Select Page

Shanghai Spooky Villages

by | Nov 1, 2015 | 0 comments

Spooky Village

The air is chilly and Halloween is fresh in our memory. It’s time for a tale about Spooky Village, the mysterious area across the street from our neighborhood.

Pudong compound gate

We live in the east side of Shanghai, called Pudong, and the residential neighborhoods are called compounds. Across the street from our compound is another compound, but strangely, nobody ever goes in or out. Unless you count the family of stray dogs that live there.

One day at the bus stop, I had a conversation with another mother about the empty city block. She has lived in our compound for several years and said that nobody had ever lived there, for the entire time they’ve lived in Shanghai. At one point, she said, an entrepreneur opened the gates to the compound and started a car wash, where people could pull in and get a quick wash. But that only lasted a few days, until the police shut them down. The rumor is that a South-East Asian developer built the homes, but they were such poor quality, that nobody wanted to rent, so it stays vacant. Our neighbors nicknamed the area “Spooky Village,” and the name stuck – now our family calls it Spooky Village too.

Haunted Mansion

Shanghai statue

Beyond the empty compound is another mysterious plot of land. A large empty field with a dilapidated mansion sits adjoining the streets of empty houses. A few people live in a small hut on the grounds and farm the land – we assume for their own use. There are always several luxury cars parked in front of the mansion, along with a guard dog or two. Spooky!

Shanghai urban farming


China’s Ghost Cities

This is not the only vacant area in Shanghai, let alone China. Just a few blocks away, there is another empty block, populated by a family of goats! An abandoned city block is not unusual in Shanghai, where buildings are hastily built, for a specific purpose, then abandoned quickly, as was the case of the Shanghai Expo site. Sometimes the location is too remote or far from public transportation to make it inviting to potential residents. Other times, the buildings have bad feng shui, a Chinese design philosophy, which turns off Chinese buyers. Our small abandoned city block is relatively small though, compared to the ghost cities, written about in a recent article. This particular compound is located in a heavily populated, highly-desirable district of Pudong, where a developer could make a sizable profit if they built some upscale houses or apartments. So why doesn’t someone redevelop the land?

Halloween Theme Park

Empty field in Shanghai Pudong

My husband and I have passed the time brainstorming ideas for Spooky Village. Our favorite idea is to convert the area into a Halloween themed attraction. There is already an empty field, which would make an ideal pumpkin patch. The area is surrounded by apartments and homes filled with expats, who would love nothing more than a weekend at, “the farm,” picking pumpkins and touring the haunted house. I envision school groups and young families during the day,  taking hay rides and picking pumpkins. When the sun sets, the teenagers would arrive, ready to brave the ghosts, chain saws, and zombies in the haunted house. As a teenager, I visited haunted houses in shopping malls and empty warehouses, and was scared beyond belief. Imaging the scare factor if there were an entire city block transformed into a haunted village? It’s a guaranteed money-maker, but who do I talk to to make it happen?

Shanghai pumpkin patch