Who doesn’t like wasting a few hours on YouTube, getting lost in a bingey wormhole of content defined only by your interests? If you’re like me, you end up in a particular corner of the platform where people put their lives in danger and frequently trespass.
They take the relatable intrigue we all have for abandoned and so-called “haunted” locations that we imagine checking out and they actually go through with it—in hopes of some thrill. They explore locations worldwide and often tempt their own paranormal investigations.
Some seek exotic locations, others contemplate how quickly our footprint on this earth lasts before being reclaimed by nature. They all explore the urban abandonment that drives our common curiosity for the unknown.
Here are some of the most addictive and exciting channels on YouTube that explore abandoned places and locales. They all do it differently, but they meet in the middle to be our looking glass into what’s left behind.
This is Dan Bell
A long-running influential urban exploration channel, Dan Bell has over 200 videos and numerous video series, including one that focuses on the twilight of last century’s consumer culture darling, the shopping mall (Dead Mall Series). In almost every video, Dan Bell ventures into derelict and abandoned locations with the goal of examining what remains.
A must-watch (or binge) two part video documentary on the history and horrors of Leakin Park, in Baltimore, Maryland is among the best content he’s uploaded on YouTube. Bell’s channel has stuck around and been consistently an urban exploration or (urbex) mainstay long before so many explorers followed suit and started their channels.
You’re guaranteed to fear for Shiey’s own safety at least once in every video. The mysterious Shiey is an urban explorer, parkour practitioner, artist, and adventurer with more than a hundred videos uploaded, all of them with a common theme: survival and exploration. Very little is known about the person behind the channel, and you never get a good look at his face, given that he remains masked up, wearing black, often filming using a tiny camera and selfie stick.
He finds abandoned safe houses, travels through the remnants of Chernobyl, and seeks out interesting locations both abandoned and not. It’s not uncommon to see comments in his videos worrying about his safety, especially given his penchant for not only going into potentially dangerous locations but also his affinity for scaling tall buildings and structures. Unlike most explorers on YouTube, Shiey seems driven by the thrill of survival and living in nature.
Urban Exploring with Kappy
Kappy’s brand of urban exploring is almost exclusively the discovery and walkthrough of abandoned homes and structures. From finding a 235-year-old mansion in the south to abandoned millionaire abodes, Kappy ventures alone in various domiciles keen on exploring the beautiful chaos of a home being reclaimed by nature and time.
There’s something very soothing about Kappy’s videos; he seems to go by daylight and tour these locations more casually and curiously than some other urbex explorers. It could be because he pays more attention to the environmental story left behind by former homeowners, pointing the lens at details like the scattering of books molding into the hardwood floor or the picture frames covered in over a decade’s worth of dust. When watching a Kappy video, you can’t help but feel like you’re watching a home’s funeral.
Exploring with Josh
Exploring with Josh is one of the most active and consistent channels on YouTube, with over 800 videos that delve across multiple subgenres of urban exploration and social investigation with the mission to explore the unknown. Though he began exploring some of the more popular “haunts” that many a YouTuber ends up visiting, in the last couple of years, Josh has deftly transitioned to exploring worldwide and seeking out unknown places forgotten by time.
More than some other channels, Exploring with Josh has this attention to detail, Josh himself often chatting with the camera as he investigates, creating camaraderie with the viewer. You can’t help but feel like Josh lives and breathes this lifestyle, the ingenuity of his excitement when he finds a new corridor or hears something potentially paranormal, it’s infectious because we all know that feeling, but thankfully we don’t have to put ourselves in Josh’s position to live vicariously through his experience.
Exploring Abandoned Mines and Unusual Places
Likely the channel to stand out on this list, and also one of the most directly named channels I’ve stumbled upon on YouTube in the urbex category, Exploring Abandoned Mines and Unusual Places is just that, a channel with over 700 views and counting, exploring subterranean locations, daring the danger of being crushed and or shut in by nature. The channel is an amazing look into history by way of the present, with deep dives into a dizzying amount of mines and other previously functional locales well on their way of being erased by time. What sets the Exploring Abandoned Mines and Unusual Places apart is just that, what’s disclosed in the title, very few viewers will be aware of these locations much less able to climb, scale, or descend into those dark depths, but you better believe watching the channel, you capture that thrill.
An offshoot of a highly popular YouTube channel, TFIL (The Fuck It List), channel hosts Elton and Corey, upload paranormal investigations and explorations all by the veil of night. If you’ve heard of a haunted location, odds are they’ve already been there at least once and have uploaded an hour-plus video or two detailing their investigations. Though less urbex than some others on the list, Overnight scratches that paranormal itch while still offering the exploratory side. Recently, the channel has expanded to lesser known haunts, with Elton and Corey and crew maintaining their charismatic enthusiasm as they attempt to land proof of the paranormal. I’ll never forget that video of them losing battery power and getting sick in the Japanese suicide forest.
Sam and Colby
Sam and Colby are prolific and highly popular explorers-turned-paranormal investigators that have become known for their lengthy paranormal videos. They’ve been to the Conjuring house; they’ve been to the Stanley Hotel; they’ve been to the Queen Mary. They’ve seemingly been everywhere and yet there’s still so many other locations for Sam and Colby to investigate. What makes their channel so interesting, much like their friends over at Overnight, are their onscreen chemistry and their interest in finding sense in the paranormal unknown.