Don’t Read This in the Dark! Take a Peek into the World’s Most Haunted Places

I’m going to assume that whoever landed on this story has a liking for the dark and eerie. And can we all agree nothing really beats a good ghost story? But horror stories aren’t necessarily a thing of movies and campfire lore. Creepy things happen all the time; all around the world.

Abandoned haunted house for Halloween holiday
Source: Shutterstock

This one’s for the curious – the ones who can handle a little bit of spookiness. And to the skeptics – while you may say one account might be a load of cr*p, what do you say about multiple accounts of the same sightings? Anyway, not only are these locations noted for their creepiness, but they’re also hauntingly beautiful.

Enjoy the tour!

Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romania

It all started when a military technician shot a photograph of a “UFO” hovering over the Hoia-Baciu Forest in 1968. Ever since, the forest gained paranormal fame around the world. Some even believe it’s a portal that causes visitors to disappear.

Hoia forest, one of the most haunted forests in the world.
Source: Shutterstock

However, those “lucky” visitors that managed to pass through the forest without getting transported into another realm have reported cases of getting rashes, nausea, and bouts of anxiety, according to The Independent.

The forest is known as the “Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania.” The eerie trees only add to the eerie atmosphere.

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Of course, there’s going to be a prison on the list. But this isn’t just any old prison. The castle-like Penitentiary took solitary confinement to a whole new level when it was built in 1829. Prisoners had to live alone, eat alone, and even exercise alone.

An old abandoned cell blocks in Eastern State Penitentiary, people walking to the light at the end of the dark tunnel
Source: Shutterstock

When an inmate left his cell, a guard would cover his head with a hood. By 191, the prison had to abandon its solitary system because of overcrowding. But the forms of punishment didn’t get any less severe before it finally closed down in 1970.

It’s now a tourist spot known for its museum and Halloween celebrations. Paranormal happenings have been reported, including disembodied laughter, pacing footsteps, and shadowy figures.

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Canada

Head a bit north, and you’ll find the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The hotel was built in 1888 to help with tourism and sell train tickets. While it looks like a chateau, it gets a whole lot more Gothic once you get inside.

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel at night.
Source: Shutterstock

And by gothic, I don’t mean its architecture. The Calgary Herald has reported several “resident” ghosts. Apparently, there’s a bride who fell down the stone staircase on her wedding day. There’s also word of “Sam the bellman,” who worked at the hotel until 1975. His spirit is said to pull shifts, helping people with their luggage before disappearing.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

Stephen King (and Stanley Kubrick) will already know of this famous hotel from the book and film, ‘The Shining.’ The Stanley Hotel was already world-renowned for its whiskey bar that lured travelers to Estes Park since it opened in 1909.

A close up front winter view of the famous Stanley Hotel at Estes Park, Colorado, USA.
Photo by MTLowry / Shutterstock.com

But the novel and film took the hotel to new levels of fame as the fictional Overlook Hotel. But aside from that horror film association, lots of other ghost sightings and mysterious piano music have been connected to the creepy hotel. The Stanley Hotel embraces its reputation with nightly ghost tours and psychic consultations from their in-house psychic, Madame Vera.

Bhangarh Fort, India

To this day, this oasis stays mostly untouched and uninhabited due to a supposed curse by an angry sorcerer after he was snubbed by a local princess. If you happen to wander over there, and you prefer not to be haunted by a witch, some suggest saluting the sun during a session of pre-dusk yoga at the site.

Ruins of the haunted city of Bhangarh Rajasthan India
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Or, you know, whatever. This fort is located 100 miles southwest of Delhi. And its lush ruins make for an interesting juxtaposition against the desert landscape of Rajasthan.

