Every office has one or two – or ten. The person that perpetually steals food, insistently turns off the A/C, cranks the heat to hellish temperatures, or loves garlic-saturated foodstuffs that make the office microwave smell like it was directly imported from Italy. Their infractions are too many to remunerate, but luckily for us, we have an umbrella term to categorize them under: the annoying coworker. Well, since it’s the beginning of the week, allow me to take you on a fantastical trip, a revenge fantasy of sorts, and see the creepiest places that you could ditch your annoying coworker.
See Also: Ghost Hunters: Haunted Workplaces
1. Isla de las Muñecas
An unlikely tourist destination the Isla de las Muñecas, which literally translates to the Island of the Dolls, is a “floating garden” (better known as a chinampa) which houses thousands of dolls nailed to trees, hung by twine, and suspended from the branches of the trees on the island.
The history of the island is just as creepy as the thousand glass eyes that stare unblinkingly at you: apparently, the island’s caretaker, Julian Santana Barrera, allegedly found a young girl who had unfortunately drowned in the surrounding channels. A few days later, Julian found a doll near where he had found the girl.
He took the doll and, as a way of showing respect to the drowned girl’s spirit, hung it to a tree directly above the area where the body was discovered. Thinking he was being haunted by the girl, he started collecting more dolls and doll parts, and suspending them from his house and the trees growing on the island in an attempt to please her spirit.
Eventually, someone came across the bizarre place and it became an attraction, elevating Barrera to local celebrity status. People brought even more dolls to the island, and were added to the collection of nightmare fuel. Unfortunately, Barrera drowned in 2001, some say at the same exact point where he had found the little girl’s body and hung the first doll.
Legend says that the dolls come alive at night, moving their heads and limbs, whispering to each other. It should be easy to lure your victim – I mean coworker – there, what with it being a tourist attraction and all!
2. Catacombs of Paris
With 250km of practically unexplored tunnels right under the City of Light, ditching your target – I mean, coworker – couldn’t be easier. The Catacombs of Paris are expansive tunnels that were repurposed sepulchers – a place where exhumed remains are stored. The ossuaries under Paris are said to house the remains of up to six million people, with skulls and bones densely populating the tunnels from floor to ceiling.
The reason the Catacombs is now home to most of Paris’ past inhabitants is because during the 18th century, overpopulation of both the city and the city’s cemeteries’ forced King Louis XVI to prohibit any burials inside the city. But because this is history, the story gets much more gruesome.
The catalyst for this prohibition was the largest cemetery in Paris, the Holy Innocents’ Cemetery, which saw a slew of improper burials that resulted in mass graves, open tombs, and corpses that weren’t even buried. The resulting smell of decay permeated the surrounding areas and then in 1780, one of the cemetery’s retaining walls (made soft by a long, wet spring) collapsed, spilling the putrid remains of the dead all over the area.
Due to superstition and lack of scientific knowledge, people started thinking their food and wine was spoiling because of the dead, prompting the King to take immediate action. This started a decades’ long process in which bones were exhumed from cemeteries around Paris and placed in the catacombs. By the time of the French Revolution, people started interring the newly dead directly to the catacombs. What a perfect place to leave your business trip partner who keeps insisting that “pajamas block my chakras. I need to sleep nude to stay healthy”.
3. Suicide Forest
The Suicide Forest in Japan, locally known as Aokigahara, is a wooded area at the foot of the iconic Mount Fuji. The forest is a beautifully dense green expanse that 100 people a year choose as their last destination. In combination with Japan’s tradition for ritual suicide due to dishonor, many people choose to leave their last breath at the forest (also known as Jukai, meaning Sea of Trees).
Although some believe that the reasons desperate people are attracted to the forest are supernatural, and while it’s thought the history of suicide in the forest goes as far back as the 19th century, the modern trend can be attributed to a novel by the name of Kuroi Jukai. One of the book’s star-struck lovers commits suicide in the forest, unintentionally inspiring others to use the forest as their final resting place. People have since traveled there to end their lives, purely due to infamy. The saddest thing about this forest is the fact that it is so dense that sometimes a person might reconsider killing themselves but can’t manage to find their way out.
4. Kabayan Caves
Located in the Philippines, the Kabayan Caves are an expanse of natural caves in which the Ibaloi placed their dead after an extremely strange mummification process, which was basically smoking – yes, not unlike making jerky. The deceased member of the tribe was put in the fetal position and then slowly roasted over an open flame with herbs and spices to enhance the drying process. Then the remains were put in pod-like pine coffins and deposited within the caves. Although the Ibaloi tribe still exists in the Philippines, the bizarre ritual was abandoned when the area was conquered by the Spaniards in the 16th century. The caves are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, when you leave your nuance of a coworker behind, you might want to avoid taking a souvenir. Also, there’s that whole angry spirit mess you’ll have to deal with if you do.
5. Hashima Island
Yeah, okay, so I’m not sure why Japan has such an astounding accumulation of extremely creepy places, but this is yet another entry courtesy of the Land of the Rising Sun.
Hashima Island, or Battleship Island as it is alternatively known as (for its shape primarily), was a thriving mining community in the Nagasaki Prefecture. It was home to about 6,000 people at its peak, but after the underwater coal mines were depleted in 1974, it was abandoned soon after. Just to make it a bit creepier though, the island was also used for forced labor of Korean and Chinese captives during World War II.
Although the island was closed off for decades, it was reopened for tourists in 2009, albeit with limited access due to safety concerns. If you want to explore it, you can either visit Google Street View or this campy website that plays grating horror movie music in the background the entire time.
Do you know any other creepy places you can leave that one coworker that never cleans up after himself in kitchen? Let me know in the comments section below.