Thursday, November 18, 2010

The 8 Scariest Places On Earth

They forgot three: my daughter's bathroom, my mother-in-law's dinner table, and Whoopi Goldberg's underpants.

From US News.

The Paris Catacombs

Sixty feet beneath the city of Paris, France you'll find the Paris Catacombs, an underground crypt said to contain the exhumed remains of an estimated six million Parisians. Yes, exhumed: when the city became overpopulated by dead bodies, the government dug them up and dumped the skeletons in centuries-old stone quarries on the then-outskirts of town. But they didn't stop there; they actually "decorated" some of the walls with stacked bones and skulls. Recent travelers say Les Catacombes de Paris aren't for the faint-of-heart or for the claustrophobic, and some say they're not for young children either.

The Stanley Hotel

While staying in the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado -- room #217, to be exact -- Stephen King was inspired to write what would become a cult classic, The Shining. Those prone to any kind of runaway imagination could scare themselves stiff staying at the Stanley, but the hotel's real ghosts are more than willing to frighten. The Billiards Room, the Ballroom and Room 407, in particular, are known for sheltering apparitions.

St. Louis Cathedral (New Orleans)

The St. Louis Cemetery #1 -- nestled on the outskirts of the French Quarter in New Orleans -- is the burial site of 19th-century Voodoo princess Marie Laveau, who is said to haunt the cemetery in several incarnations, one being a red-eyed black cat. Local lore says you should beware this black cat, or you could find yourself forever doing the bidding of this dead Voodoo Queen. Others say it's the ghost of her pet snake that appears.

Tower of London

One of the most notorious chopping blocks (for human heads, that is), the nearly millennia-old Tower of London is supposedly one of the most haunted sites in all of Britain. According to experts, a headless Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, is one of its most constant presences. The ghost of Sir Walter Raleigh is known to traipse the Byward Tower, and the screams of Guy Fawkes, who was found guilty of high treason in 1606, are sometimes heard, sending chills up the listener's spine. Perhaps the most horrifying sighting is of Lady Salisbury who, in 1541, ran screaming from her axe-wielding executioner, who in turn chased after her and chopped her to death. Several witnesses have reportedly seen the gruesome scene played out in full.

The Lizzie Borden B&B

In 1892 in Fall River, Ma., Lizzie Borden told the judge and jury that she was snacking on pears in the barn while her stepmother and father were being axed to death in the family's house. Although she'd allegedly attempted to buy cyanide prior to the murders and she'd burnt some of her clothing after the murders occurred, she was eventually acquitted of the crimes. All the evidence was circumstantial, but doubt lingered. Some say it's the ghosts of the murdered Andrew and Abby Borden that wander the house; others say that it's Lizzie herself.

Beechworth Lunatic Asylum

At Beechworth Lunatic Asylum (later known as Mayday Hills Hospital) in Victoria, Australia, patients checked in but few checked out. Eight signatures were required for a patient's discharge while only two were needed for admittance. Historians estimate upwards of 3,000 people -- some of whom didn't even need mental help -- died captive within its walls. Inside the facility, which opened in 1867, a number of atrocities occurred, ranging from exploited labor and neglect to abuse and inhumane medical treatments/experiments like the Darwin chair (where doctors would tie patients to revolving chairs and spin them so fast, they would bleed from their mouths, eyes, noses and ears). There are frequent ghost sightings, and not just of patients, but of doctors and nurses too.

Transylvania, Romania

Bram Stoker set his blood-chilling novel, Dracula, in the central Romanian region of Transylvania. According to Romania Tourism, the area is overgrown with thick forest and shrouded by steep mountains -- a fitting milieu for the dark deeds Jonathan Harker witnessed at Castle Dracula. But that's not all. Legend has it, the fictional character Count Dracula was inspired by a real-life Romanian royal, Vlad Dracula, or "Vlad the Impaler," who was known for brutality against his enemies.

