11 Of The Creepiest Places On Earth — And What Makes Them So Haunting

Published September 29, 2023
Updated February 26, 2024

Step inside the world's scariest places, from an Indian lake full of ancient skeletons to a Mexican island populated by decaying dolls.

There are some corners of the world that are best left alone. The sites of murders, hauntings, or paranormal events may be interesting to read about, but it’s another thing to visit the scariest places on Earth.

Take LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans. In the 19th century, this striking mansion in the center of town was the site of horrific torture. Its owner, Madame LaLaurie, was monstrously cruel to her slaves, many of whom were mutilated in the house. Today, it’s considered one of the most haunted homes in the city, and visitors have reported encountering terrifying ghosts.

But the world’s creepiest places don’t just include haunted houses. There are also bone-chilling catacombs, where preserved human corpses in glass coffins seem to “blink” during the day. And there are lakes that cough up skeletons, and forests where people go to die. The eerie places we cover below are all different — and are all bound to send a shiver down your spine.

Read on to learn about some of the scariest places on Earth, from islands filled with decaying dolls to abandoned insane asylums.

LaLaurie Mansion: The Most Haunted House In New Orleans With A Horrific History

Scariest Places On Earth

Chris Granger/NOLA.comLaLaurie Mansion has a gruesome history and is considered to be one of America’s most haunted homes.

It’s said that terrible violence can leave a mark on a place. That certainly seems to be true of LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans, purportedly the city’s most haunted house and one of the scariest places on Earth.

The horrific story of LaLaurie Mansion started back in 1831, when Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie and her husband bought the elegant property at 1140 Royal Street. From the outside, everything seemed normal. But inside, Madame LaLaurie made her home a living hell for her enslaved workers.

No one knew until April 1834, when a fire broke out at the property. When volunteers arrived to help put it out, they encountered a Black cook who was chained to the stove in the kitchen. The cook told them that she had started the fire on purpose in the hopes of dying by suicide.

Madame LaLaurie

Public DomainMadame LaLaurie gruesomely tortured enslaved people at her home in the 1830s, but no one knew for years.

As the volunteers further explored the damaged LaLaurie Mansion, they found one horror after another. In the attic, they came across a group of enslaved people who had been gruesomely tortured, with their bones broken and their eyes gouged out. Some victims were purportedly found with deep holes carved into their heads. Even by the brutal standards of American slavery, this was considered barbaric by the public.

“Seven slaves more or less horribly mutilated were seen suspended by the neck, with their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other,” The New Orleans Bee grimly reported on the discovery the day after the fire. “They had been confined by her for several months… and had been merely kept in existence to prolong their suffering.”

Madame LaLaurie never faced any consequences, as she had fled the scene shortly after the fire. But the house remained.

Today, it’s considered to be one of the most haunted houses in America. People have reported hearing tortured shrieks and the dragging of chains, and some say they’ve seen ghosts, including a Black man in chains and a white woman with fiery eyes.

Kaleena Fraga
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a dual degree in American History and French.
Jaclyn Anglis
Jaclyn is the senior managing editor at All That's Interesting. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York and a Bachelor's degree in English writing and history (double major) from DePauw University. She is interested in American history, true crime, modern history, pop culture, and science.
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Fraga, Kaleena. "11 Of The Creepiest Places On Earth — And What Makes Them So Haunting." AllThatsInteresting.com, September 29, 2023, https://allthatsinteresting.com/scariest-places-on-earth. Accessed June 20, 2024.