A fascination with the unknown drives many travelers to the most bone-chilling corners of our world. Sometimes it’s a lonely place with a violent or macabre past, said to be haunted by the tormented souls of those already departed. At others, a quiet crypt or a reverent patch of ground calls to attention the impermanence of life and the ever-turning hands of time.
What exactly draws us to the supernatural and the places they haunt? Margee Kerr, a sociologist and the author of Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear, tells the Washington Post that feeling terror when we know we’re safe can bring around a special kind of euphoria and confidence. Some people see ghosts and spirits as proof that the soul can survive the body’s death, psychologist Christopher French explains in The Atlantic.
(Discover the paranormal at these spine-chilling U.S. historical haunts.)
Regardless of their origin, each of these destinations has garnered a reputation for the supernatural or uncanny—and in turn, attracted a devoted following of curious adventure-seekers. Explore them all…if you dare.