From an abandoned veterinary school and a decapitated doll island to a chapel made of skulls and terrifying scuba dives spots (peering through fingers permitted).
1. Island of Mutilated Dolls, Mexico
This freaky island, known locally as the Isla de las Munecas, is located in the canals of Xochimico near Mexico City. Here you’ll find defaced and decapitated dolls hung from trees. In 1950, Julián Santana Barrera found a little girl who’d drowned in the canal and later found her washed up doll. He began collecting dolls and pinning them around the island as a bizarre tribute to her.
2. Abandoned Anderlecht Veterinary School, Brussels
This veterinary school, once a thriving educational institution, is now a dusty abandoned shell full of test tubes and jars of pickled animals and organs. The school is open to the public, so be prepared for the unpleasant stench of chemicals and shelves full of weird artefacts. It’s like walking into a scene straight out of the Saw films.
3. Bone Chapel, Faro
The Capela de Ossos in the Algarve is decorated from floor to ceiling with the skulls and bones of thousands of nuns and monks, as a reminder of earthy impermanence. The Baroque church was built in 1816 in place of a cemetery. Instead of building over the graves, the bones were dug up and used to decorate the church.
4. The Wall Vertical Scuba Dive, St. Croix
The waters off St. Croix, part of the Virgin Islands group, are a diver’s paradise. Beyond the beautiful coral reef is a vertical drop known as ‘The Wall’. It’s a deep, dark, cold abyss which plummets for two miles. Many divers have witnessed blue whales returning from the depths with large wounds, but it’s still unclear what lies beneath.
5. Centralia Town Mine Fire, Pennsylvania
In 1962, a fire started in the underground mines of the small town of Centralia. Attempts were made to put the fire out, but eventually residents were forced to abandon their homes as roads erupted and huge orifices appeared in the ground. To this day, the abandoned town smokes from crevasses, as the fire still burns furiously in underground cavities.
6. The Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
The Hill of Crosses is where over 100,000 crosses of all shapes and sizes can be found jutting out of the ground. Although nothing sinister exists here, the place has the feel of an ancient haunted graveyard. The tradition began as a form of rebellion against the Russian Tsar rulers in 1831, and is now visited by thousands of pilgrims who add their crosses to the ever-growing religious site.
7. Bird Suicide Ground, India
An unexplainable phenomenon occurs every year between September and October in the tranquil town of Jatinga. Hundreds of birds dive to their deaths, mainly on foggy nights between 6pm and 10pm. Local tribes believe spirits are terrorising the birds in the sky and causing them to commit suicide, some say there is a strange magnetic field, whilst others put it down to the town’s lights confusing the birds. 44 species have been found lifeless since the odd occurrence began around 100 years ago.
8. Uninhabited Hashima Island, Japan
Hashima is a former coal mining island, once home to over 5000 people. It’s also known as the Ghost Island or the Battleship Island because of its vessel shape. Now completely abandoned, it remained unchanged since its inhabitants left 40 years ago. This concrete crumbling island influenced the James Bond movie Skyfall!
9. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Cambodia
Between 1975 and 1979, Tuol Sleng - meaning “hill of poisonous trees” - was a prison and detention centre condoning torture and the execution of criminals. The museum offers a glimpse of the suffering brought by Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge regime that ruled over Cambodia.
10. Spirits Bay, New Zealand
Don’t be fooled by the pleasant beach scene, as the tranquil looking bay in question has a much more spooky side to it which may leave you with a chill down your spine - literally. The Māori culture of New Zealand believes this bay is the jumping-off point where spirits leave this world and begin the afterlife. Some say they’ve seen ghosts and figures moving down the beach and then spookily disappearing.
11. Catacombs Underground Burial Chambers, Paris
Paris is often regarded as the city of romance, yet there’s a rather more creepy side to this famous city. An underground vault exists, where the remains of six million people have been buried in a 200 mile network of caves and tunnels. You can take tours of the catacombs and there are said to be numerous hidden entrances all over the city.
12. Jacobs Well Spring, Texas
This four metre wide, 12 metre deep tunnel is popular amongst local tomb stone jumpers and divers who want to explore the biggest underwater tunnel system in Texas. Its pristine waters hide some underwater surprises; the water is so cold that bodies have been found perfectly preserved since the 1970s after becoming trapped deep within the tunnels.
13. The Land of the Twins, Brazil
The small town of Candido Godoi, Brazil, is famous for its twin birth rate being 18 times higher than the world average. Many say it’s because the notorious Nazi doctor Josef Mengele conducted studies on women in the area, while others say it’s down to genetic isolation and inbreeding. Either way, you’ll be left seeing double all over town.
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