Perched at 5 thousand meters above sea level, in a remote location in the Himalayan Mountains, there is a lake circled by hundreds of human bones, the very specifics remain a mystery, but a scientific study on the remains on the estimated 200 individuals determined that they died around 850 AD, and belonged to two different groups of people, possibly families or tribes, a relatively tall group, and a relatively shorter one. They had jewelry and weapons with them and it is suggested that they were travelling or pilgrimaging.
All remains appear to have fractures in the skulls and the upper bones, suggesting that the only culprit may have been a very severe hailstorm, with hail the size of baseballs.
Interestingly a local Himalayan folk tale may have preserved the exact story: a king and wife from Kannauj along with their entourage were on a pilgrimage, and decided to pass through an area that the local custom specifically forbade to pass. The Goddess of the land, Nanda Devi, was so upset that she assailed the pilgrims and killed them with a hailstorm as punishment.
This place is covered in snow for almost 11 months out of a year, and having no roads or towns nearby, it requires a 3-4 day trek to get there, unfortunately a source mentioned that there are fewer and fewer bones due to tourists stealing them….
An honourable mention to the man-caused sinking of Tryweryn Valley in Wales during 1956, that against the wishes of the local people left a whole town, chapel and graveyard underwater.
8. Aokigahara, Fujikawaguchiko, Japan
This place is different from the others as is not really a final resting place, not for the body at least, people come to this place to die, because of this it has been dubbed as the Suicide Forest.
The forest of Aokigahara grows on the old lava from Mt. Fuji, just northwest from Japan’s trademark volcano and to the West of one of the most famous hiking starts, the city of Kawaguchiko. It apparently always had an appeal as a departure gate for people who were looking to leave this life earlier, but it was popularized by a novel released in 1960 by Seicho Matsumoto, where the heartbroken protagonist retreats to Aokigahara to die. Then it was even more popularized by another book: The Complete Suicide Manual. Go figure.
One among a million things I like about Japan, is that suicide doesn’t have the same stigma as in other countries, is a choice devoid of the religious taboo that other countries attribute to it, that is of course not to say that there is no grief and trauma caused to the loved ones you leave behind, or the people that have to pick up after your mortal remains. Signs reminding people to value their lives have been added around the entrances to the forests, yet every month, an organization of volunteers heads into the forest to collect the bodies.
The forest is notoriously silent, my knowledge of Ecology is very superficial, but I’m willing to bet that it has to do with the composition of the soil (old lava), which supports very few species of vegetation, which in turn support even less species of animals. I would love hearing a professional’s opinion in this matter.
Many people believe in energies, and bad energies at that, especially from a place like this. I don’t, really, so when years back I visited this place for a nice walk I could only admire the beauty, the silence, and the peace. The terrain is wavy and full of strange holes, even 10.000 year old small caves with ice and bats, which are a bit of a touristic attraction in the area. The place is magical, if I wanted to go earlier, I can understand why this forest would be a choice.
9. The Body casts of Pompeii, Naples, Italy
Of all disasters in history, this is one that still brings nightmares on me as if I had lived it myself. One of the most terrifying and despairing, just dwelling for a few minutes into what it would have been to be in Pompeii that day in 79 C.E. is enough to bring tears to my eyes.
I had the honour to live through the 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico City and other areas in Mexico in September 19th 2017, on a 5th floor, the violence of the shake almost making it impossible to move. Considering that the scale is exponential, I can’t comprehend the strength of the earthquake of 1985 in the same city, which was 8.0M, destroyed about 400 buildings, seriously damaged more than 3000, killed more than 5 thousand people, and seriously traumatized many of the ones who survived it.
With this in mind I can much less comprehend the earthquakes, raining rocks, ash and chaos of that day in Pompeii, with all this horror considered I believe is a mercy that the pyroclastic surge ended everything relatively quickly for everybody.
If there is anything like hell on earth other than a nuclear explosion or witnessing/suffering a massacre, this was it.
See this article
detailing how these corpses were found, how the body casts where made, and other informative details.
I hope you enjoyed this article, please contact me if you know of some other place that counts as unique!