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I Dont Like The Sound Of That Place / Real Life

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Ominous place names in real life.


  • Hell, California, Hell, Michigan, Hell, Norway, Helvete, Norway, and Hell, Grand Cayman. Also, not quite as scary, but still bad: Colon, Michigan.
    • In January 2014, the one in Michigan actually froze over.
    • Hell, Norway only counts for anglophones, though. Even better was the local railway goods depot, Hell Godsexpedition
    • Hells Canyon, carved by the waters of the Snake River, lying below the Seven Devils Mountains. Tell me that's not ominous.
    • In Lübeck, Germany, there is a street called Hölle ("hell") in the neighborhood of the cathedral. Nearby is another street called Fegefeuer ("purgatory") and another called Paradies.
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    • Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, NY.
    • There's a crater named Hell in the Moon. However, its name, funnily enough, comes from an astronomer and priest named Maximilian Hell.
    • Similarly, Colón, Cuba, (Colón being the Spanish name of the guy known as Columbus in English) which happens to be located in the province of Matanzas, "Slaughters". However, Morón, also in Cuba, does mean the same thing as in English.
    • Hel in Poland. While the name itself is unrelated to hell, the town is connected with neighbouring settlements by a bus line number 666. Some believe this is some sort of intentional pun by local transit authority (a bus to Hel(l) indeed). Another play on the town's name occurred during then-US President George W. Bush's visit, when protestors were displaying "Bush, go to Hel(l)!" banners. Otherwise, it is a popular holiday place among Poles and a former naval base.
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    • The IATA code for Helsinki airport is HEL. Flight AY 666 was a regular route flight by Finnair from Copenhagen to Helsinki until the airline changed it to AY 954 in October 2017; that month happened to have a Friday the which that flight did indeed take the 13th hour of the day...and Helsinki Airport had the plane taxi to Gate 26 (2*13).
    • The Netherlands has Helmond, which translates to "Hell Mouth".
  • Plenty of features along mountain and hiking trails that tend to have "Devil" or "Hell" in the name. "Hell's Half Acre" is a popular one that describes a number of natural landmarks.



French Indian Ocean possessions

  • Mayotte. It's a French rendering of the Arabic "Maut", which literally means..."Death".
    • There's a reason for that, though. For a small island, abundant coral reefs surround the island and for many years people had to risk their lives just to cross over there. The other islands of the archipelago it is part of, for some reason, aren't surrounded by those reefs.
    • It's also subverted in reality. Once you get past the coral reefs, the island is a really nice place with lots of inviting beaches and forests, making for a nice resort. It's also probably the most prosperous of the Comorian archipelago (which it is part of); other islands are too unstable for them to actually develop their potentials.
    • However, one can also interpret its literal name if one accounts that, every year since The '90s, thousands of people have tried to migrate from other islands to Mayotte in search of a better life. Some that have survived find that they have to live in secret for the rest of their life, while most others drowned before they could (the seas separating Mayotte from the others is often dubbed "The Largest Cemetery in the World"). So it's still "Death"...for the people of the other Comorian islands.


  • There was once a place in Morocco known as Tazmamart. If that sounds scary to you, it should: it was the world's worst political prison in a time when the Gulag still existed.


  • In a rare triple example, the Skeleton Coast AKA "the land God made in anger" AKA The Gates of Hell. All three names either directly or indirectly refer to the region's inhospitable environment.

South Africa

  • The name of Shaka Zulu's capital roughly translates to "Place of Slaughter".

North America


  • In Southern Alberta, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Which is an interesting case of a creepy name that's also Exactly What It Says on the Tin: the site got its name from a Blackfoot legend about a young Blackfoot who wanted to watch the buffalo jump off the cliff from below but was buried under the stampeding animals. His body was found with his head smashed in.
  • In Vancouver, BC, Blood Alley Square used to be the slaughterhouse district. It's now a rather quiet residential street and home to numerous small businesses.
  • More like "I'm Rather Suspicious About the Name of That Place", but in Newfoundland and Labrador there's Hate Bay, Grosswater Beach, Killbride, Placentia, Cow Head, and so many more that The Arrogant Worms wrote a song about it.
    Dave Broadfoot: Historians are still debating whether Newfoundland was discovered by Leif Ericson or Sigmund Freud.
    • And let us not forget the infamously-named town of Dildo.
  • Malignant Cove, Nova Scotia. Even though the name was changed to Milburn in 1915, the area is still known by its previous name.
  • Ontario:
    • McBurney Park in Kingston, Ontario is a clean and well-maintained city park. However, locals frequently refer to it as "Skeleton Park" because it was a cemetery until 1865. When a new cemetery was opened elsewhere, some of the bodies were not relocated, and workmen digging in the area have frequently unearthed old skeletons. The park is also said to be haunted.
    • Komoka, a town in northern Ontario, translates as "Quiet place of the dead".
      • ...i.e., a cemetery?
    • Though it's named after a gold mine named after the Sanskrit good luck symbol, most people probably think of Those Wacky Nazis when they first hear the name, Swastika, Ontario.
  • The province of Quebec has, or has had (and the overwhelming majority are "has"): three Devil's Bay (fr "Baie du Diable" or "Baie au Diable"), one Devil's Dam, six Devil's Cape, two Devil's Road, two Devil's Channel, ten Devil's Falls, two Devil's Height, one Devil's Creek, one Devil's Fountain (a natural gas source), five Devil's Island, twenty-five Devil's Lake, one Devil's Pond, three Devil's Mountain/Mt Devil, one Devil's Bridge, seven Devil's Rapids, one Devil's Ravine, four Devil's River, five Devil's Brook, three Devil's Hole (a rapid, a cavern and a ravine) and one Devil's valley. To these one must add two "Evil Bays" (La Malbaie and Mal-bay near Percé), one Lake Lucifer, one Lucifer's Rapid, six Hell Lake, two Hell Cape, one Hell river, two Hell Brooks, three Gates-of-Hell lakes, one Gate-of-Hell mountains, four Gates of Hell brooks (and in total 33 bridges, rapids, brooks, falls, notches and others that all found their way to having "Gates of Hell" in their name). Among others.
    • If those weren't scary enough, one town retains the name of what was, for a long time, its chief export, a material now banned for being a known carcinogen. Welcome to Asbestos!
    • A municipality named "Les Éboulements" translates to "The Landslides". It got its name from a landslide that was caused by an earthquake in 1663.
  • Pile-of-Bones, Saskatchewan. Renamed (to Regina) and made the capital of the province.
  • Uranium City, Saskatchewan.
  • Several prospectors have died in what is now Nahanni National Park. Some of them were found decapitated. This is why the park has features named Deadmen Valley, Headless Creek, Headless Range, and Funeral Range.

