This Time Lapse of Ghost Towns at Night is Hauntingly Beautiful


Just in time for Halloween, project SKYGLOW has dropped their spookiest — and arguably, most beautiful — video yet. The astronomy-meets-photography team traveled westward to breathe new life into old ghost towns and the results are seriously chilling.

In less than four minutes, the breathtaking new time lapse — called “Mojave Forsaken” — explores various abandoned villages in the infamous California desert. Towns like Bodie, Cerro Gordo and Rhyolite cropped up in the 19th century in response to the Gold Rush — but were literally left about 100 years later.

“[SKYGLOW team member] Harun and I photographed several abandoned mining towns, as they were integral in the initial westward expansion of North America’s population, and the eventual spread of light pollution west of the Mississippi,” writer Gavin Heffernan, who’s part of the SKYGLOW duo, tells Inverse. “Now, these abandoned graveyards serve as incredible night sky photography locations, due to the lack of lights and night interference. With both of our backgrounds in narrative storytelling, we were also drawn to the ‘haunted’ nature of these once booming towns.”

Juxtaposing the ruins of these once-vivacious towns with the ethereal glow of the night sky has a pretty haunting effect. There’s something spellbinding about looking at the night sky in this hostile region, uninhibited by city lights — and that’s totally the point. SKYGLOW is first and foremost a project to expose the dangers of light pollution, and as evidenced with this video, they’ve definitely done their job.


Because these ghost towns are managed by various government agencies — and sometimes, private entities — we’re able to see the remains of these old worlds that were once teeming with life. Even if we only get to see their ghosts, they’re still pretty spectacular under the lights of the Mojave sky.

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