Unfamiliar things always entice the curiosity within us. Fortunately, our world offers countless unknown, bizarre, and eerie places. While some seek extreme adventures through extreme activities, others are down for thrills and chills. They explore the unique, eerie, and uncanny places — home of unearthly stories, and inexplicable past.
Aokigahara Forest in at Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
Aokigahara Forest is a 35 square kilometer forest situated northwest foot of Mt. Fuji at Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. It comes with the name Jukai (樹海), meaning Sea of Trees for its affluent vegetation. It is a dense forest growing over hardened lava. The forest floor is uneven and covered in moss. Roots of trees swarm across the ground making it haunting. Meanwhile, light filters through the tall trees and canopies making it even more enthralling.
The forest is so quiet. The strange silence exudes a peculiar sensation, and its serenity gives off unfathomable solitude. As you go deeper into the woods, you’ll sense a foreboding melancholic feeling.
This is where people have decided to take their final walk into the wilderness.
Aokigahara Forest carries a morbid reputation as one of the best places to die. It is globally referred to as the Suicide Forest. For years, some people who wandered the forest never had the intention of going back. Some leave traces behind for either of two reasons. One is a chance to change their mind and go back. The other is in the hope that someone finds their body.
Locals have since started promoting awareness in seeking help. You will find several reminders about the importance of one’s life posted in the area. It is saddening that despite the effort of raising awareness, police, and volunteers still find dozens of decomposed bodies in the middle of the forest. In 2013, police decided to stop announcing the number of bodies recovered in order to dissociate Aokigahara with suicide.
Aokigahara Forest is still an enchanting place. It offers a terrific walk of nature. If you are down for a spooky forest hike, then this Suicide Forest may be perfect for you. It offers a sense of peacefulness and tranquility. Not until you find someone else’s shoe, or worse, a body hanging from a tree.
Kakashi no Sato
Nagoro Village is a small, abandoned village in a remote mountainous area of Iya Valley, Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. In previous years, the village had only about 300 inhabitants. However, it has severely declined due to its aging population. Also migration to neighboring cities because of their jobs. This caused low birthrates and eventually lead to the desertion of the area. The last population census indicates there are at least 30 people still living in the area.
Wandering around the outskirts of Japan is rather interesting. You get to enjoy a moment of peace, no noise, no pollution, and away from all the clamor and chaos of the cities. Traversing Iya Valley offers a superb view of mountainscapes running the entire National Route 439. They are accompanied by rich and colorful vegetation. The area itself radiates a calm feeling and tranquility.
While it is a deserted village, Nagoro still makes its way into the tourism industry of Japan. It is currently known as Scarecrow Village or Doll Town. That’s because several life-size dolls appear to be living in it.
A local lady, named Ayano Tsukimi repopulated the village by using dolls. While roaming across the town, you’ll find several dolls doing everyday activities as if they are alive. You will see them on the roadsides, you’ll see couples sitting in front of their houses. There are even groups of dolls sitting and waiting at the bus stop. Some are on the field, at school, at the bridge, or on their bicycles. They, the dolls, are technically everywhere and placed in the most natural way. You may even mistake them for an actual human.
They are occupying the still-intact structures, repopulating the abandoned town. Some people find it amusing and interesting, while some find it uncanny and disturbing.
While the dolls keep the town “alive”, it’s really unsettling to see everyone motionless. It’s even more frightening if you know that each doll represents a departed resident of the town. It is truly intriguing. But the more you wander, the more you sense sadness and isolation. You get to see how empty and lifeless the village is. That’s when the feeling of loneliness sinks in.
Scarecrow Village is a thought-provoking place. It’ll leave you wondering if these dolls move while you are not looking.
But underneath all of that, it just might be one of the eerie places to add to your To-Do list.
Go here to view a short video about the dolls in Nagoro.
La Isla de la Munecas
Island of Dolls is a man-made island located along the channels of Xochimilco, Mexico City. While the name may suggest that this place as a huge playground for kids, you are wrong. It’s another of the eerie places for you to experience. This is not a fairy tale setting for children. This place is one of, if not the most, haunting places in the world. It offers an unsightly view of the island covered in thick waterlilies with hundreds or maybe even thousands of worn-out dolls hanging everywhere.
