By this point, many of you must've seen the SAW films. Those films -- which basically amount to torture p--n created through twisted 'games' by a deranged man trying to test people's will to live -- are unsettling for many people.
And it's not just because the people involved are put into extreme situations to save their own lives; it's also because of how they get there. You see, the SAW films highlight one of the biggest fears that people have: waking up in an unknown place and not knowing how you got there.
All humans have this powerful need to feel in control over their lives. Those that live in uncontrollable situations or who find themselves regularly not in control tend to lash out in different ways. Depression, violence, and other kinds of trauma are commonplace when you're not in control over your own life. But there's also another emotion that strikes when this happens: fear.
It's one thing to wake up in a stranger's house after a crazy night and being incapable of remembering the events of that same night; it's another thing to wake up in a random location SAW-style, in a sober state of mind, completely unaware of where you are, how you got there, and how to get back home.
The fifteen places on this list are among the creepiest places on the entire planet due to their gruesome histories and appearances. These are all places that you wouldn't want to wake up in, no matter how comfortable you are with difficult situations.
15 Aokigahara, A.K.A. Suicide Forest, Japan
Aokigahara is a place where people go to die, and it's been this way for centuries. As far back as the 1800s, it was believed that Japanese people would take their elderly relatives to the forest and leave them there to die.
The reason for this is due to the alleged presence of ghosts called 'yurei,' which stem from Japanese mythology. Suicide is believed to be widespread in Japan due to both cultural norms and complications from work-related stress.
The Japanese government estimates that over 100 bodies are found in Aokigahara every year, mostly around the end of March when the Japanese fiscal calendar ends. Aside from that reputation, the forest is also very dense, and thanks to lava from nearby Mount Fuji, very little sound escapes it.
That makes the forest doubly creepy. Not only is it a place that people die in, but if you get lost there, it's also very likely that no one will hear you scream.
14 The Catacombs of Paris
The Paris Catacombs are a series of tunnels stretching for countless kilometers beneath the streets of Paris, with multiple levels above one another. Some say that the tunnels go as deep as 200 feet below ground, with many passages having no light whatsoever, not even torches. There are also many passages that are hard to squeeze through and many have holes in the ground, making every step potentially dangerous.
The Catacombs are the ultimate combination of claustrophobia and the fear of death and the supernatural. It's estimated that up to 6 million bodies have been dumped there over the centuries, with some records indicating their use as an ossuary going as far back as the 5th century AD.
One can get lost so easily down there with the labyrinth-like tunnels stretching on for what seems like an eternity and with the only light being that which you bring with you. All it takes is one wrong turn, and you'll disappear forever amid millions upon millions of skulls and bones.
13 Čachtice Castle/Csejthe Castle, Slovakia
"And so it came to pass that the Countess, who once bathed in the rejuvenating blood of a hundred virgins, was buried alive.... And her castle in which so many cruel deeds took place fell rapidly into ruin."
This is a quote from the Diablo II video game about an in-game character, but that character is based on the real-life Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who was entombed within her own castle located at Čachtice.
Stories claim that Bathory would kidnap, torture and kill young girls -- especially virgins -- and then bathe in their blood. She did this because she genuinely believed that doing so would retain her youth.
During her trial, it was estimated that she and her accomplices had killed an estimated 650 girls between 1585 and 1609, with many mutilated bodies having been found on the grounds of her castle. She was eventually locked in a windowless tower room in her own castle and stayed there until she died in 1614.
Truly, this is a terrible place that you wouldn't ever want to set foot in, much less wake up in.
12 Woodchester Mansion, England
Woodchester Mansion is considered a hotspot for occult practices in England. Construction on the property never finished, so the property stands like incomplete ruins of sorts on the land. Some say it's because the space is believed to be paranormal in nature or that the building's first owner built it in such a secluded spot so that he could dabble in dark practices.
The few people who have visited this place have said that there's creepy stuff that happens there, even to this day. The interior is filled with symbols drawn into various surfaces, and there are many rooms inside the building, making it easy to get lost.
