This post started with 4 eerie pictures I found last year on Triptrivia.com. I saved them, and now I have time to share them. Unfortunately my link doesn’t work anymore, but I copied the words and pictures so I could research them.
Original link: https://www.triptrivia.com/answer/5c61be31cca5d000045ca39d
Island of the Dolls, Part 1
I don’t think dolls are creepy, but this picture sure is. It’s from the Island of the Dolls. I’d never heard of it until Trip Trivia’s post. The island is in the channels of Xochimilco. That’s south of Mexico City, close to the Estadio Azteca football stadium. Would you believe it’s one of the channel’s main attractions?
The story: a girl drowned near this spot. Don Julian Santana owned the island. After the drowning he got one too many scares he couldn’t explain. Then he spotted a doll floating along the shore. He had heard the dead girl still cried out for her missing doll. He decided evil spirits were behind it.
Don Julian started searching the canals and garbage for unwanted dolls. He hung them on trees to scare off those evil spirits. That was the 1950’s. Don Julian lived till 2001. The creepy part – he died of a heart attack, close to where he found that first doll.
This is the oldest one found on the island, but there are literally hundreds. They’re covered in cobwebs and bugs. YUCK! You can visit if you’d like, but I prefer the toy store ones that are bug and web-free.
Here’s a tourist map of Xochimilco, just in case you ever find yourself in Mexico City.
Map source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xochimilco
Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo, Italy, Part 2
I see dead bodies – really – in Palermo Italy. This was once the cemetery for the Capuchin Monastery, but in the 1500’s they ran out of space in the graveyard so the monks excavated the crypts below it. Once they pulled out all the coffins, they mummified the bodies.YUCK!
To mummify something you dehydrate it. That means you pull the water out of the dead body. The monks did it by putting the body on the ceramic pipes of the catacomb. After the water was gone, sometimes they washed the bodies in vinegar. P-U!
Sometimes they embalmed them, which usually involved 4 steps. Other bodies were sealed in a glass cabinet, but everyone wore their everyday or favorite clothes.
At first the catacombs were only for monks, but in time getting entombed there became a status symbol. It was the ultimate form of burial. Relatives donated towards the upkeep, but if they stopped payment, the body was put on a side shelf until the money streamed in again.
This is Rosalia Lombardo. She was one of the last people to get a spot in the catacombs in 1871. She looks like a ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ which is the pose she was placed in.
Make time if you want to visit everyone – there are about 8000 corpses and 1252 mummies, but please, no photos or touching bodies. Iron grills stop the touching, and I bet a big fine stops those photo ops.
The big map is the island of Sicily. The tiny one shows it beside the rest of Italy.
If you want to find Palermo, go to the northwestern corner of Sicily. Travel east to the next province. It looks like Palermo is the third bump along the coast line, and it’s Sicily’s hottest tourist spot.
The Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Part 3
Feel like hanging around for eternity? Go to the town of Sagada in the Mountain Province of the Philippines. These coffins are an old Igorot tradition. Not everyone is allowed to have one. One source said you had to have grandchildren. Another said you had to die from natural causes. Being old just might help you hang high in the sky
The early coffins were about a meter stick long. They were nailed or wired to the cliff. The higher your coffin, the better your social position. Do you curl up in a ball at night? The Igorot curl their dead up inside the coffin. They might break a few bones, but they believed it gave you peace.
Today things have changed. The coffins are now 2 meters long so no more broken bones, but the burials only happen every couple of years. Younger people prefer level ground.
This is a map of the Philippines. Find the province on the northwest coast, then go south 2 more provinces. I think that’s where Sagada is, but click the link below to see for yourself.
Travel north to the Chinese mainland or south to the island of Indonesia, and you’ll find hanging coffins there too.
Chernobyl, Ukraine, Part 4
I don’t see dead bodies – I see a region that’s dead, that’s frozen in time. It looks like it did 33 years ago when it was abandoned because of what happened at 1:23 AM on April 26, 1986. That’s when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded.
On April 27th the Soviets started evacuating the town next door, Pripyat. By May 14th they’d gotten everyone out of the 18 mile area around the plant. The pictures above could have been taken in 1986 or in 2019. No one has lived there since.
By April 28th the world discovered the spread of radiation. Workers at a nuclear plant 680 miles to the northwest in Sweden found radioactive particles on their clothes.
The map below shows the levels of radiation. The Confiscated/Closed Zone is probably part of that original 18 mile evacuation, but the radiation spread into Belarus and Russia itself.
Here are 5 creepy facts from my research:
1. The radiation in Chernobyl was the same as in Hiroshima, Japan after the atomic bomb.
2. The greatest danger was in the first few weeks, just like Hiroshima.
3. The firefighters suffered the most. They went in to stop the fires, but dozens of them died from radiation sickness.
4. Chernobyl didn’t have a containment building to protect it like a cocoon. If it had, very few people would have died. The environment would have been preserved.
5. Today animals like deer, moose, and boars are back, and so are the plants. Radiation is still there and will be for decades.
The Gates of Hell, Part 5
No bodies here! They would have been incinerated already. This fiery furnace has 2 other names - the Door to Hell, and the Darvaza Gas Crater, but I think it looks like the center of the earth.
Remember the good old Soviet Union? They were involved in this disaster too. Back in 1971 they found a natural gas field, and a camp of engineers started drilling. They didn’t know there was a pocket of gas. The field collapsed, the crater opened, but no one died.
The engineers were worried that poisonous gases like methane would be released. They decided to burn them off, thinking it would only take a couple of weeks. It didn’t. They’ve been burning now for 43 years.
The crater is 230 feet in diameter and 65 feet deep. It doesn’t look huge from here, but that’s about 80 yards across a football field and about 22 yards down.
If you decide to visit, try camping out in the Karakum Desert that’s pictured above. You won’t need to bring your night light.
To find the crater, go east from the Caspian Sea through the Balkan Province. Continue east to the red line that runs north-south from Dashhowez to Ahal. The crater is in Ahal, near the border.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!