The Man Who Lives in Ghost Town That Vanished Underwater for 25 Years

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This is Epecuén, a once-thriving tourist village in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina that welcomed up to 5,000 visitors before 1985. However, there was a dramatic turn of events when a colossal seiche, set off by a rare weather phenomenon, led to a dam bursting in the vicinity, ultimately breaching the protective dike that guarded the town, submerging it in water.

From Catastrophe to Re-Emergence

Within days of the catastrophic event, the entire population evacuated as the town disappeared beneath meters of water. It wasn’t until 2009, a staggering 24 years later, that Epecuén began its slow re-emergence, resurfacing from the depths as the water finally evaporated due to prolonged dry weather conditions.

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Meet Pablo Novak, a resilient soul who, having grown up in the once-thriving tourist hotspot, returned to set up shop at the age of 93. Becoming the solitary inhabitant of this mysterious ghost town, Pablo earned the title of the “world’s loneliest man.” His return coincided with the water level dropping, unveiling a scene where salt and sun had bleached the abandoned buildings, marking the passage of time in this eerie landscape.

Echoes of Epecuén

In the early 1980s, Epecuén was a flourishing holiday resort, attracting over 20,000 tourists annually and housing a thriving community of over 2,000 residents. The crystal blue waters of Laguna Epecuén were believed to possess healing properties, drawing visitors from far and wide seeking relief from conditions like rheumatism, depression, skin ailments, and diabetes. The vibrant locale boasted local businesses, including hotels, museums, and even a hippodrome, complemented by a train station constructed in 1972.

24 years after the disaster, leaving his wife, who opted not to join him, behind in a neighboring town, Pablo Novak chose to return to Epecuén. His home, a modest and dusty house, lacks electricity and is adorned with rusted furniture. Despite the challenges, Pablo, at his age, finds joy in strolling through the ruins of his ghost town, hoping for a conversation. Reflecting on his unique perspective, he shared that he saw the town being born and dying. It’s a perspective that certainly makes you pause and consider life’s enduring mysteries.