Todd L Ross
Čachtice Castle, Slovakia.
In the early part of the 17th century, a Hungarian countess named Elizabeth Bathory was accused of murdering some 650 women across what is today known as Slovakia. Legend has it that Bathory's servants lured young women to Čachtice Castle with the promise of work and education, only to help butcher them. Although she was never officially punished for her crimes, the infamous murders said to take place at the castle have led to numerous stories of ghost sightings within and around its ruined walls atop the hill.
Tower of London, London, England.
One of the most popular visitor attractions in England, the Tower of London is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames. The White Tower was built by William the Conqueror, the first Norman King of England, in 1078. From 1100 until 1952, the castle was famously used as a prison, housing people like Elizabeth I before she became queen. Executions were carried out on Tower Hill to the north of the castle, where many of the ghosts that people claim to see are found. The most famous spectral resident is Anne Boleyn, who supposedly walks around the White Tower, carrying her head under her arm.
Valley of the Kings, Egypt.
Ancient Egypt’s burial practices are well-known today, and given the advanced techniques of preservation that allowed them to make mummies, it’s little wonder that any place associated with ancient Egyptian burials is rumored to be haunted. The Valley of the Kings, located in hills on the western Nile, was used as a burial site for nearly 500 years, known to the Egyptians as “The Royal Necropolis”. These man-made tombs were carved into the cliffside to house the bodies and earthly possessions of pharaohs and Egyptian nobles, including the likes of the boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun, whose tomb was discovered fully intact in 1922.
Underground Catacombs, Paris, France.
The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries which hold the remains of more than six million people in a small part of a tunnel network built to consolidate Paris’ ancient stone mines. Construction on this burial site began in 1774, and from 1786, nightly processions of covered wagons transferred remains from most of Paris’ cemeteries to a mine shaft leading into the catacombs. The site has become extremely popular among paranormal seekers, who believe that the disrespect shown to the dead by using their bones as decoration has caused unrest in their eternal slumber. Visitors have reported the feeling of being touched by invisible hands, being followed, and some have even described feeling the sensation of being strangled.
The Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California.
The heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company after her husband William passed away in 1881, Sarah Winchester inherited roughly $20 million dollars and asked for the advice of a medium on how to spend it in her grief. Legend says that her husband’s spirit was conjured by the medium, and that he told her to move from Connecticut to California and build a massive home for the spirits of those who had died to Winchester rifles, or else they would haunt her for the rest of her days. Bought in 1884 as a small, unfinished farmhouse, the house was quickly changed with constant expansions, eventually turning the home into a seven-story monstrosity. Many of the alterations proved pointless with hallways or staircases leading to absolutely nothing. The final product of the home had over 160 rooms and 10,000 panes of glass, and has gone down in history as one of the most famous haunted houses in the entire world.
Bran Castle, Transylvania, Romania.
Bran Castle is Transylvania’s most famous castle and the one associated with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This ominous structure was a favorite residence of Romania’s Queen Marie, and its museum honors both this regal ruler and pays homage to the associations the castle has gained with the Dracula legend, however erroneous they may be. While the castle may not be as frightening as some sources suggest, both the folklore of the countryside, in which undead souls are said to haunt villagers at night, and the brutal medieval past that the castle witnessed provide enough evidence for it to be considered haunted.
Island of Dolls, Mexico.
This creepy island filled with decrepit dolls was dedicated to a young girl who was supposedly found drowned on the island. The dolls left here are left in her memory, but some say that they house the spirit of the girl, with some visitors even claiming to have seen them move or even speak to one another. Don Julian Santana Barrera was the former caretaker of the island who found the body of the deceased girl. Many locals claim that his spirit has joined hers after his passing in 2001, and since then the island has become a popular tourist attraction, with many visitors bringing dolls to leave behind.
Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania, United States.
