Even the best Hollywood set dressers in the biggest budget horror movie can't outdo real life. As part of our continuing effort to find real-world locations that you wouldn't want to spend a night in regardless of the number of shotguns and Bibles you were allowed to bring, here are some of the creepiest places on Earth. In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2.
#7. The Abandoned Takakonuma Greenland Park, Japan
Takakonuma Greenland Park in Japan today stands abandoned not only by people, but also by joy, hope and the foolish belief that life ends in anything but lightless hollow death.
The amusement park first opened in Hobara in 1973 but abruptly closed only two years later. Some say it was because of poor ticket sales, but local lore insists the park was forced to shut down after its rides were responsible for a number of accidental deaths.
We don't know for certain because there's virtually no official information available on Takakonuma, a fact which, when paired with the images below, arouses no suspicion of any kind.
We're sure the final wail of a fading life never echoed against this twisted metal skeleton.
What we know for certain is that the park opened again in 1986 and remained operational for 13 years, at which point it closed down for good. Nowadays the derelict attractions stand there alone in the middle of nowhere, gathering rust and being slowly consumed by the encroaching forest.
Jens of Japan
The trees here are nourished by souls.
By the way, we mean that "middle of nowhere" part literally, as Takakonuma can no longer be found on any official maps. It just isn't there.
In addition to willing itself off of charted Japanese territory, Takakonuma seems to occasionally will itself out of existence entirely with a thick fog that periodically rolls in and completely swallows up the park, providing excellent cover for anyone with a monster mask to Scooby-Doo the living shit out of hapless wanderers. This is provided they can stomach the radiation, seeing as Takakonuma is located just a few dozen miles north from Fukushima, whose nuclear power plant had a spectacular meltdown earlier this year in the wake of the tsunami.
Really, it would be insulting if you came here and weren't eviscerated by ghosts.
#6. The Ghost City of Fengdu, China
The Bridge to Hell is shorter than we expected.
So you're taking a boat ride along the Yangtze River in China, for some reason, and you come across this, sticking out of the water:
Well, that's clearly going to come alive at Ragnarok and fight the gods.
You've stumbled across Fengdu. It's a famous Chinese ghost town (allegedly the only ghost town in the entire country) with a creepy, nearly 2,000-year-old history. So, you climb the hill and come across a series of ancient temples. Oh, look, it's some old statues ...
That's not how you use a saw. That's not how you use a saw!
You see, Fengdu is believed to be a link between this life and the afterlife, and where demons live. This is real-world Chinese hell. So, you've got your souls being tortured:
No one ever says the ancient Chinese had no imagination.
And your massive stone demons:
"OK, OK, I look ridiculous. I'll go change."
Fengdu is also full of tourist attractions like Nothing-To-Be-Done Bridge, Ghost Torturing Pass and Tianzi Palace. Another attraction is the Last Glance at Home Tower, where spirits consigned to hell could take one last look at their families.
If none of that seems quite haunted enough for you, the locals will let you know that the area used to be a Taoist graveyard ... but most of the site got sunken under water due to the building of the Three Gorges Dam. So the hill with its sacred temples and nests of demons is now an island, surrounded by water and presumably the drowning cries of the outraged dead.
Who have kind of a man-boob problem.
#5. Matsuo Ghost Mine
This is exactly the type of place where we'd go looking for our supposedly dead wife.
Matsuo Kouzan in northern Japan used to be the biggest sulfur mine in the Far East, but it closed in 1972. Today, the only things that remain of it are the abandoned apartment complexes that were used by the mine's workers, cut off from the rest of the world high in the mountains. Those abandoned buildings, however, are not what make the Matsuo mine truly creepy -- it's the fact that you can't even see them through the ghostly mist that envelops the place like an ethereal death shroud.
Legends say that if you wander into the mist, you'll stub your toe something wicked.
At one time 15,000 people lived here. Now it's deserted. It seems that despite having been closed down, the Matsuo mine is still pretty operational, though instead of sulfur it now produces a tingling feeling of dread clawing out from deep within your immortal soul.
They package that up and release it on people who accidentally tune in to The Big Bang Theory.
It has become famous among urban explorers for the ebb and flow of the mist, which is thick enough to completely conceal the entire makeshift town where the mine's workforce once lived. We're talking about a giant complex of 11 four-story buildings just totally disappearing from sight, which is pretty disconcerting when David Copperfield isn't involved.
And also ripe for the filming of at least one movie where Jean-Claude Van Damme is hunted for sport.
Some people have spent up to an hour simply trying to locate the town while wandering through the mist, and towns are generally things that stand out in the middle of an empty goddamn mountaintop. Once you finally find the place, though, it's just a typical abandoned town in a secluded region surrounded by inexplicable terror mist.
"Ventured into village, was ripped apart by otherworldly creatures. Pretty standard small town experience."
The fact that the Matsuo mineworker town used to have an acid river nearby just ratchets up the horror level, considering that means the only other available liquid for bathing and drinking would've been the blood of the fallen. And blood won't eat through your clothes, so ...
#4. The Bird Suicide Grounds of Jatinga
Don't do it! Arrested Development is coming back!
In Assam in northeastern India sits the quiet little village of Jatinga, population 2,500. At first glance, it might not seem like much, but the village has become a real hit with visitors who fly in to Jatinga all the time during the monsoon season. Many of them just drop in and never leave, completely falling for the place. What we're getting at here is that birds smash themselves to death in the streets of Jatinga.
This is an extraordinarily tactless sign.
For reasons that are still not fully understood (though almost certainly involve the Thuggee cult and the theft of a sacred stone), around September and October a whole bunch of birds just come plunging down from the sky to their deaths.
The most bizarre part of it all, however, is how precise the whole thing is. The "suicides" always occur between 7 and 10 p.m. and only around a specific mile-long, 200-yard-wide strip of land. The process has gone on like clockwork for roughly the past 100 years.
"You wanted full custody of the eggs, Martha? YOU GOT IT!"
So far, 44 species of migratory birds have been identified as part of the phenomenon, which we reiterate is something scientists still can't fully explain. Some have blamed it on the village's lights, claiming that they confuse the birds and cause them to crash (which would make sense if Jatinga were the only place in the world that had lights, but research indicates this is not actually the case). Other, more sense-making theories suggest the presence of weird magnetic fields and very specific weather conditions, but there's still nothing that the science community fully agrees on.
They do all agree that picking up the birds and using them as feathery missiles is super fun.
While that debate continues, the government of Assam is planning to cash in on the suicides by setting up viewing platforms where tourists can enjoy watching a bunch of wild animals brutally killing themselves for no conceivable reason.