Travel is a wonderful experience and opens the mind up to many new things, and the eyes to even more, as individuals gaze upon new countries, and soak up what the cities have to offer. But some places have tourist attractions that have a much more bizarre history than others.
Many people love a good scare, whether that be a visit to a spooky theme park ahead of Halloween, or enjoying a horror film in the comfort of their own home. But why spend money, and go way out of a comfort zone, to visit some of the most haunted homes in the world, from an Irish castle to an Australian homestead? Or travel to an island inhabited by either people or snakes, both of which really don’t want anyone to be there. And then there are the less creepy attractions, which are simply an odd way to spend an evening (as fun as a vampire cafe sounds).
There are many destinations that are best left avoided and we intend to heed that warning, although, they admittedly make for some great photo opportunities and probably a story to write home about. Below are 25 places that are interesting, despite being places that create instant goosebumps when thinking of them.
25 The Roopkund Lake Is Often Referred To As Skeleton Lake Because Of What Was Found In It
The reason you’ll never find us anywhere near Skeleton Lake is not that we don’t like to travel, but because sometimes there are some places that are just plain creepy, and this lake is one of those places. Its official name is Roopkund, and it is a lake that is steeped in mystery, it’s also a lake that contained skeletal remains of more than 200 humans which are believed to date back to around 850AD, Daily Mail reports.
The publication notes that the remains were first found in 1942 by a British forest guard, but it was not until 2004 that scientists made a theory as to how the bodies came to be there.
24 An Old Military Hospital In Beelitz Now Lays Empty, But It Has Seen Many Patients Over The Years
There is a former military hospital called the Beelitz Heilstätten, located in Beelitz, Germany, which was built in 1898 and has served as a place for those with tuberculosis, as well as for the injured during World War I (with Adolf Hitler among them) and World War II, Atlas Obscura reports. The hospital has seen many people pass in and out of its doors over the years, but it is now disused.
And if the history was not enough to put you off, then perhaps the fact that it’s lying empty is. Most abandoned buildings have a creepy feel to them, but this one is also covered in graffiti (which makes you think you’ll bump into a group of delinquents at any turn).
23 Tokyo's Vampire Cafe May Be All Fun And Games But There Are Better Ways To Spend An Evening Out
Japan is home to many weird and wonderful places, and the vampire cafe is right there on the top. There are many themed restaurants all over the world, but not many decide that they are going to theme theirs like the inside of a vampire’s lair, and the decorations here included a floor with red blood cells, menus shaped like coffins, a coffin-shaped booth, and candles, Appetite for Japan reports.
In keeping with the whole vampire theme, the room is dimly lit and a host is dressed up like Dracula. It’s fun if you’re into the unusual, but creepy if you’re not.
22 The Island Of The Dolls Is Not A Place For Anyone With A Phobia To Venture To
I happen to know someone who is not a fan of dolls, and when I say not a fan, that’s a major understatement. Some people just don’t like seeing little plastic figures smiling at them, and on Isla de las Munecas, or The Island of the Dolls, there is a heck of a lot of them.
Located south of Mexico City, the island’s dolls are believed to have been placed there to pay homage to a girl who lost her life in the river, although the story is rather mysterious. According to the Isla de las Munecas website, over the years, more and more dolls have been added by people, and the island is said to be haunted. Some have even claimed to have seen the dolls move their heads and eyes.
21 Snake Island Is Not Open To Visitors, Which Is The Only Good Thing About It
The only good thing about Ilha da Queimada Grande (or as it’s better known Snake Island) in Brazil, is that people are not allowed to visit it, and that’s because it’s unlikely they would make it off the island alive. The reason for this is because it’s filled Golden Lancehead Viper, a venomous species of snake, which according to Atlas Obscura is responsible for most of the snake bite fatalities in Brazil.
This island has an unusually large population of these snakes, and it is estimated that there is between 1 and 5 of these snakes per square meter.
20 Karosta Prison Has Been Turned Into A Hotel Where People Pay For A Convict Experience
Would you spend a night in a room that was once a notorious prison? Turns out there are some people who want to pay money to do this (and feel creeped out during their stay). According to Daily Mail, the former Karosta Prison now offers guests the “full prisoner experience,” but they have to sign a release form before their stay so they know what they are getting themselves into -- they will be treated as though they are inmates.
Tourists may get a little more than they bargain for though because this place is believed to be haunted (it does have a very sad and dark history) and has featured on Ghost Hunters International.
19 Shikoku Doll Island Started As One Resident's Way To Not Feel As Alone
Although Nagoro, or Shikoku Doll Island, is not as well known as Isla de las Munecas, that doesn’t make it any less unusual. Most of the people who once lived in this village are long gone, and they have now been replaced by dolls.
According to Unusual Places, the dolls first started appearing more than a decade ago, after a resident returned to the village and found herself incredibly lonely. And to fill this void, instead of getting a cat (who knows, maybe she did that too) she started creating dolls which she dressed in old clothing. There are more than 350 dolls in the village now, and it seems that their number is continuing to increase because the woman's project is ongoing.
