The world is full of scary places. In the Middle East, vicious and violent civil wars rack the countries of Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. In Turkey, the eastern portions of Anatolia are home to a decades-old insurgency pitting Kurds against Turkish soldiers, police officers, and civilians.
War is also common in other parts of Asia, from China's restive Xinjiang province to the Malay-majority areas of southern Thailand. Elsewhere, from Donbass to the narco-controlled ghettos of Mexico, Brazil, and Guatemala, death is an everyday occurrence.
In truth, these are the scariest places on earth. However, these fears do not come from the supernatural. If you are seeking out ghosts, demons, or simply the unknown, then the following fifteen places are right for you. Gothic castles can be found on this list, as well as empty insane asylums, graveyards, and infamous crime scenes.
There are other places that defy the imagination, while others have been labeled as "gateways" to hell. It is a safe bet that even if they are not a one-way ride to Satan's kingdom, every single one of these locations are guaranteed to raise the hairs on your arm, neck, and spine.
15 The Riddle House
Built in the early 1900s, the Riddle House of Palm Beach County, Florida is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a suicide. Initially used as a funeral parlor, the home fell into private hands during the 1920s. At that time, an employee of homeowner Karl Riddle apparently hanged himself in the home's attic.
Ever since then, anybody who visits the home's attic is liable to be attacked by Joseph's ghost. The ghost likes to single out men for some reason, with male visitors being attacked with everything from lids to unseen hands.
Other apparitions attracted to the Riddle House on 327 Acacia Street may be connected to the grave robbing business that plagued the area due to the house's close proximity to Woodlawn Cemetery.
14 Leap Castle
The infamous Leap Castle of Coolderry, County Offlay, Ireland was likely built sometime in the 13th century. The castle has been in the hands of several families, from the O'Bannon clan to the O'Carroll clan. Each one of these families have experienced the inexplicable within the castle's walls. Several paranormal investigators have felt much the same, as well.
It is believed that almost every inch of Leap Castle is haunted. In the aptly named "Bloody Chapel," an oubliette, or a small chamber used for storing precious jewels and other valuables, is believed to be haunted by several spirits. Another famous ghost of the castle is the so-called "Red Lady," a female apparition who is seen dressed in a crimson dress.
The most frightening spirit of the castle is the Elemental, a non-human entity that may either be a demon or a fairy.
13 Turin, Italy
Millions of tourists flock to the beautiful, historical, and very clean Italian city of Turin every year. The Piedmontese city is best known for the Shroud of Turin relic, which purports to show the actual face of Jesus Christ.
Ironically, Turin is also known as one of the most "Satanic" cities in the world. First reported in the 1980s, the Vatican was forced to hire new exorcists in order to combat the "black magic" within the city.
A magnet for occultists, Turin supposedly sits at the top of a black magic triangle that includes the cities of San Francisco and London. Many investigators point to the very un-Christian images that adorn such landmarks as the Via Vittorio Alfieri, the Piazza del Palazzo, and the Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio Church as indications of the city's allegiance to Satan.
Ever since the 1970s, Boston Township, Ohio has been abandoned. In 1974, U.S. President Gerald Ford accorded the land via eminent domain. The U.S. government initially thought to turn Boston Township into a nature reserve or a national park. The idea never came to fruition, and the township's abandoned houses were left to rot.
Since that time, wild rumors have sprung up about the place. One claims that a sharp turn on Stanford Road, known locally as The End of the World, is a meeting point for all kinds of unsavory characters, from Ku Klux Klan members to devil worshippers.
Even more spectacular is the legend that the Peninsula Python, a ridiculously large snake, patrols the abandoned town and waits for something living to eat.
11 Dudleytown, Connecticut
Like Helltown, Connecticut's Dudleytown is a weird, abandoned town in the middle of nowhere, America. However, the reputed "Dudley Curse" actually has its roots way back in 16th century England.
The legend claims that during the reign of England's King Henry VIII, Edmund Dudley was beheaded for treason. Because of Edmund's actions, all of the Dudleys were cursed (by whom is not known). Interestingly, Edmund's son John was also decapitated for trying to overthrow the king.
By the time Dudleytown was established in 1737, the area became infamous for plague outbreaks and savage battles between the New England villagers and their Native American neighbors. Because of bad luck or a family curse, much of the town was abandoned in the early 19th century. Visitors today are fined $75 for trespassing on what is believed to be haunted (and private) property.
