Abandoned places that will make Awesome Supervillain lairs
Maybe it's the tragic appeal of a world absent of society, or maybe it's the aesthetics of the vines reclaiming man's constructions, or maybe it's just because "squatter's rights" say that if you can stay put in one for two years it legally belongs to you -- that's like expert level, high-stakes hide and seek! But while some abandoned places are terrifying, and some are simply sad, some others are just begging to be filled with ninjas and to have a laser mounted on top of them. These ... are their stories:
#6. The Witley Park Estate
In Surrey, on the grounds of the burned and demolished Lea Park Mansion, lies Witley Park -- the kind of dignified Evil Lord setting that makes steampunk-themed mustache-twirling gentlemen squeal in character-breaking delight. At first glance, the area seems like your quintessential English landscape, but then you start to notice the little things: the doors to nowhere, the strange glasswork, the mysterious statue in the middle of the lake ...
The lake that, incidentally, lights up at night.
That? Oh, don't worry about that. Why, that's just the giant underwater dome. Did we not mention the giant underwater dome? Oh man, we probably should have mentioned the giant underwater dome straight off. Here, have a look:
They say it was built to be a billiards room, but come on -- who believes that? All that dripping water would totally ruin the felt. No, that baby is totally a supervillain command center; it's impossible to stand in the middle of that sucker and not burst into evil laughter.
Well, if the lasers don't get Bond, the mold will.
Today, the premises lie silent, and the glass dome under the lake sits dormant ... as if waiting for someone to rise from their grave and return it to its original glory. But while the aquatic dome is definitely the deal-sealer on any evil real estate agent's property tour, it is by no means the only interesting thing about the area: There are a thousand secret corridors, hallways, walled pool areas and mysterious skylights littering the massive underground world of Witley Park. And guess who gets to sit in the middle of it all? Maybe you! Maybe you and the mad, vengeful ghost of J. Whitaker Wright, that's who!
#5. Shime Coal Mine Tower
Now this is as close as real life gets to Saruman's Isengard: a giant, elevated fortress tower in the middle of fuck all, just waiting to be reclaimed and renovated to the use it was clearly destined for -- mayhem. It's all moss, sinister angles and dramatic speech-giving platforms, equally suitable for long distance scheming, army raising, hero defense and villainous offense.
Just try to stand at the top and not scream the words "... bring the world to its knees!"
That's the Shime Coal Mine Tower in Fukuoka, Japan, and it is an odd remnant from the embarrassing era when Japan forgot they made up Godzilla and started building everything to withstand his inevitable attacks. Standing 156.3 feet tall, it looms over (and presumably masters the dreams of) the nearby town of Shime. Its upper levels were all habitable offices and control rooms, and it originally came equipped with a cable-winding mechanism that sunk to a depth of over 1,400 feet.
That's right: The structure used to be the winding tower for the giant coal mine below, which is now just as abandoned as the tower above it. This is excellent news for the global menace who needs a bit of room to grow in their villainy, as it is a rare doomsday weapon indeed that wouldn't fit in the miles and miles of abandoned tunnels and caverns lurking below.
#4. The Moscow Metro-2
What little we do know of the Moscow Metro-2 is not so much "known" as "whispered in the shadows by only the bravest of spelunkers." Supposedly, it is a secret, government-built subway system paralleling the actual Moscow Metro ... only a hell of a lot larger, and one that goes to a bunch of places the official version doesn't -- including the Kremlin, secret airports, military installations, nuclear bunkers and even Stalin's old private residence. It's also much deeper than the actual Metro. The normal system runs, at its absolute deepest, to 276 feet, whereas Metro-2 is said to run to the somewhat insane depths of up to 600 feet. That's the comic book villain sweet spot right there: too deep for the hawkmen to get at you, not deep enough to anger the mole people.
Also too deep to sink the Internet cable. Dang.
Russian officials somehow manage to vehemently, passionately and furiously dodge the question of whether or not the Metro-2 even exists. Which basically means "Yes, this is absolutely a real thing and could not possibly exist any harder." Further, a bunch of ex-officials have gone on record saying that it's totally there, and some brave spelunkers have even been able to reach the system and take pictures. Oh yeah, and all that's omitting the trivial little fact that U.S. intelligence actually has a map of the place. Also, according to most sources, everything in the whole complex -- maintenance areas, tunnels, blasphemous labs and C.H.U.D.s alike -- are all completely abandoned.
