Here are 9 of the creepiest places on earth

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Life Magazine recently published "The World's Most Haunted Places," a roundup of the spookiest sites worldwide.

Business Insider has combed through the list to bring you nine of those creepiest places.

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Here are 9 of the creepiest places on earth
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Here are 9 of the creepiest places on earth

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco Bay, California

Alcatraz Island has been home to a Civil War fortress, a bird sanctuary, the American Indian Red Power movement, and — most famously — a prison.

On May 2, 1946, six prisoners overpowered guards, stole their weapons, and attempted to escape from the island. But they didn't have the key they needed, so a hostage crisis ensued.

Two prison officers and three inmates were killed in the process, as well as 18 injured.

Since then, the prison has gained a reputation as a haunted, forsaken place. Former inmate Leon "Whitey" Thompson described it as "the Island of the Damned."

Some say a ghostly Al Capone, a former inmate, can be heard practicing the banjo he played in the prison's old band. Others say that mobster Alvin "Creepy" Karpis haunts the bakery and kitchen.

Though the National Park Service maintains the ghost stories are mere "flights of fancy," the consensus is that the most haunted spot is in cell block D, where the notorious escape attempt took place.

While in solitary confinement in cell block D, a prisoner was heard screaming that someone, or something, else was in there with him. When the guards opened the door, the prisoner was found dead with strangulation marks around his neck.

Source: Life, "The World's Most Haunted Places"

(Wikimedia Commons)

Ed Gein's home in Plainfield, Wisconsin

After the death of his mother, Ed Gein began digging up graves of recently buried middle-aged women. He took their bodies home, where he tanned their skins and made his paraphernalia.

Soon after, Gein began to abduct and kill women.

After the disappearance of a woman who ran a local tavern, authorities were led to Gein's farmhouse, and one of the most horrific discoveries of all time.

Inside the house police found chairs reupholstered with fatty human skin, a soup bowl made from a human skull, a shade pull made of lips, masks made from human faces, a belt made of female nipples, and a vest made from a woman's torso. In total, the remains of 11 women were found in the house.

Gein's horrendous crimes have been the inspiration for horror films like "Psycho," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and "The Silence of the Lambs."

Source: Life, "The World's Most Haunted Places"

(Getty Images)

The Dakota in New York City

In 1884, when Singer Sewing Machine President Edward S. Clark had a house built on Manhattan's Upper West Side, the area was so remote that they named it "The Dakota," after the vast and unexplored Dakota Territory.

The Dakota was the inspiration for Ira Levin's 1967 novel "Rosemary's Baby," which depicted scenes of witchcraft, Satanism, cannibalism, and murder.

Common occurrences at The Dakota include phantom footsteps, mysterious rumblings, and elevators moving around on their own.

As Manhattan filled out around The Dakota, it hosted many celebrities. Most notably, John Lennon lived there at the time of his murder in 1980.

Source: Life, "The World's Most Haunted Places"

(Wikimedia Commons)

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California

The sudden smell of chicken soup, apparitions from other eras, and doors that magically unlock are just some of the reported paranormal occurrences in the Winchester Mystery House.

After Sarah Winchester lost her husband and only child, she consulted a psychic in Boston who told her that her family was haunted by the spirits of the people killed by Winchester rifles.

The only solution was to build a home where those spirits could live. Winchester bought an unfinished farmhouse in California in 1886 and hired construction workers to work on it around the clock.

The house now has 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces and six kitchens. Some staircases lead nowhere and some of the doors open onto a wall, but pragmatism is not what the heiress had in mind.

According to rumor, as long as the construction continued, she could stay alive.

Source: Life, "The World's Most Haunted Places"

(

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California

The sudden smell of chicken soup, apparitions from other eras, and doors that magically unlock are just some of the reported paranormal occurrences in the Winchester Mystery House.

After Sarah Winchester lost her husband and only child, she consulted a psychic in Boston who told her that her family was haunted by the spirits of the people killed by Winchester rifles.

The only solution was to build a home where those spirits could live. Winchester bought an unfinished farmhouse in California in 1886 and hired construction workers to work on it around the clock.

The house now has 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces and six kitchens. Some staircases lead nowhere and some of the doors open onto a wall, but pragmatism is not what the heiress had in mind.

