When it comes to holiday jaunts, the site of a nuclear disaster zone, the home of a serial killer or the execution chamber of a former state prison don't scream “wish you were here”. But while it might not be everyone's idea of fun, demand for macabre attractions and disturbing experiences that recreate horrific moments in history is growing – dark tourism is on the rise.

Last month the Sacramento Old City Association opened the home of notorious 1980s Californian serial killer Dorothea Puente for a tour that included pointing out the spot in the garden where her victim's bodies were buried. This spring, the notorious Missouri State Penitentiary, nicknamed “the bloodiest 47 acres in America”, opened to visitors with a chance to see the gas chamber once used for executions. And there are currently plans underway to turn