Flying Crimson Pig via Flickr
Have you ever walked into a place and immediately felt the chills run down your spine? Even the technologies of modern restoration can’t erase a sordid past of deaths and the ghosts that linger in the aftermath. We’ve got a list of the most haunted places that are still in use today. Check them out at your discretion to feel what could be the person next to you or the cold, hand of death gently resting upon your shoulder…
Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton-under-Edge, England
Built all the way back in the 1100s, this inn is one of the oldest intact buildings in the world. Gruesome results of drunken bar fights aside, this inn is supposed to be one of the most haunted places on Earth.
Rumored to have been originally built over an ancient pagan burial ground, it’s easy to see why spirits might walk the borders of this tavern. Everything from creepy children to seductive high priestesses in service of long-forgotten gods have been reported on the grounds.
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
Fans of Stephen King’s The Shining will easily recognize this building as a major inspiration for the book. Its winding corridors and spookily long hallways are the perfect place to encounter ghosts. Plenty of tourists and the staff employed there have reported sightings of spirits roaming the halls.
One of the more famous ghosts is dressed like a maid and appears in Room 217. This particular ghost doesn’t seem harmful since all she does is put away guests’ clothing when their backs are turned, though. We wouldn’t mind a ghost like that.
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California
One of the most notoriously haunted places in America, the Winchester Mystery house was built over a period of decades by Sarah Winchester after the deaths of her husband and child. Traumatized by her loss, she instructed contractors to continuously build additions, regardless of how they complicated the blueprint.
Sarah Winchester believed that the spirits of everyone who had been killed by the Winchester rifles, (the company which made her so rich), would haunt her unless they were stymied by her strange house. Nowadays, it’s open for tours so you can see if she was right.
Whaley House, San Diego, California
This house was built by Thomas Whaley in 1857 on a plot of land that no one else in town wanted. Why? Because it was the site of the town’s first gallows. Numerous people had been hanged there and people feared the vengeful spirits. Whaley, unmoved by the sentiment, built the house anyway.
His family suffered many tragic losses and suicides while living in that house and neighbors reported seeing ghosts from hanged men and Whaley family members alike. Guess it serves Whaley right for not listening to the urban legends.
LaLaurie Mansion, New Orleans, Louisiana
The LaLaurie mansion was so named for its resident, Madame Delphine LaLaurie, who was a well-known society woman in the 1850s. Not too long after a fire, rescuers found dozens of dead bodies in her attic. Apparently, she’d been keeping slaves bound and torturing them to death for pleasure in her house.
The public quickly chased the murderess out of town, but the ghosts of her victims are said to remain. New Orleans has a reputation as a particularly haunted city in America, but the LaLaurie mansion takes the cake.
The King’s Tavern, Natchez, Mississippi
This tavern, built in the 1700s, has its history rooted in murderous affairs that only serve to heighten the number of paranormal sightings around the building. Apparently, the original owner hired a young girl as a waitress there but began an affair that ended with his wife brutally murdering the girl.
If that wasn’t bad enough, police found a pair of mummified skeletons immured in the walls of the tavern two centuries later. Though never identified, many speculate that they belonged to the Harpe brothers, some of America’s earliest known serial killers.
Amityville Horror House, Amityville, New York
Many Americans are familiar with the tragedy that befell the DeFeo family in 1974 when the father, Ronald, shot and killed his entire family while they peacefully slept. The Amityville Horror was commemorated and commercialized as a film, something that filmmakers are want to do in the face of terror.
Though the surviving DeFeo is still serving his sentence in prison, subsequent families who have bought the house have all reported paranormal sightings and strange encounters. Possibly of the DeFeo family, still reeling from their horrific murders.
Monte Cristo Homestead, New South Wales, Australia
This opulent manor was once owned by Christopher Crawley in the 1870s. While his body may no longer be there, many have speculated that his spirit never left. There have been a plethora of unexplained events in the manor, including a baby mysteriously thrown to its death down a flight of stairs.
The current owners operate a bed and breakfast out of the house and invite you to look for the ghosts of the babe, a maid thrown from the balcony, a boy who burned to death in the stables, or a man who chained up his mother’s corpse long after she’d died.
Dragsholm Slot, Denmark
This ancient Danish castle was built in the 1200s and was where Earl Bothwell, husband of Mary Queen of Scotts, was imprisoned and killed. During the 1600s, it functioned as a prison for the wealthy or aristocratic.
In the 1930s, when owners went to restore the castle, they found the skeleton of one of the most mysterious ghost sightings, a woman known as the White Lady who’d been seen stalking the halls for many years prior to the discovery that she’d been buried in the walls.
The Forbidden City, Beijing, China
The palace that now functions as a museum displays many aspects of China during the 600 years it was the seat of royal power. However, ghost enthusiasts can find their fair share of people still hanging around who were murdered in sordid plots for power.
