The Spookiest Places in the World
Some of the most popular tourist spots in the world are also the most haunted. Turns out, people just love a good spook. From the Door to Hell to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, these places are sure to make you uneasy with their creepy vibes. Banging noises, mysterious screams and apparitions are just a few of the scary possibilities at famous sites like the Amityville house and the Island of the Dolls.
When it comes to a list of the spookiest places in the world, you can count on these sites to keep you up at night.
Aokigahara Forest – Yamanashi, Japan
Known as the "Sea of Trees," Aokigahara Forest looks charming in appearance with lush, green trees. Its beauty attracts tourists and hikers, but, unfortunately, many visitors get lost in the thick forest and can’t call for help because their cell phones don’t work in the forest. GPS systems and compasses also malfunction inside all the trees.
Island of the Dolls – Xochimilco, Mexico
Xochimilco is home to one of the creepiest islands in the world: Isla de las Munecas or Island of the Dolls. Hundreds of dolls are scattered across the island, hanging on trees and tied to the walls of buildings. The only way to access the island is by boat — if you can convince the captain to take you.
Hill of Crosses – Šiauliai, Lithuania
The haunting Hill of Crosses is actually a pilgrimage site that has existed since the 14th century. The hill’s exact origin remains a mystery, but throughout its history, the Hill of Crosses has created a lot of controversy. In the 1940s, locals kept adding crosses to the site to honor rebels who died for Lithuanian independence. The Soviet Union, who occupied Lithuania at the time, didn’t like that, so the Soviets destroyed the site three times.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tuol Sleng has an extremely disturbing past. Once a high school, the site was transformed into a high-security prison by the Khmer Rouge. Almost 20,000 prisoners occupied Tuol Sleng, and it became a torture and execution center that claimed an estimated 18,133 lives.
Akodessawa Fetish Market – Togo, Africa
If you’re interested in practicing black magic, you can find everything you need at a street market in West Africa known as Akodessewa Fetish Market. It’s the world’s largest voodoo market that sells different types of animal remains. As a result, a foul stench lingers in the air, adding to the creepy atmosphere.
Imagine how difficult it would be if you had to wear a gas mask your entire life. That’s exactly what life is like for residents on the island of Miyake-jima. Their lives depend on frequently wearing gas masks because they occupy an active volcano.
Screaming Tunnel – Ontario, Canada
In the northwest corner of Niagara Falls lies a tunnel with a haunting legend. Locals say a young girl hid in the tunnel to escape a nearby fire but then perished within its walls. Other versions of the legend say she was trying to flee from her abusive father.
Monte Cristo – New South Wales, Australia
Claimed to be "Australia's most haunted house," the Monte Cristo looks like a charming Victorian home on the outside. But on the inside, it’s a different story. Visitors have reported plenty of paranormal activity, including phantom noises, poltergeists and weird orbs. Even better, the Monte Cristo also comes with apparitions.
Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland
Sudden drops in temperature and something unseen pulling on your clothes are common occurrences at Edinburgh Castle, which makes this destination a bone-chilling adventure. Edinburgh Castle has a dark and tragic past. Since the second century AD, it has been the site of 23 surprise attacks and numerous executions.
Tower of London – London, England
One of the must-visit attractions in London is the Tower of London, an impressive medieval structure built in 1078. Over its 1,000-year history, the Tower of London served as a site of executions, torture and murder. Consequently, many ghosts wander the attraction, and a few are really famous.
Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, CO
The Stanley Hotel is notorious for spooking Stephen King into writing The Shining. At the hotel, lights turn on and off, and doors open and close by themselves. The sounds of laughter and footsteps can be heard when no one else is around. Unexplained shadows, drafts and chills pop up out of nowhere.
The Door to Hell – Derweze, Turkmenistan
In the middle of the Karakum Desert, sits a burning hole called the "Door to Hell." The pit wasn’t always on fire. The area was a regular field until 1971, when Soviet engineers began drilling the site for oil. Shortly after, they accidentally ran into a natural gas pocket, and the field collapsed into an underground cavern.
Christ of the Abyss – San Fruttuoso, Italy
If you’re diving in the Mediterranean Sea, near Grenada or in the waters around Key Largo, Florida, you may get startled by an 8-foot statue of Jesus. Christ of the Abyss is an underwater statue collection of Jesus created by sculptor Guido Galletti. He spread his sculptures around different ocean floors.
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – Pripyat, Ukraine
The most devastating nuclear explosions in history took place in Pripyat. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster caused almost 200,000 casualties, and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is still radioactive today. However, that doesn’t stop photographers and tourists from wanting to see it.