18 North Sentinel Island Is Not A Place That Welcomes Outsiders
There are some travel destinations where it's not recommended to visit because they pose a security problem, and North Sentinel Island is inhabited by Sentinelese tribesmen (a hunter-gatherer society) who do not welcome outsiders. In fact, anyone who ventures onto their land will not make it off, and according to National Geographic, the most recent incident involved an American missionary who had traveled to the island in hopes of converting the tribesman to his faith.
Little is known about this tribe, although they are believed to have migrated here from Africa tens of thousands of years ago, the publication reports.
17 It's Not Everyday People See Hanging Coffins, But This Is A Tradition For A Tribe In The Philippines
The hanging coffins in Sagada in the Philippines are not a sight that you expect to see every day because most coffins are buried. This is simply not the case in this mountain region, and the coffins of the deceased are nailed to the cliffs. According to Rough Guides, this is a practice done by the Igorot tribe, who have had the tradition for more than 2 millennia.
The reasons for the high burials are because the corpses are protected, and no one can get into the coffins. And although it makes for great photos, it’s basically like visiting a cemetery.
16 Clinton Road Is Considered One Of The Most Haunted Roads In America
There are some places where you do not want to drive alone at night for fear of what could be lurking in the shadows, and Clinton Road in West Milford, New Jersey, is one of those roads. The stretch of road is just under 10 miles long and is often referred to as being one of the most haunted roads in America.
There have been multiple articles dedicated to this road and the unusual things that are said to happen on it. In fact, it’s been tested by those who want to see something out of the ordinary, and there are certain stop-off points which are considered to be “haunted.” A Buzzfeed writer was among those individuals who traveled on the road, and she wrote about the “scary things” she saw.
15 The Gates of Hell Are In The Middle Of The Desert, And We'd Prefer Not To Visit
There is a crater in Turkmenistan often referred to as The Gates of Hell because, well, it sort of looks like what you would expect the opening of the pits of hell to look like. The real name for this crater, according to Atlas Obscura, is Darvaza Crater.
The crater has, according to the publication, been burning in the Karakum desert since 1971. The reason for this fiery pit’s existence is because of a mistake made by a Soviet drilling rig, which opened up an underground natural gas cavern. Poisonous gas was leaking from the hole, and to stop this, the Soviets set the hole alight.
14 Winchester Mystery House Has A Interesting But Also Confusing History
The Winchester Mystery House is such an unusual place that it was even turned into a movie titled, Winchester. The sprawling mansion is located in San Jose, California, and once served as the home to Sarah Winchester, the widow of William Wirt Winchester, founder of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
What makes this home unlike others, it that over 36 years (and millions of dollars later), Sarah continued to renovate her home. The result being a home with over 160 rooms, 10,000 windows, and staircases and doors that are impractical and lead to nowhere, Atlas Obscura reports. The reason for the changes remain a mystery, but there are many theories, including the story that Sarah was haunted by the ghosts of those who lost their lives with the Winchester rifle.
13 The Church Of Bones Was Created Using The Remains Of Thousands Of Individuals
Sedlec Ossuary, or Bone Church, as it’s often referred to, is not a place you see every day, and that’s because it is decorated with the bones of 30,000 people. According to National Geographic, the small church is located in Sedlec, in the Czech Republic.
As for how the bones came to be used to decorate the church? Well, long story short, the publication notes that the churchyard was one of the most popular places to be buried, but in the 14th century the plague claimed 30,000 lives, and there was no space to bury them. Years later, the bones were used to decorate the church.
12 Sanzhi Resort In Taiwan Was Never Completed Because It Was Believed To Be Cursed
Apparently, the Sanzhi Resort in Taiwan is a strange place. According to News.com, the buildings were left unfinished after a number of people lost their lives in accidents during construction, both workers on the projects, and car accidents on the nearby street. And there are now claims that it is a spot for paranormal activity.
The location was closed to the public since 1980, but the publication notes that this hasn't stopped tourists from finding a way from exploring. Well, that was until 2010, when the pods were knocked down.
11 Leap Castle In Ireland Has Experienced Some Unexplainable Things Over The Years
Do you want to spend a night at a resort where other guests are not the only visitors? And by this, we mean the place is haunted, like Leap Castle in Ireland. According to the Leap Castle website, this place is the “world’s most haunted castle” and has a turbulent history.
Visit Offaly notes that there is a couple who live in this castle, and they claim to have experienced some unexplained things but don't believe that the castle is haunted, rather the current owner feels the “spirits he sees and hears have as much right to live there as he does.”
10 Monte Cristo Homestead Is Said To Be Haunted By Its Original Owners
Now we go from Ireland’s most haunted castle, at least according to the website, to Australia’s most haunted destination, the Monte Cristo Homestead. According to Daily Mail, the manor house is believed to be haunted by its original owners, Christopher and Elizabeth Crawley, and the current owners have told The Project they have experienced some unexplained things.
These encounters include having a hand on their shoulders, and a person had their name called when no one else was there. These things have happened for years.
