The more forbidden something is, the more people want it. The secrecy behind these places only intrigues the public more. Visiting some of these locations are considered illegal. In other places, common sense might keep people away, but curiosity is always there. From ancient sites to ghost stories to military bases, these places are shrouded in mystery and probably will remain so for many years.
1. Area 51
Perhaps the most famous secret military base in the world, Area 51 has been the subject of countless conspiracy theories. “Site II” or the “Ranch” is located at Groom Lake in southern Nevada. Officially, and according to the CIA, the facility’s real names are Homey Airport (ICAO: KXTA) and Groom Lake. The name “Area 51” was only once used in a CIA document during the Vietnam War. The security surrounding it doesn’t allow anyone in or near the base. Guards patrol the area with M16s, with permission to use deadly force and contact the police. There’s a $600 fine to those who attempt trespassing.
Tikaboo Peak is the closest legal point of the base that anyone can go to, 26 miles away. The actual purpose of the facility is virtually unknown. Based on historical evidence, it might be used for testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems. It wasn’t until 2013 that the US government acknowledged the existence of the facility. The conspiracy theories mainly revolve around extraterrestrial life, though some are linked to weather control, the development of time travel and teleportation technology, one world government, or the Majestic 12 organization. Most popularly, it’s also linked with the Roswell UFO incident.
2. Vatican Secret Archives
Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Vaticanum is the actual name of the Vatican archives. They consist of 53 miles of shelving, 35,000 volumes of catalogs, and overall, 12 centuries worth of documents. There’s also a fireproof underground bunker made to protect fragile documents. The archives’ indexes are not open to the public and are hidden in a fortress-like part of the Vatican City. The archives was a complete secret to the public until 1881 when Pope Leo XIII allowed researches in. The requirements to enter are very specific and hard to meet.
Journalists, students, and amateur historians are not allowed in. Once scholars are permitted entry, they must only request three specific documents per day from catalogs, so they are not allowed to roam free inside. Some of the documents inside date back to the eighth century. A few of them include the 197 foot long scroll containing the minutes of the trials of the Knights Templar which started in 1307, the Inter
3. Tomb of the Qin Shi Huang
The mausoleum of the first Qin emperor is located in Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province of China. It’s under a 76 meter all tomb mound shaped like a truncated pyramid. It was built throughout 38 years, from 246 to 208 BC. It’s famously the site of the Terracotta army. Eight thousand ninety-nine statues of warriors, weapons, horses, and chariots face the direction of the emperor’s enemies to protect him in the afterlife. Despite archaeological discovery and excavation of the compound, the emperor’s tomb itself remains untouched. No one has ever been inside.
Archaeologist Kristin Romey, curatorial consultant for the Terracotta Warrior exhibition at New York City’s Discovery Times Square, says, “Partly it’s out of respect for the elders, but they also realize that nobody in the world right now has the technology to properly go in and excavate it.” In his mission to seek immortality, emperor Ying Zheng died at the age of 49 from the mercury pills he took. Soil samples around his tomb indicate high levels of mercury contamination, making entering and exploring the tomb very dangerous.
4. The Island of Poveglia
Poveglia is a small island located between Venice and Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. It’s thought to be one of the most haunted places on earth. The gruesome
Some claim he was driven mad by the tortured souls he experimented on and committed suicide or that he was pushed. On the island, two plague pits have been found. Also, there a few buildings still left standing, including a church, a hospital, an asylum, a
5. Fort Knox
Ever heard the phrase “harder to break into than Fort Knox”? Well, its proper name is the United States Bullion Depository, though it’s more popularly known as Fort Knox. It’s a U.S Army post located on 109,000 acres in northern Kentucky. It houses about 40,000 soldiers, family members, and civilian employees. It’s said to be one of the most secure places on Earth. Fort Knox is named after the first U. S. Secretary of War, General Henry Knox, who was also Chief of Artillery in the Continental Army. The construction of the Depository started in 1935 at the cost of $560,000. The building is 16,000 cubic feet of granite, 4,200 cubic yards of concrete, 750 tons of reinforced steel, and 670 tons of structural steel.
The outer shell is also made up of 4-foot thick granite lined with steel, cement, and fireproof materials. It is so strong; it can withstand an atomic bomb and any sort of other attacks. All that security is to protect the insane amount of gold inside. There are 147.3 million ounces of gold inside the underground, worth about $270 billion. And no one has been inside for a long time except for a few employees and guards. Other than gold, the fort has also housed several other precious items like documents. Out of the four copies in the world, one of the Magna Carta documents was kept in Fort Knox during World War II. The Constitution was also stored there, as well as the Declaration of Independence. Visitors are only allowed to stand outside of the gate, but never inside.
