of humanity and she takes what she wants.
This beautiful church once held mass and baptisms, but now it’s simply a place where the Earth communes with itself. It’s beautiful, but sad to see a place so lovingly constructed fall apart.
If you could would you fix this place of worship and get it back on its feet so to speak? Or would you let nature take it all back?
A sign advertising a tent revival from years past
This sign sits inside of an abandoned Pentecostal temple, waiting for parishioners who will never come. Tent revivals have gone the way the of the traveling sideshow, but in the early 20th century they were a way for communities to come together and worship with a charismatic preacher.
More often than not tents revivals could last for hours at a time, with multiple revivals occurring during the day. They were sort of like a play but the audience’s immortal soul on the line.
In some instances a tent revival stayed in one place for its entire existence, this was a pretty regular thing in Texas and Oklahoma, but more often than not they were on the road until their time ran out.
Abandoned Pentecostal church in the forgotten town of Daniels, Maryland
This desolate church is definitely the ind of place that would give us the creeps if we found it in the woods. It’s always unsettling to find an abandoned church that’s been covered in graffiti. It just feels sinister.
These types of abandoned buildings are the places where urban legends are born. Not only are they pure nightmare fuel but they’re look like they’re a cesspool of ticks and other sorts of nasty wildlife. We’d have to give this place a hard pass.
One of the more interesting things about this church is its tiny belfry. It’s not clear if it once held bells or if it was just a place for people to hide.
Torn up floorboards in an Italian chapel
Spooky. There’s really no other way to describe this strange scene in an abandoned chapel in Italy. In most cases we suggest using common sense to understand when something odd has happened, or to use think of the most obvious reason for something, but what could have caused this kind of rupture?
It’s as if before leaving this church intact the priests made sure to lift something important out from beneath the floorboards. Was it a safe filled with tithes? Or was it something more nefarious?
This church is still gorgeous, so hopefully someone can make use of it whether they’re using it as a photo backdrop or reestablishing it as a place of worship. Either way they may want to check what’s going on beneath the floorboards.
Abandoned Church in France
It’s absolutely astounding the way that nature can find its way back into the world after its been stripped in order to build some kind of edifice, be it a chapel or a shopping mall. This French church has definitely seen better days, but there’s a beauty to the regrowth that’s occurring in the place of parishioners.
When you think about it, aren’t churches meant to help create growth, both personally and in the community? In a way that’s exactly what this place has done… only with plant life instead of people.
Even if this isn’t the way that the builders didn’t think things would work out, it’s still cool to see that the church is helping create life in one way or another.
An abandoned Catholic Church near the Bokor Hill Station in the Dâmrei Mountains or “Elephant Mountains” of southwest Cambodia.
It’s absolutely wild to think that such a large and beautiful church could exist in a mountain range in western Cambodia, but we’re staring at the visual proof. While it’s not the most populated area in the world, it’s fascinating to see that citizens of the area were building massive structures similarly to those of us in the western world.
Churches, temples, and whatever holy buildings you can conjure are meant to be awe inspiring in order to remind you of the power of God. This place of worship is no different.
Seeing it alone in this field is certainly distressing. What will become of this place in one hundred years? Will it still be standing or will it have succumbed to the ravages of time?
An abandoned Church in St. Louis, Missouri
The paint’s chipping, the floor is mildewed, and the air is most definitely damp. This abandoned church in St. Louis has definitely seen better days, but in its heyday it must have been a beautiful place to come together and worship.
One of the coolest things about this former church is the way that its windows curve inward, there’s just something so aesthetically pleasing about the interior of this building.
Even though this place has become a canvas for graffiti artists it could be returned to its former glory with a little elbow grease... and definitely some fresh new carpeting.
An eerily beautiful temple in Russia decorated with greenery
What is it about abandoned Russian temples that make them look so beautiful when they’re overrun by nature? The church doesn’t look like the standard Russian architecture - note the Grecian columns. However, the dome at the top of the temple definitely resembles some of the most gorgeous buildings in the country.
The way the Earth has taken over this church may be awe inspiring, but it’s definitely odd that the trees and weeds are just growing from the roof… unless they’ve actually grown through the entire building.
