Planet Earth, our remarkable home, boasts countless places of breathtaking beauty and wonder.
From the expanses of the Grand Canyon in the American west to the lofty reaches of Angel Falls in Venezuela to the Alpine vistas of mountains stretching across Europe, there is near endless beauty awaiting the eyes of the traveler.
But guess what? There are also some places that are so goddamn terrifying you’d trade all the Angel Falls and Grand Whatevers just to never ever experience them. Yes, as much as our planet offers you stunning beauty, it also houses many regions of pants-change-inducing horror. Let’s talk about 25 of those today, shall we?
25.) Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
This ossuary can look innocent at first sight, but as soon as you look up, you will be surprised at how many skeletons are haunting the ceiling.
All the chandeliers and garlands are actually made of skulls and bones. The worst of it is that they’re made quite artistically!
24.) Poveglia, Greece
We’re still on the theme of skulls and bones! Poveglia is a disguised island in Greece where bones and skulls come crashing on the shore with every wave.
Some boats even got stuck in piles of human bones!
23.) Tuol Sleng, Cambodia
No one could have predicted the horrors that turned Tuol Sleng into one of Cambodia’s haunted places. At first, it was an innocent high school for the kids living nearby.
Shortly after though, it was transformed into what became one of Cambodia’s most notorious prison. In the 1970s, more than 12,000 people were tortured there and murdered. The place was codenamed S-21 and is hauntingly terrifying to anyone who visits it.
22.) Veijo Rönkkönen Sculpture Garden, Finland
Veijo Rönkkönen is one unusual individual. He is one of the most famous contemporary folk artists in Finland but also has his own quirks.
As he refuses to showcase his work in public places, he built a massive art collection in his backyard, showcasing 500 concrete figures all in different (and disturbing) positions and shapes. The point that sells it: they have REAL teeth!
21.) Aokigahara, Japan
Aokigahara is no normal forest. Before even stepping a foot in it, you can read in big letters on signboards the words “Life is precious” and “Consult the police before you decide to die.”
The reason is that it is a massive suicide point in Japan, with many paranormal activities reported in the area.
20.) Bell Witch Cave, Tennessee, USA
The Bell Witch Cave is a classic among ghost hunters in the US. The cave is located on a farm that was once the property of the Bell family.
The legend begins in 1817 when the family reported strange events. Strange-looking animals, knocking sounds on the door late at night, sounds of chains being dragged, stones being dropped inside the house, a rat gnawing on the bed, and more.
The family kept the secret to themselves for over a year but broke under the pressure and confided in a neighbor. When those weird events happened over and over again and more people experienced them, it became well-known to the public as a haunted spot.
19.) Door to Hell, Turkmenistan
If you want to take a peek at what hell could look like, this natural gas crater in Derweze, Turkmenistan is the way to go.
Located in the Karakum Desert, the first time it burned was in 1971 when a group of engineers started drilling in the area. After an accident on site, their drilling rig collapsed, forming a crater. The crater, looking like a portal to hell, is still burning to this day.
18.) Capuchin Catacombs, Italy
While the most adventurous souls like to venture inside catacombs to explore them, we doubt that many would like to visit the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily, Italy.
Those catacombs are home to more than 8,000 skeletons, some of which are extremely well-preserved. The strangest thing about them though is that they’re posing together while fully clothed.
17.) Death Valley, USA
The name isn’t some kind of metaphor. If you spend too much time in the Death Valley, you will probably die of heat and dehydration.
This valley is the hottest, driest, and lowest place in North America, in addition to having no cellphone coverage. Be careful if you’re in the area.
16.) Craco, Italy
1963 Marked the last activity in this village in Italy.
All its residents were transferred to another place, leaving the place entirely empty. After several allegations of evil souls and paranormal activities taking place in the area, no one really ventured coming back to it.
15.) The Island Of Dolls, Mexico
If Chucky gave you nightmares, it’s best to stay clear from the Island of Dolls in Mexico.
The whole island is packed with the decaying figures of dolls of all shapes and sizes. The story began when Don Julian Santana Barrera made a gruesome discovery: the body of a little girl drowned in a Teshuilo Lake, with a doll that came floating after the body.
Barrera would then spend his next 50 years hanging dolls around the island to appease the spirit of the little girl.
14.) Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania, USA
The ‘Pennsylvania System’ is not a name to throw around easily. It was a system where prisoners were mercilessly treated, where they’d be left in solitary confinement to suffer and many times even to die.
Besides the spine-chilling stories we have heard about the place, there are several paranormal stories that are being told about the place.
13.) Miyake-Jima, Japan
Miyake-Jima is now an inhabited island. Many years ago though, it was a place where people would wear gas masks at all times to prevent poisonous gases from the active volcanoes to harm them.
Not a fun way to spend one’s life.
12.) Lome Bazaar, Togo
Black magic is an eerie combination of words in itself, but add the word “market” to it and you got yourself a new level of scare.
The Lome Bazaar is a scary site in Togo, Africa, where one can find all the necessities to practice black magic. No wonder it’s one of the most terrifying places in the world.
