We all love a good mystery especially when Halloween is around the corner! Our beautiful planet is dotted with mysterious places that are surreal, creepy, and sometimes downright bizarre. And while many of these mysterious events have logical explanations, others persist in remaining unsolved. In this article, we want to invite you on a virtual tour from your sofa to explore the world’s most mysterious places.
The 5 World’s Most Mysterious Places
#1: Island Of The Dolls, Mexico
It’s Barbie’s worst nightmare: dolls, dolls, everywhere, hundreds of them, hanging by wires from trees, impaled on trunks, decapitated, disemboweled, soaked in red paint, their eyes – if they haven’t been gouged out – vacant yet menacing.
This is Mexico’s La Isla de las Muñecas – the Island of the Dolls – where a tortured soul adorned the trees and bushes with dolls that have grotesquely decayed from the elements. This is one of the world’s most mysterious places.
The story of La Isla de las Muñecas is intimately entwined with the story of the island’s lonely caretaker Don Julian Santana Barrera. Local legend tells that he came across the body of a little girl drowned in a canal. Next to her floated a doll. Either haunted by the memory or, in some versions, out of guilt because he couldn’t save her life, Barrera went mad.
This was in 1951, and from that day on he created his bizarre tribute of dolls until his death in 2001.
Accessible by two-hour boat ride, the Island of Dolls fascinates and frightens. Nighttime is said to bring dolls to life as they reportedly move their arms and legs, blink, and whisper warnings.
However, not everybody is scared of this grisly collection. Many locals consider La Isla de las Muñecas a charmed place. They bring their own dolls as offerings in the hopes of blessings and miracles.
#2: Great Blue Hole, Belize
This massive marine sinkhole off the coast of Belize is staring out from the ocean like a bright blue eyeball. It is so deep that even Jacques Cousteau never reached its bottom.
As sea level rose after the last Ice Age, a giant limestone cave collapsed and filled with water to create a watery hole more than 1,000 feet across and 400 feet deep. It is considered one of the most spectacular places in the world.
But it’s the lower reaches that fascinate scuba divers, who list this place among the must-dives. The dark caverns are filled with stalactites, formations that only occur on dry land – proving the hole’s past as a cave.
Many people wonder – what’s at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole? In December 2018, explorers including billionaire Richard Branson and Jacques Cousteau’s grandson Fabien Cousteau ventured out in a remote-piloted submarine to the floor of the sinkhole for the first time. Under the crushing weight of the water, there was no life and no oxygen – only the corpses of hermit crabs and discarded conch shells, along with stalactites and the walls of the ancient cave. They also found small pieces of plastic – evidence of litterbugs reaching the ocean’s darkest depths.
#3: Giant’s Causeway, United Kingdom
Giant’s Causeway is definitely one of the world’s most mysterious places! To introduce you to this mysterious place, let us tell you a sleeping giant story with a geological twist.
According to Irish folklore, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. The legend tells that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet.
There are different versions of this story. In one version, Fionn defeats Benandonner. In another, Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realizes that his foe is much bigger than he is.
Fionn’s wife, Oonagh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the ‘baby’, he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn would be unable to chase him down.
Some say Fionn remains a sleeping giant in the cliffs surrounding the causeway and that he and his army will rise again to protect Ireland. Locals claim that they can hear his snores echoing off the rocks.
Hexagonal basalt columns are believed to have been shaped by massive hands, but in fact are the remains of volcanic activity from about 65 million years ago.
As the lava cooled, contraction occurred and the ground cracked. The size of the columns was primarily determined by the speed at which lava cooled. The extensive fracture network produced the distinctive columns seen today. The basalts were originally part of a great volcanic plateau called the Thulean Plateau, which formed during the Paleocene.
#4: Superstition Mountains, Unites States
A range of mountains in Arizona located to the east of the Phoenix metropolitan area is known as the Superstition Mountains.
The legend says that a German immigrant Jacob Waltz, known as The Dutchman, discovered a mother lode of gold in the Superstition Wilderness and revealed its location on his deathbed in Phoenix in 1891 to Julia Thomas, a boarding-house owner who had taken care of him for many years. Several mines have been claimed to be the actual mine that Waltz discovered, but none of those claims have been verified.
Dreamers and schemers and the plain greedy have set off on desperate quests to the Superstition Mountains, only to have their compasses stop working or their cellphones conk out, pushed back by what Apaches believe is the hole that leads to hell, expelling the hot winds that cause serious dust storms in Phoenix.
Succumbing to the brutally hot days and freezing nights, the searchers’ bones are left for the next wave of prospectors.
At least a dozen people have vanished searching for the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, dating back to 1848 when Apaches were said to have slaughtered a Mexican family that found the mine.
The most recent missing person is a 35-year-old Denver bellhop who disappeared into the mountains in 2009. His remains were found three years later.
The legends and lore of the Superstition Mountains can be experienced at the Superstition Mountain Museum on the Apache Trail where artifacts of the Lost Dutchman are on display.
Some Apaches believe that the hole leading down into the lower world, or hell, is located in the Superstition Mountains. Winds blowing from the hole are supposed to be the cause of severe dust storms in the metropolitan region.
#5: Petra, Jordan
Petra is the hidden city with cliff-carved monuments located in Jordan. This spectacular sandstone city was built in the 3rd century BC by the Nabataeans, who carved palaces, temples, tombs, storerooms and stables from the soft stone cliffs.
About 2,000 years ago, Petra had a peak population of 30,000 people, sustained in the dry months by an advanced water system pipes, canals, and cisterns. For a time under Roman rule after 106 A.D., Petra became even grander, until Palmyra, in modern-day Syria, siphoned trade away and an earthquake devastated the city.
Petra became a “lost city” after its decline, its location a closely held secret by Bedouins seeking to protect the riches they believe were stashed in the tombs.
Petra was forgotten to outsiders until the rediscovery by 19th-century adventurers. Now Petra is considered to be one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.
“We have uncovered just 15 percent of the city,” archeologist Zeidoun Al-Muheisen of Jordan’s Yarmouk University told National Geographic. “The vast majority – 85 percent – is still underground and untouched.”
Visitors today can see varying blends of Nabataean and Greco-Roman architectural styles in the city’s tombs, many of which were looted by thieves and their treasures thus lost.
The Bottom Line
In addition to these 5 mysteries there are countless more that exist in the world and the greater universe we live in. Humanity’s understanding of the natural world and the greater universe is constantly evolving with modern day science. What was mysterious yesterday eventually is replaced with knowledge and understanding of today. While one layer may be revealed and understood the universe always seems to surprise us with additional unfolding layers of mystery and this is where the modern day scientist and mystic meet.