Gomantong Caves – Sabah, Malaysia
Malaysia’s Gomantong Caves are a complex cave system with limestone walls that stand as high as 300 feet in some sections. The caves are popular tourist attractions, although visitors get creeped out (and grossed out) by the wildlife living there.
Centralia, Pennsylvania, was the inspiration for Silent Hill, the horrifying video game and movie. Once a busy town with successful coal mines, Centralia slowly started to shrivel up and die after the mines mysteriously caught fire in 1962, and the town couldn’t put the fire out.
Bhangarh Fort – Rundh Bhangarh, India
Located 200 miles from Delhi, the abandoned Bhangarh Fort sits in the middle of a desert. The empty fortress looks like a normal ancient ruin, drawing many visitors to the site while the sun is out. However, at night, it’s a whole different story.
The Queen Mary – Long Beach, CA
The elegant Queen Mary served as a popular passenger ship, sailing on the North Atlantic Ocean between 1936 and 1967. However, after years of service, the Queen Mary was forced to retire in 1967 due to age and decreased profits. The ship docked permanently in Long Beach, California, and eventually converted into a hotel and tourist attraction.
Myrtles Plantation – St. Francisville, LA
Built in 1796, the Myrtles Plantation is one of America’s most haunted homes. First, the plantation is supposedly built over a Native American burial ground in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Second, other common tales label Myrtles Plantation as the site of abuse, revenge and tragic deaths.
Winchester Mystery House – San Jose, CA
The Winchester Mystery House may have the creepiest design on Earth. It includes staircases that lead to nowhere, windows overlooking other rooms and doors that open onto 10-foot drops or brick walls. Bizarre, right? Interestingly, the house wasn’t always this weird.
Corvin Castle – Transylvania, Romania
As one of the largest castles in Europe and one of the Seven Wonders of Romania, Corvin Castle is a fairytale castle many tourists enjoy visiting. Legend claims the historic Transylvanian castle is also the site where the cruel and bloodthirsty ruler, Vlad the Impaler, was imprisoned.
Hanging Coffins – Sagada, Philippines
Sagada, Philippines, is home to one of the most unique burial rituals in the world. Instead of putting coffins in the ground, the Sagada locals dangle hundreds of coffins in caves and along the rock faces of cliffs. It has been a common practice for more than 2,000 years.
Catacombs of Priscilla – Rome, Italy
In the 19th century, archaeologists hoped to find hidden treasures like beautiful monuments and frescoes in Rome’s Santa Priscilla Catacombs. Unfortunately, they discovered the catacombs were destroyed, and legend claims the tombs were devastated because ghosts haunted the cursed cemetery. According to the archaeologists, some of their crew encountered angry spirits, who pushed their carriage into a nearby river.
Nagoro, Japan, has a shrinking aging and young population, causing the village to dwindle over time. Former resident and artist Ayano Tsukimi took matters into her own hands by returning to Nagoro and bringing the town back to life in the most unexpected way.
North Yungas Road – La Paz, Bolivia
A 2,000-foot drop could certainly take a fear of heights to a new extreme. That’s exactly what happens when visitors fall down the cliffs at North Yungas Road in La Paz, Bolivia. Nicknamed "Death Road," this destination claims 200 to 300 lives a year.
Alcatraz – San Francisco, CA
Off the shore of San Francisco, California, sits the former military and federal prison called Alcatraz. From 1934 to 1963, the notorious facility was home to many infamous prisoners, including mobster Al Capone, Bumpy Johnson and George "Machine Gun" Kelly.
The Amityville House – Long Island, NY
Located in Long Island, New York, the Amityville house is where Ronald DeFeo, Jr., took the lives of his family members in 1974. About a year after the tragic incident, the Lutz family moved into the home and enjoyed a great beginning — for a few days.
Gettysburg Battlefield – Gettysburg, PA
Gettysburg Battlefield is known as the most haunted place in the world. During the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg went on for three days and became the bloodiest battle in U.S. history. More than 50,000 Americans lost their lives, and thousands of other soldiers were wounded or went missing.
Lawang Sewu – Semarang, Indonesia
During World War II, Japan invaded Semarang, Indonesia, and took over a building owned by the first railway company in the Dutch East Indies, calling it Lawang Sewu. In Japanese, Lawang Sewu means "thousand doors." They turned the building into a prison, and the basement was used for executions.
Manchac Swamp – Laplace, LA
Most bayous are infested with snakes and gators swimming in murky waters, but one swamp in Louisiana has a unique aspect that makes it unsettling. Located near New Orleans, Manchac Swamp is the spookiest swamp thanks to a curse and a strange, lurking beast.