10 Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital
Abandoned hospitals are unquestionably creepy. Nothing is guaranteed to frighten the daylights out of people quite like the knowledge that hundreds, maybe thousands of people died right where they are standing. Many urban explorers are not daunted by these fears, but many have returned from the ruined Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital in Germany with ghastly tales.
This military-hospital complex once treated Adolf Hitler and the future East German dictator Erich Honecker. The abandoned hospital has seen its fair share of carnage. Most recently, in 2008, a 20-year-old fetish model named Anja was beaten to death by a photographer during a sex game gone wrong. Earlier, between 1989 and 1991, the "Beast of Beelitz" murdered five women and a baby. The serial killer and necrophile was ultimately unmasked as a police employee named Wolfgang Schmidt.
9 Changi Beach
One does not automatically think of horror when one thinks about beaches. Fun and sun are more common than flying corpses.
Changi Beach in Singapore is an exception to this role. Back during World War II, the Japanese military liked using the beach for executions. During the Sook Ching massacre, an untold number of Chinese citizens were executed due to the belief that they held anti-Japanese views. Many of these men were decapitated by ceremonial Japanese swords. As a result, many eyewitnesses today claim that they have seen headless ghosts walking along the beach. Others have also claimed to have seen ghost heads floating above the water.
Less shocking encounters include hearing moans and cries during the night and seeing patches of blood randomly appear in the sand.
8 Pisco, Peru
Legend claims that a real vampire stalks the small town of Pisco, Peru. It goes like this: the city was once home to an Englishwoman named Sarah Ellen Roberts. In 1913, Roberts was arrested and charged with a strange litany of crimes. Official magistrates accused Roberts of being a murderer, a witch, and a vampire bride of Count Dracula (seriously).
It is believed that all of these charges stem from the testimony of her husband John, who claims that he saw his wife drink blood from a child's neck and pour blood over ice cream before eating it. These assertions were enough to get Sarah Ellen executed. After death, Sarah Ellen's body, not to be buried in hallowed ground, was dumped across the world in Pisco.
Rumors claim that before death, Sarah Ellen promised a terrible vengeance. Superstitious Peruvians believe that her wrath caused the terrible earthquake of 2007. Amazingly, Sarah Ellen's tomb was unaffected by the disaster.
7 Stull Cemetery
Stull, Kansas does not attract a lot of visitors. This small, Midwestern town is almost exclusively known because of its supposedly haunted cemetery. Stull Cemetery sits on top of Emmanuel Hill. Nearby is a crumbling church that is reportedly haunted by many ghosts.
Although the abandoned church has been a source of local legends for almost one hundred years, it was an article in the University of Kansas newspaper that first put these legends into print. Published in 1974, the article claimed that several area residents claimed that they had seen or experienced strange things in the cemetery.
Others proclaimed that Satanists were known to frequent the cemetery. During the Spring Equinox of 1978, some 150 people spent the night at the cemetery hoping to see the devil himself.
In 1980, an article in the Kansas City Times argued that the Devil liked to appear in Stull every Halloween. This led to crowds turning the cemetery into a party every Halloween. Also, the cemetery's close relationship with Old Scratch is maybe one of the reasons why it has been called a "Gateway To Hell."
6 Tak Tak School
This Hong Kong school is surrounded on all sides by a massive cemetery. When the school closed its doors for good in 1998, the rumor mill began churning out terrifying tales. One story claims that a school mistress hung herself inside of the school while wearing a red dress. Since then, eyewitnesses have reported seeing a "Red Lady" who not only wanders the halls, but is also known to possess people.
In 2001, a group of intrepid students decided to explore the abandoned grounds. When they finally left the school, the students were hysterical. One female student tried to strangle herself, then bit the hand of a boy who tried to help her.
Tak Tak is surrounded by tragedy unrelated to the school, as well. It is believed that thousands of bodies are buried near the school, with many being victims of British and Japanese colonial rule.
5 Ohio University Campus
Athens, Ohio is arguably one of the most supernaturally active places in the entire world. Home to Ohio University, this small town boasts of not only an abandoned lunatic asylum, but also haunted dorm rooms and possibly Satanic municipal design.