So, it's not just a proper villainous lair, but a fine selection of lairs -- a sampler platter of villainy, if you will -- all interconnected by a vast underground network. Now it's just a matter of getting the Russian government to admit that it exists, saving up the money to buy it and then making sure everybody who doubted you is sorrier than they've ever been in their lives.
#3. Maunsell Sea Forts
So you're sailing in your luxurious submarine/yacht/mer-robot just off the English coast. The weather is fine, the sun is shining and the kidnapped daughter of the rich archduke is showing the first signs of Stockholm syndrome. You even got to use your AK; today was a good day. Then your murder-yacht comes to a screeching halt. You've hit something, but what? What could be just sitting out here in the middle of the open water? And that's when you see it. A warm feeling washes over you, and you know -- you just know, deep in your black little heart -- that you've finally found home.
The Maunsell Sea Forts are an arrangement of old sea bunkers off the shores of England, just begging for Aquaman to try and lay siege to them. In the past, they have acted as pirate radio headquarters and data havens (this is where Sealand is), but they were originally constructed in 1942 to be used as anti-aircraft stations. Which incidentally means that cannon, death ray and man-a-pult installation possibilities were all incorporated into their very design.
Each of the forts consists of seven stilted 300-ton buildings, with the central fortress being the operational center and the surrounding six acting as giant gun platforms. Their 120-strong personnel originally moved between the towers using narrow catwalks that, if restored, would make a fantastic spot for a rain-drenched mad speech or a dramatic final showdown.
#2. The Augarten Flak Tower
That soulless monstrosity up there, towering ominously over an otherwise peaceful park, ready to unleash unspeakable evil should anybody attempt to "ultimate" a Frisbee in its dominion, is the Augarten flakturm VII G. It is the most sinister of three sets of World War II-era bunkers located all around the central parks of Vienna, Austria. But wait, what the hell is a structure that sexy doing in a refined, stuffy place like Vienna?
The answer is simple: Nazis.
Flakturm VII G is one of several flak towers constructed by Hitler (literally -- he personally took part in designing them) in 1942 to act as combined bomb shelters and anti-aircraft battlements against the Allied forces -- a job they carried out so well that when the Soviets later tried to demolish them in peacetime, their explosives only hurt the surrounding buildings. That's probably because the flak tower's walls are 15-feet-thick reinforced concrete. It was built to house up to 2,000 people, and its original firepower was, in scientific terms, totally ball-slapping insane. Also, the tower was and, with slight renovations, could easily still be totally autonomous, with its own electricity, air and water supply systems.
So, not only does it look like Sauron's summer palace, but the flakturm is also conveniently central to a terrorizable populace, extremely spacious, invincibly fortified, direly ominous, capable of housing a huge amount of minions for extended periods ... but totally abandoned. If you need more incentive to invade this bastard, then maybe your mom was right and you should have opened that bakery, because you're clearly not cut out for this supervillainy thing.
#1. No Man's Land Fort
That, henchmen, is the No Man's Land Fort -- a huge Victorian-era sea fortress sitting in the English Channel, roughly a mile and a half off the Isle of Wight. It was built between 1867 and 1880, and no expense was spared in its construction: The whole thing ended up costing a cool $43 million (adjusted for inflation). More than a century later, after seeing action as a set location for Doctor Who, No Man's Land was sold to businessman Harmesh Pooni, who converted it into a luxury hotel.
Among its features are two helicopter pads, five bars, 21 extremely well-equipped bedrooms, a roof garden and its own functioning lighthouse.
What's more, the fort has already seen successful "one man versus the world" action. When someone discovered legionella bacterium in the pipes, Pooni went bankrupt. KPMG, the company currently tasked with the fortress' administration, took a slack-jawed, unimaginative look at the place and put it up for sale. Pooni, however, had decided that he wasn't having any of it: He barricaded himself in the fortress the first chance he got, presumably long since driven mad by the very proper British ghosts within.
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