Furthermore, the house is quite isolated, so even if you were to escape the place, you'd have a hard time finding the nearest major settlement.
11 The Island Of The Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico
If there's one thing that horror films have taught all of us, it's that children and dolls are never a good sign. Case in point: the Island of the Dolls.
According to local legend, a man decided to become a recluse and chose to live on a secluded island. He then encountered the corpse of a little girl believed to have drowned in the local river.
To placate her spirit, he brought her a doll. But the spirit continued to haunt him, so he brought more and more dolls and hung them all over the island. He kept doing this until his own death, and visitors to the island have started doing this in his stead.
The sight of hundreds of creepy dolls giving you their dead-eyed stare is enough to freak anyone out. But what makes these dolls even creepier is that some have said they've heard the dolls whisper to one another and have seen their eyes move. Not the place you'd want to be alone, ever.
10 Hunedoara/Hunyad Castle, Romania
This enormous and intimidating castle might look picturesque, but it's said to have a haunting history. Legends say that this is the castle in which Vlad Tepes, better known as Vlad the Impaler, was imprisoned. It's also said that Vlad the Impaler developed his supposed brutality after suffering in this castle.
Because of these stories, and because Vlad Tepes's other name was Vlad Dracula, this is believed to have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula, one of the most enduring vampire stories of all time. While these stories are either exaggerated or fabricated, it's easy for the mind to play games on one's self.
Imagine waking up in a giant castle, all alone, and then learning that the spirit of the man known as Dracula haunts the castle. Even the most ardent of skeptics would find themselves desperate to escape.
9 Ilha Da Queimada Grande, A.K.A. Greater Snake Island
Located not too far off of Brazil's southern coast is an island that's now off limits to the public. Greater Snake Island gets its name from the fact that it's the only home to a critically endangered and extremely venomous pit viper called the Golden Lancehead.
The island is only 430,000 square meters in size, and rising water levels have trapped this snake species on this island. It's believed that there are so many specimens of this snake on this island that some estimates put the ratio to be up to one snake for each square meter of the island.
Just imagine waking up on an island in the middle of nowhere, without a way to escape, and with each step you take, you run the risk of being bitten by a snake whose venom can literally cause your flesh to rot off of your bones. It's enough to make someone go mad with fear.
8 The Abbey of Thelema, Cefalu, Sicily, Italy
This seemingly innocuous house built in 1920 was once home to the man once labeled 'the wickedest man on earth,' Aleister Crowley. Crowley formed his own belief system called Thelema, which was very much the opposite of most religious teachings.
Thelema emphasized freedom of will and submitting to one's own worldly pleasures. Crowley was also believed to be a Satanist, and some of his rituals were believed to involve both human and animal sacrifice.
In fact, there's at least one recorded instance of one of his followers dying after reportedly drinking cat's blood as part of a rite. The picture you see here is of the interior of the Abbey, which describes some of the images Crowley wanted to implant on his followers.
Given the occult practices that happened here, one wouldn't want to spend much time in such a creepy place.
7 La Purisima Mission, Lompoc, California
La Purisima is one of many places in North America where the cultures of Europeans and Natives didn't mesh too well. It's believed that this was one of many places where Natives were forced to adopt European culture and values while shedding their own.
Ultimately, it's said that some Natives rose up and fought against this system, which led to an estimated 4,000 people dying and being buried on the mission's grounds.
A lot of people find churches and other religious buildings ominous and intimidating, especially when they're empty or abandoned. Many believe the isolated mission is haunted by the spirits of those who died there, making this an unsettling place to be in, whether during the day or at night.
6 Catacombs of the Capuchins, Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Most people don't like to be around death or anything symbolic of death for extended periods. This tends to let the imagination run wild, often to the detriment of that person's psyche. Yet that didn't stop the people of Palermo from adopting a macabre tradition.
Initially intended only for the Friars of the local monastery, a trend developed where influential people in Palermo would request they be mummified and entombed within the catacombs. Over time, people started demanding they even wear fancy clothes when put on display, so that any guests could walk by and see these dead people looking dapper long after their skin has dried off.