11.) Abandoned Military Hospital, Beelitz, Germany
This hospital might seem dull, abandoned, and scary today, but it preserves in its walls a big piece of Germany’s history.
This 60-building treatment facility center welcomed the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler when he was one of the wounded soldiers of WWI and became a notorious treatment center for Nazi soldiers in WWII. The hospital served as a tuberculosis sanatorium between 1898 and 1930 as well and was, later on, used a Soviet military hospital until the fall of the Berlin wall.
The majority of the complex is now left to abandonment and decay.
10.) The Great Blue Hole, Belize
Seems like a paradisiac island, right? Well, the shallow alluring waters hide a vertical drop of more than 400 feet deep!
The Great Blue Hole is a 1,000-foot-wide sinkhole that is an absolute geological wonder. Free-diving inside of it is both an out-of-the-world experience and an absolutely chilling one. How would you feel if you were diving so far down the ocean?
9.) Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Philippines
How would you feel seeing coffins hanging beside you on the side of a cliff rather than deep in the ground?
That’s the tradition in Sagada, Philippines. This ancient tradition follows a particular philosophy: make your own coffin, die in it, and hang next to your ancestors.
While we fully understand it, we still find it spine-chilling.
8.) The Toys of Nagoro, Japan
Doll-related terrifying places have already been here featured twice on this list, and it’s not over yet. Proof that people all around the world find them terrifying!
Meet Nagoro, a Japanese village with almost 350 dolls and less than 40 actual human beings. Those dolls are near-perfect replicas of residents who have died or passed away, all made by Tsukimi Ayano.
You can see them filling the town in the docks, the classrooms, the benches. A life-sized (horrifying) toyland.
7.) The Death Road, Bolivia
The North Yunga’s Road, connecting La Paz to Coroico in Bolivia, is not a picnic.
It is 15,000-foot high, 12-foot wide, and 50-mile long. Once you step on it, you can hardly see what’s in front of you due to the rain and fog and don’t know what’s coming in front of you, since it’s a single-line path. With this, the North Yungas Road used to gather almost 300 annual deaths. Today, it is a well-known spot for adventurous souls.
6.) Snake Island, Brazil
Ilha de Queimada Grande is better-known as “Snake Island,” and for a good reason. This dangerous island is infested with golden lancehead vipers.
But those vipers aren’t like any other. They live in such difficult conditions that their body adapted to it: their venom became 5 times stronger and they became able to track birds and fish and melt their flesh.
The Brazilian authorities are banning anyone from getting into the island.
5.) The Bermuda Triangle
Look, I know it’s probably a mix of bad luck, deliberate hoax, legend, and so on, but the thought of a region where people regularly just disappear? That’s scary stuff.
And for centuries that has been just what the Bermuda Triangle, an area roughly delineated by lines drawn from Bermuda to Puerto Rico to Miami, has been. From mariners in centuries past to modern seamen to pilots, many a person has headed into this large swath of ocean and just vanished. Take our advice, and take the long way around.
4.) Yellowstone National Park
Yeah, you may think of Old Faithful and charming, pic-a-nic basket stealing bears, but Yellowstone is actually just about the most volcanically active place on the planet. The park sits atop a massive caldera of volcanic activity and if (or when) it ever decides to take its activity up a notch, it could produce a supermassive volcano the size and magnitude of which would render most other historic eruptions about as impressive as a sneeze.
And we’re kind of due for that to happen, by the way. The sneeze, I mean—let’s hope the Yellowstone Caldera chills the hell out for a while yet.
3.) Dallol, Ethiopia
Dallol, in Ethiopia, is the hottest inhabited place on earth. Temperatures regularly soar above the average, which is one hundred and six degrees Fahrenheit!
That’s the average, man. Also, pictures of the place look something like a sulfurous wasteland Spaceman Spiff would find himself marooned (with no offense meant to residents of Dallol and with a tip of the cap to anyone who did not have to Google Spaceman Spiff).
2.) Mariana’s Trench
The Mariana’s Trench boasts the deepest point anywhere on earth, with the current measurements putting its floor at 6.83 miles below sea level, the temperature at just a hair above freezing, the water pressure at almost 16,000 pounds per square inch, and my interest in visiting somewhere rather low on the scale.
But people have explored it, including famed director James Cameron who made a descent just a few years back because… he could?
1.) Gobi Desert
When you think of deserts, what comes to mind? The unyielding, searing sun bearing down hotly onto endless hills of sands, right? Well, not in this case. In the Gobi Desert, you can easily find all the joy of there not being a single drop of water for months on end and combine it with the pleasure of freezing to death! That’s right, in the Gobi, the average temperature is just a few degrees above freezing, and spends lots of time hovering right around “My toes just fell off.”
Add in the fact that at some times the temperature will change by almost 100 degrees in less than a day and the occasional flash floods of the monsoon season (when it rains, it’s deadly flash floods!) and you have a region of southern China/northern Mongolia to pretty much avoid.
Now that you have learned a little bit about a few places to never, ever visit, why not consider never, ever visiting them? And why not try re-reading this list to yourself in David Attenborough’s voice to see if it still inspires spine-tingling fear or instead seems charming and British. Or maybe it can do both.