Christian theme park 'Bible Land', later known as 'Holy Land', in Waterbury, Connecticut, US, 30th September 1966. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPS/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

992867018

Christian theme park 'Bible Land', later known as 'Holy Land', in Waterbury, Connecticut, US, 30th September 1966. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPS/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Photo by: F. Roy Kemp

F. Roy Kemp

Holy Land, U.S.A is an Abandoned Christian Theme Park With A Dark Past

The theme park included a Garden of Eden, life-sized scenes from the Bible and statues of Jesus.

August 01, 2019

The feeling of "kenopsia," according to The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, is the "eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that's usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet — a school hallway in the evening, an unlit office on a weekend, vacant fairgrounds..." There might be no feeling more fitting for Holy Land, U.S.A. It's a former Christian theme park that has since been abandoned, leaving behind decomposing relics of the happy place it once was — and since a terrible crime was committed on its empty grounds, it's only gotten creepier.

A Place That Evokes "Kenopsia"

Designed to look like a small-scale version of Biblical Bethlehem, the roadside theme park in Waterbury, Connecticut had more than 50,000 visitors every year during the 1960s. It was open the decade prior by John Baptist Greco, a Catholic attorney with a name to match. Attractions included the Garden of Eden, life-sized scenes from the Bible, and statues of Jesus. You could even find a little inn with a "no vacancy" sign right near Nativity Square.

In 1984, Greco shut the place down to expand it and attract more people, but that never happened — he died two years later. The park was bequeathed to a group of nuns, who kept it clean and maintained but never allowed admittance. However, a "closed" sign on something this spooky at night never stopped teenagers before, and didn't stop them then. They broke in and vandalized the place, leaving behind headless statues, a destroyed "Last Supper" wall, broken bottles, and other evidence of rebellious behavior.

Nuns of Our Business

Even worse, in 2010 a teenage girl was murdered in the abandoned park. With that tragedy and the subsequent selling of the land by the nuns to new owners who may not be as forgiving of trespassers, the fascination of this ghostly attraction of yesteryear is all but left to internet searches and short YouTube documentaries. If you're driving through Waterbury, though, you can't miss it: there's a Hollywood-style sign and a giant cross marking the spot. We wouldn't recommend the visit, though. The surrounding area is covered in "no trespassing" signs, which are a lot less endearing than "no vacancy."

This article first appeared on Curiosity.com.

Next Up

Why Do People Live Near Active Volcanoes?

Volcanoes have a lot to offer local residents.

Thousands of People Have Mysteriously Disappeared in "Alaska's Bermuda Triangle"

This track of wilderness is it far more deadly than its tropical cousin.

Celebrating Black Explorers with J.R. Harris

Meet J. Robert Harris, a marketing consultant and social scientist by profession and a true explorer by heart. He's been exploring remote parts of the world for 50 years. Using personal anecdotes and archival images, J.R. draws from his own expedition experience and spotlights the struggles and triumphs of Black explorers throughout history and those who forge ahead today.

New Year, New Adventures: What the World has to Offer

With a new year comes new opportunities, and there’s no time like the present to start learning more about parts of the world you’ve never dreamed of before. Please review and follow all state and local guidelines while traveling. Updated December 17, 2021

Werewolf of the Mexican South

Ocozocoautla de Espinosa is a small town that hugs one of the least-visited Natural Reserves in Mexico’s southernmost state of Chiapas and it may have a werewolf problem.

The City Of Troy Was Real. The Trojan Horse? Not So Much.

Turns out the epic wooden horse that gave the Greeks their victory was all a myth.

Can You Name the New Seven Wonders of the World?

Millions of people voted these magnificent places as the "new" seven wonders of the world.

The Eight Faces Of The Great Pyramid Of Giza

This ancient structure has more sides than you think.

Want to See Area 51? Tikaboo Peak is the Closest You Can Legally Get

Catch a glimpse of the goings-on at the base from this picturesque view.