Haunted Places Across the Globe
With Halloween just around the corner many of us are daydreaming of haunted places to explore. I’ve been to plenty of haunted places and taken many ghost walks on my travels. One of my favourite haunted experiences were the variety of ghost walks I took in York, England – said to be the most haunted city in Great Britain. Another spooky favourite was the ghost tour I went on in Edinburgh that took me into the city’s underground vaults and Covenanter’s Prison – said to be some of the most haunted places in the world. Then of course there was the time I went on the hunt for Dracula in Romania.
The macabre in us gets a strange sense of excitement seeking out the spookiest places to visit, the creepiest cemeteries to tip-toe through and haunted buildings in search of ghosts. So, I’ve asked a few of my fellow travel bloggers where some of their favourite haunted places were. And together we’ve come up with an epic list of haunted places across the globe!
Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania, USA – Me
For me, one of the most unnerving places I’ve explored was Pennsylvania’s Eastern State Penitentiary. This former prison was once the most expensive and famous prison in the world. While now in ruin it was once home to many of America’s most notorious criminals – like Al Capone. Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 and ran for nearly 150 years. So plenty of souls have walked its hallways. Reports of ghost sightings have been heard as far back as the 1940’s. With its imposing exterior and crumbling interior it was definitely a haunting place to wander. Walking its long halls lined with darkened cells I could have sworn shadows were following me.
Old Wardour Castle, Wiltshire, England – Amanda from Amanda’s Wanderlust
Set in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside in Southern England, Old Wardour Castle was built as an extravagant fortified home for Lord Lovell in the late 14th Century. With stunning views across the area, it’s hexagonal shape and imposing towers dominated the landscape.
In 1547 it was purchased by Sir Thomas Arundell of Cornwall, and so began its more troubled past. Scheming, plots, battles and executions, this place has it all! Eventually the castle was besieged. Lady Blanche Arundell and her men held out for six days against a determined onslaught before she surrendered to her death and parliamentary troops took control.
Today it stands in ruins, testament to a troubled past, and a focal point for strange tales of paranormal activity. It is no wonder that this imposing grey ruin, with one intact tower, surrounded by dense woodland and mirrored by the lake, should be the source of ghostly tales. Could it be the ghost of Lady Blanche that can often be seen walking towards the lake at twilight?
The Deerfield Inn, Massachusetts, USA – Paula McInerney from Contented Traveller
The Deerfield Inn is located in the village of Old Deerfield, an historical museum town in Massachusetts. This part of New England is apparently renowned for having many haunted inns. The little town of Deerfield is a National Historic Landmark District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in America, and The Deerfield Inn is haunted. The inn has many creaky nooks and crannies, and ghosts. There are many ghosts who are noted as being ‘mischievous’ as opposed to really spooky. There are two residents ghosts. Cora was a one-time owner of the inn, was and is an inveterate sticky beak, and likely to look through your belongings. Hershel, was a former guest of the inn, but is now one of the permanent ghosts, who likes to tug people’s pillows as they sleep.
Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, Australia – Jen from The Trusted Traveller
This decommissioned psychiatric hospital closed its doors in 1995 after operating for over 125 years. With such a long history, and the fact that it was one of the biggest facilities of its kind in Australia, you can imagine the stories its walls could tell you.
Reports of doors swinging open by themselves, and mysterious screams have been common. As have people seeing a quickly vanishing figure of a man who appears near the asylums cellar, and a woman photographed standing at the window from which she was reputedly thrown by other patients.
But there are two stories that I found really sent chills down my spine. The first is that of Matron Sharpe, who spent most of her life in the asylum. She has been spotted in numerous locations as a grey hooded figure in period costume roaming the grounds.
The other story is of an old man in a green jacket, possibly an old grounds-keeper. It is said that if you glance out of the cottage windows around dusk you may see him wandering around in the gardens.
Whether these tales are true or not, just simply wandering around the grounds myself gave me chills and feelings of another presence than my own.
You are free to wander parts of the grounds yourself, but for the full experience, you can join a night-time ghost tour which gives you access to the interiors too.
Ossuary Monastery of San Francisco, Lima, Peru – Norman from Années de Pèlerinage
One of the spookiest places I ever visited were the catacombs in Lima. Under the Monastery of San Francisco, right in the center of Peru’s capital, you will find a dark and narrow maze filled with ancient bones. The burial spots under the cathedral were very coveted by the locals in the 16th and 17th century. It was not only a holy place but also one that withstood the many earthquakes in Lima seemingly without harm. Right at the heart of these catacombs, you will find an ossuary with gigantic dimensions. The ancient well is roughly 5 meters in diameter and at least 10 meters deep. The skulls and bones of estimated 70.000 people are stacked upon each other. I am not joking when I say that I took a picture and then fled the catacombs. Seeing this endless mass of human remains really scared the hell out of me. Definitely not for the faint of heart!
