It’s no secret that planet Earth has some truly remarkable places. There are beautiful landscapes of rolling hills and plunging waterfalls. We have everything from burning sand dunes to freezing ice glaciers. There are amazing lands, magnificent foliage, and some incredible wildlife, but there’s also a dark side. The creepy catacombs, bottomless fiery pits, and grotesquely posed statues with real human teeth. Here are the 13 scariest places in the world.
Capuchin Catacombs, Italy
The creepiest catacombs in the world, these tunnels contain the remains of almost 10000 bodies. It was created during the 1500s after the Capuchin monks mummified one of their deceased members. The monks were dehydrated, washed with vinegar and embalmed. The clothed bodies are preserved and displayed in sealed glass cabinets. Over time, it became a status symbol. Some locals even asked that the monks dress their bodies in different clothing every week. One of the last bodies interred was two-year-old Rosalia Lombardo, whose corpse is still perfectly preserved today. There are over 1250 mummies and 8000 skeletons. Some are buried in glass cases, others propped up with wire in ‘natural’ poses. It’s horrifying, grotesque, and guaranteed to haunt your dreams for the rest of your life.
Island of the Dolls, Mexico
This tiny island is in the channels of Xochimilco near Mexico City. It was originally owned by Don Barrera. He started to hang dolls from trees after a young girl drowned in the canal near his hut. Her presence haunted him, and he claimed that the girl’s soul followed him, crying out “I want my doll”. So, he placed the dolls all over the island to scare her away, but he was still plagued by her ghost. Terrified, Barrera spent the next fifty years of his life hanging up abandoned dolls. He died in 2001; his body found exactly where the young girl had drowned half a century previous. Since then, the island has been a popular tourist destination, accessible only by wooden trajinera boats, as many rowers refuse to go near this haunted place. It’s by far one of the creepiest places in the world.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, U.S.A.
Located in Weston, this beautiful gothic building has a dark past. It was originally built by prisoners as a mental asylum during the late 1800s. Reaching 666 acres (ironically), it was designed to be entirely self-sufficient. There was a farm, waterworks, and a cemetery for deceased patients. It became the home of the West Virginia Lobotomy Project to reduce the number of patients in asylums. Patients who didn’t have their brains removed were often kept in cages. The institute was only intended to house 250 patients, but by the 1950s, there were almost 2500 mentally ill patients staying there. They were forced to sleep on the ground in freezing rooms, surrounded by filth-covered windows and peeling wallpaper. The government shut it down soon after. Today, tourists can take guided tours through its haunted halls, and it has been the site of many ghost hunter projects.
Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romania
This 3-kilometre squared region has the second-highest amount of suicides in the world. It contains the oldest Neolithic settlement in all of Romania, as well as many uncovered tombs. Located in Transylvania, there are many ancient legends depicting the forest as a paranormal area. There are ghost stories and haunting tales centuries of years old that have resulted in a lot of locals refusing to go anywhere near it. The forest got its name after a young man disappeared one night with his flock of 200 sheep. There have been separate UFO sightings over the years, as well as numerous electronic device failures and unexplainable illnesses. Even the trees themselves are otherwordly, growing in mishappen shapes and zig-zag patterns that scientists still can’t explain. Forget Count Dracula; Hoia-Baciu forest is the real horror of Transylvania.
Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
This tiny chapel beneath the Church of All Saints in Kutná Hora is a popular tourist destination. During the 1300s, the cemetery faced problems of overcrowding and overpopulation, so the abbots decided to use the corpses in… a different way. A local carpenter was put in charge of rearranging over 55,000 human skeletons in 1870 to decorate the chapel. An enormous chandelier takes up most of the room, made entirely from bones. It includes at least every single bone found in the human body, as well as a few scary cherubs for good measure. There are altars, mounds, and monstrances all made out of human remains, making it a stunning yet terrifying display of art.
Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital, Germany
This abandoned sanitorium was used during the early 1900s for tuberculosis patients. It was later repurposed as a hospital for wounded World War I soldiers. Among these, was Adolf Hitler himself. It treated Nazi soldiers, the Soviet army, and psychiatry patients. The hospital has been abandoned aside from a few neurological wards, and it’s been decaying for over 25 years. The corridors are dark and endless, the paint peels off the walls, and the tiles are cracked and fading. There are abandoned pianos and graffiti stains in multiple rooms, as well as broken doors and smashed windows. A haunting beauty, it’s the ideal place to go if you never want to sleep again.