Costa Rica

  • In Costa Rica, several places qualify, some of them being the following:
    • El Cerro de la Muerte ("Mountain/Hill/Summit of Death") since, in the past, crossing the mountains from the Central Valley meant a three- or four-day journey, on foot or on horseback, and many ill-prepared travelers succumbed to the cold and rain. However, the peak is now easily accessible since the Route 2 runs close by.
    • Malpaís (Bad country), the town got its name from the fact that all the rivers and streams that flow into the beach in the area dry up in the summer season, making it a "bad land" to try to live in.
    • Several places have names like Río La Muerte (Death River), El Codo del Diablo (Devil's elbow), El infiernillo (Little Hell) El Calvario (The Calvary) and Cuesta de los Arrepentidos (Slope of the regretful).


  • There is, in fact, a 1,970-foot deep mine shaft in Guanajuato, Mexico called "Boca del Infierno", as well as a channel in Salinas, Puerto Rico that also shares the name.
  • Mexico City has an avenue called Barranca del Muerto (Dead Man's Gully), the place got that name because there was a gorge there and during The Mexican Revolution, the revolutionaries dropped corpses on the spot. Folklore has it that the dead roam the area. And for the record: Its subway station symbol shows vultures swooping down.
    • Less known is the street Niño Perdido (Lost Child) near the Eje Central Avenue, better watch your children there.
    • There's also the village of Coatepec, which literally means "snake hill" in the Aztec language.

