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Battleship Island, Creepy Abandoned Society In Japan, Offers Public Tours

09/30/2013 12:03 pm ET

In 1959, over 5,000 people lived and worked on Hashima, also called Battleship Island or Ghost Island, off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan.

The bustling coal-mining city -- more dense than Manhattan -- offered a school, restaurants, hospital and movie theater to its busy residents. The island had a thriving economy, a brand-new block of apartments, and Japan's largest concrete building.

Then suddenly, everybody left.

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Japan's switch from coal to petroleum rendered Battleship Island virtually useless in 1974, when Mitsubishi closed its mine on the island.

What's left behind are remnants of a society so eerie that it's said to have inspired the setting of a James Bond film.

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You can take a boat tour to Battleship Island and traipse through the ruins yourself. You could also take a virtual tour with Google Street View or through the lens of adventurous photographer-bloggers.

Either way, the ruins are a chilling reminder of how quickly a soaring society can come crumbling down.

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