Château de Brissac, France

The seven-story Château de Brissac is one of the tallest castles in France, and probably better known as the home of “The Green Lady,” aka the ghost of Charlotte of France.

mysterious castles of France - Chateau de Brissac, Loire valley
Source: Shutterstock

Charlotte, the illegitimate daughter of King Charles VII, was murdered by her husband after he found her having an affair. Why the Green Lady? Because green was the color of her dress when she was killed. Supposedly, the Green Lady can be found wandering the chapel’s tower and moaning in the early morning hours.

La Recoleta Cemetery, Argentina

Even the non-religious are moved by La Recoleta Cemetery, which holds thousands of statues, mausoleums, and intricate tombstones. It also has the remains of Argentina’s most iconic figure – Eva Perón.

La Recoleta Cemetery. Located in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Source: Shutterstock

The cemetery has a few haunted legends of its own. One of the most famous tales involves David Alleno, the cemetery’s former grave-digger and caretaker who worked there for 30 years before committing suicide. People have reported hearing his keys jangling as his ghost still walks the pathways at dawn.

St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida

The St. Augustine Lighthouse gets about 225,000 visitors annually. But it’s known for its otherworldly visitors, too. Tragic events have occurred at the now-historic site, which contributes to the so-called paranormal activity.

t. Augustine Lighthouse aerial view. This light is a National Historic Landmark on Anastasia Island in St. Augustine, Florida, USA.
Source: Shutterstock

The ghost of a lighthouse keeper who fell to his death when painting the tower was spotted several times. And ever since the tragic death of three young girls, who drowned when their cart that they were playing in broke and fell into the ocean, people have claimed to hear the sounds of children playing in the lighthouse.

Tower of London, England

This fortress was built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and had many functions. But it’s most famous for its bloody history as a prison as well as an execution site. Henry VIII ordered the execution of two of his wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, at this site.

Tower Bridge in London, the UK. Sunset with beautiful clouds. Drawbridge opening. One of the English symbols
Source: Shutterstock

This is also where two princes were imprisoned after their father’s death, King Edward IV. They had disappeared shortly after, in 1483, and their bodies weren’t found until 1647. So it’s no surprise that ghost stories have been told and ghost tours have taken place ever since.

Whaley House, San Diego, California

The family estate was built by Thomas Whaley in 1857 on the former site of San Diego’s first public gallows. But soon after he moved into the home, he claimed that he heard heavy footsteps of “Yankee” Jim Robinson, who was a drifter and a thief who was hanged on the same site four years before the estate was built.

The Whaley House, built-in 1857 in historic Old Town.
Photo by Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com

As it turns out, Whaley’s family history was filled with tragic deaths and suicides; most of which happened in the house. According to the now Whaley House Museum, some family members still haunt the place, involving cigar smoke and a smell of heavy perfume.

Jazirat Al Hamra, United Arab Emirates

The nearly-abandoned town of Jazirat Al Hamra is located between a mall and a waterpark. The town was established in the 14th century and grew into a thriving fishing village in the 1830s. But it was suddenly abandoned in 1968.

Abandoned buildings in Jazirat Al Hamra, Ras al Khaimah.
Source: Shutterstock

Jazirat Al Hamra now consists of dirt roads, 13 mosques, and over 300 coral-and-mud homes. And yes, of course, resident spirits. People have claimed that any visitors that come around are bound to hear strange noises and have chilling visions, usually genies-like figures in the form of animals.

Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia

The city of Savannah is pretty much one big ghost story. Why? Well, mostly because of all the mysterious tunnels that run under the streets. Forsyth Park is a fountained green space that you might even recognize from a postcard.

Savannah, Georgia, the USA at Forsyth Park Fountain
Source: Shutterstock

According to Savannah Magazine, doctors at the neighboring Candler Hospital (which is now the Savannah Law School) once used to perform autopsies in the underground tunnels. Forsyth Park is known for its sightings of shadowy, now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t forms.

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

Just looking at this place gives me the chills. People have been placing crosses here since the 14th century and for different reasons. During the medieval era, the crosses expressed a desire for Lithuanian independence. But then came a peasant uprising in 1831, where people began adding crosses to the site in honor of dead rebels. And so the hill became a spot of defiance again during the Soviet occupation from 1944 to 1991.

