5 Real-Life Places That Are Basically Horror Movies

Ghosts. Aliens. Haunted houses and creepy, abandoned places.

We often assume what we see in horror movies is just another figment of our imagination — an image or a character someone created with the sole intention of scaring us.

After all, none of these terrifying things could actually be real, right? Right?

You wish.

Grab your popcorn and your blanket because here are five chilling, real-life places far scarier than your average horror movie:

1. Skull Chapel — Czermna, Poland

Merlin/Wikimedia Commons

On the outside, Kaplica Czaszek, or the Skull Chapel, is a tiny, quaint house of worship.

But on the inside it's a horrifying chamber of death, composed of the skulls and leg bones of more than 3,000 people.

Here's the story: In the late 1700s, a priest and a grave digger decided to build a one-of-a-kind shrine to the dead. Together, and for more than 20 years, they dug up mass graves of war and cholera victims, cleaned the bones and arranged them in intricate patterns on the chapel's ceiling and walls.

But that's not all. The duo also gathered more than 21,000 skeletons for the church's crypt, which can only be accessed via trapdoor.

2. Door to Hell — Darvaza, Turkmenistan

Martha de Jong-Lantink/Flickr

Now here's a literal hellhole.

Measuring 230 feet across, the Darvaza crater, or Door to Hell, is a massive sinkhole that's been on fire for 45 years. Yes, you read that correctly: 45 years.

Back in 1971, Soviet scientists were searching for oil fields when a rig collapsed, creating a natural gas crater. In an attempt to prevent poisonous gasses from slipping out, the team set the cavern on fire, expecting it to burn out within a couple of hours, days or weeks. But it never stopped burning.

Today, the Door to Hell casts an ominous glow on the Karakum Desert.

3. Jacob's Well — Wimberley, Texas

Larry D. Moore/Wikimedia Commons

The name alone is enough to send shivers down your spine.

Situated between Austin and San Antonio, Jacob's Well is a deep, cavernous spring, boasting one of the world's deadliest underwater cave systems. So far, its claustrophobic chambers have claimed the lives of at least eight divers.

But daredevils can't get enough of it. In 2015, a 21-year-old diver nearly drowned after losing a flipper while entering the third chamber.

Even more horrifying? His entire heart-pounding ordeal was caught on video:

4. Hoia-Baciu Forest — Transylvania, Romania

Cristian Bortes/Flickr

Even Dracula won't step foot here.

Called the Bermuda Triangle of Romania, the Hoia-Baciu Forest is a notorious hotspot for supernatural phenomena and one of the world's most haunted forests.

Paranormal experiences range from ghosts and UFOs to orbs and disembodied voices, and those who've entered the forest often report feeling anxious and alert, as if being watched. In addition, upon exiting the forest, many people experience bizarre physical symptoms, such as rashes, scratches and burns.

Only the bravest enter Hoia-Baciu Forest — but few make it out unscathed.

5. Nara Dreamland — Nara, Japan

JP Haikyo/Flickr

These days, Nara Dreamland is closer to a nightmare than it is a dream.

Constructed in 1961 as a sort of homage to Disneyland, the popular amusement park sustained decades of success until its waning customer base eventually forced it to shut down in 2006. Now, 10 years later, only eerily overgrown rides and ticket booths remain, transforming a once-joyous destination into a post-apocalyptic pile of ruins.

Recently, a development company began demolition on the park, much to the dismay of urban explorers. Until it's completely torn down, though, Dreamland will continue to evoke a spine-tingling sense of desolation and dread.

Hannah Muniz is a freelance writer based in Michigan. She loves travel and horror movies. Visit her website to learn more.