Descend Into the World’s 10 Most Devilish Destinations

La Carmina
·7 min read
Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast
Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

Satan may be the ruler of the fiery underworld, but he also has plenty of hell-holes on Earth. In countries as diverse as Spain and South Africa, you can visit museums, churches, and even karaoke parlors associated with the Prince of Darkness. Contrary to what pearl-clutchers may have you believe, no devil-worship occurs at any of these spots. Rather, outsiders gather to honor Satan as a symbol of the eternal rebel who questions authority and opposes injustice.

At Salem’s The Satanic Temple, visitors can sit on a bronze Baphomet and learn about the organization’s social activism, such as lawsuits to ensure plurality and bodily autonomy. A Lithuanian museum reveals the countless ways artists have depicted Lucifer through the ages, including as a beautiful fallen angel. Other destinations are linked to local folklore, like a Thai Buddhist park that shows the gruesome torments awaiting those with negative karma.

For a significant number of people around the world, the horned one is not a symbol of evil, but a courageous figure of resistance. Unleash the beast at ten of the world’s most satanic places—and perhaps you too may be inspired to create art and stand up for social justice.

Salem, MA: The Satanic Temple

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Salem, MA: The Satanic Temple</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">La Carmina</div>

Salem, MA: The Satanic Temple

La Carmina

The Satanic Temple (TST) is fittingly housed inside a former Victorian funeral parlor, which its members painted black. Anyone is welcome to come inside to sit on a towering statue of Baphomet, and admire occult art exhibits (think full-canvas paintings made from human blood). The Gothic manor doubles as the headquarters for TST’s activism. As a nontheistic religion, The Satanic Temple advocates for equal opportunity in free speech forums, and against state restrictions that hinder abortions. In the library, browse co-founder Lucien Greaves’ extensive collection of Satanic Panic literature, and learn how their Grey Faction campaign fights to end false accusations of ritual abuse.

Osaka, Japan: Territory Occult Store

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Osaka, Japan: Territory Occult Store</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">La Carmina</div>

Osaka, Japan: Territory Occult Store

La Carmina

A longhaired Japanese “wizard” named Taiki lords over Territory, a satanic shop located in an Osaka basement. Territory’s door is covered in ominous signs cautioning visitors to beware, along with the Latin words “Non Serviam” (“I will not serve”) that were attributed to Lucifer. Dare to creep in, and you’ll encounter a candlelit altar for Baphomet, the goat-headed symbol of Satanism. Taiki’s store is packed from floor-to-ceiling with morbid oddities—human skulls, voodoo masks, and other exquisite talismans—that he sourced from around the world. Hunt for rare books about Japanese demons, and take home a witch effigy that seems to be possessed by a malevolent spirit.

Segovia, Spain: El Diablillo del Acueducto

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Segovia, Spain: El Diablillo del Acueducto</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Alamy</div>

Segovia, Spain: El Diablillo del Acueducto

Alamy

Legend has it that a little girl tricked the demon Mephistopheles into building the Aqueduct of Segovia. Next to the Roman-era UNESCO site, you may be surprised to see a bronze devil perched on a ledge. Rather than appearing fearsome, the paunchy Mephisto is naked, smiling, and snapping a selfie with a smartphone in his hand. When the city unveiled its plans for the sculpture, a group of aghast Catholics tried to prevent its erection. But this time around, the Dark Lord prevailed—and the friendly “Devil of Segovia” has become a favorite selfie spot for travelers.

Bang Saen, Thailand: Wat Saen Suk

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Bang Saen, Thailand: Wat Saen Suk</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Chris Hellier / Alamy</div>

Bang Saen, Thailand: Wat Saen Suk

Chris Hellier / Alamy

Get scared straight at a Thai open-air park, which graphically depicts what it’s like to go to Buddhist Hell. Located a 1.5-hour drive southeast from Bangkok, Wat Saen Suk is filled with sculptures of demons that rule the lowest realms of samsara, or worldly existence. Cower under skeletal “hungry ghosts” with long tongues, which represent the delusion of craving. Then, witness how demons punish wicked individuals until their negative karma is spent. From having birds peck out their guts, to replacing a human’s head with that of a pig, the tortures are remarkably creative—and make Christian hell look like a walk in the park.