Edinburgh Underground

Edinburgh, Scotland puts up a great façade -- the majestic rolling hills, the grand Balmoral Hotel, the refined Princes Street Gardens -- but underneath its streets rests a distinctly different reality: a maze of vaults dating back to the mid-1700s. Originally, Edinburgh's Underground Vaults served to benefit commerce, but they quickly became a cesspool for criminal activity, where everyone from black market traders to prostitutes (and their clients), and even murderers congregated. Auld Reekie Tours, one company who leads brave souls through the vaults, claims the existence of ghosts, writing on its website: "The South Bridge Poltergeist has been known to attack," and "We do believe that Niddry Wynd is home to a very active poltergeist. People have left with cuts, scratches, burns and bruises."


  1. The St. Louis Cemetery is not that creepy at midday. The streets near Edinburgh castle are creepy at all times.

  2. The Darwin Chair at Beechworth sounds quite gruesome! Yikes!

    I think I will avoid all of these places. The Stanley Hotel might be cool to see, but it would probably creep me out if I started thinking about the movie, The Shining, too much while there.

  3. The Ghost Hunters episode where they went to Edinburgh was one of the only times that show has actually freaked me out. **shiver**

    We drove by the Stanley Hotel while in CO, and I really wish we'd stopped to investigate!

  4. Who thought it was a good idea to make Lizzie Borden's house a B&B???

  5. Toured Paris's catacombs with my then-8-year-old. He loved, loved, loved it. (The husband wouldn't go near the place.)

    It was also the headquarters of the Resistance in WWII. Guess they figured it was too creepy even for the Nazis.

  6. I've been to the Stanley Hotel and it is creepy. I refused to spend the night after attending a rehearsal dinner there a few years ago. Just walking the hallways scared the pajeebers out of me and I don't frighten easily.

  7. New Orleans creeped me out. Not all of it, but certain parts. Just some fonky juju here and there.

  8. I just checked out the Stanley Hotel on wikipedia. Apparent;y they play The Shinning on a contious loop on one of their channels. Talk about milking it in!

  9. Paris catacombs are not scary at all - in fact it is a pretty pleasant (and long) walk. Anyone freaked by bones will not like it, but that can apply to churches and all sorts of places.

    Weirdest part is where some of the priests/bishops/etc have been dressed in robes and propped up. They really decorated the place too - interesting architecture down there. Lineups were long.

  10. It's all subjective, no? I'm not afraid of spiders in the least, but I know people who would rather die than touch a spider.

  11. Wanna know scary? When I was at school we were taken for a guided tour of the Beechworth lunatic asylum. And before you start asking "geez smauge - How old ARE you??" I'm still under forty. THAT'S how recent that place was operational. Not going to forget that excursion in a hurry!

  12. I'd stay in the Stanley. I don't believe in ghosties at all. I would like to, but in this age of everybody's got a cell phone with a camera on it, you think someone would have captured proof... and don't give me that 'orbs' crap. After I sand in the wood shop and take a picture the place is lousy with orbs.

  13. I've not been to the Stanley, but in The Shining whenever they show exterior shots of the hotel it's the Timberline Lodge in Oregon, and I actually have been there. And I only throw that out there because I've been to like 4 places in my whole life.

  14. I visited the Tower of London extensively, and I don't find it haunted, just deeply sad because of all the suffering that went on there. What really turns my stomach is how cruel humans can be to each other just because they can.

  15. I'm with Siress Yorkie--nothing particularly scary about the Tower of London. Unless Amy Winehouse happens to be there that day.

  16. I'd love to visit the Tower of London. I'm sure Siress and Heidi R. are right about it being more a sad energy than haunted.

    Smama, that was the most adorable thing I've ever heard you say. Makes me want to buy us plane tickets somewhere crazy. You down?

  17. I live in Paris so i've been to the Catacobs when I was young . Its not really scary , just disturbing to think that you are walking next to all those bodies ... and in VERY small corridors The saddest thing is that people vandalize the skulls sometimes ... wich is really bad. Id love to stay at a haunted plce to see but NOT that asylum !



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