Think you’re brave? We dare you to spend the night, in a tent, in any of these places..
Four Corners, USA
The meeting point of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, this region has some of the most stunning landscapes in the US, such as Monument Valley and Chaco Canyon. However, it appears this is also a hotbed for tales of strange creatures prowling in the night. Skinwalkers are one notorious and terrifying legend. Having inspired several movies, these half wolf half man beasts are apparently American Indian shamans who through evil rites can shapeshift into animal form. Tales of bipedal dogmen chasing vehicles and campers having rocks thrown at them while eerie human screams circle the camp are plentiful. Remember a Skinwalker must be invited in, so if you find one knocking at your window, whatever you do don’t open the door. If you’re lucky it will just be a Bigfoot, who according to sightings, also inhabit the vast wilds of the area.
Cannock Chase. UK
This area, designated as a place of outstanding natural beauty, lies in Staffordshire, England. A mixture of woodland and open heath, it was also the burial place of three young murder victims in the 1960s. There seem to be a plethora of other-worldy residents, for over a century sightings of ghosts, werewolves, UFOs and even a pigman has been regularly reported. One chilling rhyme recited by children for over 70 years warns ..“When night falls, enter the woods at your peril, for inside lurks something worse than the devil, avoid at all costs the gathering place, where at midnight the pig-man roams on Cannock Chase.” Some say the stories were made up by the military in the 1940s to deter people from snooping around the facility here, others that the same facility conducted bizarre experiments into human hybrids and some of the creations got loose. Either way, those that have experienced strange things here swear there is something very real and very scary in the woods.
Aokigahara Forest, Japan
Lying at the foot of Mount Fuji and also known as ‘the Suicide Forest’ or ‘ Sea of Trees’, this woodland is known for being exceptionally quiet due to the wind blocking density of the trees and absence of wildlife. There are also a few rocky caverns to explore which are popular with tourists. Around 1000 people commit suicide here every year, despite signs urging them to reconsider their actions, and it is not uncommon to stumble upon human bones or hanging bodies while hiking. Long associated with death and demons in Japanese mythology, many people who dare to visit have seen dark shapes flitting between the trees and had the feeling of being watched by an evil presence.
This area of moorland in the South West of England covers 954 square kilometers. One of the most bleakly beautiful open areas in the UK it is also one of the few places you are legally allowed to wild camp. Prehistoric sites litter the landscape and ancient legends abound, with Arthur Conan Doyle finding the place a fittingly spooky location for ‘The hound of the Baskervilles.’ Not only is this one of Britain’s most notorious places for big cat sightings, but a pack of hell hounds is also said to stalk the moor at night in search of souls. One particularly unusual story which has built up since about 1910 along a stretch of road near Postbridge is the legend of the ‘hairy hands’. The disembodied hands are said to appear suddenly, grab the steering of cars and bicycles and drive them off the road. One witness sleeping in a campervan also reported a pair of hairy hands scrabbling at the window and trying to get in, she claims they disappeared when she made the sign of the cross.
The Bridgewater Triangle, USA
This area of around 200 square miles in Southern Massachusetts, lies in an area of diverse natural landscapes and ecosystems from forests to swamps. The ‘triangle’ has been so called due to its renown for sightings of UFO’s, poltergeists, Bigfoot and even giant snakes. Hockomock swamp, meaning ‘place where spirits dwell’ was apparently cursed by the local Native Americans who received terrible treatment from colonial settlers. Even seasoned hunters have become inexplicably disorientated here and lost track of time, most also report a feeling of dread and of being watched. ‘Spook lights’ are often sighted by hikers and locals, hovering over the trees and swamp along with the quintessential unearthly screams. Not far away is Freetown state forest, well known for decades as a site for cult activity and gangland murder, even today you can see hooded figures practicing magic among the trees. Stories of satanic ritual sacrifice have surfaced in the past alongside the murder trials of a fair few people. On a lighter note an emu is also said to inhabit the forest.
Mammoth Cave, USA
This UNESCO world heritage sight contains the longest network of underground passages and caves in the world, 285 miles of them (possibly now rivaled by Vietnam’s Son Doong cave.) The woodlands here are also important and said to be the largest remaining examples of the ancient forests of Eastern North America. With more than 150 reports of paranormal goings on, the caverns have been dubbed ‘the most haunted natural wonder in the world’. Many ghosts are said to inhabit the cave, including Stephan Bishop, a slave who explored the cave extensively in the days before the civil war. Tourists are often known to interrupt guides to ask who the shadowy figures standing at a distance are, many have heard cries for help and a few have been shoved and pushed by unknown forces. Who knows what could be lurking in such a massive subterranean world? or how many souls have got lost down there?
Poveglia Island, Italy
Agreed by many to be one of the most haunted islands in the world, Poveglia is surprisingly situated in a beautiful spot in the Venice lagoon, just two miles from the Grand Canal. It has a dark and unsettling history, having long served as a quarantine station and dumping ground for those society wants out, in fact the word quarantine was first coined in Venice, meaning 40 days. Mass graves have been unearthed containing thousands of bodies but much of the island has not been excavated. Some even say so many bodies were burnt here during the Black Death that 50% of the soil is human ash. It was also used as a mental asylum from about 1922, the remains of which are still standing although decayed. It is said the chief psychiatrist was a cruel man who tortured his patients, and eventually met his end falling, or being pushed from the bell tower. One family who eventually bought the island fled after one night, their daughter’s face having been ripped open and they refuse to speak about what took place to this day. It is pretty difficult to visit the island, but can be done so as part of a boat tour of the Grand Canal waters.
Con Dao Islands, Vietnam
Isolated off the South Coast of Vietnam, this chain of 15 islands seem to the modern visitor like a lost paradise with gorgeous beaches, coral reefs and thick forests. But being isolated from the mainland, the French and Americans built secure prisons here, where there was no chance of escape. This was once hell on earth for countless prisoners who endured torture and most notoriously imprisonment in the ‘tiger cages’. Many Vietnamese believe the islands are still inhabited by those who died here and this is what has kept it so pristine for so long. Good news for those less superstitious travellers, although the tragedy of what happened here should not be forgotten and ruins of the prisons serve as a grisly reminder to all.
There are plenty of places in the world with a haunting past. What’s the spookiest place you’ve been?