The visage of the train pictured above could be laughing or screaming, or maybe it's caught somewhere between the two. Its garish grin—frozen into a wrecked amusement park ride in Tanzania, calcified by rust and time—contains all of what makes abandoned amusement parks so mysteriously entrancing.

Abandoned amusement parks embody a primal kind of fear. They're relics of glittering carnivals where ecstasy once reigned supreme, where thousands threw their hands up as they rode roller coasters towards the sun. But those brief crests of euphoria were always unsustainable; The fall came, as it must.

Now the coasters stand among the tall grasses, the clown faces have been washed clean by rain, and the only screams left are the howls of the wind. If that's not a metaphor for the decline of human civilization due to unchecked greed and desire for limitless distraction, what is?

From decaying miniature Israeli villages to parks that cannot be found on any maps, here are eight abandoned theme parks, each sure to work its way into your nightmares.

6. Umoja Children's Park, Tanzania

This park could be the source of what's genuinely the scariest abandoned amusement park photo of all time. The image of that rusty train, with its one yellow eye and mad smile, is enough to torment you in nightmares for years. The park is quite small, but what's left of it feels distinctly cursed.


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