Wednesday, October 31, 2007

World's Creepiest Places Part 3

By Ralph Martin

Szoborpark, Budapest, Hungary

A towering Lenin addresses a now-absent city square, while Marx and Engels, wearing holy robes and carrying religious-looking texts (surely their own), are crumbling nearby. Budapest's Szoborpark is a collection of retired Soviet-era iconography just outside Budapest. A pavilion warehousing 40 years of often kitschy, sometimes terrifying, and overdone public statuary, the park is a brilliant solution to the problem that came up with liberation from Soviet tyranny in 1991: What to do with all that official art? While the rest of the former Soviet republics couldn't get rid of their Lenins fast enough, the Budapesters decided to round them up and put them on display. As you walk around, all those stony stares create the uncanny feeling that you're being watched. Take a 30-minute public bus ride from the city's central Déak Tér stop; you have 40 minutes to wander before the bus goes back into town.



Abbey of Thelema, Cefalù, Sicily, Italy

Aleister Crowley is perhaps the world's most infamous occultist, and this now-overgrown stone ranch-style house with hallways full of dark pagan frescoes was once the world capital of his satanic orgies. Or so it was reported in the 1920s. Crowley is now known for his famous fans, including Jimmy Page and Marilyn Manson, and the fact that he appears on the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. He founded the Abbey of Thelema—named after a utopia described in Rabelais' Gargantua whose motto is "Do as thou wilt"—in 1920 in the beach town of Cefalù, Sicily. It became a free-love commune with a dark side: Newcomers were forced to spend the night in the "Chamber of Nightmares," where, high on hashish and opiates, they stared at frescoes of earth, heaven, and hell. After a British society dandy named Raoul Loveday died of a fever contracted at the Abbey, the press had a field day, leading an embarrassed Benito Mussolini to expel the commune in 1923. Notorious underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger unearthed the compound in 1945 and made a movie there, although mysteriously the film was subsequently lost. The Abbey is now a collapsed semi-ruin, overrun with vegetation, but inside there are some original hellish frescoes that Crowley used to scare his disciples into shape. Intrepid and esoterically minded visitors visiting Sicily can wander the grounds and get some vibes, though no official tours are available.\

Mary King's Close, Edinburgh, Scotland

Hidden below Edinburgh's medieval Old Town is a series of subterranean streets with an unsavory past. Mary King's Close is where plague victims were quarantined and left to die in the 17th century, and paranormal activity abounds down there. You might, for instance, feel some gentle tugging at your hands and legs by an unseen force. The cause is believed to be the ghost of Annie, a young girl abandoned by her parents in 1645. More than a hundred years later, in classic horror-tale fashion, a grand new building was constructed over Mary King's Close, leaving the streets, including the plague ghosts, intact underground. In 2003, the surprisingly well-preserved Close was opened to visitors, drawn by tales of its supernatural goings-on. Tour guides will accompany you down a stone staircase to the vaultlike, oppressive lanes. In addition to Annie's Room, there are typical re-creations of bygone lifestyles and plague deaths. Just remember to keep on moving, especially when you feel a sudden chill.

Chernobyl, Pripyat, Ukraine

Walk through the abandoned town of Pripyat in the Ukraine, and you'll find a large-scale crime scene abandoned in a hurry: A nursery full of children's shoes, and apartment complexes with the morning newspaper, dated April 28, 1986, open on the breakfast table. Two days before, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, minutes away, melted down, but it took 48 hours for the authorities to alert locals and clear them out of the world's biggest nuclear disaster site. Now that radiation levels are safe for short-term exposure, Chernobyl's nuclear complex has become an unlikely tourist attraction since opening to visitors in 2002. The power complex is at the center of the 20-mile-radius "Exclusion Zone," a regrown area of forests now populated by wolves and bears. Reactor #4 is the star of this sad show, today sheathed in a concrete and lead sarcophagus 200 feet high. A tour organization called Welcome to Ukraine offers day trips from Kiev via bus (you're advised to book two weeks in advance): You'll tour the forest and get to inspect the plant's exterior, including mounting an observation post to see the reactor, before walking to Pripyat, which was built in the 1970s and celebrated in official USSR propaganda as the "world's youngest town." It died young, but failed to leave a beautiful corpse.





7 comments:

julai said...

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Makoy said...

Pictures pa lang creepy na! Wooah! Thanks po sa mga comments sa blog ko :) have a great weekend!

NoVa said...

Hi, thanks for the often visit, i really appreciated it alot.. i hope you'll have a great vacation too...

i got problem for i dont know reason, i couldn't find the NAME, URL, MESSAGE on ur message box.. i can only purely seen your messages... i hope i could leave u message thru there...

i've encountered this twice now, not just from you but for other bloggers on my list...

tc.. *hugs*
Nova

myckochondria said...

woooooh! bibisitahin ko ang mga lugar na to... apir!

THE ANiTOKiD said...

They sure look scary kabayan! But it would be a hell of an adventure if we could visit some of the places huh? Creepy!

Just a thought, are their any such places in the Philippines? Famous ones? Does Balate Drive count? Hmmmm.


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camilleeee said...

hey rey, creepy jud ni nga mga places.. dri sa ato sa cebu di ba naa pud. hehe. by the way, gi-TAG tikaw. hope i cud read ur answers too. pki- chek my blog nlang ha.tenks, tenks.. godbless, tc.

Nguyễn Phương Như said...

of course, I'm very interested in exchanging link.