Veijo Rönkkönen Sculpture Garden, Finland
Originally the private collection of Veijo Rönkkönen, this garden is now open to the public. It contains almost 500 concrete sculptures, each arranged in different positions. The largest of the group is the collection of 200 human-like figures. They have real human teeth, dark sunken eyes, and creepy poses frozen in time. There are lurking nuns, a grinning Abraham Lincoln, and a strange man whipping a younger boy. Some statues even have speakers buried deep within their bodies that release terrifying sounds. A recluse until death, Rönkkönen claimed that most of these figures were ‘self-portraits’ and refused others to see them. They’re otherwordly, mysterious, and more than a little bit horrifying.
The LaLaurie Mansion, U.S.A
This house is the most haunted home in the U.S.A. The mansion was owned by Delphine LaLaurie, an 1800s socialite, known for being cruel to slaves. It wasn’t until April 1834, that the full extent of this became known. A fire broke out in the mansion’s kitchen, and when the police arrived, they found LaLaurie’s 70-year-old cook chained to the stove. The police demanded the keys to the slave’s quarters to ensure that everyone else escaped the fire. LaLaurie refused. So, they broke down the doors and found seven mutilated slaves hanging from the ceiling. Further investigation revealed multiple bodies buried in the garden, including that of a young child. Delphine LaLaurie fled to France, and the mansion became known as “the Haunted House”. Featured in American Horror Story and The Originals, it’s widely regarded as the most cursed house in America.
The Door to Hell, Turkmenistan
This is an aptly named crater found in the middle of the Karakum Desert. Its diameter is approximately 70 meters wide, or 226 feet, but its gas crater stretches over 5000 meters squared. A collapsed natural gas field, it was set alight in 1971 in order to burn off the lethal methane it released. It’s been burning ever since and its bright red flames eerily resemble a gateway to the underworld.
Christ of the Abyss, Italy
This is a submerged statue of Jesus Christ deep beneath the Italian Riviera. This bronze icon is 2.5 meters tall and is located directly on top of the watery grave that a diver met during the 1940s. In 2003, the statue was removed, missing one hand, and later restored and replaced. It’s now located almost 20 meters below the waves off the coast of San Fruttuoso. The statue proves an eerie sight with outstretched hands and a raised gaze. It’s even creepier with the murky water surrounding it. But hey, maybe a selfie with Jesus makes it worth it!
The Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
Located on a pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Šiauliai, Lithuania, this hill holds over 100,000 crosses. Although it’s believed that the first crosses were placed during the early 1800s, their exact origin remains unknown. The oldest crucifixes are over 200 years old and were placed during times of rebellion and uprising. During the daytime, it’s a sacred area of love and hope. At nighttime, on the other hand, it can get quite creepy. Seeing hundreds and thousands of carved figures and crucifixes rise out of the ground is certainly a sight to behold… or to run away from.
This ghost town in Pennsylvania has been the inspiration for many horror films and novels such as Silent Hill and Vampire Zero. Originally a town of over 1000 residents, the majority of whom worked in the coal fire, there are now less than a dozen people living there. In 1962, as part of a rubbish cleanup operation, the fire spread to an unsealed mine opening and took over. Sinkholes began to form, gasoline started burning, and carbon monoxide levels reached a lethal percentage. They soon evacuated the town and remains desolated today. There are cracks in the road, steaming vents, and flames rising from collapsed graves. The mine has been burning for over 50 years now and doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.
Hanging Coffins, Philippines
There is a long-held belief among the Igorot people that the higher they place a coffin, the quicker the dead will reach their ancestral spirits. Unfortunately, that doesn’t take away from the general creepiness of floating coffins hanging above you. They’re nailed or tied to the side of the cliff, and relatives place the bodies inside in a foetal position. Their bones are sometimes snapped to fit the corpse inside the coffin and then they secure the lid with vines. This ancient ritual holds great cultural significance, but it makes for a scary sight for tourists.