The world is filled with strange places, but more bizarre and unnerving than tourist traps, which attract millions of people each year, are the legends and myths surrounding the dread-filled streets of cities, which lie just out of sight, places where shadows creep and strange creatures roam. Here are 10 mythical cities you should never try to find.
During the 19th century, the occult world was aghast with whispers about a secret city among the snowy peaks of the Himalayan mountains. Descriptions of the city, known as Agartha, appeared in occult books of that time with some asserting that the city held secrets of wisdom and wealth within its walls. However, dig deeper and the stories surrounding Agartha take on a more ominous tone. The true location of this place is actually beneath the Earth’s crust under modern-day Tibet.
Researchers, who have followed the stories of its existence, now believe that this vast complex of tunnels and chambers should not be entered by human beings. The reason, Agartha, though once an underground city of incomparable beauty has now been corrupted and is haunted by evil demons who hunger for human souls.
Many religious and spiritual traditions have stories about mythical cities, but some of the most fascinating come from what are considered dead religions. This is the case with Utgard.
This city is an ominous place in Norse mythology. It’s said that the city of Utgard is populated with giant humanoids, one of which dwells in a putrid, underground cave. Competing accounts of Utgard provides several different descriptions of the city. In one, it’s said that the giant creatures living there are actually Ettings, more famously known across the world as trolls.
The inhabitants of Utgard are sometimes depicted as so grotesque that even looking at one can cause deep and terrible fear. These creatures sometimes stray into our world and live in the darkness, waiting to snatch curious people who wander too close to their world.
3. Biringan City
This mythical city is said to be found in the Samar province of the Philippines and is also known as The Invisible City. The city is said to be populated by the Engkantos. These supernatural beings are able to shapeshift, often impersonating people in order to get close to their prey.
Sailors and explorers have encountered this invisible city, and those who have made it out alive say that the shapeshifters there have built huge, technologically-advanced buildings, which reach up to the sky. Most recently, a Japanese company found satellite images that showed large bright lights where the city is supposed to be.
Thinking these bright lights were the result of gold and uranium deposits, they attempted to mine the area. A series of mysterious accidents then forced the miners to flee the region and to never return.
Descriptions of Scholomance in Transylvania vary. In some traditions, it’s described as a huge building with fortified walls. In others, it’s a city filled with sinister creatures. Whichever description is sighted, one element always remains.
That Scholomance is overseen by the devil himself. Folklore accounts describe how Satan visits Scholomance, riding a dragon which is as fearsome as the knight. This often creates unusual weather patterns, some of which can be deadly.
While some argue that Scholomance actually refers to the Spanish city of Salamanca, where stories of medieval sorcery can be found, others insist that those wishing to learn the dark arts can travel to Transylvania and find the entrance to Scholomance. It will reveal itself to those with twisted intentions and lead them deep underground to an audience with the “Lord of the Flies” himself.
5. The Lost City of Z
While some mythical cities are seen by scholars as pure fiction, others, such as The Lost City of Z in Brazil, have more evidence for their existence. The Lost City of Z was the name given by Colonel Percy Harris Fawcett who was a British surveyor.
Fawcett found a document dating back to the 1750s, which described how a Portuguese settler discovered the ruins of an ancient city, complete with elaborate statues, archways, and hieroglyphics. Fawcett was hellbent on finding this lost city, and so traveled to the Amazon forest on two different occasions to find it.
During the second expedition in 1925, Fawcett and his son headed into the forest to find The Lost City of Z. They both vanished. No one knows what happened to them, and some suspect that they did indeed find this mythical place, but that it was already inhabited by something terrifying.
6. City of Caesars
Also known as the Wandering City, the mythical City of Caesars is located in the remote area of Patagonia, which contains the valley of the Andes between Chile and Argentina. Descriptions of the City of Caesars have existed for hundreds of years, and so many have tried to find it there. Much like the fabled El Dorado, this city is supposedly filled with treasures beyond compare.
The myths surrounding the city claims that it only appears momentarily, and then vanishes without a trace. Those unlucky enough to enter it might get their hands on gold and diamonds, but they will also come face to face with its inhabitants, swirling apparitions and monstrous giants, all filled with the urge to destroy anyone who dares to enter the city in search of their fortune.
West of Ireland, the ferocious swells in storms of the Atlantic Ocean are said to hide the mythical island city of Hy-Brasil. Irish sailors have described this island for centuries, claiming that it’s surrounded by an almost impenetrable fog. Occasionally, sailors find their way through the wall of the mist.
As it draws back like a curtain, they’re given a glimpse of the legendary island and its settlements. Some believe that the island city is a refuge of a dark sorcerer whose powers wain every seven years, resulting in a momentary lifting of the treacherous fog which surrounds the island.
There are maps going back to 1325, which contains sketches of the island and its location, but legends say that anyone who makes it through the fog to Hy-Brasil will forever be imprisoned there.
Most spiritual traditions have accounts for where the damned reside. For some, this is a form of limbo between heaven and hell, but for ancient Chinese traditions, the tortured souls of those who cannot rest can be found in the capital city of hell. Referred to as Youdu, this sprawling city is under the Earth in a place called the region of darkness.
The Chinese Goddess Hotu is said to rule the city of Youdu, and there is an existing hierarchy of shambling demonic creatures who are used to carrying out punishments for those who have not lived their lives correctly. Some of these demons have the power to peer into the human soul and see whenever a person’s lying. If they have told a falsehood, then their punishment is unimaginable. The streets of Youdu are littered with ghosts, waiting to be reborn in the land of the living.
9. Zerzura, The White City
The White City is rumored to exist deep within the desert where the Nile River twists like a snake. Descriptions of this place go back to the 13th century where those who encountered the city described it as a city of shining white in the sweltering Egyptian sun.
This legend, however, may be connected to other descriptions of a similar mythical city in the region, which goes back thousands of years. Those who search for The White City do so with great care, because the legend says that beneath it, the queen and king of the White City sleep. Not only that, but they and their surrounding treasures are guarded by huge ferocious giants, which will consume anyone they find within The White City’s walls. Explorers continue to search for the city to this day, and many have vanished in the desert while doing so.
10. The Nameless City
The controversial writer, H.P. Lovecraft, once wrote a story in 1921 called “The Nameless City.” In the story, the protagonist discovers a strange city in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula.
The ruins are older than human civilization, and the creatures which inhabit it appear to crawl and slither along the ground, resulting in corridors and rooms to low for a human being to stand upright. Lovecraft has said that the story came to him in a dream, as though a real place was crying out to be discovered.
Some sources claim that “The Nameless City” is based on a very real description of a lost city known as Iram of the Pillars. Between the strange fevered dreams of Lovecraft, and it’s apparent connection to a real lost city, some speculate and wonder if the reptilian creatures of the story are still out there, waiting beneath the sands of time.