This is one of those fallen temples that’s probably never going to be back in running order, but it’s eerie emptiness is astounding.
The disturbingly vacant Ewing United Methodist Church
There’s something extremely creepy about these one room churches, not so much when they’re up and in action, but it’s when they start to fall apart that things get spooky. For instance, this building not only looks like it’s going to fall down under a heavy breeze, but it’s hard to look at it without thinking about what’s inside.
Doesn’t your imagination run wild with all the possibilities of the ghouls and ghosts that are inhabiting this once vibrant community center? Or even if we remove spirituality from the mix, there are definitely some bugs we’d rather not think about running rampant.
These one room churches can be so wonderful when they help foster a community, but as they fall apart there’s a darkness that’s impossible to ignore…
Papers line the floor of this abandoned holy place
After years in disrepair it’s no surprise that this church has become a place where vandals and burgeoning graffiti artists go to spend their time. As sad as it is it’s one of those inevitable parts of life, when a building (whether it’s a former bank or a former church) falls into such squalor it tends to be come a refuge for people up to no good.
It’s frustrating to see such a gorgeous building turned upside down by people looking for kicks, but with no one to make sure everything inside stays intact this kind of destruction is pretty much assured.
As creepy as this place must be at night it’s beautiful in the sunlight. It’s a shame that no one has refurbished this building for the ceilings alone.
The Halfway Creek Methodist Church threatens to collapse any day
If any of the abandoned places of worship that we’re covering are going to fall apart after a strong gust of wind it’s definitely this one. There are two things that give us chills about this former church.
Obviously the thought that anyone who steps inside this building is standing in the middle of a snake infested death trap, which is a big no thank you for us, and the idea that maybe there are people who still use this building when no one’s looking.
Transformed into a different kind of place of worship, this building exudes a sinister vibe that calls out to those people who traipse through the woods in search of a building just like this.
Pews lined up in an ornate Italian church
Now this is a truly beautiful church, complete with meticulously painted mural across the ceiling and walls to match. It was clearly once a very active place of worship that’s since become empty as time has passed. It’s truly sad to see...
This was most likely an active place for the community to meet and bond over their faith or just local gossip. Meeting in such a beautiful building must have been a joy no matter the occasion, it’s too bad that it’s no longer in use.
With the pews in place and everything relatively still in order maybe it’s just waiting for the right people to show up fill it with joy once again.
This abandoned 19th-century church in Italy has become overgrown with weeds and vines, but much of the original architecture still stands
This abandoned 19th-century church looks like something that you would see after a long day of hiking through a mysterious forest. Discovering it in the middle of the woods leads to more questions than answers. Who built a church in the middle of all this greenery? And why did they leave?
Many communities in Italy are tight knit, with families staying in the same place for hundreds of years. They don’t abandon a place easily, no matter the conditions. So why leave this place to fall apart?
It’s most likely that whatever families lived near by left for a better opportunity, leaving this temple to slowly give itself back to the Earth.
This mosque on the Nile has never been used
Many of the places of worship that we’ve covered here were once thriving, they were filled with smiling faces and friendly members of their community. Thanks to the dulling thud of bureaucracy this mosque was never used after its completion and it still stands empty to this day.
Initially, the building was ordered in 1949 by King Farouk who wanted the Royal Navy to use it. The building was finished in 1951, but one year later the King was overthrown by his own army.
The building was briefly used as the HQ for Gamal Abdel Nasser but by 1956 it was just a desolate, beautiful building. In 1996, there was a call to turn the building into a museum, but nothing’s ever come of that decision.
Bethel Holy Temple in Pennsylvania
Once again, the emptiness of this former place of worship is distressing. Not because of what it says about its current visitors, but because of what it says about what this place used to be.
It’s obvious that this temple once held a robust congregation, but for whatever reason they dropped off, never to appear again. It's a sad fate shared by many churches, big and small.
The broken windows, destroyed pews, and mildewed walls are all signs of the final days of a holy place. Will it ever be brought back to its former glory? Or will it slowly fall apart and decay until it’s unrecognizable?
The interior of Spahn Ranch in 1969.
