The many roads we travel up and down carry us to where we usually want to go; sometimes to places unimagined and extraordinary. But what if they carry us to a place in which we were never looking for to begin with? In such cases, can we blame the road we’re on, or can we, in fact, blame ourselves and the choices we made when we came across that fork in the road, turning left instead of right?
Whatever the case, sometimes we can definitely find our way onto some pretty dark and unforgiving roads, but the most important thing is that we find our ways off those mysterious and abandoned boulevards. But what if we can’t? What if we find ourselves on a dark highway? That forgotten speck of earth or crackling pavement, and cannot, for the life of us, escape or seem to find a way off?
There are many such roads out there and we’re sure that many of you have come across them in your travels. We hope for your sakes that you made it through those roads quickly, safely and without incident.
But for those of us that know, that have felt what it feels like to be actually stranded in such places, we’re sure that the pit in your lower stomach is starting to make itself known just as ours has right about now, as we remember the feeling of abandonment and vulnerability at being the only living thing on two legs out there all alone (or at least we hope we were alone).
Join us as we take a look at some scary pictures of such roads. So cue the classic horror movie music and let’s take a trip down that road less-traveled. Shall we?
26 Stockholm – Sockenvägen
Sometimes we needn't go very far to find that deserted stretch of pavement. Often enough, we can find some out-of-use roads in our very own cities and suburbs. And to tell the truth, that doesn't do anything to lift our collective spirits when we come across them in our commute and/or many travels to and fro. Sometimes the proximity of other people does nothing at all to make it less scary.
This road, clearly deserted, can be found in Stockholm, just so you know where NOT to go!
At the end of the day, that road is still left behind, and if we happen to find ourselves driving or walking over it, the questions start to race: "Why is the road just there? What happened here?" And such questions can indeed drive us mad.
25 Pembrokeshire, UK
Is it the many films we've seen that have done this to us? The many characters we've seen fall to peril and abandonment on the big screen. Was it these scenes of terror that have led us to fear that road that has been left behind, forlorn and laid to waste?
This road in the UK, captured by Photographer Andy Lee, shows us why horror movies always use deserted roads.
This is possible, as film and fiction do have a way of influencing how we feel or look at the many things in our lives. So why not? Sometimes the films we have seen--especially the scary scenes--play for us as we find ourselves in similar situations, and there's nothing we can do to stop our knees from shaking and our breath from getting labored as we make the connections and notice the similarities from what we've seen in film and what plays before our very eyes in reality.
24 Arizona leveled
Other times it can be history that makes us fear that road we all know about but don't dare take, no matter how long the winding and alternate route can sometimes be. Maybe there's a popular story that has passed from generation to generation in our town. A story that is indeed factual, yet so scary it belongs in some great novel or film starring the latest Hollywood star.
But whether fact or fiction, we don't dare make our way towards that road in hopes of keeping the monsters it represents at bay, as this Arizona road shows us, fact is just as spooky as fiction.
Because at the end of the day, keeping them at bay is all we can do, as they're still out there, no matter how far we find ourselves form that place in question ... the monsters are still out there.
23 THE ANNE BEADELL HIGHWAY
And of course it would be foolish to think that such roads exist only in our backyards. The world over knows what it's like to come across that stretch of pavement that makes them feel like something cold and slimy just crawled up their backs.
This road is actually considered a highway!
It's a highway because it actually stretches a whopping 1,325 km linking South Australia to Western Australia. It looks a bit like a forbidden passage, but in fact anyone can come across it, and really, if they want to cut their travel time in half, they should use it, maybe during the day though!
22 THAT FEELING
Now this road you may recognize as it makes an appearance in the hit-series Game Of Thrones. In the show it is known as 'The King's Road', but for the Northern Irelanders (not to be confused with The North, and Winterfell), this is just outside a small town called Ballymoney in Co. Antrim.
We can't account for much success on this road, seeing as what happened to Ned after he took this journey, we hope everyone else fares a little better!
If you ever want to visit this road, make sure to take a jump over to the Giant's Causeway as well to see another place that looks truly fictional, but is very, very real.
