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Abandoned theme parks

From a Kansas tornado to German cops, photographer Seph Lawless has faced more than few scrapes while capturing his favorite subject: decrepit amusements around the world. He's even been banned from Disney World.

His book, "Abandoned: Hauntingly Beautiful Deserted Theme Parks," documents bygone attractions in a state of almost unsettling decay. CNET obtained these images, some of which are not in the book and have never been published before. 

Here's a photo of the shuttered fun house at Bushkill Park near Philadelphia. 

The park was closed in late 2006. But volunteers have been working to bring new life to the nearly 118-year-old park.

Originally published July 12, 2018. 
Update, Jan. 7, 2020: Adds additional images. 

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Unleash the dragon

No, this isn't a scene from the opening credits of Game of Thrones. This is the abandoned Ho Thuy Tien waterpark in the central Vietnamese city of Hue.

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Returned to nature

The park opened in 2004, before construction was completed, and closed within a few years.

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Watch your step

Explorers report that the park is covered in graffiti and the water slides are slippery, cracked and coated with mold.

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This town ain't big enough for this theme park

The Western Village, a 1970s cowboy-themed amusement park in Nikko, Japan, has been abandoned since 2007.

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Mount hush-more

The Western Village's replica Mount Rushmore is a post-apocalyptic vision.

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Howdy, partner

There are creepy, disintegrating cowboy statues all over the park.

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Bears?

These unsettling lady-bear statues were still going strong in 2017, when this photo was taken.

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More like CAN'T Alley

There's no winning at this game... not anymore.

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A ghost town

The amusement park in Pripyat, Ukraine, was only open for one day -- April 27, 1986, the day after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred just a few miles away. Yes, you read that right.

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Haunting

This ferris wheel has become a recognizable symbol of the aftermath of the Chernobyl blast. People can visit this amusement park on guided tours.

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Overgrown Ferris wheel

Here's an overgrown Ferris wheel at the spooky Lake Shawnee Park in West Virginia.

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Lonely clown

Lawless found this reveler at the Enchanted Forest Playland in Toledo, Ohio.

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Prehistoric Forest

The critters at the Prehistoric Forest in Onsted, Michigan, look fully petrified.

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Beast of Bushkill

Parts of Bushkill have reopened, but others remain shuttered.

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A cost of Katrina

Six Flags New Orleans has been closed since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

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Haunted Camelot

Lancashire, England, hosts the abandoned Camelot Theme Park. In 2001, a park employee was struck by a roller coaster and killed. The park closed 11 years later.

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Storms over Ohio

Chippewa Lake Park in Ohio closed in 1978 because of lack of attendance. 

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Ancient funhouse

The Depression-era Bar'l of Fun at Bushkill Park was one of America's oldest operating funhouses before it closed.

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Dino down!

Something tells us it's not too late to rescue this overturned dino at the Prehistoric Forest in Onsted, Michigan.

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Beached whale

This annoyed-looking whale is beached at the Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo in Angola, Indiana.

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Cold War relic

Spreepark opened in the former East Germany in the 1960s. It closed in 2002.

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Roller skates untouched

The roller skates at Bushkill sat untouched until the rink was renovated and reopened in January 2017.

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No longer bumping

The bumper cars at Six Flags in New Orleans are at a standstill. 

"I'm passionate about using my art and activism to promote positive change in social injustice, environmental awareness and corporate corruption," Lawless says.

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Et tu, Disney?

This is an abandoned portion of the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. 

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Prehistoric Forest 2

Along with these dinos, the Prehistoric Forest in Onsted, Michigan, used to have a live (man-made) volcano.

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Standstill

These retro-looking bumper cars are still sitting at the Fun Spot of Angola.

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Haunted history

The Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was built on the site of the Clay family massacre. In 1783, local Native Americans kidnapped and killed a family of settlers. 

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Not-so-merry old land

The yellow brick road still winds through the derelict Land of Oz in North Carolina, which closed in 1980.

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Unstoppable

Disney has sent a cease and desist letter to Lawless, the photographer said. "When I published my recent book, I and my publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, decided to publish all the photos as a direct slap in the face to the Disney corporation."

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Where has Li'l Abner gone?

Much of Dogpatch U.S.A. in Arkansas has remained closed to the public since 1993.

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Bad egg

Lawless found this egg in Prehistoric Forest in Onsted, Michigan.

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Off limits

The fate of Berlin's Spreepark is unclear at present.

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Sad history

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was abandoned in 1966, after two children died in an accident.

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Land of Oz

Here's another forlorn view from the Land of Oz in North Carolina.

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Up in the air

This ride is still standing at Lake Shawnee Amusement Park.

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Lonely face

Lawless photographed this face at the Land of Oz in North Carolina.

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More than a decade of dereliction

Joyland Amusement Park in Wichita was once the largest of its kind in Kansas before it closed in the mid-2000s.

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Creepy cups

The city of Berlin currently owns the run-down Spreepark.

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Ray of hope

A new group is hoping to spend $100 million to renovate the former Six Flags New Orleans. Until then, the city has this.

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No waiting

A ride rots away at the Enchanted Forest Playland in Toledo, Ohio.

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Clouds over Joyland

The owners of the Joyland Amusement Park in Wichita, Kansas, have begun to tear down the derelict structures there.

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Risky business

Moss grows at an abandoned shack at Spreepark. "All the rides were still there and it was very eerie," Lawless told us.

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Fun's over

Here's another haunting shot of Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo in Angola, Indiana.

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Risky business

While photographing Spreepark, Lawless was arrested by German police. He photographed the Ferris wheel just before police handcuffed him.

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Empty pool

There is no more swimming in this moldering pool at the Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo.

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Moody scene

"To date, no one has documented more abandoned amusement parks all over the world than me," Lawless said.

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Watching the skies

Geauga Lake was a theme park in Aurora, Ohio. "I photographed all the parks either during a thunderstorm or right after a storm to enhance the effect I was going for, which was to display these places as hauntingly beautiful," Lawless said.

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Moody landscape

Geauga Lake closed in 2007.

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Creepiest place on Earth

Lawless' images of abandoned sections of Disney World in Florida have gone viral. "I started challenging the Disney corporation in press interviews, saying that Disney should clean up its mess," he said.

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Close call

"I was caught in a tornado while photographing Joyland in Kansas City," Lawless said, "but escaped unscathed."

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The wizard's not home

This structure at the Land of Oz has seen better days.

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Rickey

We don't recommend riding this amusement at Joyland.

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Beautiful decay

Geauga Park went through several owners before shuttering.

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All's quiet

Lawless says he has seen alligators basking in the sun in the abandoned areas of Disney World.

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