United States of America

  • William Least Heat Moon, author of Blue Highways, made the following observation during his back-roads tour of rural America:
    "I drove over the Blue River, which was a brown creek. Red, Blue, Green, yes. But whoever heard of a Brown River? It seems that the farther west you went and the scarcer the water got, the more honest the names became: Stinking Water Branch, Dead Horse Fork, Cutthroat Gulch, Damnation Creek. I guess the early pioneers figured that settlers would be slower to build along a river called the Calamity."
  • Arizona:
    • Some feel that the very shape of Broomrape Lane actually manages to evoke certain vague and unpleasant connotations.
    • Look-wise, Holbrook's Bucket of Blood Street fortunately does not live up to its name.
    • The Heart Attack Grill, a restaurant in Chandler, Arizona.
    • Who can forget the town Wyatt Earp made famous, Tombstone? Its name is ironic, as the town was founded after prospectors were told they would only find their tombstones digging in the area. They found silver instead.
  • California:
    • Big Bear, California is home to a small street called Starvation Flats. No word on how exactly it got the name in the middle of a lush forest.
    • The exact story behind the name of Cannibal Road is supposedly currently unknown. While it could obviously be due to a simple case of missing records, neither does it seem to be known if anyone actually ever went there to ask for the story and returned.
    • Just because the place wasn't discussed in detail: Death Valley. The temperatures reach well over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit (with the record being 134, or 57 in Celsius), water is all but nonexistent except in the cacti which have prickly if not poisonous spines, there are venomous rattlesnakes that make their home there, and you can die from heat exhaustion or dehydration in minutes without the aforementioned nonexistent water. And to make the extremes worse when the sun finally goes down the temperatures take a drastic drop at that point it's safe to wander around due to the lower temps but the sudden temperature change can be shocking to visitors. Once in it's very easy to get lost.
      • If one is acclimated to the heat of the Mojave, the temperatures in Death Valley are not difficult at all to deal with, and even in the summer may be cooler than the periodic heat waves that hit Los Angeles. The danger is in getting around the park: It's dozens of miles between one point or another for gas, the nearest gas stations are in Trona, Baker, and Shoshone, there are sharp rocks in the backcountry that can pierce tires, rains during the wet season can wash out roads, there's almost no cell phone service, and roadside service is *very* expensive.
    • Gorge of Despair, California.
    • The "Boca del Infierno" name from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not at all implausible as a colonial name in California, which has no shortage of place names like "Monte Del Diablo" (Devil's Mountain, or Mt. Diablo as it's now called).
    • Los Angeles has Hazard Park, but this one is a subversion. It's named after a former Los Angeles mayor, Henry T. Hazard.
  • Chickamauga. Site of a bloody Civil War battle. The name is often said to translate as "River of Death", which seems rather prophetic.
  • South Murderkill, Delaware.
    • More fully, South Murderkill Hundred, which only seems to imply the number of people who were murdered/killed there.
  • Devil's Tower, the Badlands, and the Black Hills in the Northwest United States.
  • New Mexico has: Jornada del Muerto - translates to Single Day's Journey of the Dead Man or even Route of the Dead Man. A place so devoid of life and water that the U.S. government used it to test the world's first atomic bomb.
  • Florida:
    • One town in South Florida was named after a natural bay found by Spanish explorers... and due to the shape of said bay, it received the rather unflattering name of Boca Raton ("mouth of a rat"). Despite its unsavory name, it's a rather high-income town overall.
    • Fort Matanzas, St. Augustine, Florida. Matanzas, as mentioned previously, means slaughters. So you have Fort Slaughters and in St. Augustine you have Matanzas High School otherwise known as Slaughters High School. The reason the fort is named Fort Matanzas is that in 1756 when Florida was still under Spanish control a ship of Frenchmen due to a hurricane crashed where the fort now stands. They were hoping for Fort Caroline to the north of Jacksonville. Hernando Menendez de Aviles the governor of St. Augustine found the Frenchmen and ordered them all killed. Thus Fort Matanzas was born.
  • The Gettysburg battlefield features a spectacular jumble of huge ancient boulders. Locals had been calling it Devil's Den long before 1863 battle fought there.
  • The Salmon River in Idaho is nicknamed “The River of No Return”, and a National Forest it flows through has that name. Fortunately, the name refers to the current being so strong that before the machine age it was impossible for boats to travel upstream, so travelers had to return overland, rather than to people traveling down it and never returning.
  • Indiana
    • Cyclone, Indiana. No doubt the weather's lovely.
    • Hangman Crossing, Indiana. Six members of the Reno Gang, the criminals who committed the first peacetime train robbery in U.S. history, were lynched by a vigilante mob numbering over 100, known as the Scarlet Mask Society or the Jackson County Vigilance Committee, hence the name.
  • Accident, Maryland.
  • Massachusetts has a Misery Island, Doleful Pond, Purgatory Chasm State Park, and Satan's Kingdom Wildlife Management Area.
  • There's a lovely family beach on Lake Superior in Michigan. The name? Misery Bay.
  • Minnesota:
    • Northern Minnesota is home to Devil's Kettle - a feature in a waterfall which causes half of the river flowing over it to disappear. The eastern half of the river flows over an edge, through a two-step waterfall, and down into a pond fifty feet below. The western half of the flow, however, drops ten feet into a "pothole", then vanishes completely. Every attempt to trace the path of this half of the river has failed, it has however been found that the amount of water before and after the falls is the same, leading to the assumption that the flow re-joins and the pressure in the "kettle" simply destroys most objects tossed in.
    • Psycho Path does not mollify its name with its looks - it's a dark, rural path, literally surrounded by an overgrown forest.
  • Bad Route Road in Montana, just off Interstate 94.
  • George Washington visited a Lenape village known as "Murdering Town" in 1753. Unsurprisingly, he was almost shot there.
  • A rather famous landmark in Nebraska was once referred to by the natives as "Elk Penis". Oregon Trailers naturally decided to be a bit more discreet about it.
    • Apparently not the same explorers who named the Grand Tetons.
  • In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Mount Tripyramid has a secondary peak named "The Fool Killer".
  • Shades of Death Road in Northwestern New Jersey seems to have a lonely remote wood cabin as the only place of human residence nearby. It's supposedly available if you're interested. It's a fairly normal road for the first few miles, including several sod farms and houses. It's only when you get deeper into the woods, and out near Ghost Lake, that the spookiness takes over.
    • Also in New Jersey: Clinton Road. It and the nearby areas have been riddled with legends of ghosts, strange creatures, and gatherings of witches, Satanists, and the Ku Klux Klan. It's also rumored that professional killers affiliated with the Italian Mafia (specifically the Five Families and the New Jersey Mob) dump their bodies in the surrounding woods, with at least one recorded case occurring.
  • While the name of the small and remote Truth or Consequences in New Mexico might be interpreted in several ways (it actually came from a forgotten US TV show), the fact that for decades it had apparently been the chosen place of a particularly vicious serial killer certainly does not help the less grim interpretations. It's also the "hometown" of Mick Foley personality Cactus Jack.
  • New York:
    • Gun Hill Road in the Bronx. There's a hospital on that street. The name actually stems from the Revolutionary War when the Americans used it to position cannons on a hill to fire on the British.
    • There's also the Hell Gate at the beginning of the Long Island Sound. With the accompanying Hell Gate bridge, cheerfully painted red.
    • Fresh Kills, Staten Island, New York. Home to one of the world's largest (closed) garbage dumps, with mounds taller than the Statue of Liberty. The name is entirely incidental, though, as it's Dutch- kills means creek.
      • There's also the Kill van Kull between Staten Island and New Jersey.
  • Cape Fear, North Carolina. Also, Kill Devil Hills, Transylvania, Boiling Springs, Black Mountain, Seven Devils, and Batcave. Though the last one mostly sounds awesome.
  • Ohio
    • A humorous one, but there is an unincorporated area in southern Ohio that is called Knockemstiff.
    • Pee Pee Creek, in southern Ohio. Not too scary, unless you need to drink from it.
  • Oregon:
    • Boring, Oregon, which is sister cities with Dull, Scotland and Bland, New South Wales, Australia.
      • Aren't those more Names To Just Keep Driving Through?
    • Malheur (Bad Luck) Lake, and the surrounding Malheur Wildlife Refuge and Malheur County, in Oregon. Said refuge had the bad luck to be the place a couple of American terrorists occupied in 2016.
  • Deliberately invoked by the "One Way Inn" in Erie, Pennsylvania. There's a sign on the building near its name that says "No Way Out".
  • Another Erie, Pennsylvania example: Misery Bay off the shores of Presque Isle was named for the post-war hardships that went from 1812 to 1814.
  • Skullbone, Tennessee. Apparently so named because it was the meeting place of the local 19th-century Fight Club.
  • Texas:
    • Cut and Shoot, Texas. Cut and Shoot was named after a 1912 community confrontation that almost led to violence, the circumstances of which are debated. Whatever the circumstances were, a small boy at the scene reportedly declared "I'm going to cut around the corner and shoot through the bushes in a minute!" This statement was eventually adopted as the town's name.
    • There's a nice stretch of plain that stretches all the way up to North Dakota and stretches all the way down to Louisiana and Texas, now people live in those areas but the most common weather phenomena there are tornados, whirling vortexes of death that pick anything and everything up and then hurl them and woe to those who meet a flying piece of wood at around 300MPH. The name of this place? Tornado Alley.
    • The Texan Killing fields are an area bordering the Calder Oil Field, which is a 25-acre patch of land situated a mile from Interstate Highway 45. Since The '70s, the bodies of more than 30 women have been found within the place.
  • Sodom, Vermont. Better watch your behind.
  • Washington (THE STATE):
    • The Dark Divide, a wilderness area that is perhaps unsurprisingly associated with Bigfoot sightings.
    • Slaughter, Washington. Biggest motel? The "Slaughter House". Town renamed to Auburn, later on.
    • There's also Thrasher's Corner in Bothell.