21 Snæfellsnes peninsula, Iceland
Another amazing photo taken by the Welsh photographer Andy Lee that shows just how hauntingly beautiful deserted roads can be.
They aren't all spooky!
This area in Iceland has quite the dramatic sceneries, so we aren't surprised to see the roads heading to the sites being just as stunning. The photographer did a lot of the work making this photo as excellent as it is, but it's a perfect example of how roads feel much more isolated while we are driving on them, rather than just staring in awe!
20 The US has all the best deserted roads
Any of us who have been on such roads know that despite all the impending danger, there is in fact something rather beautiful about these roads. There's something in them that utterly makes us want to keep moving forward despite all the warning signs we see around us or feel within.
It's no surprise that one of the largest countries in the world has some of the most beautiful, seemingly, never-ending roads in the world!
Maybe it's the traveler inside us all. Maybe it's the problems we're leaving behind. But whatever the reason, these roads can oftentimes have more of a pull on us rather than the obvious force that keeps us away. Maybe it's our sense of adventure at seeing new places and experiencing new and different things, but whatever it is, we stop at nothing and keep moving forward--a trait that's in every avid traveler.
19 A bridge in Michigan
Now this road, very much just a deserted bridge at this point, was built in 1911! We can see why it would have been left alone to wither off and be taken over by Mother Nature.
Back in the day it must have served its purpose, but now it is just something that is kind of stunning to look at. We won't be driving on that one any time soon, probably never again. But image the horse-drawn carriages that must have trotted on it, or the first few cars in the US. Roads can have a whole lot of history too, and this one must have seen some crazy things!
18 All roads lead to Alaska
Maybe it's the lover of literature in me, but every time I see pictures like these, my mind wanders to that epic and powerful novel by one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Jack Kerouac, entitled: On The Road.
This road would be better known as Alaska State Route 11, and we get why it would inspire many novels!
That novel not only defined a generation, it defined the type of character that needs to keep moving, needs to keep from standing still in one place, because sometime, standing still could leave you as desolate as this road looks. Sometimes the best course of action is to keep rolling, no matter how far you've got to go, and no matter how far away that peace of mind may seem.
17 Doolough, County Mayo, Ireland
In 1969, Dennis Hopper would direct the sensational film that would become the defining and cult classic motorcycle film that still hasn't gone out of favor. It would star Peter Fonda and a young Jack Nicholson and it would follow these men as they traveled the forgotten roads and highways in search of meaning and self discovery, the story the likes of which hadn't been seen since Kerouac's spellbinding novel, On The Road.
In the film, the viewer is taken down many roads, the cinematography a lesson from Hopper to any young filmmaker ... this is how you shoot road scenes, the film tells us from frame to frame. The sights of the roads are indeed spellbinding to say the least and that feeling washes over us as we watch ... that desire to be doing the same thing, to be out there and heading down the old and forgotten roads just like the three iconic men in that film.
16 Big Island, Hawaii
This is aptly named, seeing as it is the Big Island of Hawaii, but also officially just named 'Hawaii'. We know, it's a bit confusing.
As we can see here, the road has almost entirely been swallowed up by lava. In Hawaii they have active volcanoes, but this one has been covered for quite a few years, seeing as vegetation has already started to pop out.
As they say, 'Nature always finds a way'!
Talk about an isolated road... we can't imagine much driving happens on this road, but there is a surprising amount of foot traffic. These lava-covered roads attract quite a few tourists.
15 US roads
It doesn't have to be night time for us to get that wave of fear when finding ourselves on that road. It can be the light of day and yet our fears still get the better of us. If we find ourselves stranded on a road such as this one, and it's been a while since we've seen other forms of life, our fears can easily find a way to get the better of us, and even under the brightest of suns and decent weather.
Is that a coyote I see in the distance? What was that sound? Why do I feel like somebody is watching me? And the questions race on ....
14 Bridgeport, PA
Sometimes the signs we see on such roads can be more frustrating than the road itself.
