Unless you’re new to the world you’re probably fully aware of just how insanely fucked up this lovely place we all call home really is. Murder, war, poverty and Justin Bieber are only a few of the things that plague us every single day and the sad thing about it is there’s a very good chance everything will continue to get far worse before they get any better (or before a meteor or nuclear holocaust wipes us all out).
I feel we should celebrate this horrifying revelation by naming off eight of the most shit-out-your-spine terrifying places in the world that horror games should visit. If anything I hope this list will make the place you live in a little more bearable. After scouring this vast and knowledgeable bundle of tubes we call the Internet I feel I’ve compiled a satisfyingly terrifying list of locations that makes this world a scary goddamned place to live. So if you think you can stomach it, I suggest you head past the jump so you can better realize just how twisted and depraved this world can get.
Cemeteries of any size are unsettling so a mass of labyrinthine tunnels underneath the beautiful city of Paris that’s filled with the remains of countless people makes the Paris Catacombs more than a little creepy. There was a time when it was common for families who couldn’t necessarily afford to bury their dead, which meant their loved ones would be buried in a coffin that would then be taken back out, emptied, and reused. Now who wants to have a field trip to Paris?
The Sedlec Ossuary is a small chapel that houses the skeletons of somewhere between 40 to 70 thousand people, and these bones aren’t buried, oh no sir, they’re being used as decoration. This Catholic chapel is adorned with bones, many of which have been used to create furniture for this place. If ever there was a Gateway to Hell, I’m pretty damned sure it’s located near here.
If ever there was proof that the people of Kentucky are complete badasses, living in the same state that the Waverly Hills Sanitorium calls home would be it. It opened its doors exactly a century ago to treat tuberculosis patients and the 52 years that followed 63,000 people died while being treated there, or so the legend says. What’s for sure is how fucking terrifying its treatment of the corpses of dead patients was; because of the sheer number of deaths a body chute was created underneath the facility where the dead were tossed down into it for easy pick up. This is now known as the Death Tunnel, and since there’s little to no chance I’ll be visiting this place in person (it’s scheduled to be transformed into a “haunted” hotel) I’d very much like to explore it in the virtual realm.
Before we really dig into this, you should know this lovely island’s nickname. Located off the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil, the residents like to refer to it as Snake Island. Why, you ask? Because there are lots and lots of snakes inhabiting this incredibly small island. There are so many snakes on this island, estimated between one to fucking five snakes per square meter, the Brazilian Navy forbids access to the island.
Surprisingly, things actually manage to get worse. Sure there are a lot of snakes, some might say an excess, but it just so happens that one of these species, dubbed the Golden Lancehead, is exclusive to this island and happens to be one of the most venomous snakes in the world. Now imagine you’re alone on the island being chased by zombies while trying to keep away from a couple thousand snakes. There’s good fun to be had there.
What happens when you pack several thousand Black Plague victims into a cramped island fortress and leave them to die not once, but twice? You get a damn scary place to live, that’s what. Back when the Bubonic Plague was making rounds in Europe the Romans used Poveglia Island as a place to house the victims, then when it came around for another go they did it again. Approximately 160,000 people died on this island, in some of the most unimaginably awful ways possible, and to this day the blackened bones (did I mention they threw the victims into pits and burned them alive?) still wash ashore. And like practically everything on this list it manages the impossible by making something horrible even worse.
In 1922 someone thought it was reasonable to add a little more bad history by using the island as a home for the insane. Sure asylums have a bad rep but in the 20’s where people had essentially no understanding of mental illness, that reputation was earned. If you were even thought to be insane you could get your ass thrown in there and that’s a bad thing since they did unspeakable things to get the crazy out of folks. Oh, and apparently one of the asylum’s doctors actually tortured his patients in a bell tower, which he was then thrown off of by, as the legend says, the ghosts of his victims. Now when you’re ready for bed try and shake the thought that there’s an island hiding under your bed.
So in the 1400’s there was this guy, Vlad the Impaler, or his friends liked to call him Dracula, and apparently he was kind of a dick. You see, impalement was Vlad’s preferred method of torture and execution and his technique for getting that stubborn stake up inside his victim was to tie a horse to each of their legs where he would then proceed to slowly shove the stake inside the body. This was by no means a quick death as many of his victims went through this for hours or even days. A little known fact about good old Vlad was his boundless creativity, because when it came to causing heaps of pain you could even go so far as to call him an artist. To up the holy-fucking-hell-this-is-uncomfortable factor Vlad had the stakes arranged in a superb variety of geometric patterns and lengths.
So what does all this have to do with Poenari Castle? Well, seeing its strategic advantages (it’s perched atop a steep precipice of rock) Vlad rebuilt it and used it as one of his primary fortresses. I’m thinking some incredibly talented developer needs to gather troves of cash and take this dark past and turn it into a kickass vampire game where when you die you have to watch your character slowly impaled. It should also be marketed to young children.
It would seem Europe has no shortage of castles with dark histories, and this is a prime example of one of the most notorious. In the late 16th to early 17th century Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed was being rather naughty. After she husband died she and a few friends decided it would be good fun to torture and kill young women. This wasn’t a hobby, oh no sir, in fact one witness accredited them with up to 600 victims. During her trial many descriptions of the various torture techniques implemented came to light including freezing, biting, burning, mutilation, physical beatings, starving and even surgery.
Sure those are bad but the most well known of the countess’ activities was her fondness for bathing in the blood of her victims so she could retain her youth (and crazy) forever. Granted, this is likely all made up to make her already incredibly twisted story even more disturbing but it did gift her the now infamous nickname of the Blood Countess. Now known as the most prolific female serial killer in history, she lived her final days in Cachtice Castle, which went from being her home, to her prison and finally, to be used in a scene in Dragonheart, starring Dennis Quaid.
We’ve finally made it to my favorite of the bunch, Aokigahara Forest, otherwise known as Suicide Forest. I’m not entirely sure why this one fascinates me so much, but it’s certainly one of the creepiest places on this list. Located in Japan at the base of Mount Fuji, this “Sea of Trees” has concocted the perfect formula to make it as sinister as possible. First off, because of the density of the trees that essentially blocks the wind and an absence of wildlife, Aokigahara is known for being very quiet.
Secondly, Ubasute (roughly translated to “abandoning an old woman”) happened here. Back when times were tough in Japan this custom was (allegedly) performed where families would carry their elderly to a remote place (like, say an endless forest surrounded by mountains) where said elderly individual would then proceed to wonder what the fuck just happened before dying, alone.
And last but certainly not least, the reason for the unfortunate title of ‘Suicide Forest’, for some reason every single year dozens of people come to the forest to commit suicide. Over the last half century over 500 people have taken their lives in the forest with an average of 30 being found every year. The numbers steadily grew to a startling 100 in 2003 before the local government stopped publicizing the numbers. There’s even an annual body search, think of it as a slightly less fun Turkey Trot for Japanese folks, where a small army of people seeking gross things go out to look for bodies.
So yeah, those are eight pretty damn terrifying places you could actually visit, though I strongly suggest you don’t. Instead, let’s just wait for someone ot make a game about them so we can explore these twisted locales from the comfort of our own homes.