Abandoned: The Ghosts of Six Flags New Orleans (Photos)


There’s something about abandoned places that I find utterly fascinating. They don’t always have literal ghosts (although sometimes they do); rather, they’re haunted by something else: The specter of what they once were. I’m too chickenshit to do any urban exploration myself – I’m clumsy enough that I’d probably get caught – but I have great respect for people who do. I also love the fact that they’re often willing to share their photographs from their excursions.

So, in a feature I’m calling “Abandoned,” we’ll be exploring some of the world’s most stunning abandoned places. First up: Six Flags New Orleans.

If Pacific Playland, the amusement park at which the 2009 film Zombieland culminates, were a real place, it would probably look something like the remains of Six Flags New Orleans.

Originally opened as Jazzland in 2000, the park was purchased by Six Flags in 2002 and reopened in 2003 as Six Flags New Orleans. Plans for an expansion that would have added a water park were in progress in the summer of 2005; alas, though, it was not to be.

On August 26, Hurricane Katrina’s impending strike was announced, resulting in the cancellation of Six Flags New Orleans’ regularly scheduled openings on the 27th and 28th. Although preparations were begun to be made to help the park weather the storm, the first-ever mandatory evacuation in New Orleans history put a halt to them on the morning of the 28th.

The storm left the park under seven feet of brackish water for over a month; the wind and water damage were later determined to be so severe as to force it to close indefinitely with no plans to reopen. The park’s last day of operation was on August 21, 2005.

Although numerous attempts have been made in the decade since Katrina to redevelop the park, nothing has come to fruition. It has, however, become a popular site for urban explorers and photographers; they risk being caught trespassing every time they go there, but the photographs that they’ve taken on their adventures are nothing short of astonishing. Hauntingly beautiful, they capture the sort of melancholy that can only be found in a place given up as a lost cause.

Read more "Abandoned: The Ghosts of Six Flags New Orleans (Photos)"

Infographic: A World of Haunted Houses (Or, Raise Your Hand If You’ve Been Here!)

Who doesn’t love a good infographic? I found this one on reddit a few weeks ago and kinda sorta love it (even if it was filed under the wrong subreddit). I’m not totally sure why the US appears to outstrip so many countries that are, y’know, older than us when it comes to the number of reportedly haunted houses, but hey. Maybe we just feel worse about the bad things we’ve done in the past. Or something.

How many of you have been to one or more of those five most notorious haunted locales?

A world of haunted houses

A world of haunted houses [Infographic] by the team at Cheapflights

Read more "Infographic: A World of Haunted Houses (Or, Raise Your Hand If You’ve Been Here!)"

Scare Yourself Silly: I Hate to Break It to You, But There’s Someone In Your House (And It’s Definitely Not You)

opening doorPreviously on Scare Yourself Silly: DON’T CALL THIS NUMBER. SERIOUSLY, I MEAN IT.

This post originally appeared on The Toast.

Let’s play a little game. You’ve probably played it before; it’s called “Two Truths and a Lie.” Can you guess which of these three news stories are true and which is false?



A group of university students were shocked to find that a stranger had taken up residence in the basement of their off-campus home without their knowledge.

The students, a group of eight men and two women, first moved into the house on August 5; when strange things began happening shortly thereafter, they began to joke that their house was haunted. Drawers would be left open in the kitchen and the bathroom; lights would be found turned on; and periodically, strange noises emanated from the basement. The students traced the noises to a locked door in their basement, located two flights down from the house’s main level. They were unable to open the door; assuming it to be a utility closet, they left it alone.

After several weeks of unsettling activity, the students called both their landlord and the police, who were able to pry the handle off the locked door. Behind it, they found a furnished bedroom, complete with clothing, a television, and photographs on the walls: Evidence that someone had been residing in their basement, rent-free and without their knowledge, the entire time they had been living there. Based on the photographs in the room, one of the students realized that he had previously had a run-in with their mysterious roommate; the man had introduced himself as “Jeremy.” Although “Jeremy” was an unfamiliar face, the student had assumed he was visiting one of the house’s other nine occupants and did not pursue the matter further.