The Hill of Crosses, a famous site of pilgrimage in northern Lithuania.
Source: Shutterstock

Eventually, the hill and all its crosses were bulldozed by Soviets – not once, but three times! Yet the locals kept rebuilding it. at this point, there are more than 100,000 crosses all crowded together. “As the wind blows across the fields of rural Siauliai County, ornate rosaries clink against metal and wooden crucifixes, filling the air with eerie chimes,” Egle Gerulaityte wrote for BBC in 2017.

Oriental Theater (formerly Iroquois Theater), Chicago

The Oriental Theater (which was formerly the Iroquois Theater) is said to be haunted by ghosts. The theater sits in the Loop area of downtown Chicago, where nearly 600 people died after a fire broke out in 1903.

Oriental Theatre and street on October 6, 2011, in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo by Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

While the theater was totally rebuilt and also rebranded, it sounds like the spirits of the dead remained. Apparitions have been seen in “Death Alley,” which is the street behind the theater where bodies were literally stacked after the deadly fire. It’s also a popular stop on many Chicago ghost tours.

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Scotland’s capital city hosts one of its biggest attractions, and it’s also considered to be one of the most haunted. Some sections of the castle date back more than 900 years.

Edinburgh Castle during summer, Scotland.
Source: Shutterstock

The fortress’s ancient dungeons led to visitors reporting sightings of colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War, French prisoners from the Seven Years War. And they even reported the ghost of a dog wandering the castle’s pet cemetery.

Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England

Built in 1620, the 7000-acre estate is one of Norfolk’s most impressive. A notable ghost story from this location is most about Lady Dorothy (“Dolly”) Townshend. She was the wife of Viscount “Turnip” Townshend.

The striking west façade of Raynham Hall
Source: houseandgarden.co.uk

The couple lived in Raynham Hall in the 18th century, which was a time when her husband locked her up. Lady Dorothy’s ghost is said to haunt the estate and was even “proven” by a photo of her in the 1930s. “No one has proved the picture taken of her is a fake,” Lord Charles Raynham (the estate’s current resident) told the BBC.

Isla de las Munecas (Island of the Dolls), Mexico

Sure, it has a UNESCO World Heritage site for being a well-preserved example of Aztec life, but the neighborhood of Xochimilco has reached internet fame for its rather creepy Island of the Dolls. Hidden among the many canals, the site is a secret spot filled with hundreds of dolls hanging from trees and scattered on the grass.

The Island of the Dolls in the channels of Xochimilco in Mexico
Photo by doleesi / Shutterstock.com

While it looks more like a horror movie set, the chinampa (artificial island) used to be the home of a now-deceased man named Julian Santa Barrera. According to National Geographic, Barrera found a dead girl’s body in a nearby canal and collected and displayed the dolls in the hope of warding off evil spirits.

RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, California

The RMS Queen Mary had a brief stint as a warship in World War II, but it mostly served as a luxury ocean liner from 1936 to 1967. During that period, there was at least one murder, a sailor killed by a heavy door in the engine room, and children who drowned in the pool.

Long Beach, California. The historic Queen Mary moored in Long Beach.
Photo by Benson Truong / Shutterstock.com

The city of Long Beach bought the ship in 1967 to turn it into a hotel, which is still serving as a hotel today. While guests have to pay per night, the reported ghosts of the dead passengers get to stay for free. You can visit the ship’s engine room, a supposed “hotbed” of paranormal activity.

Höfði House, Reykjavik, Iceland

Overlooking the city’s waterfront, the Höfði House is famous for being the location where Ronald Regan and Michael Gorbachev met in 1986, which was a historic moment at the end of the Cold War. The house also housed other famous figures over the years, including Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill, and Marlene Dietrich.

