This vast world of ours is full of all kinds of fun and interesting places to explore. It’s also full of ones that many of us would prefer to stay away from. From the haunted to the incomprehensible, there are all kinds of creepy and scary places in this world that would be hard for anyone to ever forget once they leave—or should I say, if they leave! Here are 42 spooky stories about some of the scariest, creepiest, and freakiest places that people have ever been to.
1. Going Mental
The creepiest place I’ve ever been in was an abandoned mental institution in New Jersey. My friend brought us there one night, and we spent some time wandering the grounds and even going into a few buildings, including the morgue. The offices still had old patient files on the shelves, and the pediatric area still had kids’ artwork. It had been abandoned for about eight years at that point. It was really creepy and also really sad to see.
2. More Like a Restless Stop
I went to a rest stop at 1 in the morning just outside of Springfield, Illinois a few years back. I went to use the restroom and there was blood everywhere. It looked like something had just gotten slaughtered. I have never high tailed it out of somewhere as quickly as that in my life.
3. An Unamusing Amusement Park
I once explored the abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans. It was closed during Hurricane Katrina and never reopened again. While my friends and I were there, we found everything essentially as it had been left four years prior: computers in the admin office, tickets in admission booth, even jars of pickles in the concession stands. Walking through it and seeing no other people around was a pretty spooky experience.
4. Magic Bus
The creepiest place I’ve ever been in was a Greyhound bus station late at night when I was an 18-year-old girl traveling alone. There was no one around me except a few odd-looking older men off in the distance.
5. A Haunting We Will Go
One year, I worked in a haunted house which was inside of a building that used to be a funeral home. The old morgue was downstairs and still had the drawers in it. My job was to lay in the drawer and pop out whenever people walked by. Laying in a cramped drawer, in the dark, on a cold metal surface that dead people had once been on, with flashes of light and screaming children constantly off in the distance.
I’d say that that was definitely the creepiest place I’ve ever been in. But, I scared so many people that night, including a middle school aged kid who straight up pooped his pants and a drunk college girl who peed. So it was kind of worth it!
6. What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas
Look up the town of Las Vegas, New Mexico if you have the chance. It is nothing at all like the slightly more famous Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s a weird middle of nowhere town full of really weird people. When I was there, I was constantly getting this really strong vibe that this was somewhere where you could get murdered and no one would ever find out.
7. Bragging Rights Make Everything Worth It
The open roads of North Texas in the middle of the night top my list. I was driving along and realized that I really needed gas. Relief washed over me as I noticed an exit to a town approaching. So I get there, exit the highway, and drive a couple of blocks into town. I then realize that I’m in a ghost town—as in, a horror movie quality ghost town.
My friend and I lost our minds and we didn’t know what to do. We slowly made our way through the next few streets until we were able to get back on the highway. Now we get to tell everyone that we survived a real live ghost town!
8. This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Any of Us
The creepiest place on Earth is a small ghost town off of the I-40 highway in the middle of New Mexico. It’s like a Nuke Town in Call of Duty, except more run down. It looks like a bomb hit the entire town sometime in the 1960s, and life just abruptly stopped. It’s full of storefronts from the 60s, cars with grass growing around them, abandoned fire stations, you name it. The weirdest part is that some people still live there—but you don’t see a soul when driving around.
9. Field of Nightmares
Back in my Vietnam days, my unit got hit hard in the jungle one time. We decided to split up. One group went to help find the Vietcong people who had attacked us, while me and a few of the others stayed behind to evacuate the wounded. The four able-bodied of us were supposed to hop on board the chopper with the injured and leave, but when we tried to load everyone on board, we realized that we couldn’t possibly fit all four of us on or the chopper would be grossly overweight and could crash.
It was getting late now and the sun was pretty low. The pilot said he would drop the wounded guys off and then come back for us. So, we divvy up the ammo from the wounded and go squat in an open field. 20 minutes go by, then an hour, then two hours. It is now pitch black and we’re all seated in the middle of a grassy field hour after hour with no end in sight.
We spent the whole night looking over at every little stick or leaf that twitched, and you could feel the tension in the air. We sat in a star formation, back to back with our rifles pointed outward. We knew that we couldn’t repel any potential attack, but we decided to try and take as many of their guys down as we could before being overrun in the event of one.
