40 Creepiest Places on Earth
The world is a strange place, but some locales are creepier than others.
The world is a strange place, but some locales are creepier than others. Even if you can't quite put your finger on it, some places just seem "off." Across the globe, there are countless of these spooky destinations--from haunted buildings to UFO hotspots to everything in between.
Today, we're counting down the top 30 spots in the world that are seriously creepy. So dim the lights and get ready to be freaked out! Who knows? Maybe some of these spots are close to home. Be sure to visit them...if you dare!
Hoia Baicu, Romania
Sometimes referred to as “the Bermuda Triangle of Romania”, Hoia Baicu is a forest where numerous paranormal encounters have occurred--including both ghost and UFO sightings. Even visitors who don’t see anything explicit often report unexplained feelings of nausea and general unease while in the forest. The icing on this creepy cake has to be the trees, though. Despite scientists best efforts, no one can explain why many of them are bent and warped at odd angles.
Denver International Airport
When you’re stuck in a long line, any airport feels like a nightmare, but Denver International Airport really takes the cake. From the horse sculpture with blood-red eyes outside to the apocalyptic murals within, the creepy artwork here makes it feel like something sinister is going on.
Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
Have you ever wanted a place that combined the beauty of cathedral architecture with the terror of death? Then the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic is the place for you! This chapel, first constructed in the 1400s, is adorned with the bones of over 50,000 people. The skeletal decor includes an altar, a coat of arms, and a chandelier that was built with at least one of every bone found in the human body.
Nazca Lines, Peru
The Nazca Lines are a group of huge symbols etched into the ground in southern Peru--they’re estimated to be thousands of years old. Which is exactly why they’re creepy. Without the aid of cameras, planes, or drones, how could these ancient people plot out the giant glyphs from the ground? Well, some say aliens had a hand in creating them.
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster left the surrounding town of Pripyat abandoned nearly overnight. This creepy ghost town is a visual reminder of what happened there. However, the scariest part of Chernobyl is what you can’t see--the radiation that still lingers in the environment. Even though things may look normal, some areas still have deadly radiation levels that will persist for thousands of years.
Stonehenge may be an important cultural landmark, but there’s something creepy about the mystery of the place. No one is entirely sure why it was created, but its isolated location and the graves beneath it conjure up creepy visions of ancient, Pagan human sacrifices.
Island of the Dolls, Mexico
Creepy dolls are a classic horror movie trope, so it’s no wonder that most people are creeped out by this island full of them in Mexico. The original owner of the island began hanging dolls as a way to ward off evil spirits, but we’d almost rather deal with a demon than these freaky toys! While the island has become a popular tourist spot, there are some boatmen who refuse to take passengers there for fear of the spirits that allegedly haunt the location.
Bran Castle, Romania
Count Dracula may be a fictional character, but the man who inspired him--Vlad the Impaler--is most certainly real and so is his castle in Romania. Tourists who are brave enough to visit can learn all about the castle and its most famous and violent inhabitant--who, as his name implies, was fond of impaling his enemies.
Japan is currently dealing with a declining population, and when the small town of Nagoro was hard hit by this trend, a resident took it upon herself to repopulate the area. Her plan? Hundreds of life-size dolls scattered across town, of course! While this story sounds sweet and a little sad, it turns immediately creepy when you get a glimpse of the dolls she created--they’re just detailed and humanoid enough to be terrifying.
The Door to Hell
While you wouldn’t actually catch a glimpse of the Devil, it’s still probably a bad idea to waltz on through the Door to Hell in Turkmenistan. The crater, which is roughly 225 feet across, holds lots of poisonous methane gas, so in 1971 geologists set it on fire to prevent the spread. What we ended up with was a unique, and slightly unsettling, natural tourist destination.
In the 1600s, Paris began to have a problem--its cemeteries were getting full. To fix this problem, they buried over six million bodies in the limestone tunnels beneath the city. While this is a fascinating historical site, the whole concept feels very creepy. And it’s made even creepier by the fact that many of the tunnels have been adorned with human skulls and other bones. The catacombs are definitely worth a visit if you’re brave enough!
