Halloween is one of our favorite holidays here at Jetsetter. In honor of Halloween, we’ve compiled a list of the scariest places in the planet (some of which we’ve already seen, and others which we aim to visit soon). Here are nine scary places to visit, ranging from a snake-infested island to an underground tomb brimming with mummies. Before you read this, make sure the lights are turned on.
England’s Tower of London
When the Tower of London was utilized as a jail for persons suspected of treason in the 17th century, espionage, torture, and decapitation were all commonplace. Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, and Lady Jane Grey, the “Nine-Day Queen,” were two of its most renowned occupants. Both were beheaded on the Tower Green and buried in the chapel, and their headless ghosts are claimed to still wander the halls. The young boys of King Edward IV are said to have been slaughtered on instructions from their uncle at the Bloody Tower, while the Queen’s Tower is said to be haunted by the ghost of Arbella Stuart, James I’s cousin who was imprisoned and eventually murdered here.
So Paulo, Brazil’s Ilha da Queimada Grande
Ophidiophobes, this is the worst nightmare you’ve ever had. Thousands of golden lancehead vipers live on Ilha da Queimada Grande, or “Snake Island,” 90 miles off the coast of So Paulo (the largest concentration in the world). Legend has it that two fishermen were bitten here and found dead in a pool of their own blood, while a third was never discovered. The island is now closed to all but the Brazilian navy, which comes once a year to inspect the lighthouse, which was automated in the 1920s after the last keeper was murdered by a snake.
Catacombs of the Capuchins in Sicily, Italy
When a haunted house in Ohio discovered that bodies buried here were spontaneously mummified, this catacomb became the eternal resting place for nobility in the 17th century. The bodies were hanged from the catacomb walls like relics because it was thought to be an act of God. Today, 2,000 skeletons line five subterranean limestone corridors, each labeled with the name and date of death.
Edinburgh Castle and Mary King’s Close are located in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Hundreds of ghost sightings have been reported at Edinburgh Castle, including a headless drummer boy, French and American POWs, and even phantom dogs wandering the pet cemetery. A team of scientists spent ten days examining the castle in 2001 as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, with many people experiencing paranormal phenomena such as unexpected changes in temperature and the sensation of somebody tugging at their garments. The castle isn’t the only haunted attraction in this historic city. Since the 17th century, when plague victims were locked in their dwellings and left to die, Mary King’s Close, a subterranean lane beneath the City Chambers, has been haunted.
Kutná Hora, Czech Republic’s Sedlec Ossuary
This chapel was built beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec using the skulls of 40,000 individuals. It was created by Frantisek Rint, a woodcarver employed by the House of Schwarzenberg in 1870 to organize the human bones placed at the ossuary. The centerpiece is a massive chandelier that houses at least one bone from every human body part. The skull garlands, six big bone pyramids, bone candelabras, and skull candleholders are all frightening.
San Diego, California’s Whaley House
Welcome to America’s most haunted house. “Yankee Jim,” who was convicted of great larceny and hanged off a wagon on the place where the house presently stands, is the oldest known ghost here. The Whaley family reported hearing heavy footfall almost as soon as they moved in. Visitors to the museum have reported seeing windows inexplicably fly open, the ghost of family patriarch Thomas Whaley roaming the top landing, and a scary little girl in the dining room. She’s said to be the ghost of a Whaley child’s companion who died after inadvertently breaking her neck on a clothesline in the back yard.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Eastern State Penitentiary
The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, first opened in 1829, was once the most famous prison in the world. It was the first prison to adopt solitary confinement and was home to notable criminals such as Al Capone. When it opened to the public in 1994, many visitors reported hearing weird noises: footsteps in the yards, wails in the hallways, and disembodied laughing. Those looking for a good scare can visit ESP’s “Terror Behind the Walls” evening experience, which takes place on the 11-acre prison grounds.
Paris Catacombs, France
The bones of nearly six million Parisians were transported here from congested graves in the 18th century, and are now housed in this subterranean labyrinth. Visitors can descend 130 steps to the frigid tunnels and crypts packed with human bones, which are just a small part of the city’s roughly 200 kilometers of haunting passageways.