Saint Mary, Jersey (Channel Islands): Devil’s Hole

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Saint Mary, Jersey (Channel Islands): Devil’s Hole</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Imagebroker / Alamy</div>

Saint Mary, Jersey (Channel Islands): Devil’s Hole

Imagebroker / Alamy

Satan seems to have dug a shortcut to the Inferno on the British Channel Island of Jersey. Visitors can stroll down to Devil’s Hole, an otherworldly natural crater that plunges 200 feet through the solid cliff. In 1851, a French ship crashed into the rocks and its sculpted figurehead went straight into the crater. A local transformed the ship’s wooden lady into a horned deity, which gave Devil’s Hole its name. Since then, satanic sculptures have mysteriously appeared on the winding path to the hell-hole. Nowadays, you’ll find a scowling bronze statue of Satan with hairy hooved legs, standing in a murky pool by the viewing platform.

Kaunas, Lithuania: Žmuidzinavičius Museum

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Kaunas, Lithuania: Žmuidzinavičius Museum</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Audrius Merfeldas / Alamy</div>

Kaunas, Lithuania: Žmuidzinavičius Museum

Audrius Merfeldas / Alamy

Lithuania has the only public museum in the world dedicated to the devil. At Žmuidzinavičius, be bewitched by over 3000 paintings and sculptures of horned creatures from around the world, including works from Japan and Cuba. The exhibits reveal that Satan is a shape-shifter: he’s a red-faced and fanged beast in Medieval art, and an attractive angel in engravings from Milton’s Paradise Lost. Some of the works are on the whimsical side, like a tiny golden devil that can only be seen through a magnifying glass. Others make political statements, such as demon caricatures of Hitler and Stalin dancing on human bones.

Austin, TX: The Highball Karaoke

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Austin, TX: The Highball Karaoke</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">La Carmina</div>

Austin, TX: The Highball Karaoke

La Carmina

In Austin, death metal fans can rage against the karaoke machine in a satanic-themed room. The Highball offers seven private singing rooms with eccentric decor, but the largest and most popular one is “The Inferno.” Step into what looks like a red-and-black Luciferian church, complete with an enormous pentagram scrawled on the floor. Sit on wood pews marked with a Leviathan Cross, and sing along to lyrics on a television framed by a caduceus (two snakes coiled around a rod). Choose a song like Venom’s “In League with Satan,” and let out your best heavy metal growl.

Kobe, Japan: Gothic & Fetish Bar Idea

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Kobe, Japan: Gothic & Fetish Bar Idea</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">La Carmina</div>

Kobe, Japan: Gothic & Fetish Bar Idea

La Carmina

Kobe has a little-known hostess bar filled with satanic symbology. Come in, and you’ll be warmly greeted by Japanese women with tattoos and piercings. Bar Idea makes you feel as if you’re in a haunted dungeon: the shelves hold skulls and taxidermy, a pet python sits on the corner, and a disjointed baby doll lies on top of a pentagram. Every evening, owner Mistress Midori performs shibari, the art of Japanese rope-tying, on her staff. Watch her suspend the women in mid-air and drip hot wax from red candles onto their bodies. If a guest is naughty, Midori may remove the glass that covers the bar—which is impaled with 8,000 spiked nails—and make him lie down on it.

Vancouver, WA: Devil-ish Little Things Museum

Drive 11 miles north from Portland, Oregon, and you’ll arrive at an early 20th century church with peaked roofs and arched windows. The interior, however, is very much the domain of the devil: the walls are blood red, and there are horned figures everywhere in sight. The Devil-ish Little Things Museum is the passion project of a German woman who grew up enthralled by tales of the cloven-footed Krampus. She started collecting objects related to the devil and now has thousands of treasures, from a grinning Satan decanter marked “Fire Water” to antique lamps painted with satyrs. Make an appointment to see her private home museum, and discover Europe’s obsession with Krampus, Mephistopheles, and other impish creatures.

Cape Town, South Africa: Riaan Swiegelaar Satanic Church

In 2020, Cape Town opened the country’s first satanic church. Once a Christian pastor, co-founder Riaan Swiegelaar now performs rituals in a room decorated with Ouija boards and a Sigil of Baphomet flag. His congregants don’t believe in an actual horned deity; rather, Satan stands for personal freedom and the aim of developing one’s truest self. The community performs rituals like “reverse baptisms,” and plans to translate Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible into Afrikaans. They also push back against baseless Satanic Panic allegations, which continue to be made by conservative Christian groups in South Africa.

La Carmina is an award-winning author and TV host. She runs the leading alternative travel blog, and appears on TV shows worldwide including “Bizarre Foods,” “The Purge” and “Oddities.”

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