We are here on the Blind Side, We’re often told that the world is our oyster. That we can explore it at will, and learn all there is to know about it. But what if we can’t? What if there are places we’re just not allowed to go? From a secret, hidden doomsday vault, to an island with thousands of snakes, here are 15 forbidden places you’re not allowed to visit.
15. The Buzludzha Monument
On Mount Buzludzha, at the site of a battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Bulgarian Rebels in 1868, sits a building that’s both unique and hypnotic. The building is known as the Buzludzha Monument and is the former Bulgarian Communist Party Headquarters.
It might have been a former headquarters, but it looks more like a UFO. Therefore, it goes by the name of Bulgaria’s UFO and is a popular destination for urban explorers.
It sits on a bald hill nestled between forested gorges and rolling mountains and now lies abandoned. The monument was built in 1981 to both house the Bulgarian Communist Party and serve as a monument to historical events.
However, after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, it was abandoned and left to fall into a state of disrepair. Vandalism and time have made the monument dangerous, which is why it’s now forbidden.
You can visit and look from the outside, but there are security guards to prevent people from entering. Not that you can anyway, for it’s now packed with stones and has welding and metal plates to prevent entry.
This unique monument is permanently closed, and time will tell whether it’s demolished or returned to its former glory as a kind of museum and memorial to past events.
14. North Sentinel Island, India
Traveling somewhere new can be quite nerve-wracking, especially if you don’t understand the culture. But what if visiting somewhere new could also be dangerous? All travel to the North Sentinel Island in India is prohibited, and it’s not worth breaking the rules to find out why.
North Sentinel Island forms part of the archipelago in the Bay of Bengal and is one of the Andaman Islands. South Sentinel Island is also included.
A tribe of Sentinelese people lives on the island, which, for as long as anyone knows, has rejected contact with the outside world. But they don’t just say “no thank you” and send your boat away. They fire bows at you, with every chance you won’t get away.
The Sentinelese people are one of the few groups left in the world who have not been influenced or impacted by modern society.
Such is the danger associated with travel to the island that the Andaman and Nicobar Island Protection of Aboriginal Tries Act of 1956 prohibits anyone from getting within five nautical miles of the island. But the dangers are not only for violence from the tribes but their wellbeing. They are not immune to outside diseases, which means any outsiders can pose a significant risk. The Indian navy patrols the area to ensure no one flouts the rules.
But people do, anyway. Indian authorities do not prosecute the Sentinelese people for murder, but they also don’t want to give them any reason to carry it out, either. An American adventurer by the name of John Chau paid fishermen to tow his kayak to the island so that he could bring Christianity to the remote group.
He brought with him food and a football but was taken down with bows and arrows after speaking to the tribespeople. Seven fishermen were arrested for helping the 26-year-old missionary reach the island.
13. North Border Island, USA
Between Rikers Island, Manhattan, and Queens in the United States sits an island with a sad and spooky past. It’s not open to the public, but that doesn’t stop urban explorers and thrill-seekers from making their way there, anyway.
The North Border Island could have been an island paradise, but it’s not, and likely never will be. It was once where patients with diseases went to be quarantined, and where they spent their sad existence peering longingly out the windows toward the city they had to leave.
The island had a morgue for taking care of those who never recovered, as well as a lab for the analysis of phlegm. If those early days were not enough to convince you of this island’s sadness, then the considerable loss of life there will be. In 1904, over 1,000 people died when a charter boat caught fire off the island. Only the 9-11 attacks have eclipsed that number in recent years.
When medication advancements no longer saw the need for such extreme isolation protocols, the island was turned into housing for returning soldiers. It then became a treatment center for young drug addicts. The costs outweighed the benefits, and it is now an overgrown parkland controlled by the Parks Department.
Ideas have been thrown around to use it as a dump or jail. But for now, it sits empty and abandoned, with no concrete plans for its future.
12. Dulce Base, USA
If you’re an X-files fan and want to believe, then we’ve got a story and a half for you! Finding out all there is to know about Dulce Base in the United States will lead you down a rabbit warren from which you may not be able to escape.
