Photographer Finds This Creepy Place In The Smoky Mountains

Explorer and photographer Jordan Liles was hiking through the woodlands of the Smoky Mountains when he stumbled upon a very spooky site. He came across a ghost town which had been abandoned by its residents approximately two decades ago, now all its buildings lay empty and forgotten. Liles took a peek through the buildings’ broken windows and collapsed walls. Indeed, all that was left of the city were empty buildings and an eerie silence. Don’t miss this story!

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#20. The Man Behind The Camera

Liles was inspired by his hero: iconic filmmaker and actor Sir Charlie Chaplin. Although he is also a director, Liles has become well known for his photography of abandoned places. And this particular off-road creepy exploration has launched him into social media fame.

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Luckily enough, the plagued with abandoned places waiting to be stumbled upon. After all, the US is a large country rich in history. It is full of places that evolve – or sometimes, end up getting left behind altogether. But what could be the cause for entire towns to be abandoned?

#19. Abandoned Places

Economic recession is one of the biggest causes of this phenomenon. Some places that lie abandoned today may have had prosperous beginnings, such as mills or mines that used to bring tourists or businesses, but changes in fortune have left them obsolete.

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Other sinister reasons may apply sometimes, however. An example of this is the infamous Lake Shawnee Amusement Park in West Virginia. In the 1920s the owners chose to build this attraction on an ancient indigenous burial ground. But something terrible happened…

#18. The Smokies

The place was abandoned after six people reportedly died when the park had just opened. Now, the only visitors to Lake Shawnee’s overgrown rides are those looking to get spooked on one of the Halloween tours that are conducted there. But in 2013, photographer Jordan Liles found himself in another extremely spooky abandoned location.

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The creepy site we’re about to see lies in the region of Elkmont, Tennessee, hidden deep within the woodlands of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Liles is no stranger to the Smokies after having lived 26 years living in the area. Actually, the Memphis native still visits the park frequently. Liles was on one of his hiking expeditions when he found this forgotten treasure.

#17. Hiking Path

Liles explained on his website how he stumbled upon the mysterious place.

About a mile up an unnamed gravel road inside [the]Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the back way into an abandoned neighborhood and hotel – some of which was originally constructed more than 100 years ago,” Liles wrote.

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But what Liles found bears little resemblance to the area’s glory days. The place was in ruins and not as accessible as it had been before. The only hint thanks to which he discovered the place was the overgrown electrical equipment on the deserted path. Yet, he persevered and documented his adventure on film.

#16. Cabin In The Woods

The footage begins with Liles walking along an abandoned track. He first approached a dark shape among the trees. The overgrown trees seemed to have claimed much of what was left. A closer inspection revealed the remnants of a derelict cabin. But any coziness that the structure may have once had had now been replaced with emptiness and neglect.

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A second inspection revealed shattered windows and pulled-up porch floorboards. This prevented the cameraman from venturing any further. It was not the fear of the supernatural that first kept him from exploring inside, though, as creepy as the abandoned house looked; it was the very real concern that the house could give way and bury him in rotting wood.

#15. Is Liles Brave Enough To Go In?

I don’t really think I want to go in there,” Liles stated in the video. “It looks like the kitchen’s on a slant, which means this property is not in very good condition.” But he did manage to get a glimpse of the decaying cabin’s interior, which was as neglected as the exterior.

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Liles then walked to the front of the property. A screen door hanged open eerily, making the house even more chilling. But any welcoming vibes were squashed by the loose planks and fallen logs. Liles glanced through a broken window and the room within was empty and bare.

#14. Collapsed And Abandoned

Liles ventured to the derelict building’s upper levels, which were just as silent and deserted as the ground floor. The camera captured a bedroom with a lone mattress. The partly collapsed roof made access to the area limited and the photographer wasn’t willing to risk his life by investigating any further.

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Liles continued his path, and through the nearby trees and down a series of stone steps he found another building. Peeking through a foreboding, open wooden door and into the darkness behind it, the filmmaker spotted some signs of human habitation.

#13. Back On The Path

But the house seemed to have been abandoned for a long time. Broken appliances lay on the shattered floorboards. And Liles spotted a barrel from the entrance, and he reached the conclusion that people had probably used it as a table for paint cans.

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After that, Liles retraced his steps back to the gravel path and continued exploring the town. He walked until he found another route marked by abandoned and forgotten electrical equipment. From there he spotted something else that seemed interesting: a roof peeking through the distant trees.

#12. More Spooky Houses

Litter was scattered all around the obscure path, as a reminder of how abandoned and neglected this place was. But Liles was a man with a mission now, and he continued exploring, passing birthday decorations that had been left partially buried by fallen leaves.

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Up here on my left is another house,” Liles said as he narrated his walk along the path. “This one does have steps.” At the top of the steps was the building that Liles was referring to. The place was missing some of its walls and someone had placed transparent screen to replace the absent planks, but now everything lay in ruins and torn.

#11. Inside The Cabins

Thanks to the makeshift screen, Liles could peer through and get a glimpse inside the abandoned house. All that was left from the house’s occupied days was a broken table. Even the window appeared to be removed from the frame and now lay on the floor.

