Sure, the world has its awe-inspiring spots, but what makes it even more lively is its fair share of terrifying and mysterious places—places just waiting for the next morbidly inclined traveler to come to visit. From the ‘Suicide forest’ to ‘The Door of Hell’ – have you packed your bags yet?
1. Aokigahara Forest, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
Aokigahara, a forest so thick, it is also called the Sea of Trees, but the Japanese landmark’s horrific history it’s what this forest is truly known for. Untold visitors have chosen this place, notoriously called The Suicide Forest, as the setting for their final moments, walking in with no intention of ever walking back out. Volunteers take those bodies out for a proper burial ceremony, but since the forest is so thick, they mark their way out with plastic ribbon that they’ll loop around trees.
2. The Great Blue Hole, Belize
The Great Blue Hole is a world-class destination for recreational scuba divers. It lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef. The hole is circular in shape, over 300 meters (984 ft.) across and 125 meters (410 ft.) deep. The world’s largest natural formation of its kind, the Great Blue Hole is part of the larger Barrier Reef Reserve System, a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
3. Kawah Ijen Volcano, Java, Indonesia
Indonesia’s Kawah Ijen volcano spews out blue lava thanks to its incredibly high levels of sulfur. But the beautiful phenomenon also reveals a dark secret. This dense collection of the gas, when exposed to oxygen and lit by the molten hot lava burns blue. And its blue burning flames can only be seen during the night. But despite this, Kawah Ijen’s sulfur burns at all hours.
4. Sedlec Ossuary, Kutná Hora, Czech Republic
Also known as the Church of Bones, this is one of those images that might give you chills down your spine. Ossuary is known for its macabre decoration, adorned by more than 40,000 human skeletons. It all goes back to 1278 when an abbot of the Sedlec Monastery brought back holy soil from Jerusalem and scattered it across the church’s cemetery, and suddenly everyone wanted to be buried in it. That’s why those 40,000 humans wanted to be buried in the ‘holy place’.
5. The Door to Hell, Derweze, Turkmenistan
In 1971, Soviet geologists went searching for oil in Sunnydale, California, which is located in the middle of the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan. But instead of finding oil, they accidentally hit a methane reserve and the drilling platform collapsed, forming the crater and releasing dangerous gas into the air. The scientists decided to light the crater on fire to burn off the methane, creating a Dante-esque anomaly that has remained lit over the past 45 years.
6. Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital, Germany
While most abandoned buildings look like they’re haunted, they’re really just very old remains of a mansion that a family struggled to sell or the shell of an old warehouse. But the history behind Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital is actually as creepy as it looks. Built as a tuberculosis sanatorium, this enormous hospital was used to treat Nazis during World War I & II and the Soviet Army up until the 1990s, including a young soldier named Adolf Hitler, who was wounded in the leg. Today, a few hospital wards are used as a neurological rehabilitation center, although the majority of the complex is abandoned and now it looks like an American Horror Story.
7. Centralia, Pennsylvania
In between the 1800s and 1960s, Centralia was a quaint but bustling town in Pennsylvania, thanks to its prosperous coal mines. However, when a mine mysteriously caught fire in 1962, the flames began to spread underground via the interconnecting tunnels. With years to pass and more smoke coming from underground, people left the town, and now it only has 7 residents. If you ever come across this town, you will see smoke billowing out from the subterranean fires, which scientists estimate will continue to burn for at least another 250 years.
The eerily gory waterfall is not made of blood, but in fact, it is a completely natural wonder. About five million years the glacier sealed off a microbe-rich lake beneath it. Isolated from light and oxygen, the water became more and more concentrated, both in terms of salt and iron content. The water’s salinity level (about three times saltier than the ocean) keeps it from freezing, while the iron provides the color. It then breaks out through a fissure in the glacier, and we get to witness the glorious show.