It seems that in every corner of the world, there are not only spectacular travel destinations to be found, but also paths that lead to eerie places full of mystery and creepiness. The hushed atmosphere of a lone or abandoned structure seems to always lead to tales of terror. On this list are images of just a few of the eeriest places around the world and the stories that surround them.
10Yuma Territorial Prison
The gate in this picture doesn’t seem like it’s leading anywhere good, does it? In fact, historically it has been said to lead to not only dark cells, but chaos and death. The Yuma Territorial Prison in Arizona was built during the 17th century and housed over 3,000 prisoners. The inmates, the youngest of which was 14, slept on iron-forged bunks. A cell in the centre of the prison building was nicknamed The Dark Cell, after prisoners left inside in solitary confinement went insane after being tied to the walls with ring-bolts, in the pitch-dark.
These days, the morbidly curious can visit the abandoned prison as well as the prison museum where they can buy memorabilia that include sets of handcuffs. The prison building is situated on a hill overlooking the originally named Prison Cemetery, which is said to be home to not only the remains of several prisoners but to their angry spirits as well.
Oh, and a creepy place like this wouldn’t be complete without a ‘little girl ghost’ that goes after visitors who wear red and pinches them.
9 Demolition World
Imagine taking a trip to a surreal little town where the only creatures watching you are chickens and geese, and the only company is mannequins? Well, you don’t have to only imagine it anymore. Instead you can experience it for yourself at Demolition World in Invercargill, New Zealand. Demolition World is an entire ghost town made from recycled materials and mannequins strategically placed to freak people out.
Here you will find an old church, toy shops and even a health clinic, all with their own resident mannequins including one in a Superman outfit, a mannequin bride, and another one placed in the shadows on a porch of a small wooden cabin.
8No Man’s Land
Built to defend the coast from invasion, the No Man’s Land fort near Portsmouth, England, was eventually sold off as a ‘private island’ and turned into a hotel during the 90s. Many troubles ensued, including a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak which caused the owner at the time, Harmesh Pooni, to lose a lot of money.
It took 20 years to construct the fort with the intention of it housing at least 80 troops as well as 49 cannons. Its center was sunken as refuge against bad weather and a well dug into the seabed provided fresh water. The fort has had many owners over the years and in a bizarre incident in 2008, Pooni barricaded himself inside the structure, claiming to still be the owner and refusing to let administrators KPMG, evict him. When they finally did, they found the place full of dilapidated furniture, dead plants as well as a pool half-filled with brown water. In 2020, No Man’s Land Fort was put up for sale yet again.
For now, it remains an abandoned, creepy-looking structure in the ocean.
7Village of the dolls
Nagoro, Japan is a small village where the population never declines. Well, it does, but as soon as someone dies, local resident, Tsukimi Ayano, is at hand to sew together a doll to fill the gap the living person left. These dolls are said to outnumber the people in the village by 10 to 1. The dolls, resembling scarecrows, can be found in classrooms, in the town centre, at the creek, inside the town hall and just about everywhere else. Ayano started the project because she wanted to get rid of the feeling of emptiness she felt every time she looked around the rapidly depopulating village.
The idea came to her sixteen years earlier, when she’d sewn together a scarecrow and dressed it in her late father’s clothing. She placed the scarecrow in her garden to keep birds from eating the seeds she had planted. A worker passing by once said hello to the scarecrow thinking it was a person. This, in turn, got Ayano thinking, and soon the valley of the dolls started coming to life.
Many people refuse to go anywhere near Nagoro, calling it ‘the creepiest place on Earth’, while others are fascinated and come from all corners of the globe to see the dolls in person.
6 The Notre Dame convent
South Africa is home to many open fields, hills, mountains, beaches and nature reserves. In between however, you will find a lot of houses, office buildings and shopping centres. So very, very many shopping centres.
Some of these structures have been abandoned over the years and all that remains of them are crumbling ceilings, broken-down walls, and urban legends. They include hospitals, private homes, offices, farms, and convents.
In Kroonstad in the Free State stands an old convent, the Notre Dame, that was converted into a school in February 1907. In June 1908 the Sisters at the convent awoke to a commotion and learned that the convent was on fire. The cause of the blaze was never established, but there were several rumors of arson after a dispute with workmen. The building was restored by the end of 1908 and over the years many additions were made. The convent was also turned into a temporary hospital during the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918. Two more fires in 1967 was the beginning of the end and the convent was closed in 1972. However, as the end of 2020 approached, the building was once again put to use for educational purposes with yet another school having opened, this time a private Catholic facility.