Any place with dead people on display is bound to make one feel uneasy, even if it's meant to be a twisted show of status and wealth.
5 Devil's Island, French Guyana
Devil's Island, also known as Cayenne Island, was one of many penal colonies used by France to exile and punish political opponents and other undesirables. For decades, this was believed to be the single most brutal prison system in the world, with thousands of deaths reported while it was in operation.
Many died from endemic tropical diseases, while many more died from the brutality itself. The colony didn't close until 1953, following decades of use even after the Dreyfus Affair led to widespread condemnation of its use. Access to Devil's Island is forbidden today, and the remnants of the penal colony are falling into ruin.
Still, this is not a place you'd want to wake up. It has all the components needed for a personal horror story: an abandoned prison complex in which thousands died, easy exposure to disease, and the possibility of one's mind playing convincing games vis-à-vis the spirits of the dead.
4 The Edinburgh Vaults, Edinburgh, Scotland
These chambers located beneath the arches of Edinburgh's South Bridge are said to house spirits of the city's tormented past. Initially used as storage during the city's expansion, it eventually became a hub for illicit activity and human suffering.
Everything from illegal distilleries to brothels to illegal corpse sales was said to have taken place inside these chambers. Worse, they eventually became a slum where the poorest of the poor lived and died in squalid conditions. They're also said to have been used as ghettos and temporary quarantines when plagues hit Edinburgh.
Reports have surfaced of people hearing voices in these vaults when no one else was around. These voices were actually recorded by BBC microphones and are unexplained to this day.
3 Poveglia Island, Italy
Poveglia has a gruesome past for such a small island. Because it was surrounded by water on all sides, escape from the island was virtually impossible. This made it a perfect quarantine zone, which is what it was for centuries.
When nearby Venice fell victim to the plague, those afflicted were often taken from their homes and left on Poveglia to suffer and die, so as not to spread the disease. Eventually, this became Poveglia's permanent status, as anyone that had an infectious disease would be taken from their home and shipped there to die. Then, a hospital was built on the island, and it's said a doctor practiced lobotomies there on live patients.
Years later, after so much painful history, the doctor supposedly threw himself from the top of the bell tower (or was pushed by something unseen, depending on whose version you hear) to his death, adding another to the thousands that were interred on the island.
2 The 'Snail' Crypts of Guanajuato, Mexico
Mummies are creepy; there's no way around it. The concept of preserving a corpse and letting it dry out is unsettling for many, especially with many widely held beliefs about spirits and the afterlife. Yet in Mexico, the dead are often celebrated and venerated, including in places like Guanajuato.
This city is one of many in which Day of the Dead celebrations are very popular, and bodies of the deceased are often put on display as opposed to buried and left to rot. Many corpses of ages past have been embalmed and mummified and put in what are called 'snail' crypts because one has to descend a spiral staircase into the earth to see them.
Many of these mummies are presented in truly disturbing ways. Some of them are placed in positions that make the bodies look like they were suffering before death and still suffering after death. There's even one reported case of someone being mummified alive.
Many of the mummies also have open mouths, which make them look like they're in permanent anguish. There's even a mummified baby with a pained look on its tiny face inside one of these crypts.
This is not a place in which you'd want to spend a night. But the thought of waking up in a place like this, surrounded by mummies that might be staring back at you in death, is even worse.
1 Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, England
Chillingham Castle is believed to be the single most haunted castle in Britain. Because of its close proximity to the English-Scottish border, it's believed to have a bloody past due to the violent wars waged between these two countries.
Stories tell of a boy who was walled up alive in the castle and who haunted it until very recently. Others tell of torturers taking sick pleasure in finding gruesome ways to make victims suffer, causing untold anguish in the castle's dungeons.
Imagine waking up in the deepest, darkest recesses of a castle like this without knowing where you are and feeling the unsettling presence that someone's watching you. It's enough to make chills run down your spine, to be sure.
Sources: YouTube; Daily Mail; Wikipedia
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