Are These the Scariest Places on Earth? (It’s Almost Halloween, People!)By Ben Solomon
In honor of everyone’s favorite creeptastic holiday, we’ve rounded up the scariest places in the world. From an island covered in poisonous snakes to a subterranean tomb lined with mummies, here are seven spots to get spooked. Warning: Turn on the lights before you read this.
Tower of London, England
Espionage, torture, decapitation — it was all run-of-the-mill stuff during the 17th century when the Tower of London was used as a prison for those accused of treason.
Among its most famous residents were Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, and the “Nine-Day Queen,” Lady Jane Grey. Both were beheaded on the Tower Green and buried in the chapel, and it’s said their headless ghosts roam the halls to this day.
The Bloody Tower is thought to be the spot where the young sons of King Edward IV were murdered on orders from their uncle, while the Queen’s Tower is reportedly haunted by the ghost of Arbella Stuart, the cousin of James I who was imprisoned and later died under questionable circumstances here.
Catacombs of Paris, France
This subterranean labyrinth holds the remains of roughly six million Parisians whose bones were moved here from overcrowded cemeteries in the 18th century. Visitors can venture down 130 steps to the chilly tunnels and crypts lined with human bones to explore what’s just a small portion of the nearly 200 miles of haunted passageways beneath the city’s streets.
Ilha da Queimada Grande, São Paulo, Brazil
Ophidiophobes, this is your worst nightmare. Ninety miles off the coast of São Paulo, Ilha da Queimada Grande, aka “Snake Island,” is home to thousands of golden lancehead vipers (the largest concentration in the world).
Legends loom large around these parts: Two fisherman were once bitten here and found dead in a pool of their own blood, and a third was never found. The island is now off limits to everyone except the Brazilian navy, which visits once a year to check up on the lighthouse, which was automated in the 1920s after the last keeper was — you guessed it — also killed by a snake.
Capuchin Catacombs, Sicily, Italy
Built as a cemetery for the Capuchin friars in the mid-1500s, these catacombs became the eternal resting place for aristocrats in the 17th century when it was discovered that bodies buried here had naturally mummified.
It was believed to be an act of God, so the corpses were hung from the catacomb walls like relics.
Today, five subterranean limestone corridors are lined with 2,000 skeletons, each with a label marking the name and date of death.
Hoia-Baciu Forest in Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Called the “Bermuda Triangle of Romania,” the Hoia-Baciu Forest has earned a reputation for being one of the most ghostly on earth. What to expect when you’re there? Headaches, rashes, scratches and burns, as well as feelings of being watched.
The place is also known for UFO sightings — in the 1960s two different photographers snapped images that showed disc-shaped objects hovering above the forest.
Sedlec Ossuary in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic
The skeletons of 40,000 people were used to create this chapel beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in the town of Sedlec. It’s the work of woodcarver Frantisek Rint, who was hired by the House of Schwarzenberg to organize the human bones interred at the ossuary in 1870.
The centerpiece is a giant chandelier, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body. Just as creepy are the garlands made of skulls, six large bone pyramids, bone candelabras and skull candleholders.
The Whaley House, San Diego, California
Welcome to what’s said to be the most haunted house in America. Built in 1857, the earliest documented ghost here is “Yankee Jim,” who was convicted of grand larceny and hung off a wagon on the spot where the house now exists.
Almost as soon as the Whaley family moved in, they reported hearing heavy footsteps. Today, museum visitors have seen windows mysteriously fly open, the spirit of family head Thomas Whaley roaming the upper landing and a creepy little girl in the dining room. Legend has it she’s the ghost of a friend of the Whaley children, who accidentally broke her neck on a clothesline in the backyard.
This article was published through a partnership with Jetsetter magazine. Read the original story: The Scariest Places in the World (It’s Almost Halloween, People) by Ben Solomon, a regular contributor to Jetsetter.