Read more "Scare Yourself Silly: I Hate to Break It to You, But There’s Someone In Your House (And It’s Definitely Not You)"

Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: Kuchisake-onna

Woman with surgical maskWelcome to another regular TGIMM feature, the Encyclopaedia of the Impossible. Some of the creatures, places, objects, and the like showcased here will be existing figures from folklore or history; some will be newfangled creations of the digital age; and some will be fictional creations of my own devising. Got something you want featured? Tweet me! 

Type: CC (corporeally challenged).

Period/location of origin: Edo period, Japan. Widespread proliferation occurred in 1979 in Nagasaki Prefecture.

Appearance: Subject has the appearance of a young Japanese woman. She wears a surgical mask, which, although an unusual sight in locations such as the United States, is commonly seen in Japan as a method of preventing the spread of illness. She also carries a pair of scissor which may or may not be immediately visible to observers.

Modus operandi: Subject will seek out targets walking alone at night. Upon approaching her target, she will ask whether the target thinks she is pretty. The following will occur depending on the target’s answer:

– If target tells her she is not pretty: Target will be killed with the pair of scissors subject carries.

– If target tells her she is pretty: Subject will remove her surgical mask, exposing a Glasgow grin. Subject will then repeat her question, at which point the following will occur depending on the target’s answer:

– If target answers no: Target will be cut in half with subject’s scissors.

– If target answers yes: Subject will give target a Glasgow grin to match her own.

Attempts to flee the subject will be met with failure; subject will simply rematerialize in front of target.

Read more "Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: Kuchisake-onna"

Creepypasta of the Week: “Abandoned by Disney”

Abandoned by DisneyWelcome to Creepypasta of the Week! As you may have guessed, this is going to be a regular feature here on The Ghost in My Machine; but first things first: What the heck IS creepypasta?

Most of you probably already know this, but just in case you don’t, the term is a variation on “copypasta,” which is itself a bastardization of “copy-paste.” It’s used to describe a chunk of text which has been copied and pasted from somewhere else, often several times over; as far as we know, it originated on 4chan circa 2006. A subgenre gradually evolved consisting of short horror fiction and urban legends, and well… you can see where how it ended up with the name “creepypasta.” Weirdly enough, I first encountered creepypasta via an article on the New York Times’ website, of all places, in 2010. I got kind of hooked; in fact, I’m pretty sure I can attribute this article as being the very beginnings of what would become “Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren’t.”

As with all writing on the interwebs, some creepypasta is excellent, while other examples, are… not. Each week, I’ll be singling out ones I think are worth a read—starting with this one by a fella who goes by the moniker “Slimebeast.” Like a lot of my favorite creepypastas, it takes your childhood and hits you right in the teeth with it. Not so innocent now, is it?

So without further ado, I give you: “Abandoned by Disney,” by Slimebeast.

Some of you may have heard that the Disney corporation is responsible for at least one real, “live” Ghost Town.

Disney built the “Treasure Island” resort in Baker’s Bay in the Bahamas. It didn’t START as a ghost town! Disney’s cruise ships would actually stop at the resort and leave tourists there to relax in luxury.

This is a FACT. Look it up.

Disney blew $30,000,000 on the place… yes, thirty million dollars.

Then they abandoned it.

Disney blamed the shallow waters (too shallow for their ships to safely operate) and there was even blame cast on the workers, saying that since they were from the Bahamas, they were too lazy to work a regular schedule.

That’s where the factual nature of their story ends. It wasn’t because of sand, and it obviously wasn’t because “foreigners are lazy”. Both are convenient excuses.

No, I sincerely doubt those reasons were legitimate. Why don’t I buy the official story?

Because of Mowgli’s Palace.