The Hanging Coffins of the Philippines
While we normally think of coffins as something to be buried, there are areas of the world, like the Philippines, where this isn’t always the case. There are numerous potential explanations for the practice of nailing coffins to the side of a cliff, but they mostly revolve around a fear of dead bodies being desecrated. This fascinating site can be more than a little creepy for those of us who aren’t used to such stark reminders of death.
Centralia is a ghost town in Pennsylvania that was abandoned after a mine fire in the 60s--one that continues to burn to this day. Because of this fire, it’s not uncommon to see smoke mysteriously rising from the ground there, which has led to speculation that it’s actually a portal to Hell.
St. George's Church, Czech Republic
For years, members of St. George’s Church in the Czech Republic believed it to be haunted--to the point that they abandoned the building in 1968. And if there weren’t ghosts in the church before, there definitely are now! In 2012, artist Jakub Hadrava created numerous “ghost” sculptures and placed them in the pews, increasing the site’s creepiness factor by 1000%.
Overtoun Bridge, Scotland
There are certain bridges in the world that seem to attract people looking to jump to their deaths. However, at the Overtoun bridge, it’s animals that do the jumping. Since 2005, the bridge has been primarily known as a spot where numerous dogs have fallen to their deaths, seemingly jumping of their own accord. What’s causing them to jump? No one can quite figure that out.
Villisca Axe Murder House, Iowa
The Villisca axe murders of 1912 are some of the most disturbing crimes in American history, and they remain unsolved to this day. As the site of such terrible things, the home where the murders took place has become a hotbed of alleged paranormal activity. Ghosts or no ghosts, though, the history of this place is creepy enough on its own.
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE was so quick and powerful that many of the residents of nearby Pompeii didn’t even have a chance to flee. And thanks to the volcanic ash that covered the city, the bodies of some victims have been preserved into the modern era. If you’re brave enough to visit this historic site, you’ll encounter a real-life snapshot of one of the most terrifying events in human history.
Whether you believe in aliens or not, Area 51 should terrify you. If extraterrestrials do exist, it’s likely that the proof of them is here. If they don’t exist, Area 51 is still home to something incredibly top secret that the government doesn’t want anyone knowing about. What are they trying to hide out there?
The Amityville House, New York
If The Amityville Horror wasn’t scary enough for you, you can always visit the home that inspired the movie series. The house, which still stands in Amityville, New York, was the site of six gruesome murders in 1974. Former occupants and ghost hunters claim to have experienced intense supernatural activity on the premises--including visions of the murders themselves.
The Bermuda Triangle
The Bermuda Triangle is an iconic creepy destination. Over the years, plane disappearances, UFO sightings, and other paranormal activity have been reported in this patch of the Atlantic ocean. Next time you take a Caribbean cruise, just remember--there’s a good chance you’ll pass through the Bermuda Triangle!
Fengdu Ghost City, China
Fengdu Ghost City is a collection of shrines and monuments in central China dedicated to death and the afterlife. Needless to say, people find that a bit strange. But what’s really strange isn’t the theme but the shrines themselves--statues of ghosts, demons, and poor souls being tortured for their sins aren’t in short supply in Fengdu!
Racetrack Playa, Death Valley
The Racetrack Playa is a portion of Death Valley where stones are seemingly able to move themselves. The location got its name because the dirt trail behind the rocks looks similar to tire tracks. So what’s going on? Ghosts? UFOs? Bigfoot? Unfortunately this is one creepy location that has been debunked--at night, the freezing temperatures create a paper-thin layer of ice that allow the stones to glide around without friction.
The Tower of London
Even if you don’t factor in all the alleged ghost sightings in the Tower of London, it’s still one of the creepiest places on earth. For a time, the tower was used as a prison--where inmates were sometimes tortured and killed. Needless to say, most folks who made a trip up into the tower never came back.
Snake Island, Brazil
This one is an obvious no-brainer. Like the name implies, it's an island filled with venomous snakes. What’s not to hate? Even if you were brave enough to attempt a visit, you’d be out of luck. In an effort to preserve some of the rare snake species on the island, the general public does not have access.
Suicide Forest, Japan
Historically, Aokigahara (known informally as “Suicide Forest”) has been known as a site for paranormal activity. Unfortunately, in recent years, it’s become more known as a place where many people have committed suicide. The trend has become so bad that officials have installed signs urging those feeling suicidal to seek help.