Reykjavik, Iceland - July 23, 2016: Hofdi Manson and Einar Benediktsson Monument
Photo by Kirill Skorobogatko / Shutterstock.com

One British ambassador first experienced “The White Lady,” a ghost who many others believed to be a victim of suicide. The ghost lady apparently caused the ambassador so much panic and distress, that he convinced the British Foreign Office to sell the house right away.

Leap Castle, Ireland

Built between the 13th and late 15th century, the Irish castle has seen more cruel deaths than a Game of Thrones episode. Legend has it that during a struggle for power in the O’Carroll clan (which liked to poison their dinner guests), one member killed his brother (a priest) while he was holding mass in the castle’s chapel.

Leap Castle front, Co Offaly, Ireland
Source: Shutterstock

That room is now called “The Bloody Chapel,” and it’s said that the priest haunts the church at night. Then, during renovations in the early 1900s, workers found a secret dungeon in the Bloody Chapel with human skeletons, filling three cartloads.

Borgvattnet Haunted Vicarage, Sweden

Built in 1876, weird things have been reported in this residence since the 1960s. The gray wooden lodge now serves as bed and breakfast in a rural area where you can go snowmobiling, fishing, and that’s about it.

Spoekpraestgaard, a haunted clergy house, in Borgvattnet in Sweden.
Source: Shutterstock

Guests have claimed to hear music, footsteps, and three crying ladies coming from the lodge. But if you manage to stay the entire night without escaping, the owners will give you a certificate that says you stayed through the night!

Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa

The castle dates back to 1666, making it the oldest colonial building in the country. Originally built as a replenishment station for ships, the site also acted as a military fortress and a prison during the Second Boer War from 1899 to 1902.

Castle of Good Hope or Castle or Cape Town Castle
Source: Shutterstock

Today, tours take you through the fort’s rooms and buildings (including the torture chamber. Back in the 1700s, Governor Pieter van Noodt condemned men to be hanged to death. One of those men cursed the governor from the gallows, and later that day, van Noodt died of a heart attack. According to the Castle of Good Hope’s website, his ghost has been haunting the place ever since.

Crumlin Road Gaol, Ireland

Crumlin Road Gaol was a Victorian-era prison in Belfast, which was said to be one of the most haunted sites in all of Ireland. Referred to as Europe’s Alcatraz, the prison held 25,000 inmates (including men, women, and children!) during its 150 years of operation.

The Crumlin Road Gaol 23 April 2017 at Belfast. The Crum was one of the most secure prisons in Belfast until 1996 when it was closed
Photo by Attila JANDI / Shutterstock.com

The prison publicly hung prisoners and buried their bodies in the prison walls. The institution officially shut down in 1996, but the ghosts of inmates are said to still roam the walkways. Crumlin Road Gaol holds daily tours, live concerts, and if you’re hungry, reasonably priced meals at its in-prison restaurant. And guess what? It even serves as a venue for conferences and weddings!

Poveglia Island, Venice, Italy

Poveglia Island served as a quarantine zone for victims of the bubonic plague, storage space for Napoleon’s weapons, and as the site of an early 1900s insane asylum. The asylum had horrific medical experiments and finally closed down when a doctor threw himself off the institution’s bell tower.

Outside the hospital building now ruins, which remain abandoned on the island of Poveglia
Source: telegraph.co.uk

You probably won’t be amazed to hear that locals claim to hear echoing chimes from the island, even though the bell was removed decades ago. Unfortunately, it’s illegal to visit Poveglia today. But you can see the island and its decaying hospital from the beaches of nearby Lido.

Obvodny Canal, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Obvodny Canal goes by a rather sinister name: Suicide Canal. Ever since the canal was built in the late 18th century, strange happenings have surrounded the site. Construction workers complained of headaches, sudden outbursts of violence, and suicides.

St. Petersburg, Russia, on August 28, 2019. Embankment of the Obvodny Canal.
Photo by Nat-lia / Shutterstock.com

While most of the suicide attempts ended in death, others who were saved claimed that they don’t know why they jumped in the water, as if an invisible force pulled them off the banks. So if you ever find yourself in St. Petersburg, maybe stay on the sidewalks.

