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This post is for all you fright freaks and creep seekers. From forests shrouded in mystery to definitely-haunted castles, the world’s horror hotspots are waiting to be explored. Ready?
Top 10 Scariest Tourist Destinations
1. St. Augustine Lighthouse – Phantoms Aplenty
If lighthouses fascinate you, visit St. Augustine Lighthouse, USA. The spirits of its yesteryears have long possessed it. Employees as well as tourists have seen two young female ghosts – assumed to be the daughters of the tower’s construction in-charge. They died here while it was being built. Reports of sightings grew in number, and so, a crew headed by Jason Hawes investigated the lighthouse. They found figures leaning over rails and infrared readings that could only explain paranormal activity. Take the Dark Side of the Moon ghost tour to get up close and personal with the lighthouse’s eerie dwellers.
2. The Stanley Hotel – Still Shining On
The Stanley Hotel inspired Stephen King’s chilling book, The Shining. It’s officially one of America’s most haunted hotels. Founded in 1909 by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley, it overlooks the gorgeous landscape of the Rockies. Its interiors are gorgeous too…but for centuries, visitors, including the famed author, simply can’t help but take notice of the spookiness that engulfs this site. Ghost sightings are an everyday occurrence. The Stanleys died ages ago, but their souls still lodge there. The spirit of Mr. Stanley greets new visitors at the reception counter, while his wife is spotted all around the hotel. Try the hotel’s ghost adventure package, where you’ll get a K2 meter to explore its very-much-alive spirit world.
3. Aokigahara – the Forest of Death
Aokigahara is a scenic forest in Japan. But don’t let its beauty mislead you – Aokigahara has been a suicide zone since the 19th century. In 2010, there were 50 deaths. It gets darker…the spirits of the departed live here forever, inviting visitors to join them. It’s not all a mystery though. This forest was a site for “Ubasute”, an ancient Japanese custom of abandoning the old. They then went on to hang themselves on the trees. Because the forest is so huge, you might discover something (or someone) new with every visit. Enjoy exploring this jungle of doom!
4. Lawang Sewu – A Thousand Doors (of Terror)
Do movies about bloody history excite you? How about seeing a prison’s past relive itself through you? Dubbed as one of Indonesia’s most haunted buildings, Lawang Sewu (Thousand Doors) was used as a prison by Japanese forces. Building B was its torture site, where the Japanese forces agonised their victims brutally…eventually chopping their heads off and tossing them in the basement. Still headless, their souls float around the premises. The spirit of a little girl who killed herself to escape her tormentors often reveals herself. The soul of a Dutchwoman who couldn’t escape is believed to have made the prison her home.
5. Museum of Death – Gore Galore
America’s Museum of Death boasts the world’s biggest collection of articles involved in and related to murder. There are so many things to satisfy your creepy cravings you out – real death footage, serial killer artwork, photos of crime scenes and freak accidents, body bags and coffins, replicas of execution devices…the list goes on. The museum warns you that it’s not for the faint hearted. Everything here is unfiltered and in-your-face.
6. Isla De Las Muñecas – Dolls of the Departed
Isla De Las Muñecas is Mexican for “island of dolls”. The island’s caretaker, Julian Barrera once found a dead girl on the coast. He soon found a doll too, believed to be the little girl’s. He hung it on a tree. But the girl’s spirit shrieked, night after night. To soothe her, he hung more dolls – hundreds of old, damaged ones. Many years later, Barrera was found dead on the same spot as the little girl. Now, Isla De Las Muñecas is filled with old dolls. People swear that they blink and whisper. To pay homage to the child and her faithful caretaker, visitors add new dolls to the collection. Don’t forget to carry yours!
7. Edinburgh Castle – Europe’s Creepiest City’s Creepiest Castle
Edinburgh has rightfully earned its reputation as Europe’s most haunted city. Built over an extinct volcano, the Edinburgh Castle was a place of extreme violence – in the form of both battle and torture. The prisoners of its dungeons died a long time ago. But they never really left. Spirits you’ll spot are those of inmates, a headless child, and a piper. This Castle is almost officially haunted – In 2001, volunteers as part of a scientific investigation claimed that they saw figures…and were touched too. They also experienced sporadic drops in temperature. Spooky…
8. Castle Of Good Hope – and the Hopeless
South Africa’s oldest colonial building, the Castle of Good Hope has much for the chill-chasing tourist. Many a soul have met their fates here…very, very painfully. The Bell Tower’s bell was barricaded over a century ago, after a soldier took his life at the post. But if you’re lucky, you’ll still hear it ring. One of the former governors, Pieter Gysbert van Noodt frequents the walkways as he fumes with rage. A soldier he sentenced to death had cast a spell on him. He died on the very same day, and is trapped within the castle walls…albeit in another realm. Several other spirits live here, never hesitant to send shivers down the spines of visitors.
9. Hoia Baciu Forest – Romania’s “Bermuda Triangle”
With its bizarre trees and dead zones, Hoia Baciu is as eerie as a forest could get. In 1968, military technician Emil Barnea photographed a UFO while camping here. When the world took notice, people began to flock here in search for answers. One after the other, unnerving stories surfaced. Visitors saw strange shapes in the sky, heard groans and screams, felt nauseated and were often overcome by anxiety. Many returned with unexplained marks on their skin. Some allegedly never returned. The locals, however, aren’t surprised – they’ve long considered Hoia Baciu to be under the rule of sinister forces.
10. Mayday Hills Hospital – Investigate at Your Own Risk
Among Australia’s most haunted buildings, the Mayday Hills Hospital (a.k.a Beechworth Asylum) dates back to 1867. On a beautiful hill, it functioned as a mental asylum where over thousands of patients breathed their last. There are no legends or stories…you can explore the hospital’s dark side in an actual paranormal investigation. You can use instruments to track physical manifestations of unexplained forces. But you might not even need one – it’s almost a given that you’ll hear footsteps, whispers and faint screams, and see apparitions of Matron Sharpe, keepers and inmates. Tread lightly.
Before you set out to chase (and be chased by) the shadows of other realms, be sure to get some good sleep – we’re not sure if you will ever again!