South America

  • "L'Ile du Diable" (The Devil's Island) in French Guiana. It harboured a penal colony.
  • Bahía Inútil (Useless Bay), Isla Desolación (Desolation Island), Golfo de Penas (Gulf of Grief), Seno de la Última Esperanza (Last Hope Fjord), Faro del Fin del Mundo (End of the World's Lighthouse) and Puerto Hambre (Port Famine), are all real places of the Patagonia (both Argentinean and Chilean). And they have these names not out of fancy or tradition, they were named out of 100% pure refined Spaniard despair.
    • While Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire, literally) sounds like a suitable name like, for example, Hell, it actually was named out of some mysterious fires Magellan saw in his expedition, which were presumably made by the Selk'nam people. But hey, tell that to a bunch of half-crazy half-starved scurvy freezing Spaniards crossing one of the most hellish and labyrinthic straits in the world, at night, seeing strange lights on the shore while one of them starts to mumble that they defied God's will and reached the End Of The World, i.e., Hell, and those fires you see are the Army of Darkness kindling the fire to make some nice and crispy Conquistador BBQ...
      • Tierra del Fuego is still called El Fin del Mundo. Because it is.
    • Not that bad names are exclusive to Patagonia. Salar del Hombre Muerto (Dead Man Salt Desert), Catamarca, Argentina. Yeah, guess why they gave it that name.
    • Argentina is in love with this trope: let me introduce you to Salsipuedes ("Get out if you can"), Córdoba province. Doubtful sense of humour, at best.
      • There's also a Salsipuedes town in Chile. The name comes from the fact that, for the longest, one rickety bridge was the only exit from the place. They finally built a new bridge in 2016.
    • And of course, La Garganta del Diablo (the devil's throat). Although that one is literally pretty awesome.
    • Al ver verás ("At seeing, you will see"), Buenos Aires, is of a more subtle variety. The name is so ambiguous, it can be either a good or sinister omen, depending on your mood... and on what you actually find there. Eldritch Abominations? Neverending Happiness?. Go ahead, boy, and you will see... But there is some kind of warning there...? Hey, when just the sign of the place starts to play mind games with you, you should know this can't be any good.
    • La Matanza (The Slaughter). It also has a reputation for being the most dangerous Partido in Greater Buenos Aires.
  • Peor es Nada (Better than Nothing) Chile. The name comes from the disappointed reaction of the young heiress who inherited the land where the town would be built.
  • The Yungas Road in Bolivia was known as the Road of Death and the Terror Route due to the sheer amount of fatalities on the notoriously treacherous highway. In its heyday, the route had an average of 209 accidents and 96 deaths per year owing to a combination of sharp curves, steep inclines as well as rain and fog covering the place for most of the year. Nowadays, it's a popular cyclist road for thrill-seekers who wish to test their luck conquering the highway.



  • In Real Life, Asians consider that place names with "dark" overtones are bad luck, and avoid using them. No Asian would have named a town Tombstone or a location Death Valley.
    • On that note: Tombstone and Death Valley.
    • Though some characters do share the "dark" meaning and sometimes misunderstood by other Asians speaking different languages. One of the examples is Yam O in Hong Kong. While Yam does mean "dark" in Cantonese (and Mandarin, for that matter), it also means "North of the hill and south of water", which is the original meaning of the place name. It does not help that when Disney decided to build a Disneyland nearby, the government decided to change part of Yam O's name to Yan Ou (a.k.a. Sunny Bay). Disneyfication has been taken to a new level.
    • Also in Hong Kong, Tiu Keng Leng, meaning "Hanging (neck) Ridge", Devil's Peak (due to it historically being a pirate haven), and the relatively obscure "Dog fallen to death" hill.
    • The Suicide Forest in Japan certainly follows this trope.
    • Because Four Is Death, it's far from uncommon for Asians (especially older or more-traditional ones) to change the street number or telephone number of premises they occupy to exclude the number four, much as many Western buildings omit the 13th floor because 13 Is Unlucky.
  • The Dead Sea between Jordan and Israel.
  • The Hindu Kush Mountains means "Hindu Killer". At one time, slave caravans full of captive Hindus would traverse these mountains. A sizable portion of the captives didn't make it as was common in the trade.
  • The Taklamakan Desert. There's some dispute about the meaning of the name, but none of them are pleasant. Some say it means "Abandoned place" or "Place of ruins", while others say "Point of no return" or "Go in and you won't come out". Its nickname is "The Desert of Death". All of which are accurate.
  • Afghanistan is nicknamed "The Graveyard of Empires" due to how difficult it is for outside powers to conquer or maintain control over it.


