11 Spooky Ghost Towns in Illinois [Update 2024]


Illinois is a state that is enriched with historic landmarks, events and towns. However, some towns have failed to live on to their historical standards and have been deserted by their residents. These ghost towns built the early foundations of their neighboring towns, but failed to sustain themselves.

Now, Illinois’s ghost towns can be seen on reality shows on TV, and horror movies. These deserted, abandoned areas inspire horror tails and urban legends and are visited by intrigued people.

So, these are the most spooky ghost towns in Illinois.

1. Cardiff

This old town expanded quickly when it was first established in 1899 and was renowned for mining coal. The coal mine in this town was stopped in 1912, because of some incidents that finally resulted in the deaths of 18 miners, hastening this town’s collapse. The famed ghost town is situated in Livingston County, Illinois.

2. Griggsville Landing

Griggsville Landing is one of the most Spooky Ghost Towns in Illinois

Yearly flooding was brought on by embankments that were built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in this town. The embankments were created along the Illinois River and were the primary cause of the periodic floods in this town. Throughout the years, these floods decimated Griggsville Landing, leading to companies being closed and houses being abandoned.

3. Brownsville

This community, which served as Jackson County’s previous county seat, has had a run of unfortunate failures. Brownsville lost its position as the county seat just after the courtroom was destroyed by fire in 1843. Along with this incident, there was also severe flooding, which caused this town to be completely abandoned.

Learn more about the fascinating caves in Illinois you can explore.

4. Vishnu Springs

The village became well-known during the 1900s due to the legend that its springs could treat illnesses. To accommodate the large visitor populations, the Capitol Hotel was constructed in this town. Once a resort town, Vishnu Springs started to decline once gradually, and by the 1920s, it was virtually deserted and became a ghost town.

5. Wanborough

Wanborough is a settlement which was established by an English immigrant in 1818. Tragically, he died only a few years later, and rivalries with neighboring communities also formed. These factors led to the collapse of this town, which is now just a ghost town in Illinois.

6. Benjaminville


Benjaminville, which was established in 1856 by the Quaker family, drew Quakers with its chapels and other religious establishments. But, when new railways cut through the area, people started to move their homes and places of work nearer to the highway. Apart from an old meeting house, there is nothing noteworthy remaining in this town now.

Check out these scary haunted places in Illinois.

7. Kaskaskia


A significant French colonial settlement, Kaskaskia had a maximum population of about 7,000 people. The settlement was completely demolished in 1881, due to the Mississippi River changing its course.

The residents of this area tried to rebuild it, but they were forced to flee because of the Great Flood that happened in 1993. According to a new report, only nine people currently reside in this town.

8. Clayville

During Clayville’s peak in the 1840s, a prosperous bar that catered to wagon passengers was the focus of life in this town. The development of railways caused Clayville’s surprising demise. Conditions began to worsen, and the region was deserted despite the roads being turned into Route 125.

9. Cairo

Cairo saw tremendous growth from the 1920s to the 1930s. But, this town was severely impacted by the Great Depression. Additionally, Cairo used to have the highest rate of murders in Illinois in 1937, which was mainly caused as a result of social unrest. This led to the fall of this town, which is currently abandoned.

10. Shawneetown

The community was home to Illinois’s initial chartered bank, and is renowned for that. However, the location of this town was a concern, as it was situated directly alongside the Ohio River, which frequently flooded. Shawneetown was totally submerged in a massive flood in 1937, leading to its collapse.

11. Benld

This village was built to support coal mining by Benjamin L. Dorsey, who was the founder of this coal mining company. Benld was a thriving town before a massive meteorite hit this area, causing its untimely demise.

The towns mentioned above are all ghost towns that once used to have a thriving population and economy. However, all of these towns were abandoned due to tragic and unfortunate incidents that changed the history of these towns, which now fascinate people due to their secluded and spooky nature.

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