‘Door to Hell’, Turkmenistan
The ‘Door to Hell’ is a crater which is formed on a gas vent. Lit by soviet prospectors over 40 years back, the crater mysteriously continues to burn. Add to that the bizarre coincidence of it’s proximity to ‘Darvaza,’ village (which literally means door) and the site has spawned all sorts of dark theories. (Text by: Arushi Chaturvedi)
Pendle Hill, Lancashire
Pendle Hill has the unenviable reputation of being the abode of 12 women who were accused of witchcraft in the 17th century. In what are now known as the Lancashire witch trials, ten of the women were found guilty of murdering ten people (one died during the trial, while one was acquitted) and executed by hanging.
Tuol Sleng, Cambodia
Tuol Sleng, a school in Phnom Penh, was used as a place for detention during the infamous Khmer Rouge regime. Prisoners were chained up in their cells, prohibited to talk to one another, and interrogated using an array of barbaric techniques including electric shocks, burning with iron rods, and water-boarding. The ghosts of those who perished are believed to still haunt the building.
Hashima Island, Japan
Hashima is a deserted island 15km away from the port of Nagasaki. The island was acquired by the Mitsubishi Corporation in 1890 which used it as a base for underwater coal mining. Thousands of prisoners died at the island because of miserable living conditions and coal mining accidents. The mines were closed in 1974, and the island was abandoned for 35 years before being reopened for visitors in 2009. It’s considered one of the most haunted spots in Japan.
Bhangarh, Rajasthan, India
Situated at the edge of the Sariska tiger reserve, the city of Bhangarh was, according to local legend, cursed by a magician and burnt to ashes in a day. Even though visitors can be seen here during the day, they aren’t allowed before sunrise and after sunset because of resident ghosts which are believed to haunt the city at night.
Paris Catacombs, France
Faced with a paucity of cemeteries in 1785, Paris’s rulers decided to exhume and relocate corpses in empty quarries. These catacombs – essentially subterranean corridors – stacked with six million skeletons are decidedly the unromantic side of the French capital.
Hellfire Club, Ireland
Perched on a hill, high above the city of Dublin, this was originally built as a hunting lodge in 1725. Stories of animal and human sacrifices abound leading to speculation that the devil himself visited his followers here. Visitors often report an odd stench emanating from within the lodge.
Popularly known as Aokigahara suicide forest, this is one of the world’s most famous suicide locations. Japanese astrologers believe that the suicides committed in the forest have imbued the trees in this forest with strange powers generating paranormal activity and preventing many who enter from escaping the forest’s depths.
Stull Cemetery, Kansas, U.S.
A favourite haunt of revellers during Halloween, this cemetery is believed to be visited sporadically by the Devil himself who’s been making appearances since 1850.
Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic Church which has been constructed largely with, hold your breath, human bones. Expect bone chandeliers, garlands of skulls and even seats made of bones.
Jamali Kamali Masjid, Delhi, India
Jamali and Kamali were two Sufi saints who preached at this mosque located in the famous Mehrauli Archaeological Complex and lie buried in the tomb within. It is said that this tranquil mosque is haunted by djinns, who try to converse with the visitors in animal voices.
Akodessewa Fetish Market, Togo
Togo’s Akodessewa Fetish Market is the Holy Grail for voodoo practitioners. Whether you’re looking for good-luck charms or talismans for negating the most evil of curses, this strange market is where you’ll find all paraphernalia associated with the dark arts.