5 Amazing Abandoned Wastelands ... Within Walking Distance

#2. Unnamed London Tunnels

Beneath the streets of London, there is a vast, mile-long network of tunnels. And while they may be abandoned, they're not like the rest of the entries on this list: They're actually still in peak condition. They were used as community bomb shelters during WWII, and were built with every amenity needed to keep a whole society happy, healthy and entertained for up to five weeks. There are full, functioning restaurants, rec rooms, pool halls, movie theaters and even pubs down there, just waiting to be used.

The aesthetics are all original too, so the design of the residential tunnel areas is still in keeping with '50s sensibilities. If Fallout's vault sections stirred something in the crazy isolationist in you, well you'll be happy to know that those things are plenty real, and they're conveniently located right in the heart of London. All utilities -- electricity, water and phone -- still function just fine, because the tunnels have been occupied at various points in history by codebreakers, soldiers, British Secret Service and eventually the BT Group, a European phone company. The last owners put the tunnels up for sale back in 2008, to the tune of $7.4 million dollars. Though they wanted to keep both the entrance:

... and the name of their prospective buyer a secret, rumors say the latter was a man named Simon Woodroff, who we can only assume is a roguish chap living a seemingly devil-may-care playboy lifestyle, yet plagued by grief, anger issues and a rather unhealthy penchant for winged nocturnal rodents.

#1. Beijing's Nuclear City

During the Cold War, Chairman Mao commissioned the largest bomb shelter in the world, right beneath the streets of Beijing, China. It was intended to house six million people, and it was all interconnected. See, he didn't want his citizens to merely survive a nuclear attack -- he actually wanted the city to continue to function, unimpeded, even as radioactive hellfire rained down from above.

He had chairs and everything; society could go on.

And while that might seem insane to you or I, we have to think of it like ordering Chinese food: You're not supposed to order dishes for each individual, as is customary in the West, you're supposed to order one giant, concrete dish that entire populations can live in together, underground, while the world above crumbles and burns. That analogy may have escaped me a little, but I'll tell you what it won't escape: The labyrinthine maze of Mao's subterranean city.


The bunker was never completely finished, but it's so vast that nobody can tell you how far it was, exactly, from completion. It is widely believed that the tunnels, as they exist now, manage to connect up with all major points in Beijing: Tiananmen Square, Central Station, the West Hills - it has tendrils everywhere. One man documented his recent descent into the tunnels, which he described as being accessible only through an abandoned, nondescript storefront. Once down there, he found this map:

Which showed him where the Compass and Boss Key were, and he got to trekking. He stumbled across the usual stuff at first - damp concrete, brick, a sense of creeping, claustrophobic dread -- until he tried a light switch and found that the half-century old, abandoned underground city still inexplicably gets working electricity.

He forded onward, until, after hours of scrabbling across garbage and debris in the half light of the crumbling tunnels, he turned a corner and walked right into this:

Possibly the most terrifying scenario in which one can encounter mystery underwear.

At the end of that tunnel, a "homeless" family had set up house in the forgotten ruins of this sunken bunker-city, complete with a full working kitchen:

And some lovely house plants -- you know, to spruce up the place.

Plus, supermutants hate and fear our surface flora, as they find their sickening, organic, leafy structures strange and alien. Everybody knows that.

You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Or you can help him on his quest to find more dusty, dangerous, forgotten places ...like your mom's vagina! DAAANNNG.

For more from Brockway, check out Secondhand Nightmares: 10 Horrifying Thrift Store Finds and 6 Near Death Experiences Caught on Video.

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Robert Brockway

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