When does it start—this freaky desire to want to get creeped out from time to time. Does it start in high school? Middle school, or are we born hardwired to crave it?
Most everyone has heard the story of the teenage couple parked on a secluded lane when suddenly an arm with a hook for a hand appears at the car window. The girl screams like a banshee. Next thing you know, other couples are deliberately parking in that same lane, waiting to see if the man with the hooked hand appears.
Creepy movies are being pumped out by the dozens every year, and movie lovers can’t get enough of them. Some are based on true-to-life locations. So for anyone up for the thrill, here are ten of the creepiest places to go to alone. That is if you’re brave enough to take the dare.
10 Shawshank Redemption Revisited
Mansfield Reformatory is located in Mansfield, Ohio, set halfway between Columbus and Cleveland along Interstate 71. If you ever set eyes on it, most likely, it’ll feel familiar. That’s because Mansfield Reformatory is where the movie Shawshank Redemption was filmed.
There’s a lot of creepiness to go around here, thanks to the architecture alone.
The reformatory opened in 1896 and closed in 1990 thanks to a federal court ruling. Inmates housed here were kept in inhumane conditions. Cells were overcrowded and cramped. Medial care was abysmal.
Here’s the really creepy thing: Doctors were allowed to use experimental techniques on inmates in the name of discovering how to get them to be compliant within the walls of the prison. Some wardens were sadistic enough to allow torture.
While it was a working prison, over 200 people died within its walls. You can take a ghost tour of the facility but be careful not to be separated from your tour guide. Many believe the building is haunted by the souls of those who suffered cruel injustices and died here.
9 Bethnal Green, East London
During World War 2, many tube stations were used as bunkers during German air raids. On one particular 1943 day in March, the air raid sirens blew, and 1500 people rushed out of their homes and headed for the Bethnal Green tube station.
It was raining. Once inside the passageway, one woman clutching her baby slipped and lost her footing. As she began to fall, she grabbed hold of the gentleman in front of her. This set off a domino effect, with one person knocking down the person in front of them. The passageway was poorly lit, and people began panicking. All told, 173 people died in the crush of bodies. The government attempted to cover it up—to protect the public’s morale, they said.
It’s been reported by people who find themselves alone in the Bethnal Green station that they can hear the cries and screams of those people who died. One worker reported that, while staying late one night to finish some paperwork, he heard the cries and screams of the dead for fifteen minutes.
8 Hotel del Salto
It was once one of Columbia’s most exclusive hotels. Built in 1923 and converted into a guest house in 1928, it overlooked stunning waterfalls. Plans were made to convert it into an eighteen-floor hotel. This never happened due to contamination of the Bogota River.
The building was abandoned in the 1990s and became a hub for people intent on committing suicide. Today locals claim Hotel del Salto is haunted by the spirits of the people who’ve taken their own lives there. An eerie pall shrouds the hotel and grounds.
7 The Bird Suicide Grounds
In Jatinga, a small village in northern India, a strange phenomenon takes place every year. Most often, it happens on dark foggy nights between 8 and 9:30 pm in September and October across a mile-long strip of land. This is when hundreds of birds start diving to their deaths. For years, locals waited with poles to kill the birds.
Until a scientific explanation was given for this phenomenon, local tribes believed the birds were spirits flying down from the sky to purposefully terrorize the villagers.
Scientists studying this annual event have concluded that the birds are mostly juveniles. While migrating, they become disturbed by high winds as they roost at night. The birds take flight, see the lights of the village of Jatinga below and fly toward the light for refuge. Instead, historically, they were clubbed to death.
Steer clear of Jatinga in the autumn months if you don’t want to find yourself a real-life actor in a Hitchcockian movie.
6 A Town Deeply Rooted in Darkness
Is Point Pleasant, West Virginia, suffering from a 200-year curse called down upon it by a Shawnee chieftain? If you believe in such things, then steer clear of this town.
Ever since the curse, the town has experienced two devastating floods, followed by a massive fire. Nearby, Marshall University sent its football team and their coach on a flight for an away game. The plane crashed after takeoff, and everyone aboard was killed.
In 1967, the Silver Bridge connecting Point Pleasant to Ohio collapsed, killing 46 people. In 1978 a freight train derailed, spilling toxic chemicals into the town’s water supply.
Then there’s the reported UFO activity in the area and encounters with the Men in Black.
And finally, there’s the legend of a creepy humanoid creature known as the Mothman that has haunted Point Pleasant since the 1960s, with sightings of this creature flying over the town and terrorizing some people. People have reported it lurking outside of their homes. Others report being chased by it while driving down the highway. It’s even been claimed that pet dogs have been stolen by Mothman.