The Body Farm, Tennessee
A body farm is a seriously creepy place that also serves an important purpose. First invented by a researcher at the University of Knoxville, body farms are used by forensic scientists and others to study the decomposition of the human body--meaning that at any given time, there are a number of dead bodies on these farms. Although it sounds gross, body farms have been helpful in both criminology and biology.
Gomantong Caves, Malaysia
The Gomantong caves of Malaysia are most widely known for one thing: bats. And lots of them! Every evening, millions of bats make their way out of the cave and into the night air. Hope you’ve got a rabies vaccine handy!
Karni Mata Temple, India
The Karni Mata temple is home to over 25,000 rats, but they don’t consider it a problem--the rodents are actually considered holy. Pilgrims from far and wide make their way to the temple to leave offerings to the rats--particularly the few albino ones there. If you’re not a rat person, maybe skip this one on your visit to India.
Death Road, Bolivia
"Death Road" is creepy, but more importantly, it’s just straight-up dangerous. This narrow, winding road runs about 60 km with nearly no margin for error--one wrong move and you’ll find yourself at the bottom a bit quicker than you were hoping.
The Crescent Hotel, Arkansas
The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is a beautiful, historic site that’s worth visiting...if you can put up with the many ghosts that allegedly haunt it! The sightings have been numerous over the years, leading some to dub it as the most haunted hotel in America.
The Stanley Hotel, Colorado
If the Stanley Hotel looks familiar, that’s because it was the location for the classic horror movie The Shining. And like the movie version, the real hotel has a reputation for paranormal activity too.
Bonaventure Cemetery, Georgia
Bonaventure Cemetery was the real-life setting for the book (and subsequent movie), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. As it is the resting place for many people and the site of a murder, the ghost stories that surround the place are numerous.
Antietam Battlefield, Maryland
The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest fight in the American Civil War--it’s estimated that over 20,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in a single day. While this is no doubt a solemn and historical site, it’s also had its fair share of ghostly activity. Visitors have reported smelling gunpowder, hearing guns, and seeing Confederate soldiers who mysteriously disappeared.
Temple of Santa Muerte, Mexico
Although officially condemned by the Catholic Church, veneration of Santa Muerte (Our Lady of Holy Death) continues to grow in Mexico. Numerous shrines and temples have been erected in her honor, where the faithful can pay homage to this curious saint--who is often depicted as skeleton in a colorful robe. Although Santa Muerte is not seen as evil, these skeletal shrines are seriously creepy.
San Juan Chamula, Mexico
From the outside, the church of San Juan Chamula looks like many others you could find in Mexico. However, it’s what’s going on inside that is seriously creepy. The worshippers in San Juan have created a religion that combines elements of Catholicism and indigenous beliefs--including the worship of Mayan gods and animal sacrifice. What makes things even creepier is the lengths locals go to keep their worship a secret. Visitors trying to take pictures of the services have had cameras smashed and been run out of town.
The ocean as a whole is pretty creepy--there’s no telling what all is down in the depths. However, the final resting place of the Titanic is particularly unsettling. The wreckage from this giant cruise liner rests a little more than 2 miles under the sea, and despite the time and water damage, it still almost seems as if it’s occupied.
Zhangijajie Glass Bridge, China
There are no ghosts or goblins to speak of at the Zhangijajie Glass Bridge in China, but that doesn’t mean your experience there won’t be terrifying. This bridge is nearly 1000 feet above the ground, and you’ve got to make the journey across transparent glass. If you weren’t already scared of heights before, you will be after visiting!
Poveglia Island, Italy
Poveglia Island in Italy hits all the classic creepy tropes--it was a sanatorium for victims of the plague as well as a mental hospital. This makes it ripe for potential paranormal activity.
The Pine Barrens are a scenic swath of undisturbed forests in southern New Jersey. However, these woods are more popularly known as the alleged home of the Jersey Devil--a giant, bat-like creature with cloven hooves and a terrifying scream. Hope he doesn’t pay you a visit on your next camping trip!
Roswell, New Mexico
Modern-day Roswell, New Mexico seems like a pretty average town, but in the 40s it was the site of an alleged UFO crash. Now, I’m sure that’s not real, but you might wanna keep an eye on the skies if you ever pass through.