  • The infamous Tuol Sleng former prison in Cambodia. The name translates out to "Strychnine Hill." Granted, this was originally from the trees that grew in the area that were poisonous because of naturally-occurring strychnine, but grimly apropos due to the atrocities committed within.
    • In a macabre case of In My Language, That Sounds Like..., it is sometimes transliterated into Chinese as 堆屍陵 (Mandarin pinyin: Duī shī líng), meaning "Mound of Corpses".


  • The city of Malang. One of the few theories of its etymology is from a clipping of a legendary temple's name, "Malangkuçeçwara", roughly translated to "God has destroyed the vanity". However, in modern Indonesian/Malay(sian) it means "Unfortunate/Ill-fated (city)".


  • Made famous through The Bible: Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.
    • Or, to use the Latinized translation "Calvary", which means the same thing.
      • The Kálvária square/park in Budapest is in a bit of a ghetto, fitting the theme nicely.
    • For that matter, Gehenna. It was essentially a plot of Unholy Ground that was deemed cursed for pagan Human Sacrifice rituals taking place there. It is also often used as a synonym for Hell. Indeed, its cognate in Arabic, Jahannam, is the Arabic word for Hell.
    • Most translations of the Bible use the term "the dark valley" or something to this effect in the well known and much quoted Psalm 23. The King James Bibles calls it "The Valley of Shadow and Death".
    • The road leading to Golgotha was no slouch either - Via Dolorosa, or "Road of Suffering".


  • Iwo Jima, or in modern Japanese, Iōto. Not only because of the WWII battle, but the name itself means "Sulfur Island", and the landscape indeed is somewhere between Fire and Brimstone Hell and Mordor. Heck, it even has its very own Mount Doom, functional volcano Suribachiyama, Mortar Mountain. (Named after the kitchen implement, not the piece of artillery, though.)
  • A subversion of the Asian rule above is Mount Osore in Japan, literally "Mount Fear". It lives up to its name: the place is far from anywhere, and it looks like Death World, volcanic activity and all.


  • The former Burma Railway was also known as the Death Railway due to all the lives that were lost during its construction, mostly civilians forcibly shipped by the Imperial Japanese Army from nearby countries as well as allied POWs.
    • Taken to the next level by the Hellfire Pass. It was a railway cutting of Burma Railway infamous for the extremely harsh conditions and severe loss of life during construction, even by the already deadly standards of the project. The name comes from the sight of emaciated prisoners labouring at night by torchlight was said to resemble a scene from Hell.


  • Wadi Ghul - "Demon Canyon". For extra creepiness, it contains a village also named Ghul, part of which is ancient and abandoned.


  • Sentosa Island was formerly known as "Pulau Blakang Mati", literally translated as "Island Behind Death". This has been interpreted as "Island Beyond Death" by some.
    • And then there's "Pulau Hantu", which is quite simply "Ghost Island".




  • Fucking, Austria.
    • It's pronounced "Fook-ing" and the entire town is eternally pissed because everybody keeps stealing their signs! They actually changed the town's name to "Fugging" in 2021.
    • It doesn't stop them from making ale ("helles" in German) called Fucking Hell.


  • The town Reet. In Dutch (the language spoken in the region of Reet), the town's name means arse (and more specifically, the smelly part of it).
  • There's a coffeehouse in Brussels named "À la Mort Subite" ("at the Sudden Death").

Czech Republic

  • One of the districts of Prague is called Hrdlořezy ("Cutthroats").
  • Other names in the Czech Republic include Jedovary ("Poisonmakers"), Měcholupy ("Pouch-stealers"), Všetaty ("All thieves"), Mrchojedy ("Carcass-eaters") ... There's also a number of places called Peklo ("Hell").


  • The town of Tapa. Its meaning is the imperative "Kill!". There is a crossroads nearby to village Loobu, which means the imperative "Quit!".


  • In Finland, Lapin Helvetti (Hell of Lapland) in the municipality of Kolari. The place itself is an extremely beautiful deep caldera lake but resembles the pits of Hell.
    • Kolari itself has meant originally "colliery", but in colloquial Finnish means today "car crash".
  • Town of Varkaus in Finland. The word means "theft". The name is not due to criminal activity, but that a stream "steals" the water off a nearby lake.
  • Municipality of Sodankylä in Finland. The name means "war village".
    • Nearby river Sotajoki. The name means "war river"
  • Town of Outokumpu in Finland. Literally "weird mound" - the hill glowed in the dark. It was found to be one of the richest copper ore deposits in Europe.
  • Municipality of Leppävirta in Finland. Literally "alder river", but leppä can also mean "blood" in Savonian dialect: therefore "blood river".
  • Any place with suffix -vaara in Finland. The name implies "steep hill" in Karelian dialect, but in standard Finnish, it denotes "danger".
  • Municipality of Kyyjärvi in Finland. Literally "viper lake".
    • Likewise, islands Hailuoto (Shark Isle) and Raippaluoto (Scourge Isle) at Baltic.
    • Islands of Kaparen (Privateer), Rövaren (Pirate) and Rövargrundet (Pirate Shoals) in Espoo archipelago, Finland. The islands look like perfect lurking places for seaborne outlaws.
    • Island of Ormholmen ("Snake Island") next to border of Helsinki. It is a popular camping island.
    • There is another Ormholmen in Siuntio Archipelago.
  • Village of Myrkky in the municipality of Karijoki in Finland. The village name is "Poison" in English, and the name of the municipality means "Craggy River". Ouch.


