It’s that time of year — as Halloween approaches, peoples’ thoughts turn to spooky stories, creepy shadows and things that go bump in the dark. But what about those places in the world where it’s creepy all year long? Granted, these might not be top travel destinations (unless, of course, you’re looking to visit Dracula’s castle in Transylvania on Halloween), but if you’re ghost hunting or out to see something possibly supernatural, there are no better places on Earth.

Here are a few freaky places where every day is a little creepy!

1. Pripyat, Ukraine

Pripyat may be the creepiest place in Ukraine, but this abandoned city’s backstory is a sad one: It was completely evacuated after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in 1986, with many people just up and leaving everything behind. As a result, the entire city seems to have been frozen in time before the explosion, with the buildings becoming more rotted and crumbling by the year.

A cash register atop a pile of gas masks. Photo courtesy William Lewis.

Oh yeah, and did I mention there was an amusement park that was built only a week before the evacuation? And it now has super-high levels of radiation as a result of the fallout? There’s something sinister about a dilapidated, overgrown fun park with all its cheerful rides covered by rust and weeds. Nightmare fuel.

Off the deep end. An abandoned swimming pool in Pripyat. Photo courtesy William Lewis.

2. Hashima Island, Japan

While we’re talking about abandoned places, there are few islands more weird than the desolated Hashima Island (also known as Gunkanjima or “Battleship Island,” and even “Ghost Island”) in Japan, off the coast of Nagasaki. It was largely a coal mining facility that was crammed full of workers housed in concrete apartment buildings that took up almost the entire island.

View of Hashima-Island, Nagasaki, Japan. Photo courtesy Jeff Dunsworth.

At one point, it had a population density of 835 people per hectare. However, once coal began to be phased out, the facilities were closed in 1974 and everybody—everybody—abandoned Hashima Island. With no maintenance, the buildings on the island fell into ruin over the years, and it remains so to this day. There’s also a location on the island called the Stairway to Hell. Yes, really.

Buildings and the so-called the Stairway to Hell, Hashima Island, Japan. Photo courtesy Jeff Dunsworth.

3. Centralia, USA

The video game Silent Hill was based on this small American town, which should give you an idea of the atmosphere of this place. Again, coal mining is the impetus behind this town’s creepiness; there was a fire in the mines below Centralia in 1962, and it’s been burning ever since, causing smoke and toxic gases to rise out of areas throughout the town.

Centralia's population has dwindled from over 1,000 residents in 1981 to 10 in 2010. Photo courtesy Daniel Evans.

Although you won’t find any mutant monsters here, a number of the buildings have been condemned (some residents still remain, though – the 2010 census put Centralia’s population at 10 people). Oh, and in numerous books and movies, Centralia is popularly used as a model for physical manifestation of Hell. (See: Silent Hill.) Ready to move?

In 1962, a fire started in a mine beneath the town and ultimately led to the town being abandoned. Photo courtesy Daniel Evans.

4. Aokigahara, Japan

Hey, so, this place is also known as the “Suicide Forest.” Cheerful enough for you? It’s apparently the second most popular place in the world to commit suicide (the Golden Gate Bridge takes number one on this dubious list), and nobody knows why, really. It’s a beautiful forest at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan, but it has been described as “the perfect place to die.”

Aokigahara is a popular place for suicides despite numerous signs, in Japanese and English, urging people to reconsider their actions. Photo courtesy 席特曼.

Aokigahara has been the site of over 500 suicides since the 1950s, mostly by hanging from the forest's trees. There’s a common belief that the sheer number of deaths have created a paranormal vortex in the forest, and that there are numerous ghosts and demons that haunt the place. The lack of animals and birds in Aokigahara–and also the magnetic deposits in the soil knocking out GPS and cell phone service—add to the creep factor.

There are a variety of unofficial trails that are used semi-regularly for the annual "body hunt" done by local volunteers. Photo courtesy 席特曼.

Now that you’ve been sufficiently weirded out, how about planning a trip for somewhere nice and sunny, like Belize? Or if you want to keep the scares coming, drop us a line in the comments and let us know about the creepiest place you’ve ever visited!

Getting There

G Adventures runs a number of departures encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours — check out our small group trips.