In no particular order are ten travel destinations that I find pretty fascinating. I have yet to visit these places, but hope to give first hand coverage one day.
Do you have a macabre travel destination to recommend? Would you visit any of the places I’ve listed? Leave a comment below!
Located in Japan, at the northwest base of Mount Fuji, Aokigahara Forest, has the morbid reputation of being a very popular place for suicides. So popular, in fact, that there are signs posted in Japanese and English encouraging those to reconsider their actions. It is not uncommon to find corpses within the forest and law enforcement will sweep through the 14 mile area once a year to remove the deceased. The forest has had a long association with demons, angry spirits and the supernatural. Called “The Sea of Trees” Aokigahara Forest is unnaturally quiet due to the lack of wildlife and the thick cover of wind-blocking trees.
Winchester Mystery House
The famed Victorian home of Sarah Winchester, widow of William Winchester. Sarah believed that the angry spirits killed by Winchester rifles could be kept at bay if she began construction on a home–but never finished it.
The Sedlec Ossuary
Located in the Czech Republic, this small Roman Catholic church, located in Sedlec, contains the bones of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, dating as far back as the 14th Century. Overcrowding led to exhuming bodies in the early 16th century and for three hundred years the bones lay stacked in the chapel. In 1870, František Rint was employed to organize the bones. He created elaborate, macabre sculptures, and chandeliers.
Founded in 1970 to house workers for the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, it was hastily abandoned in 1986 following the Chernobyl disaster. Over the years decay and vandalism have created an eerie shell of a once busy community. The radiation levels are now considered safe due to the decay of the short-lived isotopes released during the accident. Several companies offer tours of the area for curious tourists.
The Catacombs are an underground ossuary containing the bones of some six million people. Opened in the 18th Century, the catacombs are part of the massive labyrinth of mines that run under the city. The term mines and the catacombs are often used interchangeably. The ossuary is legally open to tourists and can be visited. Officially, it is prohibited for visitors to explore the mines. The mines are dangerous, narrow and often flooded. However, that doesn’t stop adventurous urban explorers from venturing into the depths.
Underground Vaults of Edinburgh, Scotland
Located beneath South Bridge, the vaults where originally used as space and workshops for the South Bridge businesses above. However, by the late 18th Century, the vaults were abandoned due to moisture and bad air quality. Soon the vaults became slum housing, brothels and a haven for criminal activity. It is not know specifically when the vaults were closed, but there have been frequent reports of paranormal activity and ghost sightings.
The cemetery located in Stull, Kansas has gained an amount of dubious recognition due to various urban legends referring to the Devil, the occult, and as being a supposed gateway to Hell. Local police have discouraged curiosity seekers from entering the cemetery, especially on Halloween and some people have been arrested for trespassing there.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 New Orleans, Louisiana
One of three Roman Catholic cemeteries, No. 1 opened in 1789 and is the oldest in New Orleans. The graves are all above-ground vaults and it is believed that the Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau is interred here.
The battle at Gettysburg, PA–one of the bloodiest in the American Civil War–was fought between July 1-3, 1863. With over 51,000 lives lost it is no wonder that Gettysburg is a hotbed for paranormal activity.
Sonora Witchcraft Market
Located a short distance from Mexico City, this market for brujería, shamans and witches is literally packed with every imaginable ingredient for magic spells–both for good and bad.