burning pit
In the middle of Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan, is a 230-foot-wide pit of fire that has been burning for over 40 years. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Benjamin Goetzinger

An eternally burning pit. A village with life-sized dolls.

The world is full of wonderful, amazing places, but let’s face it – it has its creepy corners, too.

Click start to play today’s Spell It, where you can find “eerie” – a word that describes today’s list of bizarre destinations around the world.

Our planet has its fair share of terrifying, mysterious places that would make any seasoned traveller think twice about visiting. Here are a few that you may not know about:

1. Nagoro, Japan

From a distance, this small, Japanese village doesn’t stand out for anything out of the ordinary. Look a little closer, and you’ll notice something strange. It has a life-sized doll population that outnumbers its human population by nearly 10:1. The toy residents are the brainchild of local artisan Tsukimi Ayano, who began making doll replicas of her neighbours after they died or moved away. Go on a walk around town, and you can find eerie dolls in various life-like positions – fishermen chatting on the riverbank, students filling entire classrooms and elderly couples sitting on park benches.

2. Taylor Glacier, Antarctica

Blood Falls
Blood Falls Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Peter Rejcek

A crime scene on ice? It’s what the five-story, blood-red waterfall of Taylor Glacier looks like. Nicknamed “Blood Falls”, the natural wonder is a phenomenon that goes back about 5 million years, when the glacier blocked off a microbe-rich lake beneath it. Without light or oxygen, the lake’s water – more specifically, its salt and iron content – became more and more concentrated. The water is about three times saltier than the ocean, and its iron provides its crimson colour. Today, you can see the blood-red water seeping out through a fissure in the glacier, like something out of a horror film.

3. Derweze, Turkmenistan

In the middle of Karakum Desert, is a 230-foot-wide pit of fire that has been burning for over 40 years. When Soviet scientists were searching for oil in the area in 1971, they accidentally hit a methane reserve and their drilling platform collapsed, resulting in a large crater and the release of dangerous gas into the air. The scientists quickly came up with a plan to light the crater on fire to burn off the methane. Today, it looks like something out of Dante’s Inferno – a burning pit surrounded by desert.

4. Hanging Coffins, Philippines

hanging coffins
Hanging Coffins of Sagada Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Andrew Haimerl

The people of the region of Sagada are known for burying their dead – not underground – but in coffins attached to the sides of cliffs. This tradition of creating a vertical cemetery dates back thousands of years, when people would build their own coffin, and then get placed in it when they died, next to their ancestors. Many of the cliffside coffins are hundreds of years old, and each coffin looks very different from the next.

5. The Great Blue Hole, Belize

The Great Blue Hole
The Great Blue Hole, Belize Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/The TerraMar Project

The Lighthouse Reef lies about 96km off the coast of Belize. It has beautiful coral reefs and tranquil azure waters… and a sinkhole that’s more than 400 feet deep. The Great Blue Hole is a 1,000-foot-wide, perfect circle in the middle of the atoll. Far from scaring off divers, it’s a tourist magnet – scuba divers flock to witness its unique geology. The Hole is experienced like a kind of vertical cave, and is said to include huge, beautiful underwater stalactites and stalagmites that formed during the last glacial period. Wonderful, yet eerie!

What do you think of these places? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at games@gulfnews.com.