If overrun, our plan was to pull grenades and do everyone in for 25 feet around us in every direction. The suspense was thick throughout the entire night, until we finally heard the chopper approaching at sunrise the next morning. What had happened was that, on the way back, the pilot had encountered a hydraulics issue that they needed to work on all night in order to fix before they could fly back to get us, which they did as soon as possible once the issue was finally resolved.
Even though it was just an ordinary field of grass, that field was extremely spooky to us and will always be the creepiest place in the world to those of us who were there that night—even if it’s really only creepy in our minds.
10. A Horrible Way to Go
The scariest places in the world are Brazilian super maximum security prisons. I saw a bunch of prisoners torturing a guy in a dark corner, lit only by a fire from another room. They were cutting his fingers off one at a time and feeding them to him as he begged for a quick death while the guards watched over and did nothing. Apparently, this kind of thing is pretty normal there and that, for me, is hell on earth. Absolute terrifying.
11. This One Hits Close to Home
When I was a kid, we lived in my dad’s old house, the one from when he was a kid. It was one of the oldest houses in town and had been there since the 1800’s, but had been redone a few times. The house had three bedrooms. It had a master one that used to be a screened in porch, a regular room, and a room off to the side that was barely big enough for a twin bed to fit in.
When my dad was about 11 years old, his older brother died of heart failure and they had his coffin put in that room for the viewing. When my grandfather died about 10 years later, his was put in there too. When I was born, my grandmother offered the house to my parents, as she had since gotten remarried and didn’t need it anymore. My parents agreed and took it for $30 a month.
That room always creeped me out for some reason growing up and I never liked going in there. When I was older and began renting the house from my grandma myself, that was when my dad told me about the viewings. It remains an extremely creepy room to this day, and I only use it to store things in that I hardly ever use. I avoid it at all costs, even though it’s in my own house.
12. Take a Hike!
I have come across way too many areas that have random staircases in the middle of a forest. It’s always extremely creepy, and makes me wonder who put them there and why.
13. Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
Centralia, Pennsylvania sounds like something out of a horror movie, but it is actually a real place. This town has had a coal fire burning under it continuously since 1962. It’s almost, but not quite, a ghost town, with smoke constantly rising up from its cracked, empty streets.
14. A Rock Solid Choice
The scariest place I’ve ever been is the Quincy Mine in Hancock, Michigan. They walk you down to the point where the shaft is flooded. You’re standing under 200 feet of rock, looking down a mine shaft full of about 8,800 feet of still, freezing water. You start thinking about all the buried bodies still trapped down there, and how the water is about 100°F at the very bottom due to the depth. To me, it’s an accurate description of hell.
15. If You Go Into the Woods Today…
I once investigated a fatal house fire in the middle of nowhere, inside a forest. This house was set off so far into the woods that it took me forever to get back there on a dirt road. I finally pull up in front of the house and, of course, the whole thing is boarded up. The house was huge and old and I got creepy feelings just looking at the place.
The front door was boarded up so strongly that I had to climb through a window in the back that the family had left open in order to get inside. As soon as I set foot inside the house, I felt like everything was just wrong. I strongly felt that I shouldn’t be there. I shouldn’t walk around. And I sure as hell shouldn’t take pictures.
It was that kind of feeling like when someone is mad at you and the slightest thing will set them off, so you just kind of sit there in silence hoping that they’ll forget you exist so you can do your thing. But I was there to do a job, and so I started to do my walkthrough and take photos. This was clearly an intentionally set fire and the guy who died had obviously murdered by his grandson, but I still had to go through the procedure of documenting each area of origin thoroughly and making diagrams and all, because fatalities are a big deal.
The entire time I’m walking through the house, it feels like there’s someone standing behind me looking on and just waiting for me to slip up. It felt like when your boss is there the one time and he’s just staring at you waiting on you to screw up so that he can correct you. I finished the first floor and headed down into the basement where the guy had died.
It was mid-July and it was hotter than asphalt, but as soon as I got down to the basement, it was like somebody turned on the A/C all of a sudden. Of course, it was pitch black in the basement because, first of all, it’s a basement and, second of all, that’s where the bulk of the fire had been. I walked through the basement into the bedroom.
