It’s the festival of ghouls and ghosts, so here’s a selection of some really strange locations around the world – places where something unexplained has happened and that will make your skin crawl. Even if the stories that follow seem unrealistic, remember that there’s an element of truth in every myth…
The world’s scariest places:
St. Ulrich’s chapel, Uhlberg in Bavaria, Germany
Since St Ulrich’s chapel was destroyed in 1525, there have been a whole lot of legends about this place. The ruins of the church and the surrounding areas are said to be haunted by a “white lady” who guards the chapel at night along with the crows. Apparently the ruins are also a meeting place for Satanists.
The underground graveyard – the catacombs of Paris, France
In order to reduce the strain on Parisian cemeteries, the tunnels under the city were filled with the bones of 6 million people. The 2014 horror film “As Above, So Below” was made about these catacombs. While there have been no reports of paranormal activity, the idea of a mass grave containing millions of bodies under a bustling metropolis is pretty creepy.
Italian mummies – Capuchin crypt, Palermo, Italy
Everyone thinks of Egypt when mummies are mentioned. But they’re in other parts of the world too. One location that stands out is Palermo’s Capuchin crypt, which has a collection of over 2,000 mummies including children. It’s both creepy and macabre.
The ghost town of Craco in Matera, Basilicata, Italy
The historic hill town of Craco was abandoned after a landslide in 1991 and now lies in ruins. Not a single soul remains there today, as all the inhabitants moved to a new town at the foot of the hill. The deserted ruins have gradually been reclaimed by nature. The picturesque setting lends itself well to filming and Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” was partly shot there.
The suicide forest – Aokigahara, at the foot of Mount Fuji, Japan
At the base of Mount Fuji lies a forest called Aokigahara, which when translated means “the sea of trees”. This place is associated with suicide tourism, as dozens of people take their own lives there every year. This is thought to have started after the publication of Matsumoto Seichō’s novel “Tower of Wave”, in which the protagonist kills herself in this particular forest. Due to the forest’s thick vegetation, it can take years before a body is found.
The island of dolls – La Isla de las Muñecas in Xochimilco (Mexico city), Mexico
Since the film “Chucky”, or more recently, “Annabelle”, everyone knows just how creepy dolls are. And if you’re afraid of dolls, you should probably avoid Isla de las Muñecas in Mexico, where the trees are adorned with thousands of shabby and deteriorating dolls with mutilated limbs. They have been hung there to calm the restless ghost of a little girl who drowned there. It’s not for the faint-hearted!
Dracula’s castle – Hunedoara Castle in Transylvania, Romania
Hunedoara Castle is one of the Transylvanian castles said to have been inhabited by Count Dracula, or the real-life Vlad the Impaler, who was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s fictional vampire count. It’s said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who was tied to a column and had an iron nail hammered through her head because of an affair with a servant.
The bone church – Sedlec ossuary, Kutná Hora, Czech Republic
There are many creepy churches, but the Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec has to be one of the most unsettling to visit of all. While most places of worship are usually furnished with wood, marble and gold, the decorations and furnishings in this church are different – they’re made from human bones. Mortal remains are everywhere you look, and an enormous chandelier of bones hangs from the ceiling. The church’s interior contains bones from around 10,000 people that have been arranged into decorations. Artistic, sure – but also macabre.
The haunted English castle – Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, England
Any self-respecting English castle should have at least one ghost. Chillingham Castle is no exception. It has several, including the ghost of a young boy said to have been walled up alive in the castle.
The deserted hospital – West Park Hospital, Epsom, Surrey, England
This former psychiatric hospital in Epson closed down in 2003 and was left to decay. Furniture stands forlorn and abandoned in the wards and paint is peeling from doors and windows. This creepy former asylum won’t be around for much longer as the site is being redeveloped for apartments.
The ghost city of Chernobyl – Pripyat, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine
The whole world knows about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. But fewer people know that an entire city nearby had to be evacuated and remains abandoned to this day. People rarely go back to the ghost town of Pripyat nowadays, but for fear of radiation, not of ghosts.
The inspiration for Silent Hill – Centralia, Pennsylvania, USA
The small town of Centralia lies in the eastern coal-mining region in Pennsylvania. A underground mine fire broke out in the 60s, the cause of which is unknown. The fumes forced residents to leave the town and only a handful of inhabitants remain today. The town is of interest to horror fans, as it was an inspiration for the film “Silent Hill”.
The ghost prison – West Virginia State Penitentiary, Moundsville, West Virginia, USA
This prison, closed in 1995, has a lot to offer when it comes to guided tours for tourists. It’s said that the ghosts of former inmates and wardens wander through the corridors. This location is a big hit for people interested in prison history as well as for fans of the supernatural!
All the places we’ve mentioned have two things in common: they’re eerie in terms of ghosts or their atmosphere, and they’re fantastic subjects for photos. Get ready for Halloween and start editing your photos of locations that are creepy because of dereliction, their history or mysterious events.
Which of these locations do you find the most eerie? Do you know other scary places? Share them with us in the comments!