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Creepy dolls up huge trees, a long, dark labyrinth, a hotel haunted by the ghost of a bride—believe it or not, these are attractions that people from all over the world flock to (and pay to go to!). If you want a different kind of adventure on your next trip, try going for some dark tourism. Here are 8 places guaranteed to give you the chills.
1. The Island of the Dolls, Mexico
Ok. So there dolls on trees. But unlike the cheery atmosphere of a toy store or the village playground, this island in Mexico is a not the place to be in at night—not if you want a hundred pairs of dolls’ eyes following your every move. Some say the spirit of the girl who drowned in the canal inhabit the dolls—some of which are decapitated—and at night, they come to life. Tourists bring dolls when they visit to appease the spirit.
2. Suicide Forest, Japan
Its “demonic” history can be traced back from Japanese mythology where it is said to be associated with evil. It does not help, either, that the lack of wind in the four-square mile forest, creates a still, eerie quietness that creeps anyone out or the fact that corpses are said to be buried all over the area. But what makes Aokigahara quite controversial is the number of suicides that are committed in the area—about 100 in a year.
3. Hoia Baciu Forest, Romania
Another renowned forest is the Hoia Baciu, which is part of the Bermuda Triangle of Romania, known for UFO sightings. It is considered to be the most haunted forest in the world with people ending up missing. And don’t think you can call for rescue. Electronic devices don’t work in this part of the world
4. Peristal Singum Labyrinth, Germany
If you see yourself as Alice lost in Wonderland, book a ticket to Germany and head to Peristal Singum, an underground labyrinth with quite an unusual interiors. Touted to be the world’s best maze, the twists and turns you’ll encounter as you try to find your way out are enough to confuse and creep out anyone. Who would not with the possibility of getting lost or trapped?
5. McKamey Manor, California
Four different locations for one terrifying live-your-own-horror-movie experience. That's what you'll find in McKamey Manor in San Diego, California. The old manor is one of the world's terrifying haunted houses with interactive challenges—bound, gagged, trapped in a box—that even grown men would be scared of. It’s not for the faint of heart.
6. Diplomat Hotel
A witness to the atrocity of the Japanese, who tortured, raped and beheaded priests, nuns, and refugees, it is no wonder that until now residents living nearby could still hear eerie noises at night such as the banging of doors, voices screaming, clanging despite the hotel being totally abandoned. Today, it has been reopened for tours and is hugely popular among ghost hunters and adventure seekers.
7. The Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
We see skulls and bones used as décor during Halloween but in a small Catholic chapel beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in The Czech Republic, human skeletons form part of the interiors. The skeletons of about 40,000 to 70,000 people adorn the insides of the chapel including a chandelier made of bones, four bell-shaped mounds at the corners, and naves decorated with garlands of human skeleton.
8. Capuchin Catacombs, Italy
Unlike any other catacombs, The Capuchin in Palermo, Italy features mummified bodies at its walls. Walking through its corridors with a hundred dead bodies staring at you is crazy scary and it does not help that some look like they’re just sleeping (and can wake up anytime!) like the body of a 2-year-old.