The fire hadn’t reached the bedroom, as it had been started at the stairwell which acted as a decent chimney to prevent fire spread throughout the basement. It did, however, get hot enough in this room that the outline of a guy’s body was visible on the carpet right next to his dog’s body’s outline. As soon as I entered that room, every single alarm bell in my mind was screaming “Get the heck out of here, you moronic jerk, have you not seen a single damn horror movie?? This is where the angry ghost of gramps murders you with a hatchet!”
But, I had a job to do, so I still stayed. I took my photos and collected my samples. I searched the whole basement for anything that could give us an idea as to why this might have happened. I frequently had to leave the basement to go outside and give my brain a bit of time to stop freaking the heck out. And, every time I walked back into the house, everything inside me was telling me to leave.
The last time I left the house, I crawled through the window and noticed that it had gotten cloudy and really windy while I was inside. Thinking it was probably just a random Midwestern storm, I walked around the deck and looked out into the yard to find a buck just staring right at me. I’d never seen a deer look angry before, but this one just looked furious.
At this point, I had definitely had enough already, so I just kinda shrugged my shoulders and half waved. It turned and walked away. As soon as it left, the wind died and it started to get warm again. This was hands down the creepiest house that I’ve ever been to, and the weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced.
16. Do You Sea What I Sea?
The bottom of the ocean is the scariest place in the world. You can’t see anything when you’re there, the pressure reaches unreal levels, and the creatures around you are more horrifying than seeing your grandpa naked in the bathtub.
17. Into the Woods
My paternal grandparents lived out in the woods and the forest that their house was in always unsettled me. Something just always seemed off and it was way too quiet. I thought that maybe it was because I was just so used to suburbia, but now I live in the forest not far from where they did and it feels very different. It feels alive, and it’s always noisy as hell.
18. Take a Recess to Recover
When I was in Iceland, I walked past a school at roughly 9:00 in the morning and heard a group of children laughing. It was VERY dark out, and I didn’t know that I was near a school. The combination of the sudden sound of children’s laughter coupled with the darkness created one of very few occasions in my life where I have really felt unsettled.
19. Let’s Be Civil About This
My old house is the creepiest place I have ever been to. About five years ago, I was living in a town just outside of Washington DC. The house was a short two-story structure with a basement that was built back in the 50s. The whole house had a weird vibe to it. It was not exactly scary, but definitely unsettling. In 2011, the year that we moved in, the guy who built the house stopped by.
He told us that he built the house with his dad and three brothers in 1952. During the building, he said that they found a few skeletons while they were digging out the driveway and, of course, they called the police. It turns out that the bodies were Union soldiers from the Civil War who had most likely been killed during the First Battle of the Bull Run and buried on the way as their army marched back to DC. Also, the basement was unfinished, flooded constantly, and had a spider-cricket infestation.
20. Small Investment, High Return
The creepiest place I’ve ever been to is the operating room for brain surgery. It’s freezing cold in there. They wheel you up to this stainless steel bed with a cage on it that you put your head in. Then they tighten down clamps on your head so that you can’t move it. Then knock you out cold. You wake up multiple times over the course of a 4.5-hour surgery.
You are semi-conscious each time, and your eyes are closed. You can just say “I hear you guys”, or snap your fingers and hold up a finger as if you’re calling a waiter over, and the anesthesiologist comes by and hits you with another dose. After they’re done, they poke a giant ice pick-shaped needle into your different facial muscles to make sure that they didn’t break anything.
Poking it into a muscle causes subconscious flinching, and they look at the muscle group flinching to make sure that each category is still rigged up. I had a bunch of scabs, and they had taped cotton balls across my face and scalp. Then they seal up your skull and sign off on it. They use reciprocating saws and similar power tools to carpenters.
It’s morbid, terrifying, and cold. There’s no other way to describe it. But it can give you your life back. I spent just two nights in the hospital and was driving back to work a week later feeling like a million bucks.
21. A One Horse, Many Zombie Town
Salton City is the creepiest place I know of. It’s a nearly abandoned town right next to the Salton Sea—which is basically a dried up, extra salty stink pond caused by agricultural runoff and other sources in which nothing lives. The whole town has boarded up windows, like they are protecting themselves from zombies that come out at night or something.
