13 of the World's Most Haunted Places
Halloween means campy horror movies are back in theaters, faux-haunted houses are set up at farms, pumpkins are for the taking, and a general fright is in the chilly and getting chillier air. Did you know that you weren’t relegated to fake haunted houses to get your Halloween kick? These haunted places around the world will put a real (genuine) fright into you (if that’s your thing).
Here’s our list – we were able to compile 13. Are you brave enough to visit any?
The Tower of London, England
This centuries-old location is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city, so it may come as a surprise to top our list. But the Tower, starting out as a royal palace, also became a prison where hundreds of people went to their deaths. The most famous was Anne Boleyn, wife of King Henry VIII, who was executed in 1536 and evidently still lurks the grounds today with several other ghosts.
Very few people visit this place, mostly because it’s technically off-limits. But if you can find someone to take you there via boat, you’re on your way to a creepy experience. Historically, it served as a quarantine station for individuals infected with various diseases, sent to the small island to die, making Poveglia essentially a mass burial ground. To add to the creepy luster, however, the island also became an asylum for the mentally unwell in the 1920s, similar to the plot behind the hit movie Shutter Island. It has been closed since 1968, and totally abandoned – by the living at least.
RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, California
This floating haunted hotel once was one of the most glamorous ocean liners in service. During the ship’s decades of commercial service, 49 passengers and crew are known to have died onboard, and no one knows how many service members passed away when it was used during WWII. Most notably scary: the first-class swimming pool has been reported to host non-living presences going for a dip, and the nursery sometimes – allegedly – has the sounds of children playing coming from it, while room B340 boasts freaky knocks on the door in the middle of the night, furniture flying across the room on its own, and faucets randomly being turned on. In short, the room isn’t even rented out anymore.
The White House, Washington, D.C.
This one might be obvious, but there are stories to back up just how haunted the president’s home really is. Starting with First Lady Grace Coolidge, a number of inhabitants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have claimed to see Abraham Lincoln’s ghost, including Eleanor Roosevelt. Visiting the White House, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands also supposedly fainted when she saw Abe as well. Even Winston Churchill claimed to have walked into his bedroom only to find the 16th president leaning on the mantel. There is also a legend about a Demon Cat that haunts basements and underground passages throughout D.C., appearing before presidential elections and national catastrophes. And what’s more Halloween than a Demon Cat?
Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, Australia
Located in Victoria, Australia, this insane asylum shut down in 1995, after almost a century-and-a-half of questionable practices. To be admitted, patients only needed two signatures, but to get out? Eight signatures were required. Even more sinister were the Ha-Ha walls used to keep the prisoners trapped within while being able to look out. In any case, plenty of ghosts are reported to still be trapped here, so this place is definitely no laughing matter.
Bhangarh Fort, India
No one’s allowed here after sunset, and for good reason. The fort (built in 1613) is known as the most haunted place in India, largely due to a curse that befell it when a heartsick magician cursed the fort and its people after being rejected by the princess. Well, the curse worked. Almost 10,000 people who lived in the fort were killed during an invasion, including the princess, and the place has been haunted ever since.
Hell Fire Club, Ireland
Home to supposed devil worshippers, the Hell Fire Club hosted members who would leave a chair open at all times should the devil himself decide to show up to hang out with them. Legend has it that one night he did exactly that. Further accounts mention devilish behavior, sacrifices, and other activities fit for a haunted house. For years there have been reports of yelling and screaming coming from the premises, where a fire in 1740 killed many. Though there are screams, it has been empty ever since that fire.
Château de Châteaubriant, France
This castle was built in the 11th century and its haunted nature all stems from an affair between the king and a nobleman’s wife, Francoise de Foix. She mysteriously died the night of October 16, 1537 and there are several rumors as to why and how. Of course, it was rumored she had been murdered, or even locked in a room to starve. Ever since, Francoise de Foix’s ghost evidently appears on the anniversary of her death each year.
The Island of the Dolls, Mexico
What's scarier than an island filled with dolls? The story of the Island of the Dolls, or Isla de las Muñecas, is that the man who lived there, Don Julian Santana, learned of a girl who had died in the river and he hung a doll in a tree for her spirit. Unfortunately for him, the girl started to haunt the man, and he continued to prop dolls up in the trees, doing this for fifty years until he was one day found dead himself, drowned in the river in the same exact place the girl had died. The dolls remain there to this day.
Glamis Castle, Scotland
Try counting the windows from the outside of this castle and then count them in – you’ll find the number won’t be the same. That’s only the beginning to this eerie castle in Scotland. The legend is that there must be a secret room because there are always two less windows counted from within. Myths of murder, obviously, followed. Darker tales emerged about this secret room making this castle one haunted place to visit, especially if you stumble upon the room that no one can find.
Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood
For a cinematic scare, visit the hotel that hosted the very first Academy Awards. Marilyn Monroe’s ghost has been seen in room 229 as well as dancing in the ballroom. Montgomery Clift – the great Western actor – is known to haunt room 928, the room he stayed in while making the classic From Here to Eternity (think about that title!)
Castle of Good Hope, South Africa
South Africa’s oldest building, constructed in the 17th century, has almost been haunted for as long as it’s been around. In 1729, seven soldiers were unjustly condemned to die at the Castle, and one is known to still stalk the halls, yelling and cursing. Lady Anne Barnard also haunts the place, having been seen at parties where she feels she can evidently blend in, and also bathing in the Dolphin Pool. The bell tower also tends to ring at its own volition.
Cortijo Jurado, Spain
Ruins today, this once 19th-century mansion was home to the wealthy Heredia family, one of the richest in Spain. A mysterious network of underground tunnels connected it to a river and another nearby mansion owned by the Larios family. For a time, a number of young girls from the area went missing and their captors were never found, nor were their remains. An elderly man of the area, Manuel Martin, recounted that in his youth he found his way through the tunnels only to discover crypts and an underground cave filled with strange symbols and other creepy devices. He escaped and the room has not been found again, but ghostly figures have been seen wandering the grounds, and voices can be heard, trapped inside the walls.
So even though you can easily drive over to that local haunted house with actors dressed up and decked out in freaky makeup, remember that there are plenty of real haunted houses all across the world. Do you dare visit any of them?