An eco-tourism rescue in 1987 lead to the discovery of the island. It has since become a peculiar tourist attraction. It was never meant to scare people but only to scare away bad spirits. That was the belief of the man who started it all, Don Julian Santana.
He started populating the island with dolls upon discovering the body of a young girl who drowned in the river. Afraid that she may haunt him, he hung the doll on a tree which he found while floating on the river. He believed the doll would scare off the bad spirits and would appease the spirit of the young woman.
The boat ride going to the area is quite pleasant, but you’ll get this eerie feeling when you see the dolls up close. Looking at countless disfigured dolls hanging on the trees is terrifying and disturbing. Most of them have missing body parts. Some are just limbs, some are just legs, and some are just heads. If not, they are mostly deformed and worn-out by the weather, which gives them an even more frightening look. Their color is black. Some no longer have hair, and their hollow bodies become home for insects.
You may even see spiders crawling out from their empty eye sockets. Some people even claim that they can hear these dolls whisper. The island itself displays a dark, mysterious, and ominous impression. Leaving the island will bring you chills and nightmares. It is a unique, real-life horror experience as their dead eyes stare back at you as you go silently by.
Hill of Cross is situated at Šiauliai County, the northern part of Lithuania. It’s one of the eerie places you’ll find in Europe. It is a pilgrimage site wherein you’ll find hundreds of thousands of crosses in all different sizes and make. The practice of leaving a cross on the hill has been going for two decades already. But the reason why this practice started remains a mystery today. It is said that the first cross on the hill appeared in the 1850s. But many believe it appeared even earlier in commemoration to those who died at the revolt in 1831.
Religion was declared forbidden during the conflict with the Soviet Union. Thus, the hill suffered severe damage. They took down the hill. They remove the crosses, burn, and scrap all of it. But every demolition tendered a stronger devotion. Locals worked at forbidden hours of the night, sneakily replacing the crosses and fighting against religious oppression.
Today, traversing highway 4033 will offer you a hundred-eighty degree view of the unobstructed greenfield and vast sky. While the drive can feel comforting, you’ll feel mixed emotions upon approaching a mysterious gothic-looking hill in the middle of nowhere. There are various beautifully carved crosses and crucifixes standing tall on the hill. Aside from crosses, there are also rosaries and statues of Saints. There are even Lithuanian patrons and other religious symbols in the area.
The place is solemn. You can feel the sanctity and sacredness it offers. It does not belong to anyone. It does not belong to the church, not even to the government. The Hill of Cross is a destination of pilgrimage of all denominations. Hill of Cross is a powerful religious testament. It symbolizes spiritual devotion and later becomes Lithuania’s identity.
As the wind blows, the hill will continuously chime as the rosaries rattle against the wooden and metal crosses.
Catacombs of Paris
While a graveyard is unnerving enough, the Catacomb of Paris is way more than that. It is an ossuary of six million Parisians in an underground tunnel in Paris, France. Paris may be a City of Love above the ground, surely it has dark secrets underneath. In the 18th century, Paris faced a problem in the overflowing cemeteries of the city. When a flood takes over the city, walls of cemeteries break, and the improperly buried bodies overflow on the grounds.
The pungent smell of dead bodies is all over the place and begins spreading diseases. To eradicate the increasing problem, Paris Officials chose to move the remains in a more secluded area of town. People begin to exhume corpses, including old-buried bodies and bones. They were transferred to abandoned, subterranean tunnels of ancient stone quarries. This tunnel is the Catacomb we know today.
At first, the burial ground, still unorganized, it is later renovated into a place eligible for a social visit. Visiting such burial grounds of exposed human remains may be odd and prone to the spread of various diseases. However, curiosity is what makes people, therefore, this burial ground has become an attraction.
The catacombs are surely one spine-chilling place. The underground is cold but well lit. It will take going through narrow tunnel after tunnel before arriving into the actual burial place of millions of bones. Its walls are stacked with actual bones of six million people extending throughout Paris. The delicate arrangement of skulls turned into decorative designs.
Beyond the sparkling city lights of Paris, is a death place underneath.
These are but five of the eerie places scattered around the world. How many of them have you been to?