Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Ghost towns exists for a variety of reasons.

The UK's Daily Mail is featuring an interesting gallery of photos taken from modern ghost towns. Ghost towns are frequently considered to be a phenomenon of the past, but they are as prolific today as they were a century ago. As economies shift and policies change, once-thriving towns are abandoned. 

The ghost town of Humberstone in northern Chile is preserved down to the paint.

The ghost town of Humberstone in northern Chile is preserved down to the paint.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

10/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Ghost towns, economics, Chile, China

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Daily Mail feature is concerned with the ghost towns of northern Chile, in the Atacama Desert.  The high, dusty plains of the Atacama are excellent for preserving most anything since the desert is one of the driest regions on Earth. Several small towns are quite well preserved, even to the paint, along the arid strip of land. 
Saltpeter production gave rise to the towns in the mid 19th century, which enjoyed nearly a hundred years of production. Saltpeter was in great demand for use in gunpowder and the towns production facilities boomed until the 1930s when synthetics came into widespread use. 

The towns lingered for another few decades, but by the late 1950s, they were largely abandoned. 

Some were abandoned completely, and in a few, hardy residents cling to the past, scratching a living out of the land one way or another. 

At least one town was seized for use by the Pinochet regime as a prison camp. 

Today several of the sites are national monuments and one of them a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Ghost towns naturally occur everywhere, for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, they are small communities in outlying districts that are focused on a single industry. When that industry changes, for example the a mine is exhausted or demand drops, the town economy collapses and people leave looking for better opportunities elsewhere. 

This can even happen in urban areas. Several major cities have blighted districts which are now devoid of human activity and inhabitants because of economic woes. Although such districts are not typically considered ghost towns in the proper sense, they are very much ghost communities sometimes spanning several blocks. 

In other places, ghost towns are deliberately built. The Chinese government is notorious for expending tremendous resources to construct entire cities, then leaving those cities idle for future habitation. Across the country, there are dozens of empty cities waiting for inhabitants. Unlike many ghost towns however, they will likely be populated someday in the future. 

Ghost towns are by no means a unique phenomenon of the past, but rather a common occurrence brought about by economic, social, and environmental changes. The Chilean towns featured by the Daily Mail show what life was like for workers but decades ago in the Atacama Desert. The waiting cities in China show what life will be like in the future for Chinese workers. 

In all cases, they stand as eerie testaments to the winds of change which blow constant around the globe.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Americas

Behind the Scenes: Pope Francis' influence in home country, Argentina Watch

Image of Pope Francis is the first Pope from Argentina.


Pope Francis' cunning personality has forged ties with global powers and has managed to sway political leaders on tough issues, like those involving Cuba and Syria. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope's charismatic and canny personality not only appeared to ... continue reading

Donald Trump's head, specifically his head, is now worth $100 million Watch

Image of This head is worth a cool $100 million, a fact which can only make it bigger.


Donald Trump's head, specifically his head, is now worth $100 million. Sinaloa drug cartel boss, EL Chapo Guzman has reportedly increased the bounty on Trump, asking him to be delivered "dead or alive." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - El Chapo is the leader of the ... continue reading

Two of Mexico's most dangerous criminal imprisoned on U.S. soil Watch

Image of Forty-two-year-old Valdez, who also goes under the name of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two of Mexico's most violent and dreaded criminals are now imprisoned on U.S. soil. Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez Villarreal and Jorge Eduardo "El Coss" Costilla Sanchez are among the most notorious of 13 suspects sent to the U.S. in an unusually high-level judicial ... continue reading

Cuban President pressured by Obama to make moves Watch

Image of


President Barack Obama has broadened opportunities for Americans to spend money, travel, and open businesses in Cuba following two rounds of regulatory reforms since December. While America has been on the move, it seems Cuba has limited its movements to reopening its ... continue reading

Cuba's homeless mysteriously vanish prior to the papal visit Watch

Image of Cuba's homeless vanish before Pope Francis' visit and reemerge just as mysteriously afterward.


The streets of eastern Holguin, Cuba are now flooded with homeless people, following Pope Francis's visit; the homeless went missing during the Pope's tour of the country. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Dozens of homeless now re-flood the streets of eastern ... continue reading

First U.S. Hispanic Saint: Pope Francis to canonize Junipero Serra during U.S. visit Watch

Image of Father Junipero Serra's canonization will

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis and the Vatican have announced plans to canonize the Blessed Junipero Serra during the Pope's visit to the United States on September 23. Serra will become the United States' first Hispanic saint. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Often times, the ... continue reading

The 'silent genocide' of the Brazilian Guarani tribe Watch

Image of Guarani tribe members were promised land in 1993 and have yet to see it, so they fight (Survival International).

By Talia Ramos

One of the oldest tribes in South America, the Guarani Indian tribe, was displaced after ranchers claimed their lands, forcing them to sleep on roadsides. Due to their persecution from the politically-powered land owners, the surviving Guarani people have been asking ... continue reading

South American femicide continues to increase at shockingly high rates Watch

Image of Rape, murder, and kidnapped victims in Mexico continues to increase.


Aidé Nava, a mayoral candidate and mother from Ahuacuotzingo Village in Mexico was found decapitated on the streets of her own town. Gangsters are believed to be behind several kidnappings where women are tortured, raped and decapitated.  MUNTINLUPA CITY, ... continue reading

Why Pope Francis' last speech in Cuba was a masterstroke of genius Watch

Image of Pope Francis has become a political force to be reckoned with.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis concluded his visit to Cuba by delivering a masterful speech calling for a new revolution in the socialist country. He delivered his speech just before departing on Tuesday. Though steeped in religious tones, the call to action is courageous and clear. LOS ... continue reading

'It's like a sign of God': Costa Rican community amazed by unusual cloud formation Watch

Image of Beautiful display of cloud iridescence.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last Tuesday a cloud phenomenon occurred in Costa Rica, leaving people both mystified and horrified. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - Several cities such as San Jose, Parrita, Pavas, Escazu and Hatillo reported the colorful cloud anomaly. Hundreds posted ... continue reading

All Americas News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 1:16-25
16 For I see no reason to be ashamed of the gospel; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:37-41
37 He had just finished speaking when a Pharisee ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 13th, 2015 Image

St. Edward the Confessor
October 13: Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and his ... Read More