Read more "Creepypasta of the Week: “Abandoned by Disney”"

Haunted Road Trip: The Villisca Axe Murder House

villisca-axe sepia

To be honest, I couldn’t really tell you whether I believe in ghosts; I probably won’t until I see first-hand proof for myself, but that’s never stopped me from reading up on as many “real life” ghost stories as I can. As a result, I’ve long dreamed of taking a road trip of the US that would hit as many supposedly “haunted” locations in the country as possible. I’m not sure if I’m ever going to get the chance to do it, but if I did, the locations I would visit I’ll file here under “Haunted Road Trip.”

In the town of Villisca, Iowa, there is a house. Of course there are many houses in Villisca—it is, after all, home to some 1,300 people—but this one is special. It doesn’t look like much from the outside; two stories, not particularly large, made of white clapboard with a small porch out front. But like many unassuming locations, this particular house has seen more things than it lets on. Its official name is the Josiah B. and Sarah Moore House, although it’s known more commonly by another name: The Villisca Axe Murder House. The house was originally built in 1868 by George Loomis; Josiah bought it in 1903, and he, his wife, Sarah, and their four children, Herman, Katherine, Boyd, and Paul, lived there quite happily for nine years… until one summer night in 1912 changed everything.

On the evening of June 9—a Sunday—the Moore family and two of Katherine’s friends, Ina and Lena Stillinger, participated in the Children’s Day Program held by the town’s Presbyterian church; afterwards, Ina and Lena were invited to spend the night with the Moores. The program wrapped up at 9:30pm, after which the Moore family and the Stillinger sisters walked home. They arrived at the Moores’ house between 9:45 and 10pm.

But by 7am the morning of June 10, the Moores’ neighbor, Mary Peckham, noticed that the family hadn’t emerged from their home to do their morning chores. Concerned, she knocked on their door; when no one answered, she tried to open it, only to find that it was locked. So she did what any good neighbor would do and let the Moores’ chickens out before calling Josiah’s brother, Ross. Ross, who had a copy of the house key, unlocked the front door. He went in.

And in the downstairs guest bedroom, he found two bodies covered with a sheet, a bloody axe lying alongside them.

Read more "Haunted Road Trip: The Villisca Axe Murder House"


Phone off hook

Let’s get this party started with the story that started it all, shall we? This post originally appeared on The Toast.

It starts with a phone call.

You won’t call them. They’ll call you. When your phone rings, you’ll pick it up; but before you have the chance to speak, a voice will come through the earpiece: “Welcome to Boothworld Industries. My name is Samantha and I will be your operator for today. Name?”

Your operator’s name may or may not be Samantha; whoever it is, it will be an innocuous name. Forgettable.

It sounds like a customer service call, although you can’t recall having had any dealings with a company called “Boothworld Industries” before. Did Time Warner start outsourcing their Internet services? Unlikely. You consider asking your “operator” — whatever that means — to add you to their DNC list.

You don’t, though. You’ll admit it: You’re curious. Boothworld Industries already knows who you are, they tell you. So  you’ll give the name of someone you know — an old flame, an ex-friend, your next-door neighbor. You’ll say something like, “Nathan Miller.” Why? You have no idea. Why not?

“Nathan Miller,” your operator will repeat back to you. “Remodeling is scheduled for December 9. Would you like to reschedule?” Again: Why not? You’ll reply in the affirmative. You will hear typing on the other end for a moment — heavy typing, pounded out with a heavy hand — before your operator tells you, “I have a Tuesday appointment available. Will that work?” Again, you’ll reply in the affirmative.

The last thing your operator will ask is, “Would you like a courtesy call?” A courtesy call? That sounds nice. For the third time and final time, you’ll say yes. “Wonderful,” your operator will tell you. “We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”

Read more "Scare Yourself Silly: DON’T CALL THIS NUMBER. SERIOUSLY, I MEAN IT."