It all started in 1979 when a businessman from Albuquerque, Paul Bennewitz, said he was intercepting electronic messages from UFOs outside of Albuquerque. He then said he had found a secret underground base near Dulce in New Mexico, which housed gray aliens and humans.
The story spread like wildfire, mainly through the UFO community, and UFOlogist John Lear said he had received validation about the existence of the base. Subsequently, a story ran in a tabloid under the headline “UFO base found in New Mexico,” which opened a whole new can of worms.
Apparently, the secret underground base, which is not accessible due to its mountain location in northern New Mexico, is used for human and alien experiments. The story also used quotes from UFOlogist Leonard Stringfield, who was blown away by the distortion of facts.
The rumors about an underground base may not be without truth, however. There were plenty of underground missile installations during the Cold War. So, a base might exist, but possibly not without aliens.
You might be convinced, now, that this supposed base is prohibited because it houses secrets of war, but then Philip Schneider comes to the party. Philip said he was a geological engineer that worked with the government on deep underground military bases. He said a technical problem meant he had to go in and fix something, only to come across gray aliens.
Philip said there was a battle, and he was one of only three men from a group of sixty to come out alive. He then spent the rest of his life sharing his story to get the truth out there. Philip also said that if he were to ever lose his life supposedly by his own hand, that it would most likely be murder. He was found with a catheter wrapped around his neck in 1996, so it’s up to you to form your own opinion.
11. Doomsday Vault in Norway
When you hear about a Doomsday vault hidden in some far away, secluded mountainside, you might think it houses some pretty cool stuff. There might be weapons, oil, fuel, maybe some food supplies, but what about seeds? Not as cool, but pretty important all the same.
There is a hidden vault in the mountainside between the North Pole and Norway, sitting peacefully above the Arctic Circle. Within it are millions upon millions of seeds from countries all around the world. In fact, this vault, known as the Global Seed Vault in Spitsbergen, has 930,000 seed types for various food crops.
While zombie apocalypses might be one reason why you would need nearly one million food types, the real reason is a little more realistic. They are there to protect against gene destruction and the loss of genetic material for various food crops. The vault is home to 13,000 years of history, and no one is allowed to visit it.
The steel door juts out from the mountainside in a neutral part of the world, far from political challenges and war. Its location was chosen for this very reason. All countries can send their seeds to this location without fear of them being destroyed by other countries or groups that don’t like your country or what it stands for. In essence, the vault is future-proofing the loss of vital crops, and we would say this is a pretty good reason why it’s forbidden for people to visit.
10. Snake Island in Brazil
Snakes on a plane are pretty scary, but imagine an entire island of them? That’s why Ilha da Queimada Grande in Brazil, aptly nicknamed Snake Island, is off-limits to everyone. It’s overrun with them.
Up to 4,000 snakes are thought to call this island home, 25 miles from Brazil’s coast. But they aren’t just any snakes. They are deadly golden lanceheads, a type of pit viper considered one of the most dangerous in the world. They grow to nearly two feet long, and their bite can see a human lose their life within an hour.
People used to avoid the island anyway, but when a fisherman was found lifeless and covered in blood in his boat, Brazil decided to act. They made it illegal for anyone to set foot on the island, and the navy visits to maintain the lighthouse and make sure explorers don’t venture too close.
Believe it or not, people did once live there. The lighthouse was manned by a family but were thought to have met a terrible end when the snakes slithered through their windows. You won’t have too much of a problem keeping adventure seekers away from this forbidden place, that’s for sure.
9. China’s Tomb of Qin Shi Huang
Both the Chinese government and science are holding people back from exploring and learning more about the tomb of Qin Shi Huang under a hill in central China.
Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor of China and died in 210 BC. He was responsible for the first unified nation of China and conquering six states to make it so.
He is buried inside a tomb under a hill, and no one knows what lies within it. The Chinese government doesn’t provide access, and archaeologists won’t excavate it out of respect and a lack of the right tools to do so.