Is it just me, or can road signs be misleading at times? How many times have you seen a roadside that promises something at the next exit, but when you come to it, what was promised isn't there? I can't begin to tell you how many times that's happened to me.
The sign somehow makes it seem less and more isolated at the same time.
13 STATE OF DECAY
And the roads too are left alone to deal with the elements. It's not only us that find ourselves stranded, forgotten and isolated. Yes, maybe we'll suffer a few uncomfortable hours stranded on these roads, but the roads themselves have to sit out there for what seems like an eternity under the hot sun, the cold of night and the elements of nature.
Years pass and still the road is there.
Decades pass and yes, still the road is there. The cracks that run through it start to run deeper and more profound with each passing period of time. And way after you've escaped your scary stretch on that road, it'll still be there as you move on ... waiting for the next person to pass.
12 A THICK MIST OR FOG
What can happen to make the experience worse? What can come along and only add to the terror you already feel at being stranded on such a spooky road?
Well, apart from the impending threat of some psycho out there, the sudden appearance of a fog or mist might do the trick quite nicely.
As Stephen King and John Carpenter know, a fog or mist can utterly scare the hair off of somebody, especially when they're already afraid of their surroundings.
And it's always in the fog that you start seeing things. If those things you're seeing are really there is another story altogether.
11 Bay City
The winter can be a pretty depressing period of time. Gone are the people hustling to and fro, wearing casual shorts, tank tops and flip-flops. Gone are the street vendors selling ice cream and t-shirts made in the back of some van.
Indeed, the winter can render even the busiest intersection in town into a ghost town in some forgotten speck of the world.
And finding yourself on such a deserted road is unsettling to say the least, whether you're in a huge metropolis or some other part of the world ... the desolation of it all: maddening.
10 THE WRITING ON THE ROAD
If the isolated road you were stuck on wasn't already bad enough, imagine some ominous writing scrawled across the pavement! Now how's that for an omen? (Whether it's bad or good depends on your state of mind.)
We can often come across some terrible roads in our travels, but to see one that has been vandalized with messages amidst the decay is very unsettling. Who wrote those messages and why? Do you find yourself stopping to read those messages, or do you ignore them and keep on powering through, avoiding any and all glances towards them in fear of what they might say?
9 THAT ICY GRIP
You hope and pray that you've got enough gas. The reserve has always had a huge supply. But it has been a long time since you saw the sign promising a service station in the distance, but yet it's nowhere in sight.
Outside, the winter scene unfolding is quite treacherous and the impending doom of it all is starting to make you unravel.
Will you make it? Or will the car slowly run out of gas, thus leaving you to be stranded out there without the warmth of the heater, that slow icy grip reaching for you as the moments pass ... the cold seeping through your bones like a virus, fast and absolute. You hope and pray that you've got enough left in the old tank.
8 HOLLOW AND SLEEPY
In 1820, author Washington Irving released a story that would spook generations and generations of readers. The story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow definitely changed the face of Victorian Horror, and it did so with class and yet pushed the boundaries of literature at the time. In 1999, Tim Burton committed the haunting story to film exquisitely.
The plot shows characters trying to flee the glen of Sleepy Hollow only to be met with a most unfortunate fate: being attacked by a headless horseman, thus leading to their demise. Now talk about a bad road to be on--a vicious and headless madman on the loose!
This shot in particular calls to mind the scary details of Irving's story, and how could it not?
7 THE ONLY COMFORT
And when the sky is dark and the flanking trees ominously close in on you, what comforts do you have as you drive down that terrible road or maybe even tackle it on foot? What is the only saving grace for you to cling onto as you place one foot before the other time and time again? Where do you look for that reassuring glimpse of the consistent presence of something real and tangible other than the tangible fear you feel inside?
Why it's the solid line at the center of the road. It reflects under the shine of the moon, the consistent yellow color reflects up at you as you make your way quickly, dragging your feet or trudging along. And it's the only sign that shows you that somebody else had passed there before; you're not the only one to have ever been there, and that if nothing else reassures you to your very core.