Fallout and horror go hand in hand, for what is more horrifying than the thought of total nuclear annihilation? Throughout the series, Bethesda has tortured players by making them delve into some of the most spine-chilling places imaginable. Whether it be a dank cave or a haunted house, the developer (and even the modding community) has delighted in occasionally abandoning their typical style in favor of a spookier tone. Here are just ten of the creepiest locations in Fallout’s history. Be warned, there are descriptions of intense violence and suicide.
10. Alpine River Cabins (Fallout 76)
We’ll start off fairly light. In Fallout 76 you may or may not have come across Alpine River Cabins. Whilst not the creepiest location in Fallout 76, these three cabins will start to spook people if they stick around for too long. Root around in the cabins for too long and the player will start to experience supernatural phenomena. Paintings will spin around on the walls, womanly screams echo in the distance, and even the occasional tremor all combine to adequately freak out unsuspecting travelers.
However, a bit of exploring and you’ll reveal the area’s true purpose. A terminal located in a treehouse not far from the cabins reveals that all of these spooky shenanigans are actually fake. Alpine River Cabins was actually a pre-war attraction designed to draw in gullible tourists. Somebody just forgot to switch the power off before the nukes dropped. To be fair, if I was faced with an impending nuclear apocalypse, conserving electricity would be the least of my worries.
9. Vault 11 (Fallout: New Vegas)
If you’re a Fallout fan then you’ll probably be aware that the iconic Vaults were actually a series of elaborate social experiments. Predictably, most of these experiments went wrong, leading to some truly horrific scenes when the player happens upon them. Whilst Vault 11 isn’t the creepiest location in Fallout: New Vegas, it might just be the cruelest. Once inside, dwellers found out that they had to sacrifice one person a year or all of the Vault’s inhabitants would die. A democratic process quickly came into place, allowing dwellers to vote for a sacrifice at the end of the year. This sacrifice would then become Overseer until their inevitable demise.
As it is with most political battles, things got violent and corruption was rife. However, things were to come to end once Vault resident Katherine Stone came into power. Stone’s first act as overseer dissolved the election process entirely, leading to an armed coup that wiped out almost every single member of the Vault, with only five surviving the bloodshed. After that, the remaining residents agreed to commit suicide by defying the Vault computer and awaiting the consequences.
In one last cruel twist of fate, the residents discovered that their defiance was the original goal of the Vault and that their act of selflessness meant they could leave. Burdened by the guilt of years of pointless bloodshed, four of the five survivors all agreed to commit suicide anyway. Only one resident of the Vault survived the trial, although their location and what happened to them is a mystery in itself.
8. Matthew’s Animal Husbandry Farm (Fallout: New Vegas)
Just like the Alpine River Cabins, Matthew’s Animal Husbandry Farm is very unassuming at first glance. How creepy could a run-down old farmhouse be? However, a bit of digging reveals that the location is home to a dark and tragic story. It starts out with a boy being left to tend to the farm whilst his parents go out to the nearby town for supplies. What this boy’s parent didn’t know was that New Vegas’ villainous faction, Caeser’s Legion, had been dumping barrels of radioactive waste there for months. Both family members quickly transformed into Feral Ghouls.
A few days go by and the boy sets off to find his missing parents. Unfortunately, he finds them. Chased back to the farm by his ghoulified parents, the boy kills them and buries them nearby. In the subsequent days, the boy starts to lose his sanity, believing that the farm animals were plotting behind his back to kill and eat him. Completely consumed by his own insanity, the boy burns the farm to the ground with himself inside. All that’s left is his skeletal remains, a few pages from his diary, and the Brahmin that drove him to madness.
7. Vault 108 (Fallout 3)
The Vaults in Fallout are so utterly horrible and morbid that it would be remiss of me to include just one. However, Vault 108 isn’t on this list because it’s one of the creepiest locations in Fallout, but because it’s one of the most bizarre. Entering this Vault plays out like any other, but delving deeper into its murky corridors reveals something downright disturbing. Throughout Vault 108, you’ll encounter dozens of clones, each one named Gary along with its own individual number. What’s even weirder is that these clones are tremendously violent and can only scream their own name.
A bit of backstory reveals that Vault 108 was a cloning facility that doubled as a social experiment. The Vault’s first overseer, Brody Jones, was put into power because of his likeliness to die from a rare form of cancer during his time in power. The Vault’s main purpose was to see how residents would deal with a power vacuum, with Vault-Tec making sure their armory was fully stocked, and that the residents had very little in the way of entertainment. The events within the Vault are a mystery, but the presence of an army of Garys implies that not everything went according to plan.
6. Springvale Elementary School (Fallout 3)
Unlike pretty much every other entry on this list, Springvale Elementary School doesn’t have any particularly standout lore or story to enhance its creepiest. It’s bloody creepy, don’t get me wrong, but what makes it unique is that it’s directly outside Vault 111. The first thing you see as an optimistic, fresh-faced Vault Dweller is the ruins of this school, and it serves as a brutal introduction to the world you’re about to explore. Millions of people new to the franchise have walked through those double doors and will have been met with nothing but sheer misery.
The first thing you see as you enter are mutilated bodies hanging from hooks. Right in front of you is a cage full to the brim with the skeletal remains of children. Murderous raiders patrol the school like a pack of highly vicious hallway monitors. Springvale Elementary School might not have the most interesting backstory, but it’s a taste of things to come. It’s a reminder for new players that this is a post-apocalyptic wasteland and that you’re not going on a grand adventure. You’re trying to survive in a harsh and bleak new world.
