No matter where you go across the globe, you’re going to hear various legends and ghost stories…except some of these carry significantly more weight than your average campfire story. People seem to be somewhat obsessed with what goes on after death, especially in regards to whether or not the spirits of the departed stick around. It would be easy to say that such attention can be blamed on vivid, Hollywood inspired imaginations, but documented reports of supernatural disturbances go back several centuries in many places, underlining the fact that no matter the time period or society involved, the paranormal remains on people’s minds.
Sure, many places in the world that are reputedly haunted seem more far-fetched than realistic, but there are those that have a tendency to make even the most hardened skeptic stop and reconsider. Listed here are 30 such places spread out across the globe. Many mark the site of horrific and traumatic deaths, either due to murder or the effects of imprisonment within dungeons or mental institutions. It seems that the more sordid a locale’s history, the more paranormally active it is – and these places are certainly active! Most of the hauntings described here have been very well documented by paranormal researchers, thus cutting down in the stereotypical “spook ‘em” tendency that many supposedly haunted sites lean towards. If you’re easily rattled, you may want to rethink a read through this list, as these stories are every bit as haunting as the places they describe.
1. Monte Cristo Homestead, New South Wales, Australia
Considering the amount of tragic and violent deaths that have occurred here, it’s little wonder that this is viewed as Australia’s most haunted locale. Several people have died sudden, accidental deaths, while others have been murdered, leading to high paranormal activity throughout the estate.
2. Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
Active since the early 20th century, various apparitions reported include a man who walks the ramparts and a dog that jumps on passersby. The most interesting story involves the ghost of a woman seen running through the complex crying, and finally disappeared when excavations uncovered a woman’s body.
3. The Tower of London, London, England
Dating back to 1078, this fortress/royal palace has had plenty of time to garner some paranormal activity. Famous ghosts seen here include the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn, along with Lady Jane Grey and two princes believed to have been murdered by their uncle, Richard III, in 1483.
4. The Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire, England
What could be more terrifying than the prospect of satanic sacrifices and malevolent entities? This 12th century inn exhibits all of this and more. Its owner even testifies that the first evening he spent in the house, he was snatched out of bed and dragged across the room by some invisible entity.
5. Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada
This major historic hotel is home to several different spirits, some kindly, and others rather more unnerving. A regularly sighted spirit is that of a former bellman who helps with guests’ luggage. Other such visitors include a bride seen dancing in the ballroom and the ghosts of a murdered family.
6. Chateau de Brissac, Maine-et-Loire, France
Dating back to the 11th century, this beautiful castle was the site of a horrific double murder, resulting in the haunting of the castle by the Lady in Green. Wearing a green dress, and her face that of a rotting corpse, wanders through the castle moaning.
7. Island of the Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico
In the ‘50s, a man moved to this island in order to be alone, only to find that it was haunted by the spirit of a little girl who drowned here decades before. In an attempt to appease her, he bought countless dolls and hung them from the trees. After a while, he felt that she wasn’t satisfied, and that she wanted him to be a ghost with her. The same day he confessed this fear to a relative, he was found dead, having drowned in the same spot she did years before. Their ghosts can now be seen on the island, and the dolls are said to whisper as you walk past.
8. The Sallie House, Atchison, Kansas, United States
Named after the prankish little girl who haunted it, this house also contained a far more malevolent spirit of a woman who escalated so much in violence towards the male owner of the house that he and his family finally moved out of fear for his life.
9. McMenamin’s White Eagle Saloon, Portland, Oregon, United States
When it comes to the physical effects of hauntings, this century-old hotel and bar warrants heavy attention. Many guests have reported waking up in the night and being unable to leave their beds, as if held down, as well as being shoved down the stairs.
10. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
Considering that it sits on a site with human activity dating to the Iron Age, it’s little wonder that this castle has accumulated a few supernatural residents. Commonly reported apparitions include former servants of the castle, a drummer boy – minus his head – and a man who apparently perished within the castle’s tunnels.
11. Akershus Castle, Oslo, Norway
Built as a strategic fortress, used as a prison, and home to the site of Nazi orchestrated executions, this castle is a hotbed for the supernatural. The most well-known apparitions that haunt the castle and its grounds are a robed a woman and Malcanisen, a demonic dog whose sighting results in the traumatic death of the witness a few months later.
12. Old Changi Hospital, Changi, Singapore
Operating since the 1930s, this hospital was seized during the Japanese during World War II and turned into a prison and torture facility for the Japanese Secret Police. Many apparitions have been seen here, such as men and women wandering down halls and through rooms, children, and bloody Japanese soldiers.
13. Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh, Scotland
Hauntings here have been reported as far back as the 17th century, making this one of the most enduringly haunted places in the world. The Close is composed of a series of underground streets and tunnels that led to various businesses and homes in the 16th and 17th centuries. After plague broke out here it was abandoned, but apparently many spirits of plague victims and past residents still remain. Footsteps that seem to follow close behind are often heard, as well as disembodied voices and various apparitions, including a little girl named Annie.
14. Highgate Cemetery, London, England
Established in 1839, this cemetery is the final resting place for over 170,000 people and has been the site of numerous supernatural reports. The most famous siting is that of the Highgate Vampire, a tall man in a long dark coat and top hat with a terrifying gaze. Other apparitions include various dark figures, ominous glowing eyes, and a crazed old woman who runs through the graves and tombs apparently looking for the children she murdered.
15. Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh, Scotland
The main paranormal occurrences at this cemetery are attributed to what has been dubbed the Mackenzie Poltergeist. After Sir George Mackenzie’s mausoleum was broken into by a homeless man, extreme supernatural occurrences began to take place. Visitors would leave with scratches and bruises, sometimes even broken fingers, while it has been documented that, to date, nearly 200 people have blacked out at the cemetery since the mausoleum was broken into.