For those with a macabre sense of adventure, these fearful, frightening and downright freaky tourist attractions will fit the bill if you’re looking to for a travel experience guaranteed to raise goosebumps.
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Museum of Death
Located in Hollywood, the Museum of Death boasts the world's largest collection of artwork created by serial killers, in addition to photos of the Charles Manson crime scenes, the guillotined severed head of the Blue Beard of Paris (Henri Landru), along with original crime scene and morgue photos from the notorious Black Dahlia murder. Other items on display include a collection of body bags and coffins, full-sized replicas of execution devices, vintage mortician and autopsy instruments and taxidermy pets.
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The Paris Catacombs
Several stories beneath the City of Lights you'll find an empire of death as 200 miles worth of subterranean tunnels provide a final resting place for more than 6 million skeletons, which have been arranged in decorative patterns. The catacombs resulted when, during the 17th century, Paris had grown to be such a huge urban metropolis that the city's cemeteries were overflowing with corpses (sometimes literally after heavy rains), that led the city to smell like death. The solution: a 12-year relocation project, with the bones of the dead dug up and stacked in underground tunnels beneath the city that had originally been created to quarry limestone.
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One of Amsterdam's most popular tourist attractions, the famed Torture Museum is a reminder of the cruel creativity the human race has displayed when it comes to devising insidious ways to inflict pain. The popular exhibition “Punishments and Verdicts in the Middle Ages” includes more than 40 horrific instruments of punishment from various parts of Europe, ranging from the Inquisition chair to the guillotine to the head-squeezing vice depicted here.
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Port Arthur Prison
There are numerous prisons throughout the world that can be toured, ranging from Alcatraz to a Latvian prison that's been converted into a hotel in which guests can experience all the charm of Soviet-era imprisonment. Yet for sheer creepiness, it's tough to beat Tasmania's Port Arthur Prison, where prisoners spent years in solitary confinement, presumably so they could reflect upon their crimes; what actually happened, however, was that many prisoners went insane, and took to murdering fellow inmates just to receive the death sentence, as the icy embrace of the Grim Reaper was seen as the only escape from the prison's so-called "therapy."
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Winchester Mystery House
Bizarre doesn't even begin to describe this ultra-weird mansion. The Winchester Mystery House was built in San Jose, California by the heiress to the Winchester gun fortune, who felt she was haunted by the tortured souls of all those killed by the weapons manufactured by her family's company. To fend off these hauntings, she built all manner of strange features into the massive 161-room home in order to confuse the ghosts, such as stairways that lead to nowhere, windows that overlook other rooms and doorways that take you to dead ends.
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Isla de la Muñecas
Located just south of Mexico City, Isla de la Muñecas (translation: Island of the Dolls) was dedicated to the memory of a young girl who was drowned under mysterious circumstances, with thousands of dolls left hanging in trees as a twisted tribute. Are these dolls possessed by the girl's spirit? Some claim to have witnessed the dolls moving of their own accord, while others swear they've heard their ghostly whispers. Regardless of whether or not you believe the legends, there's no denying this is one seriously creepy place.
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At the base of Japan's Mt. Fuji can be found this beautiful but deadly forest, which has been saddled with the sinister nickname "Suicide Forest" thanks to its dubious history in which dozens of people each year have been taking their own lives there since the 19th century. While ancient myths claim the forest is crawling with demons, the Japanese bestseller The Complete Manual of Suicide recommends picturesque Aokigahara Forest as the “perfect place to die.”
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The Stanley Hotel
Dubbed "the most haunted place in America," the Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King's novel The Shining, and served as the setting for Stanley Kubrick's creepy horror film based on the book. For the ultimate experience, check into Room 217 (the room in which King stayed and reportedly had a chilling paranormal experience), and where Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) experienced a horrifying vision that drove him homicidally insane. Visitors have reported hearing spectral piano music, ghostly giggling, unexplained noises and much more, so beware!
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Capela dos Ossos
Located in Evora, Portugal, the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) may look unassuming from the exterior, but within lies hundreds of extravagantly arranged skeletons, exhumed from the city's graveyards during the 16th century. Upon entering, visitors read a not-so-comforting inscription that, when translated, reads: “We, the bones that are here await yours.”
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Manchac Swamp in Louisiana — about a 40-minute drive outside of New Orleans — is no ordinary swamp. According to legend, this haunted swamp is not only home of the mythic Rougaru (a Cajun variation of a werewolf) but is also the final resting place of Voodoo queen Julia Brown, whose ghostly voice, some attest, can still be heard singing her signature song, "One day I'm gonna die, and I'm gonna take all of you with me.” According to accounts, one trip to the swamp can turn the most hardened skeptic into a true believer.
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