The world’s most mysterious steel cemetery

Rows of abandoned, moss-covered classic cars in the woods of southern Belgium make for one spooky-looking traffic jam. But such is the scene at one of the world’s most intriguing car graveyards.

The ravages of time have all but erased the details of how this graveyard of steel came to be, but many believe it to be a legacy of World War II.

Legend has it that the cars belonged to US soldiers stationed in the region. When the war ended, these servicemen were prevented from taking their prized toys home with them, whether due to expense, haste or orders.

And so, the vehicles were carefully hidden away in the forest. As the story goes, the soldiers never meant to leave the cars behind forever, but rather return and retrieve them at a later date.

To locals, however, the Chatillon Car Graveyard is nothing more than a steel junkyard, as many of the vehicles are of the post-war era. Residents do agree though, that at one point, there were nearly 500 vehicles spread across four separate sites in the region.

Over time these sites have been stripped not only by souvenir hunters and enthusiasts on the lookout for spares, but for environmental reasons. In fact, it has been reported that all of the vehicles have been cleared recently from the woods, which means that only these haunting pictures from 2009 remain.

Each year scrap merchants process about 1.9 million tonnes of ferrous scrap, and so perhaps these vintage cars, whatever their history, will be reborn through steel recycling. Steel is incredibly durable and versatile, steel is also 100% recyclable.It is cheaper to recycle steel than to mine iron ore and produce new steel.

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Photo by Theo van Vliet ll rights reserved

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