22. Heart of Darkness
The creepiest place I’ve ever seen would have to be the solitary confinement cells at Alcatraz, which by the way is also a pretty creepy place as a whole in and of itself. Those cells are like the Heart of Darkness. There are four or five of them just off from the library and all of the cell doors open onto a windowless hallway, making it just dark leading to more dark.
I went in there on my own and I swear that I could sense something evil squatting in the corner of the room, just waiting patiently for me leave my soul unattended for a moment. It was easily a 10/10 on the creepiness scale, and I will never be going back there again.
23. Your Own Personal Cryptonite
The creepiest place I’ve ever seen was the crypt (i.e. underground storage room) of an old church in Bayeux, France. I was there on a school trip and we could choose whether we wanted to go to this historically old church, or see the Bayeux tapestry. I chose the church. If I recall correctly, they had just discovered the crypt a couple of years earlier.
So I was down there by myself taking pictures until, all of a sudden after a couple of minutes, I started feeling downright nauseous. Like, “I’m going to get sick if I don’t get out of here immediately” nauseous. I quickly went upstairs to get some air, and the feeling went away instantly. It creeped me the heck out, but then when I went back down with the group afterwards, I felt totally fine.
24. Cold in More Ways Than One
There is a forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan that is known to be haunted and have a high amount of people dying by suicide in it. It was the creepiest forest I have ever seen, and was also ridiculously cold.
25. A Hunka Hunka Burning Love for Your Dog
The scariest place I’ve ever been was inside my own house while it was on fire. I was stupid and looking for my dog while it was burning. Back then, I would have died for that dog. With that said, it was scary. Everything was pitch black. It was hot and loud, and hot ash was floating in the air. I found my dog in the back of the house under my couch. I grabbed him and got out just in time.
26. Going for a Run
The creepiest place I’ve ever been in was my own attic when I was 8 years old. I would always shut the lights off on my way out and then sprint down the steps like the ceiling was collapsing behind me, because that was honestly what it looked like in there. Whoever says that childhood is fun and beautiful is wrong, it’s terrifying.
27. It’s Like You Never Left
I found an old abandoned farmhouse a little ways outside of my little town. It looked as if the people who had lived there just up and left one day. There were still dishes in the sink, and there was still a coffee cup with a newspaper beside it on the kitchen table. The date on the newspaper was in 2011. All of their clothes were still hanging in the closet.
State fair ribbons were stuck all over one wall, with one dating all the way back to 1912. Had it not been for the thick layer of dust covering everything, a few animal droppings here are and there, and the little animal footprints in the dust, you’d think that someone still lived there. But no one does. To make it even creepier, I explored the house at about 3 in the morning.
The silence of that place felt so heavy that it made me very uncomfortable being there. I later asked around about the house and found out that it had apparently belonged to an old couple whose children put them in a nursing home and just abandoned the house.
28. The Borderline
The creepiest place I know of is the Korean Demilitarized Zone. I have never been to a place that is more politically and culturally sensitive than that one. The tension there at all times is unimaginable. Picture every tense moment that you’ve ever had, and it comes nowhere near what it feels like to be there. The sight of seeing these soldiers from North Korea who are seemingly stuck in the 50s and have no choice but to be there is something almost impossible to explain unless you witness it firsthand.
29. Crossing Into Unknown Territory
There is no place creepier than my local church after dark, when the shadows roll over the pews. The wood creaks and settles into the cold evening air. Christ hangs solemnly and broken on the cross. His figure shaded by the night, it almost appears alive. At times, you even think you see it move…
30. Never Forget
The scariest place I’ve ever been to is Mauthausen, a Nazi concentration camp near Vienna that my class visited on a school trip. I will never forget what it felt like when we held a moment of silence inside of an actual gas chamber that countless innocent people were murdered in just a few decades earlier.
31. It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
When I was a little kid, I discovered an abandoned house in my neighborhood. The whole place seemed really well preserved, but I have never seen anyone go in or out of that house except for myself in all the years before or since that I’ve lived nearby. There was a newspaper on a chair in the living room dated from 1960. I went upstairs and there were blankets draped over all of the mirrors.
It seems like an older person must have died, and their family just abandoned the place. The place continued to deteriorate over the years and finally got torn down not too long ago. It was spooky as heck when I was exploring it, especially as the sun was going down just as I decided to check out the attic. I caught a glimpse of an old crib and other old baby stuff before the attic access door fell down with a SLAM and I got the heck out of there.
