It’s that time of year again, when scaring yourself silly is the objective of any trip. While most towns offer ghost tours, or have their share of creepy legends, there are a few destinations around the world that truly stick out as some of the scariest places on earth. So take a look at the following attractions and start creating your haunted vacation package. Whether you want to connect with the dead, roam a cemetery, or hunt for some ghosts, here is a travel guide with some options where you can do it!
1. Humberstone and La Noria, Chile
Ever wanted to be part of an episode of The Walking Dead? Well here’s your chance. Rumour has it that these two abandoned towns are actually inhabited by the dead. Graves are empty and open, implying that several people have risen from the dead to walk around this ghost town. And the neighbouring cities population say these towns are so scary they won’t even go near them. Go to Humberstone to take some photos and you might just find something you don’t expect lurking on your camera.
2. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Cambodia
While this museum will educate you on the Cambodian genocide, and its far-reaching horrors across the country, it is also the former Security Prison 21. Once a high school, the building eventually became home to at least 17,000 innocent souls who were tortured and murdered here. These souls are said to still be roaming the premises.
3. Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
The ghosts here are a little more specific, ranging from a screaming woman to a jumpy black dog. Paranormal activity is constant and has even been recorded on the castle grounds. The fort itself was constructed from 1666 to 1679, and is the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa. While the town doesn’t mention any ghosts when telling tourists about the building, soldiers swear they have encountered the supernatural. Castle workers are often a bit spooked themselves late at night, calling the overnight shift the “ghost shift”.
4. Aokigahara Forest, Japan
Known for the mass amounts of people who wander into this space just to kill themselves, there’s bound to be some spirits still lurking around the forest near the base of Mount Fiji. While the most popular place to commit suicide in the world is still the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, this forest is way scarier due to its dense forestry, and comes in a close second with a body count of almost 100 each year. There are even volunteers who help look for bodies, as the government does not like to report the true statistics. But maybe the spirits here aren’t as conflicted since suicide in Japan is often seen as honourable. Even without the suicidal tendencies of the woods here, the way the trees are structured allows for no wind, and therefore leads to an extremely quiet and eerie place.
5. Savannah, Georgia, USA
Everywhere you turn in Savannah, there is a ghost story to be told, and a private ghost tour that will tell it to you. The city itself is full of legends, from the ghost of a woman who steals hotel guests’ underwear, to the ghosts of small children who died of Yellow Fever peering out from an abandoned hospital.. The famous murder, covered in John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is just one of Savannah’s many stories. So come to this city, one of the most haunted on earth, and see if you can spot any ghosts yourself.
6. Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh, Scotland
Located in the Old Town of Edinburgh, Scotland, this area underneath the buildings that line the Royal Mile has a long history of murders and deaths. Originally thought to just be one narrow walkway, it was discovered that the close is actually a network of small streets and houses, adding to its mystery. A victim of the plague in 1645, Mary King’s Close has private tours offered daily that expound on the history of the region.
7. Gettysburg Battlefield, Pennsylvania, USA
Known to be one of the deadliest battles of the American Civil War’s history, over 50,000 soldiers from both armies were killed here, and many of their souls are still conflicted. Visitors to the area often report seeing soldiers dressed in period clothing, hearing sounds of war, or encountering sounds of pain.
8. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia, USA
Any abandoned hospital is scary. Add in that it was also once a Lunatic Asylum and you’ve got yourself one of the scariest places on earth. Haunted by former patients, visitors during the day can roam about in search of feeling a spirit or hearing a strange noise. Visitors at night, however, can grab a flash-light and go full on ghost-hunting.
9. Pluckley Village, Kent, England
This village’s ghosts are all named, with fifteen in total taking up residence here. What’s really cool here is that there are multiple places to explore. Enter the Screaming Woods with a guided tour to look for souls of people who got lost and died in the forest. Or look for the ghost on the highway of a man who lost a sword fight and was stabbed to death. Head over to Mailman’s Hill to look for the horse drawn carriage. End your night with a drink at the local pub, known to be one of the most haunted spots in the village, and home to at least 3 known spirits.
10. The Island of Dolls, Mexico
While not thought to be one of the most haunted places, it is definitely one of the scariest. This small island was once taken care of by a man who found the body of a young girl. In the young girl’s memory, the caretaker hung her doll onto a tree. Each year adding more and more dolls to the tree limbs. Now as the dolls start to decay the spot just gets scarier!
“Emily Meadows is the author of Emily's Guide to Kraków. She currently resides part of the year in Ocean City, Maryland and the other part in Aspen, Colorado in the midst of her travels.”
Image details and licenses: https://flic.kr/p/cJMyXm (Dan Lundberg, CC BY-SA 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/jdJ9u9(Clay Gilliland, CC BY-SA 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/pYW9g6 (Alf Igel, CC BY-NC 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/hxWKcA (Guilhem Vellut, CC BY 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/rMjeV6 (D Wright, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/9ZcUt3 (smithereen11, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/FtTckw (Martin CHAMBERS, CC BY-NC 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/q51ACN (Kevin, CC BY 2.0)