The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

China’s former imperial palace now serves as a museum. But the popular tourist destination has a reputation among supernatural enthusiasts. During its 600-year run as a palace, it saw its fair share of murders.

China Beijing Forbidden City garden
Source: Shutterstock

Whether it was at the hands of jealous people poisoning one another or executions ordered by the emperor, reports have poured in about strange phenomena since the palace was opened to the public in the 1940s. The most common ghost story involves a woman dressed in white strolling around the grounds and crying.

Catacombs of Paris, France

After heavy rains flooded and unearthed the Les Innocents cemetery in 1780, a wave of rotting corpses rushed out onto the property next door. The event started a 12-year project where bodies were moved from Paris’s cemeteries into the city’s limestone quarries.

Paris, France - July 12, 2013: The bones inside the Catacombs in Paris
Photo by Ed Goodacre / Shutterstock.com

It meant that eventually, the underground tunnels were packed with some 6 million bodies. Today, about a mile of the subterranean labyrinth is open to visitors, who can take tours of the tunnels and artfully arranged displays of bones.

Larnach Castle, New Zealand

Larnach was built between 1871 and 1887 as the residence of William Larnach, who was a prominent local politician. The castle features a 3,000-square-foot ballroom, which he had built as a 21st birthday present for his (favorite) daughter Kate. Kate later died of typhoid at age 26, and she’s the ghost that is said to haunt the ballroom.

Larnach Castle at Night New Zealand
Source: Shutterstock

But all those taps on your shoulder and whispers in your ear aren’t all imagination. The building has even been visited by paranormal investigators and was featured on the show called Ghost Hunters International.

Ancient Ram Inn, England

Built in 1145, the Inn has played many roles over the many centuries: a priest’s residence, housing for masons and slaves, a hotel, and a public house. It also happens to be a seriously haunted house.

Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, UK, June 3rd, 2016
Photo by Sue Martin / Shutterstock.com

Architectural Digest wrote, “With ghostly children, a high priestess, and even an incubus (Google it, but don’t say you weren’t warned) wandering the halls, guests have reportedly leaped from the windows in a frenzy to escape.”

Xunantunich, Belize

Deep in the jungles of Belize, Xunantunich is an ancient Mayan ruin that has been abandoned for the past millennium! The original civilization crumbles due to an earthquake, but the complex was rediscovered by explorers in the 1890s.

Xunantunich ruins, Belize
Source: Shutterstock

Since then, Xunantunich has been used as an archaeological site, tourist attraction, and home of ghostly sightings. One particular female ghost, a black-haired lady with glowing red eyes. She was first spotted by a research team in 1893 and has been seen by El Castillo (the tallest building in the complex) many times ever since. No one knows who the “Stone Lady” is, but many believe that was a human sacrifice whose death ritual was performed on the El Castillo pyramid.

Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston’s Dock Street Theatre, the beautiful downtown venue, was renovated in 2010. But the renovation hasn’t stopped all the freaky reports. The site has quite a turbulent history, according to Charleston’s city website.

Old Dock Street Theatre in Charleston South Carolina
Source: Shutterstock

Aside from the original theater burning down in 1740, the building also suffered damage from an earthquake in 1886. Then it was abandoned during the early 20th century. To make things worse, a prostitute named Nettie Dickerson was struck by lightning while standing on the theater’s balcony in the mid-1800s. Her ghost glides along the theater’s second floor… apparently.

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California

After the death of her husband, rifle tycoon William Wirt Winchester, Sarah Winchester had a Victorian labyrinth made to repel the vengeful spirits of all the lives taken by her husband’s guns. The mansion has four stories, 160 rooms, 10,000 window panes, and 47 stairways.

