The Monster-Hunter’s Travel Guide: 10 Spooky Must-See Destinations
On every continent, in every culture, spine-chilling monsters scare and baffle those who cross their path. Want to add a paranormal detour to your next vacation? From the Loch Ness Monster to the Mothman, here are 10 hair-raising creatures anxious to take a bite out of your holiday.
1. Loch Ness Monster – Scotland
For centuries, the murky waters of Scotland’s Loch Ness have laid claim to one of the world’s most infamous mysteries—the Loch Ness Monster. First sighted in the Highland lake in 565 A.D., Nessie is most often described as a sea serpent or a plesiosaurs—a prehistoric swimming reptile. Faked photos and hoaxes abound, but Scotland’s monster continues to capture the imagination—and tourist dollars—of her hardcore fans. So how popular is Nessie? A 2006 survey ranked the Loch Ness Monster above actor Sir Sean Connery and poet Robert Burns as the country’s most famous Scot.
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2. The Mothman – West Virginia, U.S.A.
For several terrifying months in 1966 and 1967, a West Virginian city was terrorized by a freaky 7-foot tall winged being. Eyewitnesses in Point Pleasant saw a human-like creature with a 10-foot wingspan, fiery red eyes, and the ability to fly great heights at breakneck speed. At the time of the Mothman sightings, residents also reported chilling incidents of unexplained paranormal activity, vanishing pets and television interference. The fear factor reached a fever pitch on December 15, 1967 when the nearby Silver Bridge collapsed during rush hour, killing 46 people. Many citizens spooked by the torrent of eerie occurrences blamed the Mothman for this unexpected disaster.
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3. El Chupacapra – Latin America
Puerto Rico, Latin America, Mexico and the United States are rumoured to be the violent playground of the evasive El Chupacapra. Reports of this bloodthirsty creature first surfaced in 1995 after savagely slaughtered farm animals were discovered in Puerto Rico. Eyewitness accounts tell of a hopping 5-ft tall hairless beast with long, skinny legs and an oblong head. Fangs, red eyes and a row of spikes along its back complete its description. Biologists argue that these fabled monsters are actually coyotes suffering from mange. Regardless of scientific opinion, believers still swear that this bloodsucking barbarian is real.
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4. The New Jersey Devil – New Jersey
Sorry, NHL fans. This frightening fiend doesn’t wear hockey skates and rack up minutes in the penalty box. In the Pine Barrens area of New Jersey, legend speaks of a bizarre bipedal demon with a horse’s head, bat wings, tiny arms, clawed hands, hooves and a forked tail. First mentioned in Native American folklore, this myth gained momentum in 1735 when a New Jersey woman was rumoured to have given birth to a vile, winged monster. Since that time, reports of a skittish creature with a spine-chilling scream have scared and entertained New Jersey residents for years.
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5. Shapeshifters – Worldwide
Vampires, werewolves—they’re prime examples of shapeshifters, creatures that can morph dramatically from one life form to another. They reappear transformed as an animal, human or a monstrous composite of both. Many cultures—including Slavic, Filipino, Norse, Celtic, Japanese, and Native American—have legends of shapeshifting monsters in the midst. The majority of shapeshifters are seen as evil, violent characters, but a few such as the Japanese Kitsune are viewed merely as magical pranksters.
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6. Spring-Heeled Jack – England
Long before Jack the Ripper terrorized citizens of Victorian London, another demon stalked the city’s shadowy streets and public spaces. The year 1837 witnessed the first encounter with Spring-Heeled Jack. Described as a having devilish facial features, blazing red eyes, metal clawed hands and the superhuman ability to leap incredible heights, this fright-inducing phantom would tear away his victims’ skin while vomiting intense blue flames. Towards the end of the 19th century, sightings of this springy monster grew beyond London’s borders. Liverpool, Lincolnshire, and even Scotland reported visits from this jumpy fellow.
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7. Bigfoot – North America, Australia and Nepal
How many nicknames does a monster need? Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yowie, Yeti, the Abominable Snowman—this lumbering, ape-like beast has been an enigma for many cultures around the globe. Native North Americans, Australian Aboriginals, Himalayan people and modern day witnesses share a common description: a tall, heavy-set bipedal creature with long dark hair, a stomach-churning smell, and enormous feet—as large as 60 cm long and 20 cm wide. Believers point to supposed casts of footprints, photos and film clips as proof that this hairy being exists, but most scientists shrug off such a notion.
8. Bunyip – Australia
You might want to avoid ponds, creeks and billabongs while Down Under. A long-feared creature with walrus-like tusks, flippers, and large eyes calls these waterholes home. Aboriginals from across Australia have many legends about the mysterious Bunyip. Despite native folklore and several reported sightings dating back to the early 1880s, a more detailed description of the beast has proven elusive. Instead, mythology focuses on the gruesome nighttime activities of this slippery demon – feasting on children, women and animals. And here you thought Australia was home to only cuddly critters like koalas and kangaroos!
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9. Mongolian Death Worm – Gobi Desert
Be careful where you tread in the Gobi Desert. Legend states that beneath the hot sand, the Mongolian Death Worm lurks in wait for its next unsuspecting victim. Resembling a large, red intestine, the Mongolian Death Worm has petrified the desert’s nomadic tribes for years. Believers tell tales of the massive, two-to-five foot worm surfacing to attack, spewing acid at its prey. If the victim manages to escape the Death Worm’s killer venom, the predator can apparently finish off its target with the zap of an electric shock.
10. Shadow People – Worldwide
Who’s that ghostly figure flickering to attention in your peripheral vision? Could be a shadow person. These paranormal visitors appear as dark, shadowy, human-like shapes and often loiter just out of direct sight lines. Catch a glimpse and he’ll most likely melt away into a nearby wall or vanish in thin air. Witnesses say that these shadowy figures often instill feelings of uncontrollable terror. When the malevolent presence disintegrates, the horrific sensation exits with them. Shadow people have been reported all over the world, so you could make your acquaintance at any time, anywhere.
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