  • The Black Forest or Schwarzwald, Germany. It is actually a nice place and a popular tourist spot; it got the name because of its extremely dense tree canopy which blocked much of sunlight from reaching the ground.
  • In Saxony there are two valleys called Mordgrund ("murder bottom"), one in the outskirts of Dresden, the other near Gottleuba.
  • A tributary to the Rhine in Alsace (an area of France where German is spoken) is called the Moder. Which means "putrefaction", "decomposition" or "decay" in German.
  • Hamburg in the middle ages had a street called Brodlosentwiete ("way of the breadless") or Blodlose Twiete ("bloodless waynote "). Sounds harmless, doesn't it? But according to folk legend, the name was given to the street because it was the only street not to run with blood when pagan Slavs burned down the town at the time of Bishop St. Ansgar (801-865).
  • Teufelsberg (Devil's Hill) in Berlin. An artificial hill made of WW2 debris built upon the ruins of a Nazi military college. And a nice place for hiking, kite flying, and skiing.
    • An area of Lower Saxony near Bremen is called Teufelsmoor ("Devil's Moor"); in Hamburg you can take a ferry on the Elbe to a pleasant place called Teufelsbrück ("Devil's Bridge"); the monument to the battle of Hemmingstedt (1500), in which the peasants of Dithmarschen (an area on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein) defeated the army of King John I of Denmark, is located on a hill called Dusenddüwelswarf. The Low German name translates into High German as Tausendteufelswarft and into English as "Artificial Dwelling Hill of the Thousand Devils".
  • Most Evil Empires even in Real Life seem to prefer fancy and nice sounding names for slave camps and torture prisons. An exception would be the Nazis, who named their Annihilation Campsnote  exactly for what they were. The closest thing to Hell ever seen on Earth.
  • The district "Wixhausen" of the German city Darmstadt. It translates to Fap-town (while "Darmstadt" translates to intestinal city).


  • In Iceland several volcanic formations bear ominous names.
    • In 1875 an explosion crater by the volcanic site Askja formed. The crater soonish filled with water, hot and sulphurous. This lake is called Víti, meaning Hell.
    • Surtsey, the island that formed off of the south coast in the sixties, is named for the fire giant Surtr, from the Norse Mythology. Surtr will lead the fire giants against the Gods at Ragnarök and the fires that follow him will scorch the entire realm of men.



  • The town and river Ogre, to English-speakers. It is pronounced differently, though.

The Netherlands

  • The Hague (Netherlands) has a district called Monster.
    • Note, that in Dutch it just means "sample". The etymology of this specific district's name is unclear, but it seems to come from "monasterium", Latin for "monastery" or "cloister".


  • Norway has got a neighborhood of sorts named Slemdal, which means "Mean Valley", which causes children that don't live there to think that everyone living there is mean, really mean.


  • Wrocław, one of the biggest cities in Poland has two intersecting streets downtown: Więzienna ("prison street") and Nożownicza (that can mean both "knife-maker street" and "cutthroat street". Rzeźnicza ("butcher street") isn't far away. And then there is an entire district named Krzyki ("screams").
    • Not really threatening, but not exactly inviting either - city of Łódź has a district called Kały ("feces").
    • There is a district in Inowrocław called Mątwy ("cuttlefish")
    • One of the streets in Poznań is called Czarnucha, coming from an obsolete name for black caraway that was grown there, but the word changed its meaning since and it can be read as "N-word street" now.
    • Smaller towns and villages get even more ominous with names like Ciemna Wola ("dark will"), Czaszkowo ("skull town"), Potworów ("monster town"), Zgorzelec ("gangrene city"), Wola Radziecka ("Soviet's will"), Skopanie ("getting kicked all over"), Koziegłowy ("goat heads"), Kłopotów ("trouble town"), Uraz ("injury"), Kostomłoty ("bone hammers"), Wąglikowice ("anthrax town"), Czarna Wieś ("black village"), Klatka ("cage"), Jelitów ("intestine town"), Samoklęski ("self-inflicted failures"), Mrzygłód ("starving to death"), Gnaty Szczerbaki ("Xenarthran bones"), Gadowo ("reptile town"), Jęczydół ("moaning ditch"), Stary Łom ("old crowbar"), Gniew ("wrath"), Zdrada ("betrayal") or Złe Mięso ("bad meat").


  • The Boca do Inferno (Mouth of Hell) and Mata dos Medos (Forest of Fears). The first one is named after all the suicides that happened there (including the one by Aleister Crowley in 1931 that was either staged or a failed attempt), while the latter is nearly always filled with Ominous Fog.