Shortly after the Manson Family were arrested in 1969, the police combed through Spahn Ranch with a fine tooth comb searching for anything that could help them understand the brutality of their crimes. What they found was evidence that Charles Manson made his followers live in squalor.
Much like the members of Jonestown (or any cult really), Manson made his followers give up their material possessions when they entered his flock. If they wanted to listen to his nonsense philosophy they had to do so unencumbered by the rest of the world.
At the ranch, Manson’s followers slept on the floor, in the dirt, or on a soiled mattress if they were lucky. How Manson held the family under his sway is still a mystery.
Incredible church lost in a fire, then abandoned
It’s so sad to see such a beautiful building, no matter its function, destroyed by a fire. Doesn’t it just break your heart to see all of this hard work wrecked asunder by the uncaring flicker of nature? In most cases there’s no way to bring something like this back to its former glory… at least not without a lot of money.
While much of this building still remains, there’s no way that any of it is usable - especially with the roof looking the way it does. Hopefully someone will find a way to use what’s left of the building, letting this temple live on and take on a new life.
Take a peek inside the Olympic Kentucky church
The ceiling is falling in, the windows are busted, and the light shoots through the cracks at strange angles - this is one of the creepiest single room churches that we’ve seen in a while. Even in the middle of the day it looks as if someone (or something) could appear from any angle.
The strangely clean center of the room is one of the most disconcerting features of this building. Has someone been sleeping there, or are they just keeping it clean for later?
Everything about this building gives us the heebie jeebies, so if you’re in Kentucky let us know if this place is as creepy as it looks.
Is anyone attending Sunday service here?
With its inviting red door and tiny cemetery next door, it’s almost as if this church is still in operation even though it’s clear that no one has visited this place in quite some time.
If this photo were a still from a horror movie we wouldn’t be surprised, everything about it is creepy with a capital C.
Maybe in the right light this abandoned church could feel homey. But as it stands right now it looks like the perfect place for ghouls and creatures of the night to call home. We'll make sure to skip this spot the next time we're walking through the woods alone at night.
Much of the former Rajneesh property had fallen into disrepair. Here, an abandoned office area suffers from damage and neglect
While the state of Oregon has razed much of the Rajneesh property following their flight from the area in the 1980s, some of the cult property remains - or at least it was there when an intrepid photographer stopped by to catalogue to damage.
Like any other church, the members of the Rajneesh cult maintained offices and actually kept business hours, after all they did manage to take over an entire town.
What’s left of the Rajneesh community shows the way that a community will do whatever it can to forget a horrific tragedy. Once the Rajneesh cult was dispersed, for Oregonians at least, it was as if the strange church never existed in the first place.
Real estate consultant Chris Coburn sits Wednesday, March 25, 1998, in the living room of the house in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., where 39 people in the Heaven's Gate cult committed suicide
The members of the Heaven’s Gate cult believed that their souls would be transported into outer space aboard the Hale-Bopp comet, in order to board their interstellar ship they took their own lives, telling no one of their plans aside from the few members who were left behind.
Their home, a sprawling mansion in Southern California became a monument to their fervent belief in the unreal, and to the madness that can take hold of us all in the wrong conditions.
These places remind us of the way that even the best and brightest of us all can be taken over by the right idea, no matter how crazy it sounds to the outside world.
Ruined domes of an abandoned Russian temple
The decomposing spires at the top of this abandoned Russian church are only a glimpse at the decay that this once beautiful place of worship has fallen under. It hurts the soul to see something that took so much effort to construct is simply falling apart in the middle of a field.
Left to rot in the middle of nowhere, many of these buildings will become more than eye sores, they’ll turn into death traps. It’s awful that something so magnificent has been reduced to something that needs to be taken away, but that’s the life of an outmoded piece of architecture.
The choir doesn't sing anymore in this Chicago holy place
When this church was in operation it must have been one for the ages. The high domed ceilings, the wide floors, and the majestic columns = it’s truly an awe inspiring view even now. But imagine what it was like when it was operational… it must have been breathtaking.
Today this church is nothing more than a massive piece of stone canvas for muralists and a place for squatters to rest their heads. From the looks of things people seem to be respecting the place, even if it’s no longer the temple of worship that it once was.