According to rumor, as long as the construction continued, she could stay alive.

Source: Life, "The World's Most Haunted Places"

(Flickr)

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

Unlike other locales on this list, Colorado's Stanley Hotel actually enjoys its reputation as a haunted hotel. In fact, their own in-house paranormal investigator, Lisa Nyhart, called it "a Disneyland for spirits."

In 1974, author Stephen King immediately keyed into The Stanley's supernatural vibe, and made it the setting for his classic 1977 novel "The Shining," wherein it was known as "the Overlook Hotel."

The hotel, originally built in 1909, houses a deep roster of ghosts, including a maid who climbs into bed between unmarried couples; a maintenance man who enforces a strict 11 p.m. curfew by telling patrons to get out; a musical spirit that hums along the concert hall; and an affectionate ghost named Eddie, who's known to stroke women's hair and kiss their cheeks.

Source: Life, "The World's Most Haunted Places"

(The Stanley Hotel)

The Amityville Horror House on Long Island, New York

The Amityville massacre has become one of the most famous crimes in American history, and some still speculate that demonic forces were involved.

Ronald DeFeo Jr. was found guilt of murdering his family November 13, 1974. A heroin and LSD user, DeFeo and his defense lawyer pleaded insanity, and said that he heard voices telling him to kill his family.

One year after the murder, the Lutz family moved into the house.

Soon after moving in, the Lutzes reported some supernatural occurrences. Among them were red eyes at windows, swarms of flies, the imprint of cloven hoofs in the snow, and voices screaming at them to get out.

Less than a month after moving in, they fled the house and left all their possessions.

Although many questioned DeFeo's and the Lutzes' claims of those paranormal activities — and DeFeo later rejected his initial defense — the Lutzes claimed until their deaths that their story was true.

Source: Life, "The World's Most Haunted Places"

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Island of the Dolls in Mexico City, Mexico

More than 50 years ago, a hermit named Julian Santana Barrera encountered a drowned girl and her baby doll floating in a canal.

Barrera took the doll back to his isolated island in the Xochimilco District of Mexico City, and later reported hearing a young girl's crying and footsteps. Barrera became convinced that the spirit of the drowned girl was haunting him, so in an attempt to appease the restless spirit, he hung the doll on a tree.

But the haunting didn't stop, and one doll became a dozen, and then hundreds. Eventually, Barrera came to believe that the dolls themselves were possessed and that the entire island was cursed.

In 2001, Barrera drowned in the same spot as the child he had found. Now locals believe that he is among the spirits that haunt the island. Since then, the island has become somewhat of an attraction, where a brave few have reported the dolls blinking and gesturing to tourists.

Source: Life, "The World's Most Haunted Places"

(Wikimedia Commons)

 

Suicide Forest in Aokigahara Jukai, Japan

You definitely don't want to get lost in Japan's Aokigahara Jukai forest, also known as "Suicide Forest."

At least 100 bodies are found there every year, making it the most popular destination for suicide in Japan. Skeletons, clothes, tents, and nooses are regularly found throughout the woods.

It therefore comes as no surprise that the place is supposedly haunted by "yurei," unhappy, angry spirits with long black hair.

One of the reasons the forest is so popular among those seeking to end their lives is its mention in the controversial 1993 book "The Complete Manual of Suicide" by Wataru Tsurumi. In the book, Tsurumi "recommends" this forest.

Source: Life, "The World's Most Haunted Places"

(Wikimedia Commons)

Borley Rectory, England

According to Life, England's most haunted house was built above the remains of a Benedictine monastery, where, according to legend, a monk and a nun were murdered after falling in love and trying to elope.

The first residents of Borley Rectory, built in Essex, England, in 1863, reported seeing ghostly figures staring out of a particular window.

But it was through the Rev. Guy Eric Smith, who moved into the house in the 1920s, that the stories became known.

As Smith witnessed those ghostly activities, he reached out to Henry Price, a psychic researcher, to investigate the place. The Smiths fled the place shortly after Price's visit, when the increasingly weird occurrences — keys flying from locks and coins raining from nowhere — drew scores of journalists to the property.

Sources: Life, "The World's Most Haunted Places"; "The Widow of Borley"

(Wikimedia Commons)

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SEE ALSO: The 13 scariest real-life haunted houses in America


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