The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion in San Jose, California, which was once the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester.
Photo by Michael Neil Thomas / Shutterstock.com

The Winchester House just hosted a line-up of activities for Halloween: a themed dinner, a trick-or-treat trail for kids, and “Unhinged,” which is referred to as an “immersive horror experience.”

Eden Brown Estate, Nevis

Nevis has a lot to offer travelers, like creepy places with eerie sightings. The Eden Brown Estate, for instance, was a plantation that now lies in its ruins. The estate’s original owner was a wealthy businessman who wanted to give the property to his daughter as a wedding gift.

Eden Brown Estate, Nevis
Source: ancient-origins.net

A mysterious fight between the groom and the best man, however, left both men dead on the day of the wedding. Sadly, the daughter remained unmarried and alone for the rest of her life. Today, visitors say they saw the woman’s spirit roaming throughout the estate.

Ponte Sisto, Rome, Italy

The Ponte Sisto is a romantic bridge near Rome’s city center. Legend has it that if you go to the bridge at sunrise, you’ll see a carriage helmed by the ghost of Olimpia Maidalchini, who was the Pope Innocent X’s advisor.

Tiber River and Ponte Sisto bridge at sunset in Rome, Italy
Source: Shutterstock

The story is that Olimpia attempts to escape the city with the church’s gold, which is what she was accused of after Pope Innocent X’s death in 1655.

The Langham Hotel, England

The spirits are so lively at this 154-year-old hotel that they drove out several English national team cricket players in 2014. The athletes cited sudden heat and lights, as well as an unexplained presence at night.

London, October 2017. An exterior view of the Langham Hotel, on Portland Place.
Photo by Chrispictures / Shutterstock.com

Ghosts have been associated with the hotel for a long time, according to Visit Britain. It’s believed that one former resident was Emperor Louis Napoleon III. There was also a German prince who jumped to his death from his window.

Teatro Tapia, Puerto Rico

One of the most famous eerie sites on the island is Teatro Tapia, a theater known for its plays, concerts, and also its paranormal activity. According to urban legend, an actress fell to her death while performing at the theater. She then returned to haunt the place.

Teatro Tapia, Puerto Rico
Source: Flickr

Some visitors have reported seeing her ghost wandering the theater grounds, while others have reported mysterious footsteps, doors suddenly swinging open and shut, and a choir of voices coming from the stage.

Lawang Sewu, Indonesia

Lawang Sewu (aka “Thousand Doors”) was built in the early 20th century by Dutch colonialists. The Japanese eventually turned it into a detention camp during WWII. Many cruel interrogations, tortures, and executions occurred there – all of which contribute to its status as one of Indonesia’s most haunted sites.

Colonial building at sunset time in Semarang city, Central Java, Indonesia
Source: Shutterstock

Tourists are free to visit the now abandoned site, maybe because they want to see whether the circulating ghost stories have any truth to them.

Aokigahara Forest, Japan

This forest at the foot of Mount Fuji has a tortured past. It’s known as “Suicide Forest” and has been the site of 500 reported suicides since the 1950s, according to BBC. Some say that this trend has to do with the forest’s association with demons in Japanese mythology.

Tunnel trail at Aokigahara Forest in Japan. The forest has historical associations with demons in Japanese mythology and is, unfortunately, a popular place for suicides
Source: Shutterstock

Others blame the large underground deposits of iron, which mess with compasses and make it easy to get lost. As a result, many hikers in the forest will mark their path with tape or string to make it back out again.

Port Arthur, Tasmania

Port Arthur was a penal colony in 1833, which housed British convicts until it was abandoned in 1877. At that time, the island was considered “inescapable” and focused on correcting inmates’ morality, using methods like solitary confinement.

Port Arthur the old convict colony and historic jail located in Tasmania, Australia
Source: Shutterstock

The port was officially preserved as a historical site in 1979. Ghost tours are available now of the ruins and the nearby “Isle of the Dead,” an island with the bodies of deceased convicts in unmarked graves. Oooohhh.