The Spookiest Places Around the World
Halloween is nearly upon us. For one of the spookiest celebrations of the year, we’ve rounded up some of the most haunted spots around the world. From possessed dolls to skull pyramids, bloodlike waterfalls to voodoo markets, here’s a guide on where you can go to indulge in the devilish, gothic wonders that the world has to offer.
La Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls)
Hidden in the heart of Xochimilco’s canals lies the secluded Island of the Dolls, where hundreds of decaying dolls hang along the area’s vegetation. The land’s tragic history dates back to the 1950s, when the island’s sole settler found the drowned corpse of a young girl. Next to her lay a doll. Haunted by her image, he offered up hundreds of dolls to the island over the next 50 years until his death in 2001 – when he was found dead in the same spot. Visitors believe the dolls to be possessed with the spirits of dead children, having reported hearing unsettling whispers and seeing the dolls move on their own.
What may appear as an ordinary medieval chapel on the outside is actually home to one of the world’s most macabre displays of art. Located in the Czech Republic, the lower chamber of Sedlec Ossuary is decorated with over 40,000 human skeletons. After the church’s cemetery was closed in the 14th century, mountains of bodies were dug up and moved into the ossuary, warranting the spine-tingling nickname The Bone Church. The chilling range of bone ornaments includes a hanging chandelier, a skull pyramid and a coat of arms made of the bones of the aristocratic Czech family the Schwarzenbergs, who once ruled over the city.
Nicknamed Blood Falls for its mysterious red colour, this desolate frozen desert lies deep among the Antarctic’s glaciers. Located north of the Taylor Glacier, the gushing red liquid from the waterfall has been an enigma to scientists and geologists from around the globe for decades. Only recently have scientists uncovered a lake beneath the glacier, which has been trapped for over a million years. Rich in iron, the lake’s water oxidises when it hits the air and oozes the bloodlike liquid out of the cracks of the white glacier, giving it a devilish look.
Veijo Rönkkönen Sculpture Garden
Located in the Finnish town of Parikalla is an eerie sculpture garden, home to the works of the sculptor Veijo Rönkkönen. The artist started making sculptures in 1961 whilst he worked in a paper factory, and altogether created 450 pieces of work while he lived. These spooky sculptures – some of which have real human teeth – are all located in the park. Rönkkönen was a reclusive character who lived with his parents while he created the artworks. While they were on public display for guests to see, Rönkkönen wouldn’t meet visitors, choosing instead to have a guestbook for people to sign. The sculpture garden was awarded the annual Finlandia prize, three years before Rönkkönen passed away in 2010.
Doll Village of the Deceased
Can’t get enough of dolls? Deep in the valleys of Shikoku, Japan, lies the empty village Nagoro. Only around 27 people live in the area, but the village is populated with dolls. Back in 2003, resident Tsukimi Ayano created a doll and dressed it in her father’s clothes. To help combat the loneliness of the village and in remembrance of when it was once lively, Ayano created more. Nagoro is defined as a depopulated area, but schools are now filled with Ayano’s creations and the streets are lined with her dolls.
Marche des Feticheurs (Akodessewa Fetish Market)
In the district of Lomé, the capital of Togo in West Africa, is Akodessawa. And in Akodessawa is Marche des Feticheurs, or what is known as the Fetish Market. In areas of West Africa, the practice of voodoo is well and truly alive. Here, you can find talismans, charms and dead animals – the latter ranging from leopard heads to chimpanzee paws; cobras to monkey heads and human skulls. This is a magical bazaar filled with goods for those looking to practice voodoo.