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Town of Spectre | Photo © 2017 Bullet, www.abandonedalabama.com

The Town of Spectre

Location Class:
Built: | Abandoned: 2003
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: David Bulit

The Town of Spectre

Spectre is a fictional town in the 2003 Tim Burton film “Big Fish” written by Birmingham native Daniel Wallace. In the movie, Edward Bloom takes an abandoned path through a haunted forest where he eventually comes upon a small town. The town has no roads that lead or cut through Spectre. It contains rows of homes and businesses which lead up to a white church down the middle of them.

Built specifically for the film on Lake Jackson Island, the buildings are mostly empty shells and were used strictly for exterior shots. The buildings can be seen in the movie in a pristine shape and also in a state of gloom and distress. After the scenes were filmed of the pristine town, Tim Burton had set designers to distress the buildings to make it look that the town was abandoned. After filming, the owners of Jackson Lake Island, former Montgomery mayor and U.S. Congressman Bobby Bright and his wife, retired Judge Lynn Bright, requested the buildings not be demolished.

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The town of Spectre in Tim Burton’s “Big Fish”

Present Day – Tourist Attraction

Over the years, the owners have allowed people to visit the island and even camp there as long as a small payment is made at the gate. As years went by, many storefronts began to weaken and collapse due to a lack of maintenance.

As the owners were clearing debris, sparks from a fire traveled across the road, causing a row of buildings to set ablaze and were destroyed. Another house on the property was demolished due to flooding from the river. On June 2, 2023, one of the homes was destroyed when lightning struck it and set it on fire.

Visitors can still cross through a pair of styrofoam trees that leads into the town and visit the church and five of the homes, as well as the columns where Jenny’s house once stood. If you decide to visit, please be respectful of the animals, campers, and those living nearby. Admission is $3 per person and $10 for overnight camping.

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David Bulit

My name's David Bulit and I'm a photographer, author, and historian from Miami, Florida. I've published a number of books on abandoned and forgotten locales throughout the United States and advocate for preserving these historic landmarks. My work has been featured throughout the world in news outlets such as the Miami New Times, the Florida Times-Union, the Tampa Bay Times, the Orlando Sentinel, NPR, Yahoo News, MSN, the Daily Mail, UK Sun, and many others. You can find more of my work at davidbulit.com as well as amazon.com/author/davidbulit.

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