Stephen King has created eerie fictional towns for the state of Maine to co-exist along some real ones for his treasure-trove of books. He was inspired by Bridgton to write The Mist and by Durham to create the fictional town of Jerusalem’s Lot. Derry, the home of IT, is based on the real city of Bangor. Terrifying things happen in these towns and one can only sigh in relief that the stories are all fiction.
However, there are several places around the world that would give King’s creations a run for their money. On this list are just a few of them.
10 Terror in O’ahu
O’ahu is the third-largest Hawaiian island and is home to around a million people. Here you will find Waikiki and Pearl Harbor as well as Lanikai Beach which is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
This type of description doesn’t lend itself to creepiness, does it? However, when night falls over O’ahu, the spirits of the dead come out to play. Should you find yourself on the 16th Avenue bridge in Kaimuki after dark, don’t be surprised if you find a small, cold hand worming its way into yours. It is believed that a little girl was killed in a hit-and-run incident on this bridge and that her spirit is constantly looking for someone to lead her home.
If that isn’t quite unsettling enough for you, there have been several reports of a ghostly woman rattling and pounding on toilet stall doors in the Old Waialae Drive-In Theater. When the unlucky person inside the toilet stall opened the door, they found a floating apparition wearing a long dress but with no face and no feet right in front of them.
9 The horror of Real Filipe
South America is home to Angel Falls, Machu Picchu, Copper Canyon, excellent cuisine and vintage cars. Here you can hike to Rainbow Mountain, dance the salsa, gaze at the Christ the Redeemer statue or watch football matches alongside an electrifying crowd.
The continent is also home to some of the scariest places on Earth.
The narrow, u-shaped Real Filipe Fortress in Lima held prisoners who were forced to stand the entire time they were imprisoned. Before arriving at their horrific destination, these inmates had to traverse the narrow corridors all the while trying to duck out of the way of pails of boiling water thrown at them. Many of them died after enduring 2 months of hell in Real Filipe.
These days, the horrors continue, but now they are of the ghostly variety. Visitors to the fortress have reported seeing pale apparitions with long hair walking the drawbridge and grim-looking soldiers throwing themselves off the parapets. Some have even reported glimpsing demonic children appearing in the narrow passageways.
8 New Zealand’s spookiest spots
The island country of New Zealand isn’t lacking in creepy locations. Here the brave at heart can visit Waitomo Caves Hotel where guests have seen bathtubs dripping with blood and experienced apparitions passing right through them. Or if decaying psychiatric hospital buildings are more their speed, they can take a tour of Kingseat Psychiatric Hospital where temperatures plummet for no reason, furniture is moved around by unseen hands, and doorbells ring when no one is near them.
Then there is Camp Adair in Hunua. This camp was established in 1913 and accommodates church retreats, sports teams and team buildings. It is also the site of a spooky urban legend which has it that a red-headed teacher killed a group of children in the School House Building. Some who have visited the camp in recent years have reported the spectre of a red-headed man peeking at them through the windows…
7 Don’t go in there!
The country of Russia covers over 1/8th of Earth’s occupied land area, so there is ample space for both fantastic landscapes and beautiful architecture as well as abandoned and downright creepy places. This includes the Kusovnikov House in Moscow where an old man with a hump is said to wander the street while mourning the loss of his wealth as well as the Mikhailovsky Castle where tsar Pavel I still plays the violin by a particular window.
Russia is also the place you will find the Rotonda, a circular hall located inside an 18th century building. It is rumored that the hall was a meeting place for Freemasons at one point before it became the hangout of musical groups in the 70s and 80s. It is believed that if a person writes a heartfelt wish on the graffiti-covered walls, it would come true, but at a terrible price. Don’t go near the basement though, as it is said that if someone enters it alone, they will either return a few years older or become completely insane.
6 Leave the stones alone
Sweden gave us ABBA, Roxette, Avicii, functional and sustainable design, excellent coffee and has some of the most mesmerizing landscapes in the world. It is also in Sweden where you should never get on a silver train known as Silverpilen as it will transport you to an abandoned station in the middle of a forest from which you can never return.
Train stations are not the only creepy things in this country.
There is also the main square in Gamla Stan (Old Town) where blood flows across the cobblestones each November as if re-enacting the “Stockholm Bloodbath” that took place more than a century ago. 92 members of the Swedish nobility were either beheaded or hanged in the square because they opposed the Dane. To honor these souls, a red building nearby incorporated 92 white stones in its design. Should anyone try to remove one of these stones, the ghost of the slain person representing that stone will rise from its grave haunt Stockholm forever. Suffice it to say, all the white stones remain intact.
