Places that boast enough symptoms of otherworldly presence to become the most notorious world’s top 15 real-life haunted houses.
Some people might be hesitant to admit that they believe in ghosts. But if you ever hear a chilling bump in the night when you’re home alone, ghosts might not be such a leap of faith. You may argue that you can walk unruffled through that commercial haunted house, what’s the big deal? But real-life haunted houses are a different story altogether.
What if ghosts found their way into your home? Should you choose to visit any of the following spookiest places in the world, you may find that the sensation of an uninvited guest isn’t such an uncommon occurrence.
15. Devils Pool, Australia
A natural pool nestled among boulders, Devil’s Pool is thought to have been cursed by an Aboriginal woman who tragically drowned herself after her lover was taken away from her. Since 1959, is has been estimated that 17 people have drowned there from falls or slips or getting caught in the fast-flowing currents that can trap people in ‘rock chutes’.
14. Hanging Coffins, Philippines
Intending to bring the deceased closer to heaven, members of the Igorot tribe in the mountain province of Sagada suspend the coffins of their dead from cliffsides, prompting many reports of ghost sightings in the area.
13. Brug Wolfsegg, Germany
This 800-year-old castle in the municipality of Wolfsegg, Germany, is apparently haunted by a “White Woman” who scares off any visitors who pass. The woman is rumored to be the ghost of Klara von Helfenstein who was reportedly murdered by her jealous husband.
12. Lawang Sewu, Indonesia
The name Lawang Sewu is Javanese and means “thousand doors”, in reference to its architectural design. Like the Penang War Museum, it was also taken over by the Japanese in World War II and converted the building into a prison and the basement of building was used for executions.
The ghost stories of people who visit this place include a ghost of a young Dutch woman who was said to have committed suicide in the building, headless ghouls walking about, and a kuntilanak (a vampiric ghost in Indonesian and Malay mythology).
11. Akershus Festning, Norway
This medieval castle that served as a defensive stronghold for the city of Oslo and is rumored to be the most haunted place in Norway. The most popular sightings include a demon dog named Malcanisen that’s said to guard the gates to the castle and the ghost of a woman with no facial features named Mantelgeisten, often seen within the castle, walking back towards her chamber.
10. Pluckley Village, UK
This village in Kent was once crowned the most haunted village in England by the Guinness Book of World Records, with an estimated 12-16 ghosts. There’s a highwayman who was stabbed with a sword and pinned to a tree and is said to haunt an area with the fitting name of ‘Fright Corner’. Look out for an apparition named The Red Lady who haunts the churchyard after dark.
9. Monte Cristo Homestead, Australia
This haunted building has experienced a multitude of scary happenings. It might look innocent enough, but once you enter it’s a different story. Strange and tragic events include a baby who was thrown down the stairs allegedly by supernatural forces, a stable boy burnt to death, and a pregnant caretaker who was pushed or fell over the balcony. It’s also believed to be haunted by Christopher and Elizabeth Crawley who used to own the property.
8. Blickling Hall, UK
The stately house is said to have a special guest stop by every spring. Blickling Hall was one of Anne Boleyn’s childhood homes. Boleyn was the second of King Henry VIII’s six wives. Henry was obsessed with having a male heir to the throne and consequently divorced Catherine of Aragon, his first wife, because none of the males she gave birth to survived. He gave it another go with Anne Boleyn, who also failed to produce a son (but did give birth to the future Queen Elizabeth I).
To arrange his second divorce, the king cooked up adultery charges against Boleyn. Her punishment of allegedly cheating on one of the world’s most powerful men at that time was death. On May 19, 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded. Every year, on the anniversary of her execution, Boleyn’s headless ghost reportedly arrives at Blickling Hall in a carriage drawn by a headless horseman. But she hasn’t lost her head completely in the afterlife — she carries it along with her during her hauntings.
7. Charleville Castle, Ireland
This destination’s stunning architecture belies its true nature. Widely believed to be one of the most haunted locations in Europe, many apparitions are said to reside within its walls–most notably the spirit of a young girl named Harriet, who met a tragic end in an accident on one of the castle’s main staircases.
6. Salem, USA
Salem is the site of the infamous Witch Trials where 20 people, mostly women, were hanged for consorting with the Devil and casting spells upon the town’s children. Witnesses have reported seeing an angry ghost around the city’s oldest graveyard, the Howard Street Cemetery. The House of Seven Gables has also been the site of paranormal activity, with a general oppressive atmosphere, as well as a rocking chair that has appeared to move by itself.
5. Hoia Baciu Forest, Romania
This forest is considered the most haunted in the world. Visitors often report intense feelings of anxiety and the feeling of being watched while traveling through the forest, and some of the most common sightings include ghosts, unexplained apparitions, faces appearing in photographs that were not visible with the naked eye, and even some UFOs.
4. Bhangarh Fort, India
Also known as ‘Bhoot Bangla’ (the Fort of Ghosts), Bhangarh Fort was a small city made up of temples, gates and palaces at the foot of a mountain before being abandoned around 1783. There are two stories that explain the fate of Bhangarh: a curse from a holy man who forbade the height of the buildings to be taller than his own. When one building cast a shadow over his own house, he is said to have cursed the entire town. Another story is of a wizard who was in love with the Princess of Bhangarh. When the princess foiled his spell to make her fall in love with him, the bitter wizard put a curse on the city. Today, it is said that anyone who enters the city at night will never come out again, and paranormal activity is thought to be concentrated around the Dancers’ Haveli (Dancers House) and Jauhari Bazar (Marketplace).
3. Myrtles Plantation, USA
Rumoured to be built on the site of an ancient Indian burial ground, the Myrtles Plantation has been dubbed ‘one of America’s most haunted homes’. Legend has it that 10 murders have occurred in the house. The ghost of a former slave in a green turban has been sighted, as well as a haunted mirror that supposedly holds the ghosts of Sara Woodruff and her children who previously lived in the house. Equally as spooky is the apparition of William Winter, who was reportedly shot on the front porch. His ghost, writhing in agony from the gunshot wound, has been sighted crawling up the stairs and disappearing into thin air.
2. The Ancient Ram Inn, Wooten-Under-Edge, UK
This restaurant and hotel was built in the 1100s and has regular guests lining up to be terrorised by screams and moving furniture. It is believed to have once been a pagan burial ground where children were sacrificed. Caroline Humphries, who has lived in the house for over 30 years, is used to the sight of guests fleeing from visions of a little girl, the cries of children and sensations of being pushed down onto the bed by a male demon.
1. Eastern State Penitentiary, USA
It’s believed that inmates here were driven insane by solitary confinement, torture, and disease while the prison was in operation from 1829-1971. Since then, the stark cells and dilapidated corridors of this infamous prison have been left in a state of ‘preserved ruin’, making for a seriously bone-chilling experience. When there, you may notice that some prisoners were never able to escape the fortress-like penitentiary … even in the afterlife.