6. Snake Island
Ilha da Queimada Grande is the official name for the island located 25 miles off the coast of Brazil. As the name suggests, the island is overflowing with snakes. Research estimates that there is one snake per square foot. The particular snakes that inhabit the island aren’t just your average snake but can grow to be over a foot and a half long. They’re called golden lancehead snakes, a species of pit viper and one of the deadliest serpents known in the world. The Brazilian government has officially made it illegal to visit Snake Island.
One of the stories surrounding the place is of fishermen who stopped to look for bananas and was found dead in his boat in a pool of his blood, snake bites all over his body. Another story is of a family that ran the lighthouse there. There are claims that snakes went in through the windows and killed the entire family. The population of the snakes is somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 snakes. Their bite can kill a human in an hour. It carries a seven percent chance of death, causes kidney failure, necrosis of muscular tissue, brain hemorrhaging, and intestinal bleeding. In contrast, the golden lancehead venom has shown it could help with heart disease, circulation, and blood clots. Because of this, the snakes can sell for up to $30,000 in the black market. Wildlife smuggles sneak into the island to collect the snakes.
7. Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Nicknamed the “Doomsday Seed Vault” or the “Noah’s Ark of Plant Diversity,” the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is the world’s most massive and most secure seed storage. It was first opened in February of 2008 and now holds about one million plant species. The vault is located in Spitsbergen island in the Svalbard archipelago, about 1,000 kilometers north of mainland Norway. The vault was made to protect crop biodiversity and to help humanity survive destruction.
It was built to withstand natural and human-made disasters for thousands of years to come, including asteroid impacts and nuclear wars. Up to 4.5 million types of crops can be stored inside. It’s understandable how a place like that is forbidden to the public. Private visits are not allowed. Plus, a scheduled flight can only get a person as far as Svalbard, and there are no roads between the island’s settlements. The weather is severe, as there are 153 days of the year where there’s no sun, and the temperatures can reach to −46.3 °C (−51.3 °F), and polar bears are likely to attack.
8. Ise Grand Shrine
The Ise Grand Shrine, or Ise Jingū, was built in 4 BCE and is located in the city of Ise, Mie Prefecture of Japan. The shrine is considered to be the most important one in the country. It’s dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu. There are two main shrines, Naikū and Gekū, followed by 123 additional Shinto shrines in Ise City and near areas. Following ancient tradition, the sanctuary is rebuilt every 20 years. This practice started in the eighth century and is still ongoing. Renewal costs about $500 million. The current version of the shrine was built in 2013 and is the 62nd identical rendition so far. The reason for this is the Shinto belief of the death and renewal of nature. Besides the royal family and select others, the shrines are forbidden to the public. Visitors can roam around the forest, but can never enter.
9. Coca Cola Vault
Coca Cola’s recipe is one of the best-kept secrets in the world. Since 1925, the secret formula has been kept in SunTrustBanks Inc. It wasn’t until the 125th anniversary that the company moved it to the World of Coca Cola museum. Only two unknown employees know the secret formula, and they are not allowed to travel together. The recipe itself is kept in a heavily guarded vault in a museum in Atlanta, America. The area is kept continuously under surveillance with armed guards. A keypad and a handprint scanner keep people from opening the door. The recipe has only been stolen once by two employees who tried to sell it to Pepsi. Pepsi ended up turning them in and refusing to accept the deal.
10. Lascaux Cave
Lascaux Cave is a Paleolithic cave in southwestern France, near the village of Montignac in the Dordogne region. It’s the site of over 1,500 engravings and 600 paintings from unknown origins. The drawings are of animals mostly. Horses, deer, aurochs, ibex, bison, lions, and bears are some examples. The paintings date back to c. 17,000 – c. 15,000 BCE. Their meaning and purpose is a subject of speculation. The majority of them have been painted using the colors red, yellow, and black.
Tools, such as flint and bone tools, have been found on the site and have been used to carve into the walls. The site was discovered on 12 September 1940, when a group of four boys followed after their dogs after it had fallen on the hill of Lascaux. Eventually, after 1,200 visitors daily, the carbon dioxide, heat, humidity, and other factors damaged the paintings and causing the cave to be closed off to the public in 1963. In 1979, Lascaux became a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Now, and ever since 1983, Lascaux II, which is a replica of the Great Hall of the Bulls (the most famous section) and the Painted Gallery section, opened 200 meters from the original cave.