Creepy Tourism: 5 Eerie Places to Visit If Your Dare

Halloween is upon us once again. If you love travel and a good scare, there are a few creepy destinations to add to your wish list. Drop the costume and pick up your passport, because it's time to travel in creepy style.


Isla de las Munecas, Mexico


The Island of the Dolls is unlike any other place in the world. It also ranks a perfect 10 on the creep-o-meter. Don Julian Santana Barrera left his family over fifty years ago to go live in a secluded wooded island in the Xoxhimilco canals, just south of Mexico City.





Legend has it that Julian saw a drowned girl on the island and afterward spotted a floating doll in the canals. He hung the doll on a tree as a sign of respect to the dead child. He was convinced that he was being haunted by the girl's spirit and started to hang more dolls to appease her spirit.

Julian then determined that the dolls themselves were possessed, but still he collected more and more dolls until the whole island was covered. In 2001, Julian drowned in the very same spot he saw the girl decades before. At least it's not an island of clowns.




Winchester Mystery House


Located in San Jose, California, this mansion will make you appreciate your less extravagant living arrangements. The Winchester Mystery House was built in 1884 and included indoor plumbing and central heating – a true masterpiece of its day. As soon as construction began, Sarah Winchester – the property's owner and heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company fortune – claimed that the mansion was haunted by the spirits of people killed by Winchester rifles.



For the next 38 years – until her death in 1922 – Sarah Winchester supervised constant construction to the mansion. There appeared to be no rhyme or reason for her additions, but the end result is an eerie mansion filled with more than 160 rooms, stairs that end halfway, doors that lead nowhere, windows that overlook other rooms, and numerous secret passages.

Some people believe that she demanded the construction as a way to appease the spirits who haunted her. Others say that Winchester wanted to trick the ghosts so they would get lost in the maze-like mansion and couldn't do her harm.

Today the Winchester Mystery House is open to the public – just don't get trapped on a staircase to nowhere. For more creepy style travel inspiration, check out our list of eeriebut elegant hotels in the U.S.



The Dakota


The Dakota is one of New York City's most prestigious residences. Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Boris Karloff, and many others have called the Dakota home. It was also the residence of John Lennon, who was murdered outside the Dakota's south entrance in 1980.


The Dakota may be a homestay of the rich and famous, but it has its share of paranormal residents as well. Cited as one of the Big Apple's most haunted buildings, the original owner used to hold séances in the late 19th century. Perhaps the spirits answered back, because many residents have claimed to see spirits in the building.

Lennon himself said that he encountered a ghostly figure in the Dakota, whom he named the Crying Ghost Lady. Others have talked about a little girl's spirit who smiles and laughs at people in the hallways.

If you've always dreamed of living in a haunted house, there's good news. For only $14.5 million, a 10-room corner unit in the Dakota can be yours. Maybe the little ghost girl can bring you some luck in the next US Powerball lottery draw.


The Catacombs of Paris


The City of Light has a very dark side lurking just below the surface. The Paris underground tunnels are massive, but only a small section -- the Defert-Rochereau Ossuary – is open to the public. The Catacombs contain the skeletons of an estimated seven million former Paris residents.



The Catacombs were not intended to be these people's final resting places; the dead were originally buried in cemeteries such as the Holy Innocents' Cemetery. The cemeteries became overcrowded, which led to improper burials and serious health risks for the people living nearby.

Holy Innocents was closed in 1780 and six years later, bodies were exhumed and taken to their final resting places in the Catacombs. Other cemeteries followed suit and the tunnels of Paris turned into a City of the Dead.

The Catacombs have been a macabre tourist destination since 1867, when it was first opened to the curious. For people that want an even odder experience, why not stay overnight? The Catacombs of Paris is raffling off a Halloween night stay for two in the Catacombs through Airbnb.


Pripyat, Ukraine


What's scarier about Pripyat – the abandoned amusement park or the high levels of radiation? Pripyat is situated just three kilometers from the notorious Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The nuclear station exploded on 26 April 1986, killing 31 people outright and making the area surrounding it uninhabitable.



One of these towns was Pripyat. Founded in 1970 specifically to serve Chernobyl, the population was just under 50,000 at the time of the evacuation.

The most eerie thing to see in Pripyat is the abandoned amusement park. It was supposed to open on 1 May 1986, but the nuclear disaster made that impossible. It opened for one day only – 27 April 1986 – as a way to keep the residents occupied and entertained before the inevitable evacuation. The park's ghostly Ferris wheel has become an icon of the Chernobyl disaster.

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