Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and most tourists across the globe like to visit popular sites and attractions, like monuments, beaches, stadiums, and museums, while on vacation. However, there is also a section of travelers who think in a different way. In one of the growing latest trends, the tourism involving traveling to places that are historically associated with death and tragedy is on a rise and is known as dark tourism or grief tourism. The subset of tourism, however, involves visiting places that are historically associated with death and tragedy. These places include the site of a nuclear disaster zone, allegedly haunted places, the residence serial killer killers, a crime scene or the execution chamber of a former state prison. Although these places don't count in most vacationers' bucket lists, several holiday jaunts around the globe have initiated such adventurous rides.
The Sedlec Ossuary is a Roman Catholic chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, part of the former Sedlec Abbey in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. The place is famous for being the best known “bone church” in the world. Although, it is difficult to estimate the number of skeletons housed at the Sedlec Ossuary, about an estimate of 50,000 human remains is stored at the location. It is considered the second largest destination in the world to have such a large number of human remains after the Paris Catacombs.
Situated in Chile’s Atacama Desert, La Noria is considered as a ghost town near Iquique in northern Chile. It was once a flourishing saltpeter mining town with schools, a church, and a railway connection and was inhabited by many. However, the settlement was relocated after the industry was closed in the area and the place was left barren. Established in 1826, it is considered as one of the oldest factory settlements of the saltpeter industry, with its ruins still preserved. The place has an eerie feeling and is one of the favorite destinations for the dark tourists. The cemetery in the area has open graves and several spooky instances have been reported from the place.
The Island of the Dolls also known as 'Isla De Las Mulecas' is an isolated island in the Xochimilco canals which is considered to be haunted. Several dolls have been hanging from the trees allegedly in the memory of a little girl who drowned in the area. The disoriented features of the dolls, positioned on the island’s trees and bushes, will definitely give a creepy feeling to the visitors.
Devil's Island, the French Penal Colony of Cayenne, operated in the 19th and 20th century in the Salvation's Islands of French Guiana and was opened in 1852. The island infamous for its diseases was used as an imprisonment ground where the French political prisoners were sent into exile. The place was also known for its harsh treatment of the convicts. It was finally closed down in 1953 after the death rate of the area reached 75%. Renowned Captain Alfred Dreyfus was also detained in the area.
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The infamous horror house came into limelight after a mass murder was recorded on November 13, 1974. The house situated in Long Island is said to have had several paranormal phenomena after a 23-year-old boy killed his whole family in sleep including his parents and siblings. Reportedly, one year later another family bought the house but they had to move out within a month owing to the eerie atmosphere of the house. The place has been an attraction of the tourist since then. It is one of the places on the priority list of the dark tourists.
As per media reports, the term 'dark tourism' was coined in 1996 by Lennon and Foley, two faculty members of the Department of Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure Management at Glasgow Caledonian University. However, the spooky feeling is always not the soul-intent of the travelers, it also owes to the historical values of the place.