Wilson Hall is home to the school's most well-documented haunting. First constructed in 1965, many students believe that Wilson Hall has seen an abnormal number of suicides over the years. Many believe that the spirits of these suicides are so terrifying that they routinely force students to abandon their rooms. Others believe that Wilson Hall was built on top of corpses linked to the Athens Mental Health Center. Finally, believers point out that Wilson Hall sits in the middle of the pentagram that connects much of the town.
Even more infamous than Wilson Hall is The Ridges, a former lunatic asylum. Here, terrible overcrowding and heinous treatments such as shock therapy and lobotomies have possibly left behind furious spirits.
4 Paris Catacombs
Underneath the "City of Light" lurks one of the darkest places in all of Europe. Tucked away in a network of caves, tunnels, and man-made quarries rests six million dead bodies. Known as the Catacombs of Paris, this grand mausoleum was initially built in order to make room for more dead bodies above ground. First beginning in the 18th century, Paris' city planners decided to relieve their numerous cemeteries of some of their skulls and bones by dumping them well below the city.
These days, adventuresome tourists can stay the night inside of the Catacombs if they want. However, thanks to one mysterious video that shows an unnamed individual walking through the Catacombs, many may want to avoid this attraction. After all, the frightened man was lost to history after running away as if he was being chased by some unseen villain.
3 LaLaurie Mansion
New Orleans is well known for its supernatural history. Long considered the home of American voodoo, this Southern city has plenty of spirits, vampires, and other ghouls to keep thrill-seeking tourists coming back for more.
Arguably the most frightening place in all of New Orleans is the LaLaurie mansion on 1140 Rue Royal. The home once belonged to a New Orleans socialite named Madame Delphine LaLaurie. By 1831, Madame LaLaurie was the sole owner of the property.
Many in the city's high society did not like mingling with LaLaurie. Their main grudge against her was her openly harsh treatment of her slaves. Police officers were known to frequently visit Madame LaLaurie's house after neighbors reported hearing screams or seeing bloody slaves on the premises.
On April 10, 1834, a fire gutted the mansion. It turned out the fire had been started in the home's kitchen as a suicide attempt. Fire investigators soon found out why one of LaLaurie's slaves was in such of rush to kill themselves. Upstairs, in the slave quarters, firefighters and neighbors found slaves chained to the walls or in cages. Also, on the floor, there were hacked off body parts and various organs keep in buckets of water.
Given such awful history, is it really surprising that this mansion is haunted?
2 Hoia Baciu Forest
Known as the Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania, this strange Romanian forest is the source of many creepy legends. Located near the old Saxon city of Cluj-Napoca, the Hoia Baciu Forest consists of 250 hectares of green grass, dense foliage, and massive trees.
Visitors to the forest claim that they feel anxious or scared for no discernible reason. One of the factors leading to this uneasiness may be the forest's strange vegetation, from the twisted trees to the scorched earth that does not allow anything to grow. Most locals simply refuse to enter the forest because legends claim that anyone who enters the forest is unlikely to return.
During the 1960s, a Romanian biologist named Alexandru Sift recorded several photographs of what appeared to be a UFO hovering over Hoia Baciu. In 1968, Emil Barnea, a military technician, captured even more evidence of flying saucers. Ever since then, eyewitnesses have asserted that they often see strange lights or hear inexplicable noises coming from the forest at night.
In the shadow of Mount Fuji sits Aokigahara, Japan's most haunting forest. Although a beautiful and pristine forest, Aokigahara is best known as one of the most active suicide sites in the entire world. Every year, an untold number of Japanese citizens come to Aokigahara Forest in order to end their lives.
For the most part, these suicides are only discovered when passing tourists find ripped up tents or disturbed earth. More often than not, when Japanese police officers haul bodies out, they have already decomposed to nothing but bone.
Hanging is one of the more popular methods of suicide within Aokigahara, with investigators constantly finding corpses dangling from the forest's twisted and misshapen trees. Besides these more recent suicides, the forest is also said to be haunted by the spirits of elderly men and women who were left to die in the forest during times of famine.
Since 1970, patrols have scoured Aokigahara in order to find missing persons. This forest is nothing less than an open-air mortuary.
Sources: travelchannel.com, atlasobscura.com, dailymail.co.uk, peruforless.com, mirror.co.uk