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The 10 scariest places in the world

Buildings made from human bones, macabre, haunted and abandoned places… welcome to our selection of the world’s scariest places, each with a spooky atmosphere that could easily serve as the backdrop for the most terrifying horror films.

Sedlec Ossuary (Czech Republic)

Located in the Cemetery Church of All-Saints of the Sedlec monastery in Kutná Hora, this ossuary is grim to put it mildly. In 1870, a sculptor named František Rint was tasked with using the bones from 40,000 tombs to create an extraordinary range of designs to "decorate" the chapel. To this day, you can see incredible chandeliers and the Schwarzenbergs coat of arms, owners of the Abbey of Sedlec after its secularisation.


©milangonda/iStock

 

Guanajuato Mummy Museum (Mexico)

The first mummies of Guanajuato were unearthed in 1865: following a cholera epidemic, the cemetery had become too cramped and the city decided to exhume the deceased of those families who were unable to afford a concession in perpetuity. The bodies of men, women, children, and even fetuses, all naturally mummified, both naked and dressed, are exhibited in the museum to give visitors goosebumps …..


©L. Vallecillos/age fotostock

 

Doll Island (Mexico)

If the "Chucky, Child’s Play" movies scare you, then here's your worst nightmare! Legend has it that a little girl drowned near an island in the Xochimilco Canals, south of Mexico City. In the 1950s, Don Julian Santana Barrera, caretaker of this uninhabited island, decided to hang dolls in the trees and on the walls of his hut in order to soothe the girl's spirit. Don Julian, himself , was found drowned in 2001 on his island at the age of 80…


©C. Sanchez/age fotostock

 

Chapel of Bones (Portugal)


©compuinfoto/iStock

Without doubt, one of the most famous monuments of Evora. Located in the São Francisco Church, its walls and eight columns are « décorated » with carefully arranged bones and skulls; An estimated 5,000 skeletons from surrounding cemetaries were used to make it. It was built in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk who wanted to illustrate the ephemeral and transitory nature of life; this is echoed by the somewhat macabre inscription at the entrance: « We the bones here present, wait for yours to join us ».

 

Beelitz-Heilstätten Sanatorium (Germany)

Located south of Potsdam, in the middle of a dense pine forest, this enormous hospital sixty building complex was built in the late 19th century. to deal with Germany’s tuberculosis epid at the time. The site has been closed and abandoned since the 2000s and has a morbid atmosphere that will bring a smile to those who enjoy being scared!


 ©kre_geg/iStock

 

Ha-shima Island (Japan)

Lovers of post-apocalyptic atmospheres, this place is for you! In this case, it’s more than just an abandoned building or a ghost town, it’s an entire island! Located 20km southwest of Nagasaki, the island of Ha-shima - also known as Gunkan-jima – developed following the discovery of coal in 1887: workers and their families settled there, making the island one of the most densely populated places on earth. But the closure of the mine in 1974 led to a rapid exodus from an island that lost its purpose…


Ile d'Ha-shima, ©FROSTEYe/iStock

 

Hill of Crosses (Lithuania)

Located near the town of Šiauliai, in the north of Lithuania, this hill offers an unparalleled vision: crosses, and yet more crosses ..., each one crammed against another, without logic or consistency, to make an unsettling whole. This is an age-old tradition in Lithuania and the first crosses were planted on the hill in the 19th century to symbolize sometimes grief, sometimes joy and sometimes faith.


©Birute/iStock

 

The Capuchin Catacombes of Palermo (Italy)

A place that draws on our fascination with the macabre, the catacombes are a labyrinth of corridors where 2,000 mummies dressed from head to toe are on show: Capuchin friars, doctors, lawyers, soldiers in full uniform ... The men standing or hanging on the wall, and the women generally lying inside alcoves, seem to be waiting for a last conversation with good company. The best preserved mummy is that of Rosalia Lombardo, a 2-year-old girl who died in 1920.


 ©J. Frumm/hemis

 

Dargavs Necropolis (Russia)

At first glance, it looks like a pretty little village perched on a hill overlooking the green valley of the Fiagdon river. But don’t be fooled! These 99 stone huts typical of Nakh architecture are crypts in which the valley’s inhabitants would bury their dead along with their clothes and personal belongings. Some crypts extend to four floors and many myths and legends surround this place that is said to be haunted…


©alkir/iStock

 

Aokigahara Forest (Japan)

When you hear that the Aokigahara forest is also known as the "Suicide Forest", it might tell you that it’s not a place for a Sunday afternoon stroll... Located at the foot of Mount Fuji, it is said to be haunted by wandering spirits and holds a sinister world record for suicide by hanging; the authorities have now placed signs stating "life is precious" or "think of your family" to dissuade visitors from killing themselves.


 ©ponsulak/iStock

 

The author

Marie-Pierre Pelletier

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The tourist attractions mentioned

Kutná Hora Ossuary Kutná Hora Ossuary
Kutná Hora Ossuary
Kutná Hora
0:30
Xochimilco Canals Xochimilco Canals
Xochimilco Canals
Mexico
0:30
São Francisco Church São Francisco Church
São Francisco Church
Évora
0:15
Hill of Crosses
Hill of Crosses
Domantai
1:00
Catacombs of the Cappucini
Catacombs of the Cappucini
Palermo
0:30
Mount Fuji Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji
Fujiyoshida
2:00