Places You Should NEVER Visit, And The Terrifying Reasons Why
Sorry to give you the heebie-jeebies.
1. The Overtoun Bridge, where dogs go to meet their maker.
There are a few places in the world infamous for being sites where people go to end it all.
The Overtoun Bridge in the village of Milton, Scotland is one such place, but with a bizarre twist — Humans are not the ones jumping. Dogs are.
At least a whopping 50 dogs have leapt to their deaths from the bridge. Some even say there's been as many as 600 that have died this way. Though 50 to 600 dogs is a huge range, it's odd to consider even just one dog performing this grisly act.
And here's the kicker — the jumping seems completely purposeful. People have reported seeing dogs jump off the bridge, survive the fall, run up the bridge and jump again... until they die.
The mystery of the Overtoun Bridge continues to elude us, but some speculate there might be dark forces at play. In the video above, however, Dr. David Sands explains the behavior may be due to a dog's curiosity. Perhaps they are going after a scent or responding to a sound.
Either way, you probably should leash your dog on the Overtoun Bridge.
2. This giant hole, known as the "Door to Hell," that's been burning for 40 years.
The Darvaza Crater in Turkmenistan is known as the "Door to Hell" for good reason — the 225 feet wide, 99 feet deep crater has been consistently burning for nearly four decades.
Though it is unclear how the phenomenon originally occurred, it has been speculated that Soviet scientists set the gas field on fire, underestimating how much fuel lay below, according to National Geographic.
Well, now we know.
Few would like to stand at the edge of the raging flames of the crater, but in November 2013 explorer and storm chaser George Kourounis became the first person to brave its depths.
3. This Florida retirement community famous for...(wait for it)...having lots of STDs.
The Villages is the largest gated retirement community in America.
Don't let the idyllic video (above) fool you though, because there's something not quite right with this place.
One resident's son told Slate The Villages has a creepy vibe, and described it as a "Disney World for old people." Probably accurate, given that everyone rides around on golf carts, and children are only allowed inside with a visitor's pass.
The Village's website says its mission is "to create a retirement community where people's dreams can come true."
And if your dream is to get laid, your dreams are probably coming true. A lot.
Yup, elderly people get down at The Villages. So much so that the community is known for its many scandals and sexually transmitted diseases.
Though The Villages vehemently denies that STDs is a rampant problem and argues journalists have put a spin on statistician's numbers for the sake of creating sensational news, safe sex memos are still sent out to residents, just in case.
4. The Mütter Museum in Pennsylvania, where you can find medical anomalies in jars.
The Mütter Museum describes itself as "America's finest museums of medical history." And, indeed, it is a well-respected institution with 130,000 visitors each year.
But if you're squeamish at all, you'll probably want to skip a trip, because it houses everything from preserved brains to the livers of conjoined twins to an exhumed body to a collection of conjoined fetal specimens.
"We have wet specimens from every part of the human body as well as parts that aren't supposed to be there, such as cysts and tumors," states the museum's website.
But while the faint of heart may not enjoy the displays at the The Mütter Museum, J. Nathan Bazzel, director of communications for the College of Physicians of Philadelphia told Philly Now, the museum is meant to educate the public and inspire empathy for those who have suffered rare medical conditions.
5. Jatinga, India, where birds catapult themselves into walls once a year.
In northeastern India, there is a small, lush green village called Jatinga. But while the village may be very beautiful, it has a reputation for something sinister.
Every year, several migratory and local birds throw themselves into the walls of buildings and trees. The villagers then capture and kill the dying birds.
The unusual occurrence happens during monsoon season between September and November, and has confused villagers and ornithologists alike.
But Anwaruddin Choudhury, author of "The Birds of Assam," explains the fog from the monsoons confuse the birds, causing them to fly towards the lights of the village. But many disoriented birds accidentally catapult themselves into walls and trees.
And yet, this still doesn't entirely explain the mystery.
"The most puzzling thing to me about this phenomenon is that so many species of diurnal resident birds should be on the move when, by definition, they should be fast asleep," wrote famed ornithologist Salim Ali. "The problem deserves a deeper scientific study from various angles."
Public service announcement to all you birds out there: Monsoon season or not, steer clear of Jatinga.
6. Sweetwater, Texas Rattlesnake Roundup, where you can literally find a coliseum full of snakes.
For rattlesnake enthusiasts this annual festival might be a dream, but for anyone remotely afraid of our long, slithery friends, it's the stuff of nightmares.
The Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Texas is pretty much exactly what it sounds like — a massive gathering of snakes in the Nolan County coliseum. In fact, it is the largest rattlesnake roundup in the world, according to its website.
The roundup hosts several special events, including the rattlesnake parade, the snake eating contest, the longest snake contest and, lest we forget, the "Miss Snake Charmer" pageant.
If you think experiencing this festival would be creepy, imagine experiencing it without your eyesight, only being able to hear the cajillions of snakes slithering and hissing in a massive pit.
Storyteller Ryan Knighton describes his experience of The Rattlesnake Roundup as a blind person in his short story "You're so Screwed." Give it a listen to hear a great story and have a good laugh.
7. The Avanos Hair Museum in Turkey. You can pretty much guess what this one's about.
Below a a local pottery house in the Cappodocian region of Turkey, sits a little cavern full of hair.
That's right. Hair. Thousands and thousands of samples of hair, 16,000 to be exact. The museum opened in 1979 and has housed the largest collection of samples in the world, earning it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
"Why are people leaving their hair in this weird, little, dark cavern?" you ask?
Atlas Obscura tells the story:
The local potter was bidding farewell to a dear friend of his when he asked for something to remember her by. She cut off a piece of her hair to leave as a reminder. He put it up in his shop, and told the story to the visitors and tourists who passed through. Not to be outdone, other women who enjoyed the story left a piece of their hair as well.
Awwwwww. It's kinda sweet, right?
Atlas Obscura also mentions that once or twice a year a winning lock of hair is chosen. The prize? The former hair owner gets an invitation to come back and stay in the connected guest house.
8. Lily Dale, the little upstate New York town where residents regularly summon the dead.
At first glance, there doesn't seem to be anything too unusual about this gated community in upstate New York called Lily Dale. The residents go about their daily business, going to the marketplace, taking their kids to school, hanging out at the local coffee shot, oh, and talking to the dead.
According to Lily Dale's official website, the town is "the world's largest center for the Science, Philosophy and Religion of Spiritualism." And with a population of 500 Spiritualists, it's a tough record to beat.
Tourists flock to Lily Dale in the thousands for workshops, readings or to summon loved ones who have passed.
9. Leakin Park, Baltimore, where people go to bury the bodies.
In Sarah Koenig's Serial podcast, one interviewee said, "If you're digging in Leakin Park to bury your body, you're going to find somebody else's."
And it's kinda true.
Since 1946 at least 68 bodies have been found, as shown by avid Leakin Park hiker and trail maintenance worker Ellen Worthing. Her website is dedicated to tracking the body count inside the park.
But some think the park's reputation is not deserved, and that it should be appreciated for its beauty.
"It's a terrific park and it's full of lots of hiking trails, and lots of things to do," one resident told ABC News in a video interview.
Either way, this is most definitely NOT a place you'd want to visit at night, because who knows what, or whom, you might come across.
10. Aokigahara Forest, Japan, the place you go and never come back from.
Along with The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Aokigahara Forest in Japan is among the world's most popular sites — to die.
The dense forest, located at the base of Mt. Fuji, became a destination for suicides after the 1960 publication of Kuroi Jukai — a popular novel in which lovers take their own lives in Aokigahara.
Since then, hundreds have jumped on the creepy bandwagon to stay among the trees for an eternity.
According to the Vice documentary, it is not rare to encounter a body since authorities only do a sweep of the forest once a year. In fact, there are so many deaths that the Yakuza (the Japanese mafia) pays homeless people to sneak in to rob the corpses.
11. Karni Mata Temple, the place that houses thousands of rats.
Omg omg omg omg omg omg.
In Deshnoke, India is a place called the Karni Mata Temple, better known as the Temple of Rats, because — you guessed it — it's filled with thousands of rodents.
But the rats are actually there for one very important, spiritual purpose — to honor the rat Goddess Karni.
Here's the legend, according to National Geographic:
Karni Mata, a mystic matriarch from the 14th century, was an incarnation of Durga, the goddess of power and victory. At some point during her life, the child of one of her clansmen died. She attempted to bring the child back to life, only to be told by Yama, the god of death, that he had already been reincarnated.
Though the rats serve a meaningful purpose, not everyone will be running to get in line to pay tribute at this particular temple.
Unless you love rats.