5 Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
The Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic will remind you of Paris’s catacombs. Located beneath a Prague-area chapel is an underground cavern with the bones of up to 70,000 people. If that’s not eerie enough, the chapel is decorated with bones because the cemetery overflowed with bodies after an abbot sprinkled the grounds with dirt from Golgotha in 1278. To take care of the jumble bones, in the 1800s, woodcarver František Rint turned them into sculptures and decorative pieces, such as a chandelier and coat of arms.
4 Truk Lagoon, Micronesia
Just 3,000 miles south of Hawaii is Truk Lagoon. The azure waters cover more than 60 Japanese aircraft carriers and warships that the Allied forces sunk—crew and all—in 1944. The barnacle-encrusted, under-water graveyard shows how the crew stocked its ships and planes with items like sake cups, assault tanks and gas masks. Divers still occasionally find human remains.
3 Aokigahara Forest, Japan
Infamously known as the “Suicide Forest,” Japan’s dense Aokigahara Forest near the base of Mt. Fuji is a desolate and quiet place that’s so creepy that you hardly see any wildlife. According to Japanese mythology, the forest is home to demons and human spirits. To make the site even more eerie is the fact that more than 500 people have committed suicide in the forest since the 1950s. Every year, people find bones, bodies, nooses and floral arrangements on the forest floor. You can also find search grids used for the annual body hunt and signs that remind people that life is precious.
2 Manchac Swamp, Louisiana
In a land where voodoo is about more than watching “Weekend at Bernie’s,” you’ll find Manchac Swamp near the New Orlean’s Lake Ponchartrain. The swamp is full of hungry alligators and long Spanish moss that hangs from the cypress and mangrove trees as a thick mist rises from the waters. What makes the swamp eerie is that, according to legend, it is the home of Rougarou, the Cajun equivalent of a werewolf. To make matters worse, the ghost of Julie White, a voodoo priestess, haunts the waters of Manchac Swamp. Legend states that Julie sits on her porch and prophesies the destruction of towns.
In Iceland, “huldufólk” (hidden people)—elves, gnomes and trolls—supposedly live within and under stones and mountains. According to IcelandInsider.com, about half of the country’s residents believe that the existence of the hidden people is possibly true. Because of this, some contractors alter building plans to prevent damage to the rocks and children are taught to not throw stones. Some people have even gone as far as to build small churches to convert the mythical beings to Christianity. Many believe that when projects don’t go as planned, particularly construction projects, it’s because the project angered the local elves, so they retaliated. According to Icelandic legends, trolls turn to stone during the day. It would be simple to laugh at this idea if the some of the hills didn’t look like they had the faces of sleeping giants on them.
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