32. One in a Million
I once explored a discreet chemical plant that looks like it was probably built around 50 or 60 years ago. They seem to have used it to manufacture analytical grade hydrogen sulfide gas. That stuff can kill you at less than 100 parts per million, and they were shipping rail cars full of 99.9% product. Literally, one blown seal could have killed everyone on site in an instant. The whole place always smelled like rotten eggs, too. I have avoided that area ever since…
33. Just a Hunch
In Madagascar, I stayed in a hotel that looked just like the ski resort in The Shining. It was terrifying. I’m pretty darn sure that place was haunted!
34. There’s No Place Like Home
I was on a family vacation to Atlanta around 1972. We went to visit some cousins of my grandmother’s. They were two twin sisters who had never gotten married, and were now in their 80s. The house was in a very run down old neighborhood. From the street, you might think it was abandoned. It had an overgrown yard, part of the roof was caved in, and the windows were boarded up.
Inside, it was all antiques and furniture from the 1930s and 40s, slowly deteriorating, and it looked as though they hadn’t dusted it in years. The wallpaper was peeling off, and old portraits on the wall had been left half fallen. Looking up to the second floor from the stairs, all you could see was just cobwebs and collapsed ceilings. They said that they hadn’t gone up there in years.
You could also clearly hear rat noises throughout the house. They both looked and lived like ghosts. They seemed half mad. They were both very civil and proper, but something always just felt a little off. As an 8-year-old kid, I was terrified of this house, especially when one of them jokingly said to my mother “You should leave him here. He can live with us!” I instantly burst into tears, and we left.
35. We Hope Your Stay Here Has Been a Pleasant One
The supposedly haunted Jerome Grand Hotel in Arizona is the creepiest place I’ve ever stayed at. I spent a couple of nights in what many believe to be the most haunted room in the whole building. I didn’t sleep well. Just walking along the main strip of town outside the hotel left me feeling uneasy the entire time I was there. Even when I was completely alone, I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that I was being watched from every angle.
I had nonstop goosebumps and felt cold chills wherever I went. Mind you, this was all before I had ever heard of the reputation of the town itself, nevertheless of the hotel. I only found out after my stay—and I can definitely now attest to its accuracy!
36. It’s Never Too Late to Start Over
The creepiest place I’ve ever been in was a room in a hospital that had been converted from the morgue that it used to be about 135 years earlier.
37. Reality Can Be Scarier Than Fiction
I went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC on an 8th grade field trip, and it remains the most harrowingly horrifying place I’ve ever been to. I was a pretty shy kid in eighth grade. I was short, quiet, and had a resting jerkface—so I wasn’t the most approachable person in the eyes of most of my peers. I walked around there with my field trip buddy, who I had never really spoken to at all at school—and she and I cried together throughout the afternoon as we read the stories.
Seeing how emotional everyone else got sort of brought everyone together and, by the end of it, all of us were sad and horrified by the terrible things we had learned about, but we were also brought closer together by the experience. It was just a very emotional place and made the people around me emotional as well. There is no haunted house or spooky forest that could ever terrify me as much as that museum did.
38. Sounds Like You Have a Guardian Angel
Forest Haven is an abandoned insane asylum in Maryland. It says no trespassing and is technically patrolled by guards, but in reality, it is very easy to get into for anyone looking for an adventure. I was there two weeks ago with my significant other, exploring and taking photos. There are 22 buildings on the property, all just wide open and abandoned, all covered in collapsed ceiling tiles, broken glass, and graffiti.
There is still furniture in some of the rooms and, if you delve deep enough into the property, you can still find patient records that were left behind when they closed. We actually found a stack of patient files in a dark, windowless room. It was so surreal, reading by name about a “severely mentally handicapped” man with “a history of schizophrenia” who “talks incessantly.”
This patient had a 1-page handwritten summary for every year that he had been in the hospital, and they all started out the same way: “Kenny is an almost 45-year-old white male with a severe mental handicap and a history of schizophrenia. He has been at Forest Haven for five years.” Only his age and the duration of his stay would change from page to page.
The first one was dated 1973, and the last page in his file is a printed memorial flyer showing that he died in September of 1990. The facility was ordered to be shut down in 1974, but didn’t actually go through with closing its doors until 1991. In its last year of operation, there were nine deaths at the asylum. Kenny was one of them. The creepiest part?
