10 Creepiest places around the world
Sure, there are lots of haunted places around the world – but there are some destinations and sites where you can really feel the presence of past victims, where your skin gets clammy, and your hair stands on end.
Read on for 10 of the creepiest places in the world and how you can experience them for yourself today, if you dare.
10 Creepiest places around the world
10) Cities of the dead in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Photo by wallyg on Flickr.com / Creative Commons.
There’s a long history of darkness in New Orleans and the haunted Manchac Swamp is just one testimony to this, where an imprisoned voodoo queen placed a curse on the swamp, making it one of the most eerie places to visit in the world. Despite the attraction for ghost-hunters to the swamp, many are just as drawn to New Orleans’ hundreds of mausoleums built side by side with streets like a city – a city for the dead. These mini-homes were built above ground on the outskirts of the city because previously, when bodies were buried in the ground, floods from storms and hurricanes would cause them to float up to the surface. Today, visitors can see the cemeteries
9) Bran Castle, Romania
Photo by jas_gd on Flickr.com / Creative Commons.
Commonly known as Dracula’s Castle, Bran Castle in Bran, Romania is a national landmark. Although it’s unlikely Bram Stoker (creator of Dracula) had ever known Bran Castle, Vlad III – also known as Vlad the Impaler – was known to have lived in the castle. Vlad III is thought to have been Stoker’s inspiration for Dracula, along with the strong vampire folklore prominent in the area. Today, the castle, despite its museum-feel and guided tours, the secret passageways and whispers are enough to creep out the most courageous of travellers.
8) Underground Vaults, Edinburgh, Scotland
Photo by Stimpdawg on Flickr.com / Creative Commons.
In 1788 when construction finished on the South Bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland, hopes were high that the bridge would help facilitate the growing city. Below deck level, 120 vaults were built into eighteen arches in the bridge for industry and tradesmen. After only 30 short years, all business left and the vaults came to be used for more horrendous purposes. The vaults were used as housing for up to 10 people in a dark, flooding, dank space. Robbery, murder, and even infamous serial killers Burke and Hare were known to visit the vaults to collect victims. The vaults were not re-discovered until 1985 and today is a tourist attraction and popular spot for haunted tours.
7) Capuchin Crypt, Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, Rome, Italy
Photo by Johnny Söderberg on Flickr.com / Creative Commons.
Much like Paris’ catacombs, the Capuchin Crypts below the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome, Italy is another ossuary but in a starkly different style than those of the Paris catacombs. Here, five rooms are filled with human skeletal bones of monks that once resided here, that have been meticulously cared for and arranged artfully on the walls and ceilings. Other ossuaries like the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo features complete skeletons of men and women who are dressed as they would have been when they were alive. The practice of keeping the skeletal bones in an ossuary is believed to stem from the idea that it’s good to be reminded of what we will become.
6) Catacombs, Paris, France
Photo by mezzoblue on Flickr.com / Creative Commons.
In the 18th century when the population of Paris grew to the point where a better solution was required for burials of the dead – previously, bodies were being buried left, right, centre and caused many problems for sanitary conditions. It was in 1786 when the solution to exhume and transfer all of Paris’ dead to abandoned underground mines below the city, began to take shape. About 20 years later, the catacombs or “ossuary” (a resting place for human skeletal remains) came to be arranged in a way that was more decorative than practical. The result is today’s catacombs: human bones and skulls piled one atop another to form walls of the catacombs, a unique tourist attraction in Paris.
5) Bhangarh, India
Photo by ratnasinghrathore on Flickr.com / Creative Commons.
The town of Bhangarh is known for its eerily deserted ruins. Located between Jaipur and Alwar, the town was once a beautiful kingdom in the late 1500’s. By the end of the 18th century, the town was left deserted – as if the entire population fled the city from some evil. The myth says that a guru, Guru Balu Nath, allowed the building of the town as long as the shadow cast by its large temples didn’t overshadow his home. Needless to say, the builders became too ambitious and the city was cursed. Others purport that famine and war drove the population to leave. Today, the sign at the main gate of the attraction warns that visitors are not to enter before sunrise or after sunset
4) Aokigahara Forest near Mount Fuji, Japan
Photo by gomafringo on Flickr.com / Creative Commons.
At the base of Mount Fuji, you’ll find Aokigahara Forest – but this is no plain forest. With large rocky and icy caverns, the forest is the subject of many Japanese demon myths. Each year, approximately 30 people commit suicide in Aokigahara, despite the signs in both English and Japanese to try to deter people. Once a year, a group of police and volunteers scout the forest for bodies. Most visitors to the forest are there to see the Ice Cave, Wind Cave, or want to see what this so-called haunted forest is all about.
3) Killing Fields near Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Photo by Travel Aficionado on Flickr.com / Creative Commons.
From 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge and its main leader Pol Pot became the ruling regime in Cambodia. In 1979, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam invaded and overthrew the Khmer Rouge – but not before an estimated 1.7 to 2.5 million people died at the hands of the regime by execution, torture, starvation, and forced labour – considered today as an act of genocide. Today, visitors can see the Choeung Ek monument and memorial park where mass graves and bones of the dead are still visible.
2) Unit 731 Experimentation Camp, Harbin, China
Photo by felibrilu on Flickr.com / Creative Commons.
Nearly everyone has heard of Auschwitz, but from 1937 to 1945 during the Second Sino-Japanese War and through World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army ran a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit: Unit 731. At Unit 731 located in Japanese-controlled Harbin, China, lethal human experimentation took place on thousands of people – some say 10,000 while others say 200,000 and even 580,000 – most of whom were Chinese and Koreans. The camp was shut down in 1945 when Japan surrendered to the Allies. Today, all that survives of Unit 731 is an information plaque.
1) Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Oswiecim, Poland
Photo by Nikonmania on Flickr.com / Creative Commons.
The largest concentration camp in Germany-occupied Poland during World War II under Hitler, the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex contained concentration and extermination camps. It’s estimated that nearly 3 million people died here from 1942 to early 1945: 2.5 million were exterminated and 500,000 died from disease or starvation. Approximately 90% of those exterminated which were Jews. In January 1945, Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops. Today, travellers can visit the camp but is easily one of most frightening places on earth.
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Gizelle Lau is a freelance writer & photographer in Toronto, Canada with a passion for food and travel.
Located: Toronto Canada
Likes: cities, culture, food/wine, paths-less-travelled, photography, wildlife