“There is no end to the old houses, with resounding galleries, and dismal state-bedchambers, and haunted wings shut up for many years, through which we may ramble…and encounter any number of ghosts,” Charles Dickens once wrote.
The great English writer might as well have added Polish caves, Babylonian ruins, and Mexican mummy museums to his list of ghostly places — as we here at LIFE have done, bringing you a book filled with blood-curdling photos and eerie stories about the world’s creepiest spots.
No, not all these spots are strictly haunted. Some are deeply mysterious, maybe even spiritual. Others are downright unnerving. But they do all have one thing in common: They seem to exist partly in the known world, and partly in a shadow realm we can’t completely comprehend.
So get ready, if you dare, to encounter any number of ghosts, ghouls, yetis, haunted dolls — and other things that go bump in the night.
Adapted from LIFE’s special edition The World’s Most Haunted Places. Pick up your copy in stores today