Places can be creepy for a lot of reasons, whether it’s a terrifying history, ominous architecture, or the eerie sense of unease that comes from simply having been abandoned. Yet that doesn’t stop any of us from finding creepy old places fascinating, and the adventurer in all of us is always thinking about checking them out in person because, really, we’ve all got to die sometime, right? Here are some of the most terrifying places on earth, in case you’re looking for a few locations to taunt death in the near future.
20Island of the Dolls – Mexico
Old, battered dolls are inherently creepy, so it’s no surprise that the Island of Dolls, located near Mexico City, ranks right up there among the freakiest places on earth since thousands of the dolls are hanging from trees, covering virtually the entire island in horror.
19Winchester House – California
Looking at it from the outside the Winchester Mystery House looks like a relatively normal old mansion, but the former residence of gun magnate William Winchester was believed by his widow, Sarah, to be haunted by the victims of his guns so she just kept building bizarre doors and stairs to nowhere to try to keep the ghosts from finding her.
18Leap Castle – Ireland
Located in Ireland, Leap Castle is home to a bloody history of executions and violent rivalries, and to this day is thought to be haunted, thanks in large part to the discovery of a pit full of spikes and human remains by a team of renovators not too long ago.
17Matsuo Mine – Japan
Matsuo Mine used to be a huge, bustling sulfur mine before being abandoned, and now if you ever wanted to try to check it out for yourself you’d be met with a giant wall of mist that constantly hides it from view, making it look like the scariest ghost town ever.
16Centralia – Pennsylvania
Located in central Pennsylvania, Centralia is basically Hell opening upon earth and trying to swallow an entire town – or specifically, it’s a mine fire that’s been burning since 1962 and left the town almost entirely abandoned and looking like a cut scene from the video game Silent Hill, which makes sense since Centralia is one of the inspirations for that game.
15Chateau Miranda – Belgium
This long-abandoned castle in the Ardennes region of Belgium has a long history that makes it ripe for rumors of hauntings, as it served as an orphanage all the way until 1980, and let’s be honest, there’s not much more terrifying than huge, gothic orphanages that have long since been abandoned.
14Takakonuma Greenland Park – Japan
In addition to having one of the most difficult names to spell on this list, Takakonuma Greenland Park is an abandoned amusement park in Japan, and is so freaking creepy that you half expect to see Scooby-Doo and the gang chasing ghosts there and nailing Old Man Carruthers as the fraud that he is.
13Discovery Island – Florida
It’s amazing to think that hidden in the Magic Kingdom of Disneyworld in Florida, there’s a creepy, abandoned section hidden in plain view – Discovery Island, formerly known as Treasure Island, which has been shut down since 1999 and overtaken by nature.
12Candido Godoi – Brazil
On the surface, Candido Godoi seems like a fairly normal Brazilian town, until you look around and realize that it’s absolutely swarming with twins to the extent that there are rumors that a Nazi geneticist actually fled there after the war and started experimenting on the local population to trigger this phenomenon.
11Jatinga – India
Jatinga, a small town in India, has become infamous over the years for being the site of what appeared to be mass bird suicides, with hundreds and even thousands of birds seemingly killing themselves at the same time every year, though now it’s a little less creepy since it’s pretty much certain that the villagers are the ones killing them, making it the creepiest place to visit for birds, at least.
10Kabayan – Philippines
A seemingly small, inconsequential town in the Philippines, Kabayan is actually home to a series of caves that house hundreds of mummified corpses, just in case you decide to go for a visit and need a little nightmare fuel.
9SS America – Canary Island
There’s something especially creepy about an old, abandoned ship like the SS America, which is beached just off the coast of the Canary Islands and has been since 1994, though an attempt to move it beginning in 2005 pretty much destroyed it to the point where it’s only viewable during low tide now.
8City Hall Station – New York
If you’re thinking City Hall Station, a long-abandoned subway station in New York City, looks familiar it’s probably because it was used in the old Ninja Turtles movies as their base of operations in the sewers – of course, if you wander down there now you’re more likely to get stabbed by a transient than meet Leonardo.
7Overtoun Bridge – Scotland
If you’re a dog lover, you probably want to avoid the Overtoun Bridge, as it is home to the inexplicable phenomenon of dogs actually leaping to their deaths for no apparent reason, with dozens upon dozens having seemingly killed themselves over the last half-century.
6Aokigahara Forest – Japan
On the surface, Aokigahara Forest looks like any other slightly creepy forest until you realize that for whatever reason, it attracts an absurd number of suicides – at which point it goes from slightly creepy to absurdly terrifying, knowing that a quiet stroll could end in finding a recent victim or two.
5EL Hotel Del Salto – Colombia
What was once a luxury hotel overlooking a gorgeous waterfall in Colombia is now an abandoned and, supposedly, haunted relic that was shut down in part because the waterfall was believed to have been contaminated
4Body Farm – Tennessee
The “Body Farm” actually serves an outstanding purpose, as this facility in Tennessee is the training ground for folks like the FBI and other forensic experts to determine causes of death, times of death, and so forth, using real donated cadavers to do so – which also means the place is absolutely filled with dead bodies at every moment.
3Parisian Catacombs – France
The Catacombs of Paris have long been a massive tourist attraction, as they create basically a giant underground city – one that just happens to be constructed largely of human bones from floor to ceiling.
2Bannerman Castle – New York
Looking at Bannerman Castle, you’d think it was some ancient medieval fortress in Europe rather than a long-abandoned residence sitting in the middle of the Hudson River in New York and was built by a man named Francis Bannerman – who passed the time in his fortress collecting massive amounts of military-grade weaponry.
1Pripyat – Ukraine
There’s just something particularly unsettling about an entire abandoned town that’s been seemingly frozen in time, especially when you factor in the possibility of nuclear fallout that comes from, oh, something like Chernobyl, which is what you get when you travel to Pripyat.