What lies within the tomb could shed some light on what has been discovered around it. Farmers digging a well near Xi’an in 1974 found a life-sized Terracotta soldier, which turned out to be one of the thousands. Each clay soldier had clothing, hair, and facial features. Since excavation surrounding the tomb began 40 years ago, archaeologists have found around 2,000 soldiers. They believe there could be more than 8,000 in total.
8. Niihau Island, USA
It doesn’t get much more apparent that you can’t visit somewhere when its name is Forbidden Island. Niihau Island, 17 miles from Kauai, Hawaii, is a privately-owned island that has been called the Forbidden Island for as long as anyone can remember.
It’s a family-owned preservation project, and one with owners that work tirelessly to preserve the cultural history and natural environment of the island.
A wealthy Scottish widow purchased the island in 1864 from the Hawaiian Monarch, King Kamehameha IV, for ranching. Since then, it has been unchanged. The family has always worked hard to keep it as it has always been, allowing the Niihauans to work the land and live a traditional lifestyle. They work equally as hard to keep away outside threats, such as the Hawaiian Government.
Governors in the past have tried to evict the owners and turn the island into a state park, but the owners remain dedicated to maintaining Niihauan traditions for the good of the people and the natural environment.
7. Lascaux Cave, France
In 1940, a young boy called Marcel Ravidat from Montignac discovered a small cavity on Lascaux Hill in France. He returned with three of his friends – Jacques Marsal, Gerorges Agniel, and Simon Coencas, to explore the hill and find out what was hidden within.
They made the cavity in the hill larger and slipped into the cave with a lamp so that they could see. In the cave, they found prehistoric paintings that dated back to the Cro Magnon man. The caves were an instant attraction, and people came from all over to see the paintings.
However, they were then closed – and forbidden for people to enter – due to damage. Much of the damage was caused by the carbon dioxide in human breath, as well as algae and fungi. The fungi has spread throughout the cave, and efforts are ongoing to retain the paintings.
Even though the cave is forbidden, you can enter a replica of it within 200 yards of the actual cave.
6. Heard Island, Australia
While not strictly forbidden for people to visit, Heard Island is so challenging to access that there’s little desire for people to do so anyway.
Heard Island is a remote island around 2,500 miles southwest of Perth in the southern Indian Ocean. It’s around 230 square miles and consists of a glacier-covered active volcano known as Big Ben. Big Ben has erupted several times, and the island is one of the most remote in the world.
This windy island is perfect for seals, sea birds, and penguins, but not so great for people to inhabit. Because of its World Heritage listing, it’s protected and requires a permit from the Australian Antarctic Division to visit.
5. Poveglia, Italy
There are many beautiful places to visit in Italy if you’re looking for a European holiday, but Poveglia isn’t one of them. It’s that undesirable as a vacation destination that the Italian tourism board prohibits it. Approval through a lengthy application process is the only way you will ever set foot on this island. So, why is it forbidden?
Poveglia is a secluded island or landmass situated between Lido and Venice. When the bubonic plague had the whole of Europe in its grasp, the Romans moved the sick and ailing to the island to protect the healthy people on the main island. When they passed on, they were buried in mass graves. There are thought to be over 100,000 people cremated and buried on the island of Poveglia.
Even after the world began its post-plague recovery, Poveglia was thriving. A mental hospital was built there in the 1920s, and people with both physical and mental illnesses were sent there. It was also home to a doctor who would carry out awful experiments. Supposedly, he fell off the Bell Tower, or was pushed, and lost his life surrounded by an unusual mist.
The mist is thought to be one of many signs that Poveglia is haunted. Ghost Adventures visited the island to film a documentary and noted many strange and spooky abnormalities. Even Italians know better than to visit this island, so it’s best that tourists do as well.
4. Vatican Secret Archives
The Vatican Secret Archives are very misunderstood. We’ve been told to believe that the pope is hiding secret evidence of aliens, demons, and more, within the deep, dark depths of the catacombs. The reality is a little less interesting, but that doesn’t make what is in the archives any less protected.
