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Old 06-20-2009, 01:06 AM
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So this is a thought I had recently, what if we considered Ghost Towns as possible bug out locations? They're - obviously - deserted, out of the way and difficult to get to, and most of them are quite old, meaning there is plenty of room to take up plots of land to grow your own food while you take shelter in the already existing buildings. The reason most of these towns are abandoned was because it was uneconomical to bring them into the main stream or because they lost the lure that drew people there in the first place. So why not take up residence there during a SHTF situation? Anyone have any thoughts? I did a quick check, and just in my area of Alabama there are 4 listed ghost towns.
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Old 06-20-2009, 02:50 AM
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Be careful; the "ghosts" may be real live people who own the property wherein. Not all ghost towns are in areas far away from danger zones. What about towns in Michigan and other Rust Belt states?
Old 06-20-2009, 02:55 AM
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ghost towns are good but there arent too many here in southern california. Come to think of it the nearest one is about 100 or so miles away.
Old 06-20-2009, 03:43 AM
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If you do a search and find the ghost town you'll have to check it out yourself, for several reasons. First is that there may no longer be any buildings left. Second would be that the wells have run dry. Third their allure in the first place may bring people back there searching for the same thing ie. gold, silver, platinum, etc...
Old 06-20-2009, 07:56 AM
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If abandoned buildings attracted you to them, they'll attract others...
Old 06-20-2009, 10:35 AM
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Some of the more remote ghost towns might work for folks living in Southern California, but you are going to have to get away from the major cities, think >400 miles. Be a little cautious about drinking the water from wells, many of these towns were gold mining towns and the ground water may be contaminated by the arsnic used to leach the gold. Also, many became ghost towns because the had no water.
Old 06-20-2009, 10:38 AM
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"difficult to get to"? Depends on your defination of 'difficult'. Remote and out of the way, I'll give you. And the roads that used to lead to them might be run down and overgrown to the point you'll need a 4 wheel drive and chainsaw to get there. And those roads might also be blocked by gates and fences. But I wouldn't assume those things will stop people if they think there's something at the end of the trail for them. In fact, some people try to reach ghost towns even now despite the problems involved just for the fun of it.

And if you can find the town's location with a simple search, so can others.

Also, there's the matter of water. Are there working, unpolluted wells in the ghost town? If not, there's no long term survival potential there.

And I'd be leery of taking shelter in a building that's been abandoned to the elements for who knows how long. Not only might various types of insect and animal life have moved in, but structural integrity and support might have moved out. And hainvg a building fall down on me - or me fall through a floor to the floor or cellar below - would really ruin my day...

Not to say it's automatically a bad idea. Just that it might need work.
Old 06-20-2009, 09:15 PM
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These "towns" are dead for a reason. If any habitable shelters still exist, they will already be filled with humans.

Most niceties of civilization don't apply to these places, no power, no water, and structures that are much less dry and safe than your poncho.
Old 06-20-2009, 09:25 PM
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Obama is going to bulldoze those towns.
Old 06-20-2009, 09:52 PM
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I think you mean MERCURY.

If life was unsustainable THEN it like is so now.
Old 06-21-2009, 09:14 PM
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Well I apologize, perhaps I spoke to broadly. Many of the ghost towns in the south though were abandoned because they became irrelevant. Some towns because a new railroad didn't come to it and so its importance declined until it vanished. Hell, the town that was the territorial seat of government for Alabama is now a ghost town and it was right on the Alabama river, plenty of drinking water there. I simply thought it was a unthought of idea so I would throw it on here. I understand many of the forum members are from the western states, I can't speak so readily of gold rush mining towns and such. But the eastern US is littered with old towns that people just moved away from and have become completely vacant. Enjoy
Old 06-22-2009, 05:21 AM
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That's true...the railroad passed them by, or the gold rush ended and they all went to another find in Alaska or somewhere, the town itself was often okay when they left for greener pastures. It may not have any good wells anymore or be farmable. The buildings may be falling down, but some maybe could be salvaged or fixed to be liveable. Not all that are classified as ghost towns really are, though...some people may be living there. Also, like said above, others might make their way there too, including gangs, with the same motive. If I were with a good group, I'd consider it, but it'd be kind of spooky by myself or a small family because you'd be quite exposed and it'd be impossible to defend yourself in that scene.
Old 06-22-2009, 10:26 AM
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Sure, why not? Take advantage of whatever shelter you can find. Regardless of whether it's a ghost town or a cabin in the woods, you're going to have to defend it. Hell, I'd bunker in Dollywood if I could defend it and have access to food & water.
Old 06-22-2009, 10:28 AM
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I’ve traveled to two locations considered to be ghost towns…there were still plenty of people around them.

One location was Centralia, PA, which was a coaled based mining town that had an unfortunate accident over fifty years ago. Trash burning in an open pit, near a vent shaft to a mine, caught some of the coal dust on fire. The fire spread down into the mine and has been burning ever since. Over the past fifty plus years this underground fire has spread through various coal veins and under the town. As the coal was consumed and a void left in its space, sink holes began appearing all over the town. Smoke, carbon monoxide, and toxic gases pushed their way through the earth and to the surface, erupting into basements, yards, and other places. The fire super heated the ground, charring and killing most vegetation. A town of over two thousand has now been reduced to a handful of residents at most. Buildings have been torn down or collapsed on their own, only leaving behind the remains of the streets. An entire section of highway had to be closed and a permanent detour built because of the sink holes. Some maps no longer include the town on the map. Despite all the dangers, there are still a lot of people who come to visit this modern day ghost town. Some walk through the town to pay homage, some are curious, and others come to dump “things” in the surrounding wilderness.


Another location is a former psychiatric clinic known as Pennhurst State Hospital. It was built in the early 1900’s, if memory serves correctly, and designed to be an entirely self-sufficient community. Pennhurst is situated on over 1,000 acres of land, nestled up against a turn in a river, with the river surrounding the campus on three sides. The fourth side is the only side which is accessible by vehicle or foot, creating a natural choke point. The campus has its own fire department, sewage treatment, medical treatment center, and power plant, and combined with the land for farming, would make it ideal. Additionally, all of the buildings on the campus are connected via underground tunnels. Originally this was to create a method of control for transporting patients across campus to prevent them from running away. Tactically, it provides a safe haven and concealed movement.

During the 1960’s the hospital was closed due to patient abuse and neglect and the staff walked out the door and left everything behind as-is. Over the next fifty years the facilities and all their contents have been subject to weathering and attracted vandals, the homeless, and curiosity seekers. I have been one of the curiosity seekers who has visited the campus a few times and witnessed all of the above people at one time or another. Driving through the campus and walking on the open ground is an eerie experience, first from the dilapidated state of the buildings and vegetation overrunning the place, but secondly from the numerous sets of eyes peering from the windows. Although alone, I’ve never felt truly alone. I never knew who might be trying to follow me, who was around the next corner, or what their intensions were.

Next to the campus is a small National Guard armory, and the army currently owns the land. This has not stopped anyone from trespassing, despite the military police, township police, state troopers, and private security from patrolling the campus. The MPs will usually scare everyone off so they do not have to handle any paperwork, with the township police stopping everyone and telling the trespassers to leave. However, the state troopers and private security will always give them the full criminal processing treatment.

Now Pennhurst is being sold off to a company that plans on demolishing the campus.

Abandoned locations may seem enticing, but they do attract a lot of other people. Security forces may exist that will patrol the area to prevent trespassing as well. Since this land is never owned by you, you could be subject to removal should the owner decide to have the land developed. Using these areas has their own risks, and each situation is unique and must be carefully thought out before hand.


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