9 Bran Castle In Romania Was The Home Of Dracula
Transylvania in Romania is best-known for its history of vampires because this is where Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula is believed to have lived. According to Lonely Planet, Dracula was inspired by the real-life individual Vlad Dracula, who had a taste for blood (he is believed to have put as many as 80,000 enemies on spikes). Now, this brings us to Bran Castle, which according to STA is not a place for the faint-hearted, and the site lists as one of the “scariest travel destinations.”
Sure, Dracula is not going to get you there, but the place still freaks us out.
8 Lithuania's Kryžių Kalnas Is A Collection Of Hundreds Of Thousands Of Crosses
Lithuania's Kryžių Kalnas, or as it’s also referred to, Hill of Crosses, is an unusual destination located just outside of the city of Šiauliai. Here, there are hundreds of thousands of metal and wooden crosses that have been placed for more than two centuries, National Geographic reports, the site serves as a pilgrimage and an expression of religious devotion.
Throughout history, there have been attempts to destroy the site, with the publication noting that in 1961, it was bulldozed by authorities during the Soviet era.
7 Residents Of Miyakejima Island Are Required To Carry Gas Masks With Them
The Izu Islands are a group of volcanic islands in Japan, and those who live on Miyakejima are required to “carry a gas mask with them at all times,” Atlas Obscura notes.
The island on which they live has experienced a lot of volcanic activity, but it is the extremely high levels of toxic gas (namely sulfur) that are released from the ground that are the real danger. This may seem like enough to deter tourists considering that a siren can go off at any time, but tourists are permitted to visit the island, if they want, with gas masks in tow.
6 The Manchac Swamp is Said To Be Visited By The Ghost Of A Voodoo Queen
According to Travel + Leisure, Manchac Swamp in Louisiana is one of the world’s “creepiest attractions,” and for good reason. In addition to having waters filled with alligators there is also a legend surrounding this swamp involving a “voodoo queen” who now haunts the area, RoadTrippers reports.
As the story goes, when she was buried, a hurricane tore through the town, tearing down villages and resulting in the loss of many lives. People claim to hear her screaming or singing out on the swamp.
5 The Port Arthur Historic Sites Include A Penitentiary, And It's Not One People Would Have Wanted To Find Themselves In
Another destination noted by Travel + Leisure as being creepy is the Port Arthur Historic Sites in Tasmania, and the reason for this is because there have reportedly been many reported ghost sightings.
The location was a former convict settlement, which Discover Tasmania notes is now a UNESCO site and has more than 30 historic buildings (including a penitentiary) and ruins to explore. The penitentiary was originally a flour mill and granary but was converted in 1843 to house criminals in dormitories or solitary cells, the Port Arthur website notes.
4 Pripyat Tuned Into A Ghost Town After All Of Its Residents Had To Be Evacuated
The town of Pripyat, in Ukraine, was forever affected in 1986 after the Chernobyl Nuclear Station exploded and released radioactive chemicals into the air, Atlas Obscura reports. The town had been set up in 1970 to house the power plant workers, and was home to around 49,000 people, but the residents had to be evacuated after the explosion.
The evacuation happened in just three hours, and since that day in 1986, the many buildings of the once bustling town, including an old hospital, amusement park, primary schools, and complexes, have been left empty and abandoned.
3 Spreepark In Berlin Is A (Creepy) Forgotten Amusement Park
An attraction that may be one to avoid at night is the Spreepark in Berlin. This former amusement park closed in 2002, and according to Atlas Obscura, the reason for its doors shutting was in part because of the lack of visitors, but also because the owner had criminal dealings.
And because the park has been abandoned since then, it has taken on a rather creepy feel. The old rides, including a Ferris wheel and roller coaster, as well as the multiple dinosaur statues that were once an attraction, are now scattered around the park, covered in graffiti.
2 Kansas' Stull Cemetery Is Meant To Contain A Stairway That Leads To A Place No One Wants To Go
Walking through any cemetery at night is considered to be an unpleasant experience, but walking through Stull Cemetery in Kansas is going to be scarier than most because according to CBS News, it is one of the most haunted places in America. The publication notes that the location is considered a hub of paranormal activity and there are stories of the town once had witches. But the worst part of all is that there is meant to be “hidden stairway that descends into hell itself.” Um, no thanks!
1 The Stanley Hotel Is Where Stephen King Was Inspired To Write 'The Shining'
The Stanley Hotel, located near the Rocky Mountain National Park, served as the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel, The Shining, and later that unforgettable and totally creepy movie of the same name, starring Jack Nicholson. According to Slice, visitors can stay in the same room as King did, Room 217, but there are also a few uninvited guests in the hotel.
The publication notes that the hotel is believed to be haunted and that visitors have claimed to have heard unexplained noises, ghosts giggling, and piano music.
References: Daily Mail, Atlas Obscura, Rough Guides, Appetite For Japan, Isla de las Munecas, National Geographic, Buzzfeed, Atlas Obscura, News.com.au, Lonely Planet, CBS News, Slice