As a child, all it took to scare a few friends was a bad horror movie, an old attic, and several fingers on a Ouija board. These days, terror is usually associated with war zones or a doctor's waiting room.
But there are still a few unique places in the world, where people's supernatural suspicions and base animal instincts give off a resounding red alert. For the adventurers who can ignore their brain's "do not enter" warnings, here's a list of fun places to visit.
1. The Wall:
If you're a serious scuba diver, you've heard of a popular place off the coast of St. Croix aptly named: "The Wall." It's frequently visited for the lush corals that are often described as breathtakingly beautiful. But at a certain point, the sea floor takes a sharp and sudden drop — two miles straight down. The waters almost instantly change from shallow, warm and crystal blue to an endless jet black abyss with no end. To swim above it, is to look down into the endless coldness of a consuming void — where very large and hungry creatures live. We've explored less than 10% of our oceans, most of it too deep and dark to venture into. Blue Whales have returned from these depths with large wounds on them. Beyond the Goblin Sharks and Seadevils we've already found, who knows what lies there in the depths, waiting …
2. BSL-4 Lab:
If there's ever going to be a mankind ending plague or zombie apocalypse, the virus that starts it all will come from one of the world's rare Biosafety Level 4 Hot Labs. This is the highest possible security level for a biohazard research lab, reserved for the kind of monstrous viruses that have no cure, carry a 90% kill rate, are highly contagious, and could eradicate entire cities in days. However bad your work environment may be, imagine spending your 9-5 around millions of furious micro-organisms just dying to kill your entire species.
3. Aokigahara Forest:
In Siecho Matsumoto's novel Kuroi Koiji, two characters commit suicide in the forest known as the "Black Sea of Trees." Since the 1950s, hundreds of people have taken their own lives in the woods, scattering their bodies all over the forest floor. Whether by hanging from branches or leaping to their deaths, the Japanese have never let a year pass without adding to the woodland's death toll. The trees are so numerous and thick that even during the middle of the day the woods have an eerie darkness about them. If hundreds of ghosts and corpses don't bother you, be careful of the reported grave robbers who are constantly on the look out for bodies to pickpocket.
4. Akodessewa Fetish Market:
Togo is home to the world's largest Voodoo market. Rare, grotesque and ungodly items are scattered throughout the stalls. Animal skulls, horns, limbs, organs and mummified creatures are easily spotted. For those westerners willing to venture into the more secluded stalls and huts — there are even more unimaginable horrors considered powerful aids to the craft of black magic.
5. Jacobs Well:
Although a popular spot for local kids to dive in on a dare, Jacob's well gets scarier the deeper down you go. A famous cave diving spot in Texas, this random tunnel in the ground goes straight down for about 70 feet before opening up to a massive underwater tunnel system. The water is so cold down there that bodies have been found from the 1970s, perfectly preserved. If your oxygen fails you, you get caught on a cord, or you just become disoriented in all the pebbles and dust that can swarm through in the water — you are in for a slow and lonely death. A safety grate that was recently installed was cut open, and replaced with a sign that reads: "You can't keep us out!"
6. Chernobyl Amusement Park:
The Prypiat town in Ukraine is famous for being among the few poster cities warning against nuclear power's dangers. 20 years since the meltdown, a city that once housed thousands of people is an abandoned, irradiated ghost town. Of particular creepiness is the old children's playground and amusement park, where any horror writer worth his salt would gladly visit to get inspired.
7. Waverly Hills Sanitorium, Kentucky:
At the turn of the 20th century, Waverly was a state-of-the-art tuberculosis treatment facility. In the 1960s it became a mental institution, but was shut down years later due to rampant reports of patient abuse. One of the most famous features of this sadistic madhouse, was the "Body Chute" or "Death Tunnel" — a railcar system for transporting corpses from the top of the hill to the bottom. It is said to be haunted by the psychotic ghosts of 65,000 patients who died at the hospital. There are hundreds of unique horror stories that range from forced lobotomies to forced abortions. Records show some doctors who sexually abused female patients would sometimes fake the women's suicides. If you really want to test the theory of whether ghosts exist or not, the Asylum accepts visitors — but be warned, there is no electricity in the tunnel …