While many religious sites are viewed as beautiful, blessed places of worship, some of them are hiding a very dark history underneath their bejeweled exterior. Some temples have origin stories that include killing and/or threats of mythical proportions, and others are even said to be a path to Hell instead of Heaven. Here are three religious temples that just might give you more nightmares than miracles.
Tanah Lot Temple, Bali
Built in the 16th century, the Tanah Lot temple in Bali is one of seven ocean temples built for the purpose of honoring the "spirits of the sea." It is a beautiful piece of architecture, looking much like a ship made of stone, but its origin story is a rather dark one. According to legend, Niratha, a Brahmin priest, created the temple. Knowing it needed to be protected from evil, he took off the sashes he was wearing and threw them into the water, where they turned into snakes. To this day, scores of sea snakes surround Tanah Lot, protecting it from dark energies - and from people who just hate snakes. To make this temple even more secure, it is only accessible when the tide is low and a land bridge is revealed. Unfortunately, you can't go inside unless you follow the Hindu religion, but either way you can observe the beautiful temple and its snake guardians from a short distance.
Cappella Sansevero, Italy
Cappella Sansevereo is technically a "chapel" instead of a "temple," but it deserves to be included on this list thanks to its pure creepiness. Capella Sansevero in Naples, Italy began as a kind of temple where the Sansevero family could worship God privately, before it ultimately became their burial chapel. But this is not the dark part. This chapel is home to two "anatomical machines": a male and a pregnant female skeleton with a perfectly preserved circulatory system still present in their bodies (there also used to be a fetus to go with them, but it has since vanished). These anatomical machines were made by an anatomist named Giuseppe Salerno and collected by another, much spookier man named Raimondo di Sangro, who was the head of the Masonic lodge in Naples and believed to be some sort of dark wizard. The locals believed that he could make blood out of nothing at all, and that he frequently murdered people to experiment on them. While he didn't make "Adam and Eve," there is a rumor that they are actually two of his servants that he killed so that Salerno could make his sculptures, which now lurk beneath the main part of the chapel.
Mount Osore, Japan
Mount Osore is widely recognized as one of Japan's holiest places, but not because it puts people in closer connection with Buddha. The temple is located on a volcanic plane, complete with holes in the ground that spit steam, volcanic gases and water, and the acrid smell of sulfur hangs heavy in the air. This place so perfectly fits with the description of Hell that it has become known as a real, bona fide entrance to the underworld. It even contains a river that is said to separate the living from the dead - and the good afterlife from the bad one - with a shore lined with pebbles that are meant to guide and protect unborn babies and children who have died as they traverse this mythical body of water to a better place beyond. There are hundreds of toys and small statues left on the beach as gifts from parents to their children who have passed, and pairs of shoes that are meant to help protect Jizo, the guardian of travelers, as he helps the children along. Legend says that the bridge at Mount Osore is "everyone's destiny," as it takes you into the afterlife, but people who have done evil things or lived a bad life on Earth will not be able to see it, and are thusly doomed to end up in Hell instead.