Ever travelled to a city and visited a landmark because of its dark, twisted, violent, or bizarre history? Most likely not, but there are plenty of landmarks out there where dark, twisted, violent, or bizarre stuff has happened, more than you’re probably even aware of.
The landmarks that made it to this list have a history of morbid or odd things happening, and this doesn’t stop them from attracting tourists. The average travel guide won’t tell you that jumping off The Eiffel Tower is the third most popular method of suicide, and Amsterdam has a Torture Museum, with an extensive collection of used torture devices, and a guillotine but we will! Here’s your chance to learn facts about some of the world’s most popular landmarks, that either get limited or zero coverage in your grandmother’s travel guide.
11 The Pyramids Of Egypt
Many of the rumors and theories, regarding how the pyramids were built, are just plain spooky. If you search Pyramids Of Egypt on Google everyone from conspiracy theorists, to scholars, to people that genuinely believe in aliens (yes, aliens) have something to say about who built the pyramids. A popular belief is that slaves, forced against their will to build pyramids for a tyrannous pharaoh, built the Pyramids Of Egypt. UFO-obsessed conspiracy theorists have argued that the technology required to build the pyramids is too high tech for ancient Egyptian society therefore aliens built the pyramids while visiting earth. Although recent findings conclude that farmers trying to find work in their crops’ offseason mostly likely built it, popular conspiracy theories make the pyramids an ongoing and widespread source of fascination.
10 Ancient City Of Pompeii
The Ancient City Of Pompeii is perfectly preserved, thanks to a volcano eruption that happened in 79 AD. Everything from art work, to architecture, to art, to obscure objects, and even people (yes, people) were found perfectly preserved in pumice and ash, in the same condition they were in, back in 79 AD. This landmark made it to the list because it’s a creepy, abandoned ghost town, which remains consistently frozen in time. It also stands as a landmark because of its sad past.
9 Borgvattnet (The Haunted Vicarage)
The first haunting was reported in 1927, when the chaplain was taking down some laundry, as an unseen force started tearing clothing off the line. For years there have been reports of ghosts knocking people out of rocking chairs, appearing, then disappearing in the night. Borgvattnet is a restaurant and hotel, and if people spend the night without leaving they get an overnight stay certificate to prove their bravery. The nearest station is in Ostersund, which is 5.5 hours train ride away from Stockholm, Sweden. Makes sense because who actually wants a creepy, haunted vicarage just around the corner?
8 The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall Of China took over 1,700 years to build because it’s also the largest cemetery in the world, where over one million people died building it. For over 1,700 years the people in charge persistently continued to build the wall, despite the fact that a lot of lives were lost. If you ever find yourself checking out the Great Wall Of China take a second to marvel in a symbol of widespread sacrifice.
7 Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
The Toronto Islands are the home of Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, a spooky, old lighthouse, with a chilling ghost story. In 1815 its first innkeeper, J.P. Radan Muller was visited by a group of Fort York soldiers, interested in sampling J.P’s beer keg. When J.P realized that the soldiers were having more beer than what was good for them he refused to supply them with more beer, and then a fight started. The fight ended in J.P’s death. He was buried west of the lighthouse, near the lagoon, and many believe that his ghost haunts the lighthouse to this day. Some have heard the sound of moaning on misty nights, and others claim to have seen a spirit wandering the grounds.
6 The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is an iconic symbol of French culture, and a popular tourist destination. It’s often associated with conventional romance but it’s also associated with suicide.
According to listverse.com, death by falling off the Eiffel Tower is the third most popular method of suicide in that country. Railings and various safety measures are part of the Eiffel Tower design, in order to make it difficult to jump from, or accidentally fall off the tower but that doesn’t stop people from trying. Some wait until after the tower has closed for the evening but others jump during business hours, and then land on the roof of the tower’s second floor, which happens to be a restaurant.
5 The Coliseum
In Ancient Roman times the Coliseum was the home of the Gladiatorial Games, where people of all social classes would show up to watch gladiators fight to the death. Men fought against each other, but they also fought against animals. It was also a place where exotic animals fought against each other. Some of the events such as the elephant that could write in the sand were a lot less violent, but the coliseum is a popular example of public spectacles throughout history based on violence, death, and animal cruelty.
4 Tower Of London
Although the Tower Of London is the home of the Crown Jewels, and is a thriving contemporary tourist attraction, it also has a dark history of beheadings, executions, torture, and imprisonment that goes as far back as the 1100s. From 1106 until the early 1950s it was the infamous place where people who double crossed English royalty, or got caught doing anything else deemed punishable were imprisoned and punished for the crimes they had committed. The most haunting, and goose bump inducing is its somber memorial for prisoners executed inside the tower, where a pillow on a raised platform demonstrates where prisoners were executed, and a plaque provides a complete list of names, birth dates, and death dates.
3 Vodnjan Mummies, Vodnjan, Croatia
No list of creepy landmarks is complete without the Vodnjan Mummies, a place where mummified bodies have failed to completely decompose. Unlike the ancient Egyptian mummies the bodies at this burial site don’t appear to be properly preserved in any way, and people come to see them, because they believe that they have mythical properties. One of the mummies is a nun that died in the 1500s, that’s the best-preserved mummy in Europe.
2 The Torture Museum
The name is extremely self-explanatory. The Torture Museum is located in Amsterdam and filled with terrifying metal contraptions that were once used to torture people. Each device has a vivid description of how it was once used so that visitors can get all the gory details, cringe at how overwhelmingly painful it sounds, and be thankful that no one ever used these devices on them, or anybody they care about. The Torture Museum’s exit has a guillotine nearby, with a sign asking visitors not to attempt to use and/or take photos with the guillotine. This sign is a preventative measure, so that the museum can avoid violent accidents.
1 Aokigahara, Japan
Aokigahara is a quiet, picturesque, peaceful forest, in an isolated environment, and it’s on the base of Mount Fugi, in Japan. Sounds kind of…nice, right? Well after reading this, we doubt you’ll ever want to label it with the word “nice” again. Hundreds of people a year travel to Aokigahara, to kill themselves amongst its dense trees and vines.
It’s gotten so bad that local police do annual sweeps to clear the bodies, and the number of bodies found in Aokigahara is no longer publicized. Signs such as “your life is a precious gift to your parents” and “please consult with the police before you die” are in the forest in order to encourage suicidal visitors to not kill themselves. It’s also rumored to be haunted. A popular belief is that the souls of the people who killed themselves in Aokigahara haunt the area.