This hasn’t shielded the building from several urban legends however, the most terrifying of which has it that candles were found in the adjacent cemetery, placed on the graves of nuns and priests. Analysis revealed the candles were made from human fat.
5The ruins of Belchite
It is said that if you stand in the streets of the abandoned village of Belchite, Spain at dusk, you will hear the plaintive cry of a young child who cannot find his mother. Local farmers are used to the sound, but still become fearful when they hear it. Considering the tragedy that befell Belchite, it seems almost inevitable that restless souls would wander its ruins, trying to piece together what happened to them.
In 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, thousands of civilians in Belchite were killed in just two weeks. With no space for graves, bodies were piled up in the town square and set alight. Others were thrown into an underground olive oil press and the entrance was sealed up. Dictator Franco ordered the survivors to abandon the town and a new Belchite was constructed by the hands of prisoners of war just alongside the ruins.
These ruins, to this day, contain shrapnel and bullet holes, a constant reminder of the nightmare that would never end.
Antarctica isn’t just about ice and penguins. Earth’s southernmost continent has its own share of creepy tales and scary places to go along with them. It is also the place where the unsubstantiated story of Jenny the Ghost Ship originated. The story (urban legend) goes that the Jenny became frozen solid in an ice-barrier of the Drake Passage in 1823 and was only discovered in 1840 by a whaling ship. The sailors found perfectly preserved bodies on board the doomed vessel.
Shackleton’s Hut in Ross Island is another one of the eeriest places in Antarctica. The hut was built by and housed explorer, Ernest Shackleton, and his crew during their British Antarctic Expedition from 1907 to 1909. Sir Edmund Hillary visited the hut many years after Shackleton’s death and claimed to have seen Shackleton’s ghost walking towards him as soon as he stepped inside.
The hut has been listed as one of the world’s most endangered sites and remains one of the few buildings from the last century that still stands in Antarctica. Artefacts such as tinned food, scientific instruments and a stove are still inside the hut and have been there for over a century.
3 Chaonei No. 81
In Chaoyangmen, Beijing stands an abandoned house known as Chaonei No. 81 or Chaonei Church. It’s reputation for being haunted increased exponentially in 2014 after the house was used in a 3D horror film called The House That Never Dies. Ghost stories surrounding the place include the apparition of a woman who hung herself and a British priest who tried to convert the house into a church but went missing before the construction was done. He was never found.
There are no historical records detailing who built Chaonei No. 81 or even what its purpose was. For a short while it was used by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution and it also served as the offices of government agencies during the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.
In 2017, the house was said to owned by Beijing’s Roma Catholic Archdiocese who wanted to turn it into the Vatican embassy. It is believed to still be open for renting.
Scotland is the place you think of when unicorns and Nessie come up in casual conversation. It is also the location of several castles, some of which are a lot scarier than others. In 2016, Bill Andrew took a picture of his daughter and other family members who were posing in front of Crathes Castle near Aberdeen. When looking through the photographs later, his daughter spotted what looked like a figure standing behind them, inside a castle doorway.
Andrew was more than a little spooked and he contacted the castle to inform them of the photograph. He was shocked when the property manager, James Henderson, told him that he wasn’t the first or last person reporting a creepy encounter as ghost sightings had skyrocketed in recent months.
The Green Lady is one of the most famous ghosts said to be inhabiting the castle. Some visitors have seen her swoop up a ghost child and vanish into the fireplace in one of the castle’s rooms.
In the 18th century, during renovations, workmen discovered the bones of a woman and child behind that fireplace. Theories have it that the bones could be that of a servant who had an affair with one of the royal family members living in the castle at the time and became pregnant as a result. Mother and child were then both killed to prevent the scandal from ruining the royals’ reputation.
Veijo Rönkkönen was a loyal employee who went to work every day at a paper mill for 41 years. Rönkkönen was also considered to be a recluse as he never went anywhere but work and home, which was a farm surrounded by dense forest. No one knew that this Finnish factory worker was a skilled artist until the day he died in 2010 and hundreds of sculptures were found in the woods behind his house.
The site soon became a tourist attraction with at least 25,000 people visiting the Veijo Rönkkönen Sculpture Garden each year. Some of the sculptures, all of them human figures, are of children holding one another up in mid-air while others are of older adults who have been dressed in traditional clothing.
This might not sound that fascinating at all, until you get closer to the sculptures and realize that some of them sport real human teeth and others have speakers planted inside of them causing warbling sounds to emanate from deep within.