#3. Prague's Old Jewish Cemetery
We can hardly see the creepy for all the tombstones.
In Prague, there is a cemetery where the gravestones are crammed against each other in a standing-room-only mass of the dead:
Brain eating? Take a ticket and queue.
What's going on there? Well, it's normally considered an instant haunting when you build on top of an old cemetery. But in Prague, they decided to build over a 15th century cemetery with more cemeteries. Prague's Old Jewish Cemetery (this is its actual name) now features 11 cemeteries stacked on top of each other.
As of this day, there are about 12,000 visible headstones around the Old Jewish Cemetery, with an estimated 100,000 bodies buried beneath the ground in up to 12 layers of dead folks like some weird necrotic bean dip.
We hope those bars hold.
The cemetery was in use from around 1439 to 1787, in a time when Jewish people from Prague were not allowed to bury their dead outside the Jewish Quarter of Josefov. The Hebrew faith also forbids the moving of headstones, so given just this one place to bury all of their dead, the graves kept piling up until the whole area went from "sacred place of solemn remembrance" to "corpse minefield."
"Seriously, the ground here is like a pinata full of dead people."
Naturally, the bizarre eeriness of the Old Jewish Cemetery has lent itself to a number of stories over the centuries. For example, one of the cemetery's most famous permanent residents is Judah Loew ben Bezalel, a 16th century rabbi who, according to legend, created the magical Golem of Prague, a monster made from clay to destroy the enemies of the Jews.
Judging by the photo, the Golem did not succeed.
The cemetery was also believed to be the secret meeting place of the Elders of Zion, a group of powerful people plotting to take over the world and give rise to the New World Order (although their efforts up to this point seem to have been marginal at best, so maybe they should've met at Showbiz Pizza instead).
#2. Staten Island's Tugboat Graveyard
You can cut the tetanus in the air with a knife.
North of Rossville, Staten Island lurks the Tugboat Graveyard, where the busted, decayed shells of old harbor vessels are kept. From tugboats to barges to ferries, most of the remains there date back to the early 20th century, when the New York harbor was still bustling with life. Now they've all been forgotten and left to rot away in the shallow waters of Arthur Kill, presumably because Scary Boat Bay was already full.
Don't feel sad. When you're not looking they go on adventures and learn the value of friendship.
In 1990, there might have been as many as 200 boats abandoned in the Tugboat Graveyard, but over the years the number dwindled, the ships long ago stripped of any valuable parts by looters, vandals and tentacle phantasms.
Or carried off to a secret treasure cave by a petulant teenage mermaid.
Looking at the pictures, you can almost hear them, creaking and groaning in the lazy currents with the faint skittering of rats and lurking nautical serial killers. Nobody died on these boats, as far as we know, but you can't tell us at least one of these vessels doesn't have a decaying skeleton standing at the wheel.
Pulling the weight of the world behind it.
#1. Actun Tunichil Muknal
Actun Tunichil Muknal ("Cave of the Stone Sepulcher") is an important Mayan archeological site in Belize. It was only discovered in 1989, but in the short time since it has already proven itself invaluable as a window into the ancient Mayan culture. And of course by that, we mean this:
Oh, so the Mayans had bones, too. Neat.
That is, one chamber in the cave is believed to have been used for human sacrifices, a theory suggested by the characteristic markings on some of the pottery found inside it. And by "pottery" we of course mean "murdered skeletons."
If we know our CSI, natural deaths don't cause skull holes.
They've found several skeletons in the cave, and most of them are, uh, small. That is, most of the sacrificed were children.
They were probably sacrifices to Chaac, the Mayan god of rain, during a particularly severe drought. But don't worry -- these kids didn't have their hearts cut out while still alive or anything. No, evidence shows that they were all killed by having their skulls crushed, which is way more genial and to the point. They were dealing with children, after all.
Over hundreds of years, the bones became calcified and fused with the cave floor, which is why modern excavators have just left them there without a proper burial (though seriously guys, maybe like throw a tarp over them or something?). The most famous skeleton in the cave is that of a teenage girl, nicknamed the Crystal Maiden because her bones have partially crystallized and now sparkle in the light.
Oh, well that's not scary at all then.
Only a few selected guides have received permission from the Belize Department of Archeology to take tourists into the chamber. And you will need a guide, because to get there you have to trek through a dense jungle, swim through a cavern lake, dodge big-ass cave spiders and navigate a labyrinthine ancient bludgeoning cave.
Once you make it inside, though, you have more or less unrestricted access to the cave's ancient remains. You're free to touch them, take pictures with them, even decorate them with novelty top hats and pretend that they're talking in a British accent. Anything you feel is necessary to get your money's worth of entertainment out of the bones of ritualistic murder victims.
Go wild. After all, you never knew him.
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