5 Ghosts of history
Antarctica isn’t cold enough to keep the ghosts at bay. In fact, it is said to be one of the most haunted places on Earth. Legend has it that while the explorers and scientists of yore that once endured this harsh landscape might be long gone, their spirits still hang around. For instance, Sir Edmund Hillary believed that he had seen Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ghost in his abandoned hut when he and his New Zealand party reached Antarctica in 1958.
In 1979, a plane flying tourists on a day-trip from New Zealand crashed into the side of Mount Erebus killing all 257 people on board. The corpses of the deceased were allegedly stored at McMurdo Station which is an American base on Ross Island. Soon, visitors to the island began to report hearing disembodied voices, and seeing trails of footprints that ended abruptly.
There are even so-called ghost mountains that lie underneath four meters of ice and has never been seen by humans, only mapped by radar.
4 Fear and trepidation in the woods
Japan is a fantastic travel destination that offers some of the most breathtaking sights in the world, including Mount Fuji, Shinto Shrines, Buddhist Temples and landscapes covered in cherry blossoms.
It is also the birthplace of several terrifying urban legends and horror movies, many of which center around creepy locations. These locations include the Round Schoolhouse ruin situated in Bibai, Hokkaido. The circular school building was constructed in 1959 and most of the students were the children of coal miners who worked nearby.
After Japan started importing coal instead of mining it, the school was eventually abandoned in 1974 with most of the furniture left behind. The ruin has long since been a great attraction for ‘ghost hunting’ parties. Those who have braved the woods to reach the old ruin, have returned claiming to have heard terrifying screams echoing through the night and being attacked by shadowy figures that jumped out at them from between the trees.
It is also rumored that those who actually step inside the building, return not only traumatized, but completely deranged. As such, mediums in Japan refuse to go near the site and paranormal investigators believe it to be an interdimensional portal.
3 Spirits of the Land Down Under
While there are certainly terrifying real-life creatures to found in Australia such as great white sharks, huge spiders and snakes, there are also hordes of spirits unable to cross over to the other side. Or so it seems, at least.
In the abandoned Beechworth Lunatic Asylum an 80-year-old man tugs at tourists’ clothes while a young girl mumbles at those who pass by close to her, desperate to be heard but no one can understand what she’s saying. At the Old Adelaide Gaol, you might just run into the spirit of hangman, Ben Ellis, who is still seeking atonement for the prisoner who didn’t die instantly but instead hung on the rope for 22 minutes before drawing his last breath. In the Monte Cristo Homestead, the constant rattling of chains alerts visitors to the presence of the spirit of a mentally ill patient named Harold who was chained to a bed for 40 years before he died.
The most haunted town in Australia is reputed to be Picton, with the Redback Range Railway tunnel singled out as the most haunted place inside it. It is believed that many people committed suicide here and that a train accident led to the death of a local girl in 1916. Her spirit is said to roam the tunnel to this day. Visitors to the tunnel have reported seeing figures suddenly appearing before them, ghostly children running around and white lights hovering above them as they walk.
2 Wandering ghosts
Europe is steeped in history which makes it the ‘ideal’ location for scary experiences. The continent has everything from haunted Victorian cemeteries and Jack the Ripper tours to vampire castles, creepy statues, and monks haunting the streets.
At the Zvíkov Castle in Czech Republic an apparition haunted its residents until 1597, but even though this spirit eventually dissipated, supernatural events continued. This included animals behaving strangely for no apparent reason, and unexplained fires. An eerie legend says that anyone who sleeps in the main tower of the castle will die within 12 months.
The Castle of Brissac in Maine-et-Loire, France, houses the wandering spirit of La Dame Verte who was murdered by her husband after he caught her being unfaithful to him. Visitors to the castle have reported seeing her ghost, wearing a green dress, with gaping holes where her eyes and nose used to be. Those who don’t suffer the misfortune of being scared witless by her, can hear her moaning around the castle.
Then there is the embalmed corpse of 2-year-old Rosalia Lombardo that is kept in a glass case in the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italy. The little girl has been perfectly preserved since her death in 1920. Some visitors are so overcome by how life-like her corpse is that they have become convinced she still blinks her eyes.
1 Hotel of the undead
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel definitely rivals the Overlook. Urban legend has it that a bride fell down a flight of stairs at the hotel in 1920 and died instantly. She never left however, her veiled and wedding dress-clad spirit appearing to several guests over the years. Sometimes the back of her dress is on fire.
In Room 873 a man allegedly killed his wife and daughter, setting up the space for innumerable ghost sightings to the extent that the hotel sealed up the room. Some have reported seeing the impression of a small child appearing on the wall where the door of Room 873 used to be. Before it was permanently closed off, maids complained that they were unable to clean bloody fingerprints from the bathroom mirror and unholy screams woke guests in the middle of the night.
In another area of the hotel, a headless man appears periodically who, despite his lack of a head, still manages to play the bagpipes, freaking people out as he wanders along.