This menacing Gothic-style prison opened in 1829 and became the first in the U.S. to implement solitary confinement. Prisoners languished in the Penitentiary’s stone cells with nearly zero human contact, and they had hoods placed over their heads anytime they were moved. The so-called “Pennsylvania system” was replicated in several other states and in Europe. Al Capone was probably the most famous inmate at Eastern State Penitentiary, having served time in the institution from August 1929 to March 1930, but he had a much cushier arrangement than his fellow prisoners. When the facility closed in 1971, it was believed that the ghosts of the inmates took back the prison. Visitors claim to see their apparitions wandering the corridors and to hear mischievous whispers in abandoned cell blocks.
Highgate Cemetery, London, England.
Opened in 1839, Highgate is one of London’s most infamous cemeteries, originally opened as one of the city’s “Magnificent Seven” park cemeteries. Among the impressive Victorian and Egyptian-influenced tombs here, you can find the gravestones of Communist thinker Karl Marx, Science Fiction author Douglas Adams, and “the Blind Traveler,” James Holman. It was brought back into the limelight through its extensive use in horror movie productions from the London-based Hammer studio leading up to the 1970s, and stories of grave robbing, desecration, and vampires began appearing in the local news. The “Highgate Vampire Sensation,” as it was known, culminated in 1970 when magicians Farrant and Manchester claimed that each would be the first to find and kill this supposed blood-sucking menace. Manchester himself announced an official vampire hunt, and on Friday the 13th, a mob stormed the cemetery, looting and destroying graves and corpses in the belief that they would slay their foe.
Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland.
This mid-17th century castle in Ireland has passed hands many times, housing the likes of Lord Byron, who held famously raucous parties within its stone walls. The castle is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl named Harriet, the youngest daughter of the third Earl of Charleville, who died tragically on the main staircase of the building at the age of 8 in April of 1861. Her presence in the castle has been reported many times by many different people, whether by sounds late at night, or even being caught on camera as a ghostly shadow or mist. Other visitors claim to have seen the image of a little girl wearing a blue and white dress with golden curls and blue ribbons in her hair. The castle has been investigated by various ghost hunting television shows from around the world, but the majority of its visitors come for exhibition space of the “Explorer’s Museum” that was dedicated in honor of Colonel Charles Kenneth Howard-Bury.
The Haunted Vicarage, Borgvattnet, Sweden.
Built in 1876, this humble house for holy men started getting its first supposed hauntings in 1927 when the resident vicar reported strange happenings, including his laundry being torn from the line. Tales of supernatural events continued in the ensuing decades with almost every new vicar or their family and guests claiming to experience ghostly antics. Things moved, screams heard, shadows seen, and empty rocking chairs moving back-and-forth led many visitors to add to this small cottage’s haunted history. In the early ‘80s, the site caught the attention of an outsider priest, named Tore Forslund, known as the “ghost priest”. He came to the village of Borgvattnet with promises of ridding the home of its ghostly squatters, but left within a year after his exorcisms showed no signs of success.
Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa.
Built by soldiers, sailors, and slaves between the years 1666 and 1679, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in South Africa, having survived centuries of violence and slavery. It surely comes as no surprise then, that it has left behind a legacy of disturbed and restless spirits of tormented souls roaming its cold passageways. The most common sightings here are of Governor Pieter Gysbert van Noordt. Known to have been a strict ruler with an extremely profane mouth, he unjustly sentenced seven soldiers to death for military desertion in 1728. After refusing to meet the demands of one of the soldiers attending the execution, that soldier apparently put a curse on the governor, and he was discovered dead by a heart attack in his office later that day. Today, many workers and visitors have mentioned his bitter presence and cursing within the castle’s walls.
Sedlec Ossuary, Kutná Hora, Czech Republic.