5. Wendigo Cave (Fallout 76)
We’re really starting to turn up the heat now. Wendigo Cave is without a doubt the creepiest location in Fallout 76, but to understand why we need some backstory. Most fans of Fallout will be aware of The Gourmands, a group of cannibalistic Raiders who like the taste of human flesh a bit too much. They’re living it large in Fallout: New Vegas, but their roots can be found in Fallout 76 in a location called Bolton Greens. Their leader, Morris Stevens, brought the group together and survived by killing and eating passing travelers.
After word of their deeds spread across Appalachia, travelers became less frequent, leading to starvation amongst The Gourmands. One day, Morris Stevens could no longer control his appetite and committed one of the worst sins a Gourmand can commit – he ate a fellow member. As a result, Morris and his wife Edie were banished to Wendigo Cave (presumably just a random cave at that point). Driven to the brink of insanity by hunger, Morris devoured his wife Edie and slowly became the Progenitor Wendigo.
Now, Wendigo Cave isn’t just creepy because of its backstory alone. The cave itself is a labyrinth full of Feral Ghouls and powerful Mirelurks around every corner. Dead bodies are everywhere, likely from the many squads of bounty hunters that were sent to deal with Morris Stevens. And in the deepest depths of the cave itself, one can find the man himself, horribly malformed and out for human flesh. Best put him down quickly before you become one of his victims.
4. Grandchester Mystery Mansion (Fallout 4)
When talking about creepy locations, is there anything more cliché than a haunted house? The Grandchester Mystery Mansion is one of the attractions in Fallout 4‘s Nuka-World DLC, but this attraction has a tragic backstory. The Grandchesters once lived a happy life until one night when the daughter of the family (Lucy) became possessed by a supernatural force. Under complete control of the entity, Lucy murdered her parents and was subsequently committed to a mental institution. On her 18th birthday, Lucy escaped and returned to the scene of her parent’s murder. Likely completely consumed by guilt, she then tragically hung herself in the attic.
A few decades and one nuclear apocalypse later, the Grandchester Mystery Mansion is now a creepy, run-down tourist attraction for the nearby Nuka World theme park. Upon discovering the location for the first time, you may even notice the silhouette of a little girl in one of the mansion’s windows. Exploring the house, the player will experience even more supernatural phenomena. You may even catch a glimpse of the girl herself as her spirit still roams the halls.
3. Fens Street Sewer (Fallout 4)
Fens Street Sewer is a rare example of a location that was definitely worse before the war. Unbeknownst to the public, the Fens Street Sewer was actually the lair of the infamous Fens Phantom, a gruesome serial killer. Inside the sewer, players can find multiple skeletons displayed in strange positions. Next to each body is a holotape, deliberately left for a detective hot on the heels of the Fens Phantom. Listening to these holotapes reveals that the serial killer is anticipating the detective’s arrival. The final holotape alludes to the detective’s likely horrific demise.
Whilst you may not find a bunch of skeletons in strange positions creepy, just the idea of the detective finding this scene before the war is dreadful. One of the bodies is a small skeleton with its head missing. There are multiple strollers throughout the sewer, meaning that the Fens Phantom’s victims weren’t just adults. It all combines to paint a pretty disgusting picture that would mentally destroy even the hardest of detectives. Speaking of disgusting paintings…
2. Pickman’s Gallery (Fallout 4)
I’m all for artistic expression, but Mr. Pickman takes it a bit too far. Players unfortunate enough to walk into his “gallery” are in for a rough time. Like the Fens Phantom, Pickman is a serial killer who uses his victims for display. However, instead of displaying the bodies, Pickman chooses to paint pictures with his victim’s blood. Many of his original artworks can be found hanging on the walls of his abode. If that wasn’t bad enough, Pickman also has a fondness for collecting the heads of Raiders.
You can even find this murderous Vincent van Gogh if you choose to explore the grotesque gallery. In the basement, you’ll find him arguing with a bunch of Raiders that have stormed the building for revenge. Help Pickman by killing the Raiders and he’ll reward you with a key to his safe that is hidden behind one of his monstrous creations. He even leaves you a little thank you note if you didn’t put a bullet in him. You won’t receive that note though because you definitely killed the evil serial killer, right?
1. Dunwich Building (Fallout 3)
The Dunwich Building is without a doubt the creepiest location in Fallout. The entire building is one giant homage to Lovecraftian horror. The owner of the Dunwich Building (Richard Dunwich) was a man obsessed with the occult. In fact, every single one of his properties was built in places where he suspected great occult powers were buried. This would be his undoing, as the Dunwich Building was unfortunately built on top of an altar dedicated to the cosmic entity Ug-Qualoth. Holotapes recorded by Jamie Palabras can be found throughout the building, detailing his journey to find his father who had previously attempted to explore the building.
The supernatural events in the Dunwich Building are subtle but can build to create an ominous atmosphere. You can hear loud footsteps frequently, yet nobody is there. Fans and coffee pots will shoot across the room with no warning, and the player experiences strange hallucinations. This building is also the only place where Fallout 3 attempts to break the fourth wall, as the screen will very occasionally flicker. Keep exploring and you’ll find Jamie and his ghoul friends worshipping a strange obelisk. Props to Bethesda for creating a genuinely terrifying location that rivals most horror games.
And with that, those are the creepiest locations in Fallout. There were so many other locations I could have chosen. Special mentions go to the Dunwich Borers in Fallout 4 and pretty much every other Vault in the series. Comment below other locations you thought should have gotten a mention. If you’re looking for a horror fix this Halloween, why not check out this article about some of the horror games you can play on Xbox Game Pass? Happy Halloween!