Barnsley Gardens, Georgia, USA – Bret Love from Green Global Travel
There’s an eerie air to the ruins of Barnsley Gardens at night, when the wind rushes through the maze of English boxwoods in the formal garden. Located in the foothills of North Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the estate’s Italian-style villa was built over 160 years ago by cotton baron Godfrey Barnsley for his beloved wife Julia, the daughter of a Savannah shipping magnate. When she died of consumption while he was away on business, the grief-stricken Godfrey abandoned construction for a year. Legend has it that Julia’s ghost appeared to him and begged him to finish their dream home, and that her spirit is occasionally felt in the gardens today. Their daughter, also named Julia, is said to be the inspiration for Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlet O’Hara. She struggled to save the estate, but the Civil War destroyed the family’s fortune as soldiers looted more than $150,000 worth of irreplaceable valuables. The property eventually fell into ruin before being turned into a resort Zagat Survey named one of the Top 50 Small Hotels in the U.S.
Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland – Inma Gregorio from A World to Travel
Not a fan of spooky places in particular, back in 2011 I had the chance of visiting the now-ruined medieval Dunluce castle in Northern Ireland while touring around the island with Jose, my partner in crime. Located on the edge of a basalt cliff, it is possible to wander through the walls of this landmark originally built in 1500 by the McQuillans, who came from Scotland in the 1200s. If you are nearby, do yourself a favor and try to get there right before sunset, where it gets more dramatic.
St. Louis #1 Cemetery, New Orleans, USA – Lance & Laura Longwell from Travel Addicts
When we think spooky and haunted, cemeteries always come to the top of our list. There is perhaps no spookier or unusual cemetery than the St. Louis #1 Cemetery in New Orleans with its above-ground tombs. The St. Louis #1 is the home of the “Voodoo Queen” Marie Laveau’s tomb. There are many myths and legends about this women (including that she isn’t actually in her tomb). However, as we explored the cemetery on a haunted cemetery tour, we could almost feel something unusual here. Through the mist and light rain, we felt our skin crawl as was walked the narrow lanes between the tombs.
New Orleans has other spooky spots and cemeteries. One of them is the old St. Peter Street Cemetery, which no longer exists. It was a massive cemetery that occupied the whole block between Peter Street and Toulouse Street. As fate would have it, our hotel was on Toulouse and was built over part of the old St. Peter Street Cemetery. The hotel was supposedly haunted, however, we experienced no supernatural occurrences. New Orleans is a city where the spooky just feels so natural.
Fort de la Chartreuse, Liège, Belgium – Karen from Wanderlusting K
I visited the abandoned Fort de la Chartreuse in the south of Belgium, which is an abandoned hospital/school/fort that nature has taken over. Through the many years, it’s played many roles, including as a prison and a hospital in WWI and WII by the Nazis. Now, you can run around with the rest of the youth of Liège through these large abandoned buildings. You can hear people whistling, running and screaming from all around the sight. There are many stories about how haunted it is from its wartime years according to the locals. I was too afraid to enter the spooky tunnels from its time as a fort as well as the hospital’s basement, however it is one of the spookiest places I’ve visited. As I wandered around one of the buildings by myself, I heard screams from lower floors. I was only there as late as the sun set, but being out in the fort at night is supposed to be quite scary!
Chilling Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, England – Michele from Legging It
In the wild border region of Northumberland, between England and Scotland lies Chillingham Castle, one of Britain’s most haunted castles. In 1298 it was used as a staging post by King Edward 1 on his way to fight William Wallace, of ‘Braveheart’ fame. Many Scots were tortured or killed in the castles torture chamber and dungeon. Even the executioner didn’t escape the noose as John Sage, was double crossed here and hung by Edward.
Chillingham Castle has been in use for over 800 years and a few people have died from not so natural causes. There’s a few restless spirits who creep the corridors at night. These include the ‘white lady’ (the wife of a philandering husband who jumped to her death) and ‘blue boy’ (a little boy whose body was found stuffed inside a wall). With so much evil committed here, it’s easy to see why things go bump in the dark. The Castle is filled with all sorts of strange and quirky objects from down through the centuries including the owner (a wizened old Scooby Doo type character, who warns the kids about walking out on the moors). He’s happy to chat about the “mysterious goings on” at Chillingham Castle.