What exists within the archives is, more or less, documents, letters, and communications between four centuries of popes, and other papal correspondence. Up until 1881, all records within the archives were kept a secret. It wasn’t that they were juicy gossip, but the 17th century was a time when exchanges between popes and kings were not something the general public needed to be privy to.
However, in 1881, that all changed. Pope Leo XIII decided that it would be okay for researchers to see some of those documents. Given that there are around 50 miles of shelving and records back to the 8th century, those researchers are unlikely to view them all.
What’s more, there are many rules surrounding entry into the Vatican Secret Archives. You must be a scholar, and no student, amateur historian, or journalist is given access. You must also have credentials that are valid for six months, and you must request specific documents – and up to three per day. If the materials you are looking for don’t happen to be within the section you asked for, then tough luck.
You’re walked into the archives with Swiss guards. While computers are allowed, you must type out everything you need then and there, as photos are not allowed. It’s a lot of hard work to see what lies in the famous archives, so very few have ever been given the privilege.
3. Mezhgorye, Russia
Around the world, there are islands and past tourist attractions that you can no longer visit, but what about entire towns? Mezhgorye is a closed town in Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan. It’s 120 miles southeast of the republic’s capital, Ufa, and near Mount Yamantau in the southern Ural Mountains.
The town, which used to be known as Ufa-105 and Beloretsk-16, was founded in 1979 and gained its status, and new name, as a town in 1995. No one knows for sure what goes on in this mysterious town. However, some sources say the city is a construction project that begun in the 70s when the United States directed their nuclear firepower at the Communist Party’s leadership complex.
The soviets sent thousands of workers to sites as remote as this one, and US satellites saw workers there right up until the late 1990s. Rumor has it that the town is, or was, a repository for food, Russian treasures, and as a nuclear bunker for Russian military officials.
But, given the town is closed and subordinated to the Russian federal government, we may never know for sure.
2. The Queen of England’s Bedroom
Buckingham Palace is a tourist attraction. It’s open to the public for tours, and anyone can get their fix of royalty. However, the Queen’s bedroom and private quarters have always been forbidden. So, the queen was not amused when she awoke in early July 1982, to find a man sitting on her bed. He was dressed in a dirty t-shirt, jeans, and was holding a broken ashtray, dripping with blood.
When the queen awoke, she asked the palace switchboard operator on the phone to call the police. The police never responded. She then pressed a button to summon the chambermaid, but no one responded to that call either. She also called the switchboard a second time but had no luck.
In the meantime, the Queen talked to the man, who was 31-year-old Michael Fagan. He had planned to commit suicide in her bedroom but decided not to go through with it. The Queen spoke with him about family matters, but it was clearly an uncomfortable situation.
Ten minutes after she awoke to the man in her room, a chambermaid entered, then ran and got the footman who seized the man. The police arrived 12 minutes after the Queen’s initial call.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher apologized for the security lapse, and security measures were strengthened. Fortunately, nothing as extreme as this has happened since.
1. Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, USA
The government has gotten reasonably good over the years at keeping important information to themselves. Often, it’s in the interest of public safety, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we’re all desperate to know. Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center is one of them.
No one knows exactly where the operations center is, other than that it’s around 48 miles from Washington, D.C in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It consists of a 600,000square-foot underground facility and a FEMA complex above ground.
The center was built during the Cold War in case of a national disaster. It was to be a relocation site for high-level officials and has been used by Dick Cheney on September 11, and Robert F. Kennedy’s top aide during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
But it’s not just any ordinary bunker. It has a police and fire department, sleeping quarters for 2,000 people, a security system, mainframe computers, and a TV and radio studio. The center is accessible via Virginia State Route 601, but you won’t be able to get close due to heavy security. This potential center of salvation is strictly for the elite in a crisis, and there’s no chance of seeking shelter there unless you’re a government official or right-hand man.
It’s natural for us to want to explore somewhere we’re not allowed to be, so which is the place you are most tempted by? Do you think you could ever go to one of these places? Also, check out our other cool stuff showing up on the screen now. See you next time.