The season of spooks and scares is upon us, so we thought we’d take you on a tour of the most frightening locations around the globe. Beware though, just like our pre-shave face scrub, they’ll make your hairs stand on end!
Nestled in the rural valleys of Shikoku, Nagoro is a small, remote village with a difference: it’s main inhabitants are not humans – they’re dolls!
Many years ago, Nagoro resident Tsukimi Ayano become stricken with loneliness, due to the declining population of her hometown. So, Tsukimi took to repopulating the village with her dolls, which actually resemble scarecrows, as they’re made from straw, fabric, and old clothes.
There are now over 350 dolls, each one representing a departed villager. She places them in locations that reflect the departed person, so you’ll see dolls fishing, farming, or simply staring at you from a bench. Although it’s a charming idea, the result is more than a little eerie!
Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
On the outside, the Sedlec Ossuary appears to be a pretty run-of-the mill gothic church, but the inside has a haunting twist. Lining the church ceilings and walls are the bones of over 40,000 human skeletons!
They were exhumed from the site in the 15th century, to make room for new burials. Apparently, the bones lay stacked in the basement of the church until 1870, when woodcarver Frantisek Rint was appointed to excavate and organize them.
The result is terribly creepy – some noteworthy decorations include a chandelier made with one of every human bone, and garlands made entirely of skulls. There’s even a coat of arms made with the bones of the Schwarzenbergs – an aristocratic Czech family who once ruled over the city.
Enter if you dare!
Winchester Mystery House, USA
Tucked away in San Jose is a foreboding mansion that was once the home of Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, the widow of the famous William Wirt Winchester, and heiress to his Winchester firearms fortune.
Following the sudden death of both her daughter and her husband, Sarah moved to this house in 1886, which at the time was just a humble farmhouse.
Legend has it that the widow sought out a spiritualist, who told her that the tragedies she’d been victim to were a result of the blood money their family had made from the Winchester rifles. She was warned that the ghosts of those felled by the weapon would seek her out, unless she built a huge home to house them all. There was also one other catch – construction on the house could never stop. As long as she continued building, she would live.
And build she did! The result is an enormous, foreboding house that was under construction for 38 years. It features 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 160 rooms, 52 skylights and 17 chimneys. There are also many architectural curiosities, including trap doors, secret passages, a skylight in the floor, and dozens of staircases that lead to nowhere. Spooky!
Isla de las Muñecas, Mexico
Located 17 miles south of Mexico City is the haunting ‘Island of the Dolls’. Around fifty years ago, Mexican resident Don Julian Santana left his wife and child, and moved onto this island on Teshuilo Lake. According to folklore, a young girl drowned in the lake, while others say the drowned girl was just a figment of his warped imagination.
In any case, Don devoted his life to honoring the lost soul of the girl, in a truly unnerving fashion: he collected and hung up dolls by the hundreds. Over the years, the dolls have become weathered and damaged, resulting in a kind of horrifying wonderland. The trees are adorned with hanging, distorted dolls missing eyes, arms and heads. Quite a different experience to Disneyland!