The patient whose file I randomly opened up to in the middle of a stack of wet, moldering old files sitting on the corner of a collapsing desk in an interior room of an abandoned basement? He shared the same exact first and middle name as my significant other. Just a weird, creepy coincidence in a cold, wet, creepy place.
39. Early to Bed, Never to Rise
The creepiest place I know of is a campsite I stayed at in rural Canada. When we arrived at about 10:00 at night, it was full of people. We woke up at 6:00 the next morning to get an early start to the day. The campsite was now completely empty. The forest ranger wasn’t sure what we were talking about when he came to collect.
40. Lurking in the Shadows
On the Crow Reservation in southeast Montana, there is an abandoned gas station that, in 2014, my 4-year-old TomTom directed me to for gas. I was very low on gas when we pulled in and realized that the station was closed forever. I had my wife, her friend, and my two kids in the car and I was a little stressed out, knowing that we were going to have to backtrack to the last gas station that we passed.
I decided that I was going to go pee while we were there, so I went behind the gas station to do so. As I am peeing, a shadow moves between me and the security light. Considering it was 3 in the morning and we were the only people I knew about for miles in any direction, I ran my happy behind back to the car, jumped in and hauled the heck out of there. We will never forget that incident.
41. Moving Mountains
A friend of mine wanted me to come to a psychic with her one time, and I reluctantly agreed. We drove way up into the mountains of Northeast Tennessee, almost to the North Carolina state line, until we got to this tiny shack. I was already scared and we were not even inside yet. We opened the door and this very Deliverance-looking group of people were sitting inside.
Every single inch of wall surface was covered with taxidermied animals, possums, raccoons, squirrels, deer—you name it, it was stuffed and on those walls! There was an old, old woman in the corner of the room staring at us. Two scruffy guys were sitting at the kitchen table cleaning guns. A middle aged chain smoking lady eyeballs us for what felt like 20 minutes before finally saying, “So, what’re ya here for?”
My friend explains that she would like to know who stole some money from her the previous week at a party. It turned out the psychic was the middle-aged lady. She goes to sit on a chair in the corner of the room, underneath the wall of animals, and asks if either of us is wearing contact lenses. My friend was. The woman tells her that she won’t be able to see anything.
Then she turns her attention to me and says, “Describe what you see.” I’m looking at her and, all of a sudden, I swear on my life this woman starts shape-shifting into two different people—first into a blonde girl with glasses and then into a dark-haired man. I am dead serious, this woman shape-shifted! As I am describing what I am seeing, my friend yells out, “I KNOW who that is!”
The woman turns back into herself and we pay her. We turn to leave and she says something to us in a foreign language. As we get to our car, the two scruffy men jump into their own vehicle and start following us all the way down the mountain to make sure we are actually leaving. It scared me completely out of my wits!
42. Cross Country
I had a friend who cleaned out and sold foreclosed homes for a living. He once took me on a ride to a house he had to photograph for the bank after it had gone into foreclosure. From the moment we got there, it felt extremely unsettling. It was in the area of a ski resort and the neighborhood was wealthy—but once we stepped inside, it was clear that it had been used as some kind of boarding house for resort staff.
There were numbers outside of each bedroom door, as well as large closets and weird spaces turned into bedrooms. The place was filthy. There were black garbage bags everywhere, as well as pizza boxes, booze bottles, and all kinds of other garbage. It looked like it had clearly been a party house for the staff, only recently abandoned.
At one point, I was on the ground floor and my friend was in the basement, when I suddenly got full body chills. I was standing in the kitchen and there was a bathroom next to it with the door closed. I somehow just knew that there was someone hiding in that bathroom. At the very same instant, my friend called me down to the basement where he had found a back corner which had been converted into another sleeping area.
There was a television still on, just showing static, and a kitchen knife on a crate next to the mattress. That was the moment I stepped directly behind my 6’4” tall, 300lb. friend and told him that we had to get the hell out of there immediately. I’m pretty sure that the home was being used as an illegal boarding house for undocumented resort workers, and I honestly felt bad for the terrified kid who was still squatting in the basement—but I sure as hell didn’t want to be the one to have to find him.