Spectre, Alabama: Big Fish Abandonded Set

A told me to be ready at 7am. I don’t like waking up early. I really don’t like waking up early when I didn’t get home until after midnight. But if I’m going to wake up early, 1 of 2 things better be happening. 1. I’m going to work and getting paid or 2. I better be going somewhere amazing.

As you can tell by the fact I’m writing this post, I WENT SOMEWHERE AMAZING.

Thankfully for me, A let me sleep in 30 mins. She picked me up at 7:30 and we set out for our next big adventure…

fulltank-137We researched this place a little here and there before A finally told me we were going. Other posts gave different instructions for how to legally visit the set (I’m sure depending on when they were written). Some as easy as calling a number and some giving you directions to the owner’s house to get a code.

Today, you can visit for $3 a person, the price to make it onto the island. We drove up to a gate with a small shack that is used as a guard gate. When no one is at the shack they ask you to leave the money in a box and call a number that gives you the code. Once on the island you can fish, camp (it’s $10 for overnight), or visit the ruins of Spectre.

I read a post that offered to give you the code for free… But come on $3 isn’t that much and I wouldn’t want to take advantage of a good thing. 

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The road to get onto the island is more of a dam, which takes away from the feel that you are driving onto an island. But it is an island none-the-less. I want to say there are cypress trees in the water. But let’s be honest… I can only point out a Christmas tree if you put lights and ornaments on it (and I am probably a little iffy then until it has presents underneath it).

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Big Fish was released in 2003, or early 2004 – depending on what site you get your information from. The town of Spectre, Alabama was built for the movie on a small island (Jackson Lake Island) outside Montgomery. After filming, the buildings were left standing.

fulltank-129The island has Spanish moss hanging from every tree, and it’s honestly a beautiful place to visit even if the Big Fish set wasn’t still there. I started to get really excited as soon as we made it through the gate. A told me I needed to calm down, but I was just so excited. I told her to deal and she rolled her eyes at me -I thought her mother had taught her better…

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We didn’t think anything about finding the way to get to the set. We figured that we would just figure it out. And thankfully it wasn’t that hard to figure out and we made it. Once we made it back to the abandoned set we were immediately greeted by goats! They loved the camera. I think they want their own tv show.

This is the leader of the goats! Any one interested in giving them their own show need to contact his people!
This is the leader of the goats! Any one interested in giving them their own show need to contact his people!

A few of the buildings are no longer there, but the church, homes, and entrance to the town are.

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Most of the buildings have signs telling you that they are no longer safe, which makes sense, after over ten years with no upkeep and the fact that they were only built to look good for the set and not to last.

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One of the neatest things about this place, is that there is no graffiti, only writings on the dirty windows.

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I was surprised looking inside each of the houses, to find some, without floors. Some did have little platforms or walkways but overall the inside was bare.

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Well, except for curtains on the windows.

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The church was locked and the windows were a little to high for us to see in, but from what we could tell it was the same as the others.

A was trying to see in the windows on the church... didn't work out so well...
A was trying to see in the windows on the church… didn’t work out so well…

The trees at the entrance of the town are still standing and you can only tell they are made out of styrofoam when you are standing right on them. The line where the shoes were left hanging is there (though I’m told it has since been replaced -including the shoes).

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The middle of the town is a paved road as it is toward the end of the movie. I almost wish that the grass was running down the middle. I wanted to take my shoes off and feel the “softest grass”. It was for the best, it was a little damp out although the day was perfect for us. The stores are no longer there (I read somewhere they burned down). I have to say, it was really surreal to be in a place built for a movie and nothing else.

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Even though there weren’t a lot of people around there were a few. Most were there to fish or camp, not visit the abandoned set. We did have one vehicle try to ruin our pictures. Well I’m sure they weren’t trying to ruin them but they did get in the way. To the Tahoe with the canoe on top- learn to stay behind the camera like I do!

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If you are ever in the area I suggest going to visit. Even if you don’t like to visit abandoned places, there are other things to see and reasons to visit. Take a look at their facebook page.

Next week is Grantville, GA where they filmed part of The Walking Dead!

– B

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