It’s hard to know where to start with the Sedlec Ossuary, which is more well known internationally as “the Bone Church”. Constructed out of the bones of some 40,000 people, this structure has many features, all made with bones as well, such as the 8-foot chandelier said to contain almost every bone a human being can grow. The artist of this morbid decoration, František Rint, even signed his name in bones on one of the walls near the entrance! It’s not a stretch to say many people feel a lingering presence inside this macabre piece of human architecture, making it one of the creepiest places in the entire world.
Dadipark, Dadizele, Belgium.
This abandoned amusement park located to the south of Antwerp near the French border is also Europe’s oldest. It was opened in 1950 with the help of a local pastor as a simple playground for the children of families visiting the nearby basilica, and was later evolved into a separate theme park entirely. It was rather successful from the 1980s on, until a series of horrible accidents occured, provoked by the increasingly rundown and ill-kept rides. After a 9-year-old boy lost his arm at Dadipark in 2000, visitation quickly diminished, leading to the park’s closing just two years later. Ghost hunters have visited the site rather frequently, noting a strange energy radiating through the park as nature has shown a vigorous tenacity for reclaiming its territory.
The Hanging Coffins, Sagada, Philippines.
Members of the Igorot tribe of the Mountain Province in northern Philippines have long practised the tradition of burying their dead in hanging coffins, nailed to the sides of cliff faces high above the ground. One of the most common beliefs behind this practice is that moving the bodies of the dead higher up brings them closer to their ancestral spirits. This tradition dates back over 2,000 years, but has receded in regularity in recent years, as newer generations in the Philippines are more influenced by the country’s heavily Christian population.
Todd L Ross
The response to our “15 Most Haunted Places in America” video was great, so we’re continuing the theme with some of the Most Famous Haunted Places in the entire world. Check out these fascinating locations said to be roamed by spectral visitors.
Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England.
Home to the ghost known as “the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall,” this country house in Norfolk has been the seat of the Townshend family for nearly 400 years. According to legend, the resident apparition is the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole, the sister of Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. On September 19, 1936, Captain Hubert C. Provand took a photo for Country Life magazine that has since become the most famous picture of a supposed ghost in history. According to Provand, he and his assistant were busy taking photographs of the house’s main staircase when a strange, unexplainable mist began forming on the steps. It began to move down the stairs as if it was walking while Provand snapped a few photos.
Poveglia Island, Italy.
This island just to the south of Venice has an extremely dark past, being used as a quarantine station for those suffering from the bubonic plague during several points in history. Of course, it quickly became a place of death as the bodies began to pile up. In fact, so many people died on the island that it turned the soil rotten, and today the soil is comprised of about 50% human ash. The only crops that grows on the island are grapes, which can still thrive in ashy soil. The Italian tourism board prohibits visiting the island, requiring a lengthy application process to obtain approval for setting foot on the death-infested island.
Bhangarh Fort, India.
Located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan, entry to this ominous mountainside fort is restricted after sunset. Legend tells of the beautiful princess Ratnavati, who received many marriage proposals, refusing the advances of a tantrik priest. The priest was well versed in black magic, and after falling in love with the princess, he cast a spell on a bottle of perfume that one of her maids was buying in the village, in order to make her love him. Ratnavati learned of this spell and threw the bottle, which turned into a boulder and crushed the tantrik priest, but not before he put a curse on the princess, her family, and the entire village. The next year, a great battle was fought between the forces of Bhangarh and Ajabgarh, which lead to the death of princess Ratnavati and most of the army. Locals believe that the curse prevents the rebirth of all those who live in the village and fort, leading to the innumerable ghost stories surrounding the fort.
Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton-under-Edge, England.
Built on an ancient pagan burial ground in 1145, this cottage is supposedly haunted by up to twenty ghosts. The current owner, Caroline Humphries, inherited the The Ancient Ram Inn when her father John passed away in 2017. While renovating the property, he discovered small bones and daggers under the earth - which led him to believe that children had been sacrificed to pagan gods there before the structure was built. Paranormal experts have flocked to this site for years, with stories of flying furniture and misty apparitions torturing guests who stay overnight at the inn.
Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia.
This former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula is now an open-air museum that is supposedly populated by the spirits of those who died in captivity. Visitors have claimed to have seen the ghosts of children, as well as hearing church bells ringing at odd times during the day. There’s also the story of the young Private Robert Young, who died in 1840 at the age of 20 by slipping off a small boat into the dark water below. His ghost is said to haunt the area around the jetty. One guest encountered him while staying at the Jetty Cottage; she woke one night and saw a specter in the room that had straight black hair and a ruffled white shirt. Other guests reported seeing the exact same specter in various locations around the jetty.
Burg Wolfsegg, Wolfsegg, Germany.
The most famous ghost story of Wolfsegg Castle relates to the wife of the man who had it constructed, Ulrich Von Helfenstein. Legend tells of trouble within the couple’s marriage, caused by Ulrich’s military responsibilities that caused him to constantly travel. In his absence, his wife Klara would become bored and lonely at the castle and looked to others to fulfill her needs. Eventually, Klara engaged in an affair, which was later discovered by Ulrich. Legend states that Ulrich had her killed one night in her chamber by local men after discovering her adultery. Ever since her murder, tales began to circulate of a white woman roaming the halls of the castle, especially within Klara’s bedroom. Many believe that this is Klara’s spirit and she is also thought responsible for other bizarre activity, such as causing disturbances in electromagnetic fields, producing strange light anomalies and full-bodied apparition sightings.
The Amityville House, Amityville, New York.
One of the most well-documented haunted houses in the world, the site of the Amityville Horror murders in November of 1974 captured international attention. The eldest child of the DeFeo family, 23-year-old Ronald “Butch” DeFeo, Jr., murdered his entire family in cold blood with a .35 caliber rifle. His two parents and four younger siblings all fell victim to his violence, but the rumors surrounding the events attempt to add a more supernatural context. Not only are the spirits of the slain DeFeo family said to still occupy the house, but many people speculate that the house was already haunted, and that it corrupted Butch into killing his loved ones. The successor residents to the DeFeo family, the Lutzes, lasted in the house for a mere 28 days, but apparently approached DeFeo’s defense attorney William Weber, with the proposition of selling a ghost story that was really a hoax. But the two sons of George and Kathy Lutz have claimed to have run-ins with the paranormal in their short stay in the house.
Casa Loma, Toronto, Canada.
This centuries-old castle on a hill is home to many haunting stories, the most famous of which is that of the white lady who roams the halls of the second floor. Believed to be an early 20th century maid at the castle, she is most commonly seen by modern-day cleaning staff. There have also been reported sightings of Sir Henry Pellatt, who originally commissioned the construction of Casa Loma, as well as his wife Lady Mary Pellatt. According to mediums who claim to have felt their presence, the spirits of the Pellatt couple are not trapped there, instead choosing to return in the afterlife after being ousted from the castle when they couldn’t keep up with its costs.
Château de Brissac, Brissac-Quincé, France. (Pronunciation: “bree-SACK kain-see”)
Built in the 11th century, this castle has been dubbed as the “tallest castle in France”, serving the Counts of Anjou in the first few centuries of its life. The famous spectral resident of the Château is known as the “Green Lady,” who is said to be the ghost of a woman by the name of Charlotte de Brézé, who was the illegitimate daughter of King Charles VII and his mistress, Agnes Sorel. A marriage was arranged between Charlotte and Jacques de Brézé, a nobleman. The politically motivated marriage between two incompatible people led to an affair on Charlotte’s part. On May 31, 1477, after Jacques had returned from a hunting excursion, he was informed of his wife’s affair with one of his huntsmen, Pierre de Lavergne. After catching his wife and her lover red-handed Jacques murdered the both of them in a fit of rage. Apparently Jacques moved out of the chateau shortly afterwards, as he could not stand the moaning of his late wife’s and her lover’s ghosts.
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado.
