Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sinking Islands, Underwater Ghost Towns

Ever since I saw the movie "In Dreams" (awesome scary movie with Annette Bening and Robert Downey Jr) with a scene of divers diving in a like where a town was underneath, swimming amongst headstones and a church, I have been fascinated with the idea of abandoned sunken ghost towns.


Smith Island Chesapeake:
This island in the Chesapeake is lost to time. It is 3 miles long and 1 mile wide and at sea level. It's lost a good deal of its citizens to poor crabbing and fishing conditions. The graves are topped by heavy stones so when there's a high tide or flooding rains, the bodies don't wash away to sea. At the rate of shrinkage, the island will be gone by the end of this century.

Sharps Island:

Around the beginning of the 19th century, Sharps Island was a roughly 600-acre (240-hectare) farming and fishing community at the mouth of Maryland's Choptank River. At one time it boasted schools, a post office and a popular resort hotel, where vacationers from Baltimore and other locations would arrive by boat to while away the lazy summer days. But between 1850 and 1900, the island lost 80 percent of its land mass, and by 1960 it had been reduced to a shoal. Today it is entirely underwater, marked only by a partly submerged lighthouse.



Remember the movie "Deliverance?" Here's a dive to that town, Lake Jocassee, SC (go ahead and run the slider to closer to the end so you can see the dive if you don't want to hear the interview, but it is a nice story).



(Here's the cemetery on a dive...)




(Above: Loyston, TN, photographed before being sunk by a lake created from a dam)

Loyston (Wikipedia) was a community in Union County, Tennessee, USA, that was inundated by the waters of Norris Lake after the completion of Norris Dam in 1935.[1] Established in the early 19th century around a foundry built by its namesake, John Loy, over subsequent decades the community's location along State Highway 61 helped it grow into a trading center for local farmers. By the time the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began making plans to build Norris Dam in the early 1930s, Loyston had a population of approximately 70 residents, and consisted of a post office and several small businesses. Prior to inundation, TVA conducted extensive sociological surveys of Loyston's residents, and the community was documented by photographer Lewis Hine. Most of Loyston's residents relocated elsewhere in the area, with many forming the community of New Loyston in the hills to the south.

19 comments:

  1. Cemeteries and abandoned ghost towns are creepy enough but even more so when they are underwater. Seeing entire buildings and headstones submerged gives me chills.

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  2. Yeah. It'd be freaking crazy to dive down and find that!

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  3. how creepy! there is no way i would be able to dive, but love the videos!!

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  4. Yeah, I'm with you Melanie. I was a springboard diver, but I never had a desire to do submarines or scuba diving. Kind of freaks me out. I'm so glad people photograph it for us.

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  5. I watched those video's of the under water hotel. I must admit, diving under water and seeing an old hotel just sitting there is kinda creepy.

    There is a old Bridge that is under water here where I go fishing sometimes. It looks like the one that I've posted a Image of on my Blog. Named the Berkley Bridge it was flooded over when the Reading Watershed was built. Made of stone, it will be there for a long time. Sometimes, parts of it are visible, if the Lake water gets too low. But, that's very rare.

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  6. Oh, that sounds so ironic--a bridge underwater! It will be there forever if it's made of stone.

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  7. the sinking places seem to be false starts even from their beginning.

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  8. Lake Murray here in SC is a man-made recreational lake. When it was created, they flooded a large section of old farmland and cemeteries. My ex-husband has family who is buried under Lake Murray. Many, many years ago they lowered the water for various repairs to the damn and other reasons and he was able to take pictures of the cemetery that some of his family is buried in. His family has been in the area since the late 1700's! German.

    Oh......RUN!!! I hear banjo's!

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  9. CRAP! Repairs to the DAM...LOL Sorry about the obvious typo! I promise I'm not an idiot!

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  10. That Jocasse story was absolutely fascinating!
    It does feel disrespectful to have the lake fill up over a cemetery though.

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  11. I agree. I think they did move the graves, at least in Deliverance, they did. But, why leave the headstones? Seems kind of weird to me.

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  12. As a kid I remember a small community of houses that was flooded to create a recreational lake. When I would cross the bridge over the water, I'd look down at the surface to see if I could catch a glimpse of a house or a tree and imagine lives still going on underwater.

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  13. STS;
    I bet there is residual haunting even underwater. Creepy, huh?

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  14. That underwater cemetery is awesome :-D In Oklahoma, which bills itself the 'frontier lake state, many a river has been damed to create lakes. There are two towns that lie beneath two separate lakes. The one peers up from the water when the level drops; the other is often dived because of the really clear water. Divers have brought up jewelry and other personal effects from homes down there, as well as reported that the town's well still flows--into the lake.

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  15. Cullan;
    That is really freaking awesome!

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  16. It makes me think of this dam they're building in China - they'll flood an entire huge river valley, including hundreds of cemeteries and temples - all for the sake of farming and water needs for the big cities.

    How many ghosts will haunt that valley, I have to wonder.

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  17. Wow. That will be pretty devastating. Makes you wonder if any haunted buildings will remain haunted too.

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  18. I love this! Thanks for posting the videos & pictures! Very cool to see :)

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  19. Fascinating post! Thanks for sharing, the underwater cemetery footage is amazing.

    Cheers!

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