Morbid tourism – death and tragedy continues to attract tourists

Jul 27, 2016

Morbid tourism - death and tragedy continues to attract tourists

Morbid Tourism is not a new phenomenon and people increasingly continue to visit places with some mysteries behind them or places where people have died. But what is Morbid tourism? We sort this all out!

More than twenty years ago, Thomas Blom, a Swedish senior lecture in human geography at Karlstad University, coined the term morbid tourism.
In the early nineties, he went to Washington and while there, he visited Arlington National Cemetery.
– What I saw was a form of tourism migration on the cemetery. Also there was a small center where you could buy souvenirs and newly printed newspapers about John F. Kennedy from the day he died.
He noticed that places with violent history and sudden death seemed to attract tourists and decided to find out more about this. Pretty soon he discovered that people are drawn to places where morbid events have occurred.
– People visit places, either where there has been a murder or places where something mystical have occurred.
This creates a tourist industry around the morbid places and generally these places are all around us. It is not a new phenomenon, but how has it evolved over the years?

The morbid is also interesting.

The morbid is also interesting.

According to Thomas Blom it is thanks to the medias development that morbid tourism keeps increasing. Because the information reaches out through social media in just seconds you no longer have to wait for the next days newspaper to read about it.
And if truth be told, most of us – in one way or another, are interested in morbid tourism, whether we like to admit it or not.
– There is something in all of us that makes us attracted to the morbid places and gory details attract many visitors.

Four morbid places to visit around the world:

California, USA – Michael Jackson’s death site

100 North Carol Wood Drive, Los Angeles, California. The address where the King of Pop passed away. Immediately after his death, people began to bring flowers, teddy bears, letters and they gathered outside the gates. Even if the flowers are no longer there, it is still a huge tourist attraction and a lot of tours in Los Angeles will take you to see the house (even though the gates hide the larger parts of it).


Czech Republic – Sedlec Ossuary

About an hour’s drive outside of Prague there is a church that, from the outside looks like any church. When you come in you will see the result of what a half-blind monk created in the 1500s. From floor to ceiling, the skeletal remains in various formations. A chandelier made out of human bones and a military shield containing the same. Approximately the bones of 40,000 people is portrayed in this church that takes morbid to a new level.

Morbid tourism - death and tragedy continues to attract tourists

Peru – The mummies

There are several locations around Peru where you can see real mummies. Some of the museums are small and privately owned but they still allow tourists to visit. Be prepared to see grotesque facial expressions of mummies in strange and awkward positions. In some cases, the heads are also elongated due to skull-extension using planks.

Morbid tourism - death and tragedy continues to attract tourists

South Africa – Robben Island

Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner for 19 years is part of the morbid tourism. Today it is no longer a prison, but a huge tourist attraction where the guides themselves are previous prisoners who had been on the island. Book tickets and take a boat trip to the island and learn more about how Nelson Mandela spent his jail time on Robben Island.

Morbid tourism - death and tragedy continues to attract tourists

FACT: What is morbid tourism?
A phenomenon where tourists visit places where others have lost their lives. It can gladly contain violent and sudden deaths.
It can also be beneficial and highlight individuals and it should preferably be a little bit scary, but in a controlled manner.
However it does not have to be 100 percent truth, fiction and film locations also work.

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