For vacations, most people like to go to beaches or visit old idyllic towns. But there are some amongst us with a taste for the dark arts and the more macabre facets of life. For those who have a penchant for exploring their demons, here are ten creepy and spooky tourist locations that are guaranteed to give you many nightmares. Read on …
Penang War Museum, Malaysia:
Usually when one thinks of Malaysia, the first images that come to mind are those of exotic foods, loving people and picturesque beaches. But the country’s history has a dark side as well. The Penang War museum in Bukit Batu Mang is a memorial to a place where horrible acts against humanity were inflicted.
The Penang War museum was a fort built by the British in the 1930s, but it fell during WWII when the Japanese invaded it. From Dec 17th 1941 and beyond, the garrison became a place of torture, brutality and death. Several hundreds of prisoners were brought here and executed by decapitation and the locals dubbed the location with a fittingly morbid name: “Ghost Hill.”
911. Museum NYC:
September 11th 2001 is a date in American history that no one will ever forget. It was the fateful date that terrorists invaded the sovereign nation of the United States and killed nearly 3000 men, women and children. The recently opened 9/11 museum at Ground Zero in Manhattan pays homage to those who lost their lives during these tragic attacks as well as the people who were killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Some of the haunting exhibits you’ll see here are the charred personal artifacts of loved ones who met their demise and you can even listen to the eerie 911 calls of the victims who perished that day. It’s a harrowing experience, but it’s also a worthy memoriam of the precious souls who passed away.
Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, Cambodia:
One of the most brutal political dictators in history is undoubtedly Pol Pot, the communist leader of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. From 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge committed mass genocide on their own people and the Choeung Ek grave site is a horrific symbol of all the murders they committed. The site stands on what used to be an idyllic orchard, but the Khmer Rouge turned it into a mass grave that was the final burial ground for almost 9,000 people. This location is currently a memorial site which displays 5,000 skulls of the Khmer Rouge victims.
Africa Slave Dungeons, Cape Coast, Ghana:
As far as Holocausts go, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade that took place from the 16th-19th century is one of the most devastating and cruel. During this period, men, women and children were shipped from Africa across the Atlantic Ocean (like herds of cattle) by the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, British and Americans to work on western plantations. There is a fort on the Ghanaian coastline called Cape Coast Castle where several thousands of these slaves were stored before their ominous trip across the ocean. These slaves were kept in inhumane and dark dungeons with no bathrooms or even adequate ventilation. To this day, those who visit this castle can still smell, feel and sense the death and sorrow in the air.
Hanoi Hilton, Vietnam:
Nothing good ever seems to come out of war. However, until human beings can learn to live with each other peacefully and accept each other’s differences, war will always be with us. The Vietnam War in the 1960’s killed a lot of young American soldiers. One place where the young G.I.’s faced the most suffering was the Hoa Lo Prison which was nicknamed The Hanoi Hilton. In this overcrowded prison, captured American soldiers were tortured, beaten and made to face inhumanely long hours of solitary confinement. Most of the time, this torture wasn’t even for retrieving any military information, it was solely meant to break the will and survival instincts of the captured P.O.W.’s. Thankfully, the Hanoi Hilton was razed in the 1990s, but its gate house still remains as a museum.
Chapel of Bones – Portugal:
Religion is a major part of the human condition, and let’s admit it, some pretty weird and unbelievable things are done in the name of pleasing God. One example is the intriguingly macabre Chapel of Bones in Portugal. The chapel was built around the early 18th century by Carmelite monks, and it’s built mostly from real human skulls and bones. Actually, the act of moving human remains from cemeteries to ossuaries was pretty standard fare in Catholic areas of Europe during that period. The walls are constructed from human femurs with mortar to hold them together and skulls are skillfully and artfully added at regular intervals for a haunting and imposing effect. Spooky doesn’t even begin to explain it. The inscription over the door reads “Stop here and think of the fate that will Befall You.”
Torture Museum- Amsterdam:
The Dutch are known to be extremely liberal with regards to many things about popular culture. We all know about their highly popular Red Light district and of course, when it comes to tolerance for marijuana use, Holland is light years ahead of the world. One thing we didn’t expect to find here is the well-known Torture Museum which is located on a quaint street in Amsterdam overlooking the Singel canal. In this unassuming location, you will find medieval torture instruments on display such as guillotines, skull crushers, thumb screws (for crushing thumbs and toes) and even Judas chairs (used for impaling people through their nether region orifices). It causes once to wince in disgust just thinking about these macabre human inventions.
Museum of Death –Los Angeles, California:
We think there are lots of uplifting and happy things to do when you visit Los Angeles, CA. But for those who love to dwell on the darker side of things, you are more than welcome to visit The World Famous Museum of Death. It was originally founded in 1995 by JD Healy and Cathee Shultz because they realized a dearth in museums dedicated to death education. Some of the things you’ll see here: the world’s largest collection of serial killer artwork, photos of Charles Manson crime scenes, grisly images from the Black Dahlia murder and life-size replicas of execution devices and autopsy instruments. That’s just the surface of the twisted death memorabilia you’ll find here. At the Museum of Death, it’s Halloween all year round.
Mutter Museum – Philadelphia:
We have another winner in the morbid, macabre and spooky category for you. This one is a real doozy. This museum in Philly is home to all the oddities and freaks of nature that the human race has ever produced. Some of the wonderfully bizarre oddities on display: the tallest skeleton currently on display in North America, a 9-foot long human colon, and a wax model of a woman with a horn growing out of her forehead (no – not a cute unicorn). The museum also houses physiological artifacts of famous people like: a slide of Albert Einstein’s brain and the malignant tumor that was taken from President Grover Cleveland’s skull. If these are the types of things you find exhilarating, you’ll have a ball here.
Littledean Jail Museum – England:
The Littledean Museum sits in a 200-yr-old jail in Gloucestershire that has been converted into a shrine for the major crimes, genocides and barbaric acts against humanity that have occurred through History. Some of the macabre displays you’ll finds here are authentic Nazi SS Uniforms, Ku Klux Klan regalia and signed memorabilia from the world’s most wicked crooks, criminals and murderers. You’ll also find instruments of torture and some voodoo dolls from Haiti thrown in for good measure.