Even though it’s a bit shabby now, many of these murals could function as frescos if anyone ever wanted to bring it back to its former glory.
The kitchen at Spahn Ranch
When the Manson Family did eat, they barely used the kitchen. Charles Manson ordered his followers to eat from the trash, and only a few of them were lucky enough to use the kitchen at the ranch. More often than not the Family ate from the trash or survived on the kindness of strangers… although that came along rarely.
Even though members of Manson’s cult weren’t allowed to use the kitchen, it remains a stark reminder of the horror that the members of the family carried out.
This room was dangled in front of the cult members as if it the basic human need to eat was something that they could only receive if they served at the feet of their master. It’s truly upsetting.
The now abandoned worship place of Alliance, Ohio
In its better days it’s easy to see how this church was the lynchpin of the community, a fortified house of God where people came together multiple times a week to worship and find their place among their friends and family.
Now, this building is nothing more than a place that children dash past in case whatever’s lurking inside reaches out to snatch them off the streets. The boarded up windows beg the outside world to stay out, as if it knows that nothing good can come of visitors.
We’ve all lived in a town with a building like this. Did you ever venture inside? Or were you worried about what was lurking in the shadows?
The remains of the Jonestown school, once a spot for young children on the commune, stood out in the abandoned village
As happy and free as this ramshackle little school seems, it’s disturbing to think that there were children on the sight of such a grisly place. Not only were they learning what Jim Jones wanted to teach them, but they were at his every whim, and essentially turned into cult members from birth.
Even more chilling is the fact that most of the children didn’t make it out of Guyana when Jones unleashed his paranoid fury in 1978. The horrifying truth of the matter is that many of the kids who learned at this spot were helped to their end by their own parents. That thought shakes us to the core…
The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, a wooden temple that sits alone
During the Soviet era, many monasteries dating as far back as the 1300s were closed, and while this architectural monument in Soligalich isn’t nearly that old (it was only built some time around 1660 and 1690, it’s still a shame that it was put out of commission during the Cold War.
As it stands now, the church is in need of a major restoration, which isn’t easy to do with a mostly wooden facade. There’s something genuinely creepy about this place, and not just because it’s fallen into disrepair.
The wooden cathedral looks like the kind of place where any number of ghouls are living, even if they’re just the spirits of those who once brought this building to life.
One of the main structures on the Jonestown property was the pavilion, where leader Jim Jones led services for his followers
This is it. The place where Jim Jones led his flock to fear and worship him, and where he forced them to do away with themselves through cyanide spike Flavor Aid. It’s chilling to see such a horrific place, and even more upsetting to see how normal it is.
There are no evil symbols on the floor, and no clues that this place is the sight of one of the most horrific mass murders of the 20th century. Anyone walking up on this empty pavilion in the middle of Guyana might even think it’s an empty summer camp.
Structures like this should remind us of the horrors of life that don’t just wait in the shadows, but that lurk most treacherously in the daylight.
Empty huts, which were living quarters for members of the Peoples Temple, were still there a year after the deaths
While living in Guyana and worshipping under the tutelage of Jim Jones, the members of the People’s Temple slept in this huts… when they were allowed to sleep.
After moving his followers to more than 3,800 acres of isolated land in the jungle in 1976, the members of the People’s Temple worked 18 hours a day to make sure they had shelter and were fed. Jones never so much as lifted a finger.
Jones forced his followers to give up their passports and money when they arrived in Jonestown, effectively turning them into his prisoners. New arrivals were put to work in the fields, many of them would never return home.
Debris and water fill a pool on the hillside behind the remains of the home of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
When the members of the Rajneesh movement were pushed out of their Central Oregon convent after they poisoned more than 700 people in the state with salmonella in order to keep them home during an intense local election, the state bulldozed their land.
The homestead kept by the followers of Osho was torn down and wiped out of the state’s memory like a bad dream. Now, the only thing that stands where the Rajneesh movement once lived is brackish water and a curious set of concrete slabs.
Thousands of people once worshipped here, but now it’s nothing more than an empty field that teems with bad energy.