  • Cherepovets, a Russian city. Its name means "(city) of the skulls". The historical reason for such a name choice is that the city was actually built on an old pagan shrine.
    • Incidentally, it's the birthplace of Vassiliy Vereshchagin, a famous Russian painter, who painted the previous picture in this article (called "The Apotheosis of War" [1]).
  • Kholat Syakhl means Mountain of the Dead. This is where nine experienced and professional hikers mysteriously died on a cold night in 1959. They had slashed their way out of the safety of their tent with a knife and fled, some only partially clothed and all without shoes, into the cold night. They were all found close to the camp but in different directions, with one of them having a blunt trauma comparable to the force of a car crash and another without tongue and eyes.note  In the Mansi language where the name comes from, though, it has no sinister connotations — it merely means the mountain is barren ("dead") and not suitable for hunting/foraging. Much more terrifying is the Mansi name of Mount Otorten, the place the unfortunate expedition was trying to get to. The translation? "Don't go There". note 
  • The Kolyma Highway, AKA the "Road of Bones". So called that because the corpses of the political prisoners sent here during Stalin's rule and that were forced to work to death on the construction are buried underneath the road.
  • Stalingrad: Even if you didn't know, what sort of things would you expect from a city Josef Stalin named after himself?
  • Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. In Russian it is the same word that is used for Ivan "the Terrible"'s nickname. Both the English and Russian languages have changed over time, so "Grozny" isn't usually translated as "Terrible" nowadays. It's more like "Menacing", or, more literally, "Thundering". Still fits here.
  • Karmanitsky Pereulok (lit: Pickpocket Lane) in Moscow. Grokholsky Pereulok, also in Moscow, fits unintentionally because it sounds similar to the Russian slang word for murder.
  • Vorkuta, Russia, is Nenets for "place is full of bears".
  • Karmanitsky Alley in Moscow is one letter away from meaning "Pickpockets' Alley".
  • Nazino Island AKA Death Island/Cannibal Island. The grim moniker comes from the fact it was the place where more than 6000 "undesirables" (read: political prisoners, petty criminals, impoverished peasants, and just about anybody who did not fit into the idealized communist class structure) were deported during the Stalin years to a small, isolated island in Western Siberia and forced to build a settlement. With only flour for food, and little in the way of tools, clothing, or shelter, society quickly collapsed, and thanks to a combination of widespread disease, famine, abuse of power, violence, and cannibalism, more than 4,000 of the deportees died or disappeared.


  • A result of a misunderstanding rather than an actual name: when making a military map in Romania, one of the locals was asked by the non-Romanian-speaking mapmakers to identify the names of every single geographic landmark in the region so he can put the names on the map. The local identified several slopes (all called Poala X - or Slope X) but failed to remember one and dropped a "pula calului" (horse cock). The expression made it on the map.


  • The scenic Costa da Morte (Coast of Death) and Finisterre (Land's End, or End of the Earth) in the northwestern region of Galicia. Some locations with picturesque names include the mountain pass of Despeñaperros (Throw the Dog Down the Cliff).


  • There are Swedish cities and towns with a location at least unofficially known as Galgbacken (Gibbet Slope) or Galgberget (Gibbet Hill). Public executions ended in the mid 19th century, but the names live on.
    • Uppsala, Sweden, has the officially named Rackarberget (Torturer's Hill or Hangman's Hill).
    • Such places also exist in other countries, for instance, there are many German towns with a Galgenberg (Gallow's Hill).
    • There's also Pungpinan (literally "Scrotum Pain") in southern Stockholm. (The name actually comes from the name of an old inn, known for its high prices that punished traveller's purses... Over the years, though, the word "pung" has come to mean a different kind of pouch.)


  • Along the same lines is a mountain in the Swiss Bernese Oberland known as the Eiger - the Ogre. Its North Wall is renowned for its deadliness. Despite this, its name meaning is meant to be used in context with its neighbours. The Mönch (Monk) next to it is defending the Jungfrau (Maiden) on the right from the Eiger (Ogre).

United Kingdom

  • The Black Country, UK, which lived up to its name during the Industrial Revolution.
  • Fleshmarket Close in Edinburgh. Bonus points in that it is a) a very thin, dirty, and creepy alleyway, b) the site of several real-life muggings, rapes, and even a murder, and c) not somewhere you want to have to walk down at night.
  • Apparently around 1230 CE there was an English street named Gropecuntelane. Some sort of red-light district perhaps?
  • Lichfield, UK. Translated to ME: Corpse field
    • Or left as is to ME: Lich field.
  • London (England, not Ontario) has a few of these. Shoot Up Hill (in Kilburn, which itself almost qualifies) and Reaper's Close (in Camden).
    • Also Crouch End, a name which Stephen King found so creepy that he wrote a Lovecraftian short story with that title.
  • There is a hamlet in England called Nasty.
  • The village of Saighton (pronounced Satan) in Chester, England. Who would call a village that? Is the local church called the Church of Saighton? Does it contain Lucifer Road, Beelzebub Square? Mephistopheles Avenue? Might as well!
  • A hamlet in Dorset has a name meaning "farmstead on the stream used as an open sewer" that dates back at least a thousand years. Its name in modern English? Shitterton.
  • There are two villages in England named Upper and Lower Slaughter. They're actually ridiculously picturesque and quaint little places.
  • There is a housing development called "Tadpole Garden" in Swindon. It's less overtly threatening than most of the places on this list, but you might have second thoughts about it if you're concerned about building on flood plains.
  • The City of London has Hanging Sword Alley, Bulls Head Passage, Gutter Lane, Goring Street, Skewered Grill, Houndsditch, Savage Gardens and Limeburner Lane. There is also "The Hung, Drawn & Quartered" pub. London has, among many others, Bleeding Heart Yard and Hanger Lane.
  • Todmorden. As one Cracked commenter put it:
    So there's a town in Yorkshire which, in German, would be called "Deathmurdering"? And people wonder about creepy shit happening there?
    • To be honest, the likely meaning is rather less impressive: tod (fox) + mor (moor) + den (dene = valley). So, a valley running through a fox-riddled moor. Only scary if you're a chicken farmer.
  • There's a valley in Dorset, England named "Slap Bottom" - probably a place to avoid if you've misbehaved!


