In Cracked's continuous effort to make your local haunted house look like a boring pile of dog turds, we once again present the creepiest real places on Earth. Whether it's due to their bizarre histories, suspicious coincidences or good ol' human insanity, these are the locations even the die-hardest of atheists wouldn't venture into without a crucifix and a Super Soaker full of Pope-blessed water.
Located smack in the middle of a swamp in the heart of Aztec country is the popular tourist destination La Isla de las Munecas, or Island of the Dolls, a name missing at least two adjectives and the word "fucking." To get there, visitors have to hire a guide to take them by boat through the canals of Xochimilco, then to the island itself, all the while making the guide promise on a stack of Bibles that he's not going to abandon them once they reach their destination.
"Seriously, Pablo? We will haunt your ass."
Not that he'd do that, right? It's just an old abandoned island, once occupied by a single inhabitant named Don Julian Santana Barrera, who seemed to have a knack for doll-collecting. So what? Lots of people collect dolls.
The legend goes that years ago a small girl drowned in the canals near the island, and not long after her death, Barrera found her
corpse doll floating in the water. Then he found another one. By that point he was hooked on a new and exciting hobby.
One that will cost tourists sleep for decades.
Over the course of the next 50 years, the guy collected thousands of discarded dolls, which he thought would somehow serve as companions for the dead girl. Makes sense. Everyone knows Mexican girls enjoy mutilated trash dolls displayed in gruesome manners meant to simulate acts of torture and suicide. We try not to be too judgmental about other people's cultures.
However, it does seem that the offerings weren't such a success, considering that in 2001 Julian passed away ... by drowning in the same canal as the girl whose ghost he was trying to appease for all those years.
Either that or he was murdered, Chucky-style, by his horrific collection, who then dragged him to the canals to make it look like a drowning.
Guess we'll never know.
Gunkanjima (literally Battleship Island) is another name for Hashima, an uninhabited island 15 kilometers from Nagasaki nicknamed for its apparent resemblance to a battleship. From 1887 to 1974, Gunkanjima was a coal mining facility, but the coal mine shut down and everyone left. Still, abandoned islands aren't that uncommon in Japan. Even Gunkanjima is only one of 505 uninhabited islands near Nagasaki. But it's by far the creepiest.
Have you ever wondered what cities would look like if the human population was suddenly wiped out? Wonder no more.
Also, sleep soundly no more.
For over 30 years, the man-made structures on the island deteriorated with hardly any contact with the outside world. The sight of crumbling buildings and grass literally growing up through asphalt was so creepy, in fact, that the island was used for footage in the History Channel's show Life After People.
A documentary that 38 percent of our readers found "comforting."
And the creepy factor doubles once you find out that Gunkanjima was also a forced labor camp for over 500 Korean prisoners during WWII, and you know that some of them had to die horribly violent deaths and are currently seeking revenge on all who dare to enter.
For many years, though, only selected journalists with balls bigger than their heads were allowed to enter, presumably having to sign a "Don't sue if possessed" clause before being let in. Since 2009, however, those restrictions have been lifted, but still only about 10 percent of the isle is open to the public.
The rest is just lousy with Shoggoths.
Some photographers do sneak deeper into the island from time to time, although we would not recommend it. Because of harsh weather conditions, access to Gunkanjima is possible only 160 days a year. So if you get stuck at this remote fortress in the middle of the sea at the wrong time, it might be months before any help can arrive. And you will need help.
This building is called "Guaranteed Demon Ass Rape Heights."
The first things you need to know about Hellingly are that it's an abandoned hospital in England and the word "Hell" is right there in its name. Like, right there. It couldn't be more obvious that this place were of the devil unless the devil himself showed up in the photos torturing souls in the hallways.
That would actually make some of them less creepy.
Oh yeah. We forgot to mention that this place wasn't just a hospital; it was an insane asylum.
For insane babies?
Hellingly was once a state-of-the-art mental institution designed by a guy named G.T. Hine, who had the dubious distinction of being super good at building insane asylums. This particular one was a biggie: a 63-acre estate with its own rail line, a ballroom, a salon and a water tower, plus a buttload of wards for the kinds of people who, for whatever reason, needed to live in an insane asylum.
But once the place was abandoned in 1994, it took a bullet train to Creepytown. To look at these pictures, you'd think it was abandoned in 1894, not a mere 16 years ago.
It's aged only slightly better than Jennifer Aniston.
The deterioration of the huge facility has been helped along by arsonists and vandals, though some of them have helpfully brightened up the place with graffiti.
Somebody's winning the Unsettling Olympics.
If we had a choice between spending a night alone in Hellingly and having our arm chopped off with a rusty ax, we'd immediate answer, "So, are we talking below or above the elbow?" while pulling up our sleeve.