If you’re brave enough to walk the streets of Point Pleasant at night knowing its creepy history, and you’re not afraid to come face to face with a red-eyed, seven-foot monster, then more power to you.
5 The Hanging Coffins of Sagada
Don’t go walking alone below the cliffs of Sagada, Philippines, because there’s always a chance a coffin might fall on you,
Most cultures that bury their dead in coffins bury those coffins in the ground or put them in above-ground crypts. Not so with the people of Sagada. They hang the coffins containing the remains of their loved ones from cliff tops using ropes.
It can be an unnerving experience to be walking, expecting to see clouds and sky, but you see coffins suspended in mid-air instead.
In the local culture, when an elderly person senses their end is near, they will carve their own coffin from a log with the help of their relatives.
Once the person dies, their bodies are placed inside the hollowed-out log. Next, the coffin is taken to a holy cave, where a ritualistic service is performed. Then the coffin is hoisted up alongside the deceased person’s ancestors. It’s believed that the higher the coffin is hoisted, the easier it is for the deceased to cross over to the afterlife.
This traditional form of burial has been going on for over 2,000 years. Many tourists from around the world come to gaze upon this shocking spectacle.
If you’re one of them, remember that what goes up must come down. The ropes have been known to deteriorate to the point of snapping. When this happens, the coffin plunges to the ground. Make sure you keep yourself out of harm’s way.
4 The Romanian Bermuda Triangle
The Hoia Baciu Forest, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, covers 730 acres (about 3 square kilometers) in northwest Romania in the County of Transylvania. This eerie forest has a history of paranormal activity. Fog and strange aromas in the air go far in setting the stage for creepiness.
This area is haunted by a dark history with the souls of those who’ve been wronged still searching for peace. At one time, thousands of peasants were slaughtered here to reduce the number of people needing to be fed due to dwindling food supplies. Believers think this is what started the haunting of the forest.
Rumor has it that a local girl walked into the forest, disappearing for five years. When she reappeared, she hadn’t aged one bit. She also had no recall of what she was doing during those five years.
There is a mysterious, nearly perfect oval-shaped clearing in the forest where nothing has grown for centuries. Believers come to the oval with the intent of opening portals to other dimensions. This oval is also known for UFO sightings.
Visitors not steeped in local lore, having walked through the forest, later report strange feelings and sensations that visit them long after leaving the area. If you’re intent on a firsthand experience with creepiness, this might be the perfect destination for you.
3 Chillingham Castle
Located in Northumberland, England, this castle is haunted. This medieval castle dates back to the 12th century. It was initially built as a monastery and is considered to be the most haunted castle in England.
The most famous ghost is that of the “Blue Boy,” who was ordered to be buried alive. People who’ve stayed at the castle have reported a blue halo floating above their beds.
With the discovery of bones sealed inside a wall during renovations, the “Blue Boy” may or may not finally be at peace. It is a fact that many other ghosts remain.
You can book a stay at the castle from Easter to October. If you have the nerve, ask to stay in the Pink Room. That’s where the Blue Boy likes to make his spooky visitations.
2 La Recoleta Cemetery
This Buenos Aries cemetery is curious because it looks like a miniature city. La Recoleta is filled with row after row of mausoleums, over 4500. It covers fourteen acres (0.5 square kilometers). The designs of the mausoleums are extravagant because they house the remains of the wealthy and famous citizens of the city.
There are a few horrors to behold, which only adds to the creepiness of this city of the dead. One particular mausoleum set among those of various poets, politicians, and elites is the final resting place of David Alleno, who worked in the cemetery for thirty years.
Wanting to eventually be laid to rest among the well-heeled of the city, Alleno saved his entire working life to pay for a carved statue of himself that would one day watch over his own crypt.
Not long after the statue was finished, depicting him with a watering can, broom, and his ring of keys dangling from one hand, Alleno committed suicide. Visitors report seeing David Alleno walking along the cemetery paths with his keys still dangling from one hand.
1 The Kabayan
The Kabayan is in the province of Benguet in the northern part of the Philippines. It is a collection of man-made caves going back as far as 2000 BC. These caves are overflowing with well-preserved mummies.
The Ibaloi culture had a unique process of mummification. Shortly before a person died, he was given a salty drink to digest. Right after death, the corpse was washed and then placed in a seated position and set over a fire. This dried out the fluids. Tobacco smoke was blown into the mouth of the corpse, which dried the inside of the body, including the internal organs. Finally, the mummy was rubbed with herbs, put into a pine coffin, and placed in a man-made burial niche inside a cave.
There are so many caves that it’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth. If you visit the caves, make sure you bring along bread crumbs to drop along the way to mark your path so you can find your way back out.