A single night in this hotel tucked away in Colorado’s mountain wilderness inspired Stephen King’s best-selling novel-turned-horror-film, The Shining. Massachusetts couple F.O. and Flora Stanley opened the isolated resort in 1909 - and supposedly never left. According to modern staff, Mr. Stanley occasionally pops up in photographs, and Mrs. Stanley can be heard playing her Steinway piano in the music room at night. There have also been reports of bags being unpacked, lights turning off and on, and the ghost of a little boy on the second floor. Paranormal experts refer to the Stanley Hotel as one of the most active ghost sites in the United States. To add to the ambiance, guest bedrooms have a TV channel that plays Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining on a 24-hour loop.
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Calgary, Alberta.
This majestic hotel in the Banff Valley has welcomed famous guests from British Royalty to Marilyn Monroe. But it might be more well known for the apparent guests who have yet to check out. The most well-known part of the Banff Springs Hotel is the apparently missing Room 873, which is certainly there in the structure of the hotel, but the door has been replaced with brick and drywall. The story goes that a family of three checked into Room 873 years ago. One night the man went crazy and murdered his two loved ones. After the investigations into the murders, hotel management refurbished the room and put it back into service, but it seems the victims never really moved on, torturing guests of the room with screams in the middle of the night and leaving bloody handprints on the walls.
Tao Dan Park, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
What makes Tao Dan Park a unique entry on this list is the fact that many locals have never heard of any spooky sightings or events at this park in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1. There was apparently a murder in the park in 1989, as a young man was lured there late at night to sell his motorbike. He was ambushed by three men and strangled to death as they robbed him of his wallet and keys, driving the bike away. Thankfully, the three men were all arrested for the crime, but local police claim that the murder never took place in the park. According to stories on the Internet, the ghost of the young motorcycle seller roams the park, looking for his lost lover. However, many locals refute these claims, saying that it is just a marketing tactic to encourage tourists to visit their city.
Aokigahara Forest, Japan. (Pronunciation: “oh-kee-guh-HAR-uh”)
More commonly known as “the Suicide Forest,” Aokigahara Forest has the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s third most popular place to die by suicide. Since the 1950s, Japanese businessmen have wandered in, and at least 500 of them haven’t wandered out, at an increasing rate of between 10 and 30 per year. Japenese spiritualists believe that the suicides committed in the forest have permeated Aokigahara’s trees, generating paranormal activity and preventing many who enter from escaping the forest’s depths. There’s also the freaky common experience of compasses being rendered useless by the rich deposits of magnetic iron in the area’s volcanic soil. There are signs throughout the forest that discourage suicide and aim to prevent more tragic visits, but unfortunately, the trend of suicides has not slowed down in recent years.
Mont St. Michel, Normandy, France.
The castle of Mont St. Michel stands on an island off the coast of Normandy and was originally a church, supposedly built by the Archangel Michael himself. A garrison was added to the abbey in the 15th century. Today, the massive structure is said to be haunted by the ghost of Louis d’Estouville, who commanded the garrison starting in 1434. A fierce Lord, Louis d’Estouville led the slaughter of two thousand Englishmen during the Hundred Years’ War. According to legend, the sand of the island was red with English blood, and Louis is said to still roam Mont St. Michel, ever its protector.
Akershus Festning, Oslo, Norway.
This medieval castle was constructed in the late 13th Century to protect the Norwegian capital from invasion, but was most famously used as a prison that demanded grueling work from its inhabitants. During World War II, the castle was surrendered without conflict into Nazi control, and was used by the Third Reich to execute people for five years, until the war was over. The famous ghostly resident that guards the castle’s front gates is Malcanisen, which translates very literally to “evil dog”. Legend says that anyone who is approached by the demonic canine is sentenced to a horrible death that occurs sometime in the following three months. There’s also the story of a woman named Mantelgeisten who is often seen within the castle walls, appearing from the darkness wearing a long robe and sporting no facial features.