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The photographer then pushed past a tree that was blocking a side window to get a better look. And from there, he could see the interior that led to a veranda. It was all barren of furniture and fixtures as if everything in this house had been stripped back to bare wood and loose planks. In fact, even the doors were missing.

#10. Finally Going In

Once back on the trail, Liles spotted another three cabins in the distance. When he approached them, he noticed that vandals had broken into the nearest of these houses. The proof seemed to be the smashed lock and the wide open door, which revealed the building’s interior and finally allowed Liles to venture inside.

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Luckily, this house appeared to be one of the few in this ghost town that looked safe enough for someone to enter. Liles stepped inside being careful of the possible timber rattlesnakes that could live in the cabin’s hall. Here he found more evidence of previous owners than in the others, including some blinds that still hung from the windows.

#9. Traces Of The Past

Liles actually found a shower curtain in the bathroom. And the blue and white floral material looked relatively well preserved, as opposed to the shower that it covers. The door, on the other hand, was placed against a wall because it seemed to have come off its hinges.

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Another damaged item was the adjacent toilet, equipped with a ratty, blue seat cover that was also wrecked. Liles couldn’t stop imagining how the cabin looked during the nighttime. The house truly looked straight out of a horror film.

#8. Collapsed

Liles continued exploring and found yet another house. “Check that out,” Liles screamed out while focusing his camera in the direction of the closest property. “The roof collapsed on this one, but it hasn’t fallen down yet.”, he added. The neglected structure barely stood.

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The floorboards in these houses did not do well over time,” Liles said while coming closer to the derelict building. “We can peek through the window; it looks a little too dangerous to go in.” This was a wise assessment since it seemed like the floor was full of holes and the wood was twisted and bent.

#7. Destroyed

The house’s main living space was now a mess. The walls were falling apart and the ceiling was tumbling down leaving the bare rafters revealed underneath. Liles got a clue of what had happened when he saw the broken pipe on the floor: that seemed to have been the cause for such destruction.

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The property next door had a short stone path leading up to the building. “No way I’m going in this one; this is all ripped up,” Liles explained in the video. Since the porch had completely disappeared, he preferred not to go inside to get a look.

#6. Something Unusual

While walking to investigate another creepy cabin, something unusual caught Liles interest. The explorer walked to a lone TV antenna discarded in the forest. The weird thing about it was that whoever had left the item there seemed to have thrust the aerial into the ground among the trees like a strange totem pole.

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Liles reached to the conclusion that the antenna could have been part of the debris that was left behind by the inhabitants of the cabin. The former owners seemed to have used this hut as a workshop or storage shed in the past.

 #5. Worst One Yet

Liles tried to get a glimpse of the interior of the place from an open doorway but decided to walk around the property for a better look. He then found a slatted fence and was able to look inside, where a collection of paint cans and thinner were the only things left.

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The final house that Liles visited was in the worst condition of them all. Mostly because what little was left of the roof had grown a carpet of moss. And the rest had crumbled into the property, leaving the home’s insides vulnerable to the elements. Even from a distance, it was obvious that the entire structure had suffered as a result.

#4. Fireplace

Liles understandably didn’t want to enter this building. The walls were noticeably warped and the entrance had been pressed out of shape. The door itself lay on the ground, apparently ripped off its hinges, revealing all broken wood inside. But there was a place that seemed different from the rest, and Liles set out to explore some more.

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This building appeared to be the least damaged one in the ghostly area, which meant that Liles could probably enter safely. However, he largely stuck to the outside of the property, just to be on the safe side, using the windows to glimpse inside. He could see a room with an enormous stone fireplace, which hinted that the space could have once served as a social area or reception.

#3. Wonderland Club

Because of the collapsed stairs and fallen trees outside, the abode was not very visible. Luckily, an information board on the site brought some light to the mystery of this abandoned town. “These vacant buildings were once part of the ‘Wonderland Club’” the sign read.

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Thanks to this sign, the mystery was now solved. It turns out that the place was once was a prosperous vacation community. This location was chosen because it was near to the busy logging town of Elkmont. The hotel opened to the public in 1912 and had seven years of operation before private business owners claimed it for themselves.

#2. The Story Behind The Town

As the story goes, a number of men from Knoxville, TN, wanted to create their own private venue after being rejected from the nearby Appalachian Club. So they turned the existing hotel into an exclusive social center, the Wonderland Club. Unfortunately, the area lost money in 1925 and so many of the buildings ultimately fell into disrepair.

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But the Wonderland Club’s story doesn’t end there! Residents of the area were evicted with the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the 1920s. Some club members managed to retain property contracts, but in 1992 only two of these leases remained and the club officially closed its doors that same year. The last of the agreements expired in 2001.

#1. Preservation

And the hotel, which was the last of the buildings that Liles explored, retains some historical significance. Authorities have claimed some of its more attractive features for preservation. But things just got worse and worse, because, on top of the general neglect, a fire further damaged the Wonderland resort in 1995.

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The once-thriving Wonderland Club and the cabins around it now remain lonely and abandoned. But while the ghost town might appear forgotten, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has actually recognized the entire Elkmont region on its list of endangered places. Fortunately, Liles recorded his amazing footage before a devastating fire hit the location in 2016. But it is unclear how much longer this deserted community will stand, before being completely consumed by time and neglect.

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