Culture

The Scariest Real Places on Planet Earth 

Stacie Hougland
Updated July 12, 2020 59.6k votes 10.6k voters 1.1M views 28 items

Sure, we all know that creepy old haunted house in the neighborhood, that one street all the kids avoid, the friend’s attic nobody ever, ever dares explore. But around the world, some of the scariest places on Earth are real places you can visit - if you dare.

Want some examples of these real haunted places in the world? Did you know there's a frightening forest in Japan where people go to kill themselves? Or that there's an entire city in the Ukraine that was abandoned because of a nuclear explosion? What about some cliffs in the Philippines where dead people hang? Or a massive hill of crosses that mysteriously keeps getting bigger… and bigger… and bigger?

Most people would traditionally avoid such scary places. But maybe you are that kind - the kind who seeks out churches made entirely of bones or abandoned mental hospitals and cemeteries the Devil supposedly visits on occasion. So if it does strike your fancy, you can choose to visit these most haunted real places in the world. Yes, these scary places really exist.

1
Aokigahara Forest, Japan
Aokigahara is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Scariest Real Places on Planet Earth
Photo:  Patrick Ragnarsson/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Known as the “Suicide Forest,” Aokigahara is the site of dozens of suicides each year.Volunteers sweep the forest each month looking for bodies and cleaning up the belongings of the dead.

 

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2
The Island of Dolls, Mexico
The Island of Dolls, Mex... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Scariest Real Places on Planet Earth
Photo:  Kevin/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The island's caretaker, Don Julian Santana Barrera, supposedly found a little girl drowned in a canal with her doll floating nearby. He hung the doll in a tree in her honor, became obsessed with the mystery of who she was, and continued to hang dolls in tribute for fifty years until he died in the exact place where she died.

 

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3
Poveglia Island, Italy
Poveglia is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Scariest Real Places on Planet Earth
Photo:  Chris 73/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Poveglia is a small island with a terrifying past. In 1922, a mental hospital was constructed on the island. According to local legend, one doctor was particularly interested in running torturous experiments on his patients. Patients were butchered horrendously before falling, or being thrown from, a bell tower. Locals believe that at least 160,000 unfortunate souls resided on the island over its forty or so years as an asylum. Unsurprisingly, the island attracts ghost hunters, fans of the paranormal, and curious tourists. 

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4
Kenmore Insane Asylum, Australia
Kenmore Insane Asylum, A... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Scariest Real Places on Planet Earth
Photo:  NSW State Archives/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

This mental asylum was opened in 1895 in Goulburn, a town in New South Wales, Australia. Initially, Australians were impressed by the structure and it housed a relatively low number of patients, allowing them to be well taken care of. However, patients were increasingly being committed for unnecessary reasons - alcoholism, learning disabilities, and depression were all afflictions that could lead to one's entry to Kenmore. Shock therapy was used casually to "treat" homosexuality or frequent masturbation. Problematic patietns were housed in solitary confinement and frequently hosed down. It's not a surprise that fingerscratch marks line the doors inside patients' rooms. 

Kenmore did not completely shut down its operations until the 2000s. Australians believe that the abandoned grounds are haunted. 

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