  • After the battle of Minden in 1759, the village of Tonhausen ("clay-housing"), which is situated on the battlefield, was slightly renamed to Totenhausen ("housing of the dead").


  • From Australia:
    • Mount Hopeless, South Australia. Yeah.
      • Oh, it gets better. There's actually four Mount Hopelesses in Australia; the aforementioned one, one in Victoria, one in Queensland and one in New South Wales. Whether it makes it less creepy (due to the obvious lack of creativity in namingnote ) or not, is probably up to the individual
    • Mount Buggery, Victoria. Supposedly named because the survey team thought they had crossed the last of the peaks in a range, only to discover one final mountain that was even more treacherous than the rest, leading one surveyor to remark (with typical Australian understatement) "Well, that's going to be a bugger to climb".
    • Mount Disappointment, also Victoria.
    • Lake Disappointment, Western Australia. Named by the explorer Frank Hann who expected a freshwater lake but found salt. The local Indigenous believe that cannibalistic spirits live under the lake.
    • Slaughter Falls in Brisbane, Australia. Named after a person, actually.
    • Dismal Swamp.
    • Cape Tribulation
    • On the southeast coast, Mount Agony.
    • Cannibal Creek in Victoria. The town later changed its name to Garfield but the actual creek still bears that name.
    • The Shipwreck Coast, Victoria: home to 638 shipwrecks. And the setting for Round the Twist. (No, the name was a joke invented for the show.)
    • The Acheron River, Victoria. Named after one of the rivers from the Greek Underworld.
  • Ironbottom Sound by Guadalcanal. Because of all the iron ships that got sent to the bottom in some of the nastiest naval battles ever fought. The Japanese name for Guadalcanal itself was "Starvation Island".


  • Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties, and Shrieking Sixties. Not I Love the Exties, but the latitudes where the westerlies are the prevailing winds. Originally named after the latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere (where there are few landmasses to slow them down), but they do exist in the North as well. While they are the fastest route for circumnavigating the globe, they are also dangerous - the wind speeds can easily exceed 40 knots on fair weather and the likelihood to crashing into an iceberg increases exponentially the farther south you sail.
    • Back in the Age Of Sail, sailors who rounded the Horn had a saying: "Below 40° S, there is no Law. Below 50° S, there is no God." To this day, even the most well-seasoned mariners regard the Southern Ocean with a certain awe, for very good reasons that would curl your hair.
    • One of the most infamous spots in the Southern oceans, a bit before the aforementioned Furious Fifties, is known as Golfo de Penas, which translates to "Gulf of Sorrows". It's the only way through if you wish to continue further up or down the continent, and it's known for giving sailors hell, and for grounding even huge shipping vessels for weeks or months until conditions actually improve.
  • The two moons of Mars are named Phobos and Deimos, a.k.a. Fear and Panic. To be fair, those were the sons of Ares, the Greek equivalent of Mars, the Roman god of war.
    • Inverted with the planet Venus, however. Despite being named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, the planet is actually the most hostile in our own Solar System, and the closest place we've ever found to Hell! Maybe not so inappropriate?
  • In a bit of astronomer wit, the dwarf planet Eris and its moon Dysnomia, Goddesses of strife and discord, and lawlessness respectively. Bonus points since Eris was at first nicknamed Xena, played by Lucy Lawless.
  • The asterism False Cross. While the constellation Crux has been an important navigation constellation through the ages at the Southern Hemisphere, the asterism False Cross (whose stars belong to the constellations Vela and Carina) can err the navigator to take readings from wrong stars, causing hundreds of miles of navigation errors.
  • Mounts Erebus and Terror in Antarctica. Not sure why Erebus is a bad name? It's the ancient Greek god of darkness and shadows, the son of Chaos. Actually named after the explorer's ships, not any particularly dark or terrifying qualities the mountains may or may not have had.
    • The name might be somewhat appropriate. The worst peacetime disaster in New Zealand's history occurred when Air New Zealand Flight 901 plowed into Mount Erebus under whiteout conditions, killing all 257 people on board.
    • That said, both are not places you want to stay for long. Erebus likes to throw out rocks at a nice fraction of the speed of sound.
      • Erebus is one of the only places in the world you can find a real-life permanent lake of lava. The glow is visible from space.
    • There's also Cape Disappointment on South Georgia. Captain Cook thought he had discovered Antarctica... until the ship rounded the cape.
    • There's also a Cape Disappointment in Washington state, so named because fur trader John Meares just missed discovering the Columbia River because he turned around just north of the Cape.
  • The Ring of Fire: a series of tectonic fault lines circling the Pacific Ocean, well known for being the most seismically active area of Earth. A staggering 90 percent of all earthquakes occur there, and it is home to about two-thirds of Earth's active volcanoes. Japan, Indonesia, Alaska, Chile, California, and the Philippines, all famously earthquake- and/or volcano-prone areas, are located on the Ring of Fire.
  • Pluto's geographical features have such lovely (unofficial) names as Pandemonium Dorsa and Cthulhu Macula. Its sole moon / binary dwarf planet companion Charon doesn't get left out of the fun with places like Mordor Macula, Nostromo Chasma, and Vader Crater. Astronomers are a nerdy bunch.