A word of caution, do not be tempted to souvenir any items from the castle as letters proudly on display bear testament to people who have suffered ‘the curse’. It’s a great place to visit however, once the sun goes down everything changes. If you want a good night sleep, bolt the door, put on some earphones and drift off to sleep listening to Ray Parker Jr…. telling yourself “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”
The Vulcan Hotel, St Bathans, New Zealand – Jon Algie from Jon is Travelling
If you have a fear of ghosts you won’t want to sleep in room 101 of the Vulcan Hotel in St Bathans. This infamous hotel and pub was built in the late 1800s during the Central Otago gold rush. St Bathans is almost deserted these days, but tourists still come for a taste of the supernatural (and the nice scenery). The alleged apparition, known as “The Rose”, was apparently strangled in room 101 in 1883, possibly while working as a prostitute. There have been countless sightings and strange occurrences ever since — even a TV crew retreated in terror while trying to investigate the mysteries of St Bathans.
Jerome, Arizona, USA – Jen Morrow from Jen There Done That
Jerome, Arizona was an old West mining town established in 1876. After decades as a successful mining town booming with brothels, the mines closed in 1953 and the people deserted. This little town is full of eerie sights and locations haunted by prostitutes, outlaws, gamblers, and unfortunate victims of mining accidents. These spirits continue to offer ghost hunters more questions around the strange apparitions and unexplained moving objects. The town hospital, now converted into the Jerome Grand Hotel, is famous for its haunted elevator and strange sounds from otherwise empty rooms. The town’s Community Center is also known as Spook Hall due to a resident ghost and her odd behavior. The former brothels on Main Street are still popular for sightings of phantoms and often vanish as they brush past visitors. Ghost tours are available throughout the town with resident guides drawing ghost hunters from around the world to visit the “Wickedest Town of the West”.
Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon, England – Sophie Nadeau from Solo Sophie
If you’re looking to visit a haunted place in England, then you need look no further. Berry Pomeroy Castle is reputedly one of the most haunted castles in the U.K., if not Europe. Built in 1560 the ruins of this once great castle turned country house is brimming with tales of ghosts, strangely sightings and flickering night lights. At least two women spectres and one child spectre are reputed to haunt the castle and grounds.
Decaying hospital in Bratislava – Karin Ardila from GirlAstray
This monstrously sized building was supposed to be the most modern hospital in Central Europe, but the twist of circumstances caused it to never greet a single patient. Its construction started in the 80s and after the Velvet Revolution, there was not will and money enough to finish it. The place was abandoned for good in the late nineties and lurks in the forest up the hill, looking over the city. The walls covered in moss, windows broken and doors missing, I venture in one late afternoon to explore the oddly shaped hospital, abandoned before its construction was ever finished. Entering one of the long hallways wet with filthy water, I feel chills as I hear what I think are steps crushing shards of glass. Adrenaline deafening my ears, I turn around and run to the rooftop, yellow of fungus. Inside patios turned into a sort of greenhouse – grown trees reach through the upper balconies and smaller plants seem content to grow from mere concrete. Droplets of water crush on the tiles of the dark rooms and cause me to look over the shoulder. Eerie atmosphere gets more dense as the sun begins to set.
Rose Hall Great House, Montego Bay, Jamaica – Vicky Sosa from Buddy the Traveling Monkey
When visiting Jamaica, we dare you to visit Rose Hall Great House. This late eighteenth century plantation in Montego Bay is said to be haunted by Annie Palmer, better known as the White Witch. Annie was a character! All three of her husbands died under mysterious circumstances and it was well known that she enjoyed to watch as her slaves were tortured. After she was murdered by an angry lover, her spirit apparently did not go far. People have reported sightings and hearing strange noises. There have even been mysterious deaths on the property! So if you’re into checking out haunted sights, we recommend taking a tour of the home; it’s a really awesome and interesting experience.
Pluckley, Kent, England – Tamason Gamble from Travelling Book Junkie
Known as the most haunted village in Britain, picturesque Pluckley in Kent is reportedly home in no fewer than 15 ghosts, making it a top location for anyone in search of paranormal activity. With an overwhelming number of eerie spirits to go in search of it may seem a little daunting. Perhaps starting at the cozy and traditional-looking Black Horse pub would be a good idea, where not only can you get great food, you may also be lucky enough to taunted by one of the resident ghosts who have been known to move glasses and possessions around.
From here you can wander around the many streets in search of the dead souls that still grace this area. Perhaps you will start by heading to Fright Corner, a proper place I can assure you, in search of the unknown Highwayman before heading to Maltman’s Hill to seek out the noisy horse drawn carriage. You also have the ghostly presence of an old schoolmaster and a colonel floating around, said to be caught in the village due to the nature of their deaths – both committing suicide by hanging.
If you are really brave perhaps you will top your day off at Pluckley with a night spent at Elvey Farm, an elegant converted barn said to be haunted by Edward Brett, a farmer who tragically shot himself in the farm’s dairy. One thing is for sure however, surely with this many potential ghosts floating around, you are bound to feel the spirit of one or two during your stay.
Do you have any haunted places to suggest?
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