The emperor executed prisoners, concubines poisoned their lovers and their wives, and everyone was ready to make their bid for a sliver more wealth or power. These ghosts likely still walk the halls, waiting for the right opportunity to strike – just as they did in life.
Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, India
We give this hotel five stars for its cool architecture, awesome service, and occasional ghost sightings. Plenty of places advertise multiple ghouls haunting their building, but in this case, we say that you can still make the list even if you only have one ghost. It’s about quality, not quantity!
Supposedly, the architect who designed the building discovered at the last minute that the hotel was facing the wrong direction. Realizing that his mistake couldn’t be corrected, he jumped to his death from the fifth floor. However, he still roams the halls and roof, lamenting his miscalculation.
Isla de las Munecas (Island of Dolls), Mexico City, Mexico
The story is that the first doll was placed to commemorate a little girl’s untimely passing. From there, more and more people came with dolls to pay their respects to young girls who died before their times.
It’s hard to say whether this place is actually haunted or if it’s just creepy AF. Look, we don’t think it’s controversial to say that the only place you’d expect to see this many dolls is in a little girl’s bedroom. Staked to the ground or hung on trees is just not where you want to encounter weird doll heads.
Tower of London, London, England
When you want an entire building chock full of the spirits of people brutally executed, the Tower of London is the top choice. There are too many famous deaths to list here, but the ghost most people are familiar with is Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded by the king, her husband, for not producing any male heirs.
Considering that modern science has revealed that men and their sperm are responsible for directing the sex of a baby, it seems pretty ironic that so many women were blamed for not having sons.
Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, Massachussetts
In 1892, Lizzie Borden was accused of murdering her parents in a particularly brutal fashion. The crime became so famous that it spawned numerous movies, songs, TV shows, and even a creepy children’s nursery rhyme. This author remembers jumping rope as a kid and singing about taking an axe and giving the mother ‘fourty whacks.’
In fact, Borden was never convicted for the murders for lack of evidence and there is a fair amount of doubt that she was even the murderer. We’ll likely never know the true perpetrator, but the ghosts of her parents still wander the estate.
Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
Before it became a renowned institute, the building was originally Carrington Psychiatric Hospital. You guessed it: an insane asylum. Built in 1853, this place was the first asylum in Auckland and housed its fair share of mentally ill people. Unfortunately, the treatments for mental illness often involved locking them away in places with terrible living conditions.
It’s no wonder their ghosts continue to haunt the passages of the building to this day. Now, of course, they’re scaring the daylights out of students and staff instead of doctors and nurses, but we’re not sure the spirits have even noticed a difference.
Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada
Though it was built over a century ago, this hotel continues to operate to this day. It’s open and welcomes guests from around the world who want to enjoy some of the fresh, chilly air, Canadian hospitality, and, of course, some nighttime hauntings. Guests have a few ghosts to choose from during their stay.
The most well-known ghost is that of a bellhop who supposedly helps guests to their rooms and brings their luggage, too. If only all spirits were so helpful after death!
Bran Castle, Transylvania, Romania
Harking back to the 1300s, this castle has certainly withstood the test of time. Anything over 700 years old is bound to be filled to the brim with interesting tales of the people who lived and died there, but Bran Castle stands out from the rest. It’s widely believed that Bram Stoker’s novelDracula is based around Bran Castle.
There simply aren’t any other ancient castles in Transylvania that fit the description of Stoker’s chilling book. As most people know, Dracula is an evil vampire who seduces women and slowly steals their lifeforce to sustain his own.
Door to Hell, Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan
Okay, fine, this place isn’t actually haunted. So, what’s it doing on a list of the most haunted places in the world? We invite you to just look at it. Don’t worry, we’ll wait.
Right? It’s actually a large gas field that was created about fifty years ago as the accidental result of a Russian oil drilling rig. Deep in the bowels of the Earth are enormous caves filled with natural gases. They probably had no idea that they were about to drill into one of them until it was too late. To stop more of the poisonous gas from escaping, the workers lit it on fire – and that fire is still burning.
Chaonei No.81, Beijing, China
There’s nothing weirder than finding a building with no records of when or for whom it was built. And we haven’t even gotten to the good part yet! Beijing officials posted in front of the building proclaiming that it is Definitely Not Haunted. Suspicious much?
Legends abound about people who have died or gone missing in the home who still walk the premises, promising a similar fate for anyone who dares to enter.
Charleville Castle, County Offaly, Ireland
Charleville Castle has been in existence for 250 years, long enough for multiple people to live and die in its cavernous hallways. The final person in the family line who owned the castle finally died in the 1960s and since then has been bought by new owners who have also reported hauntings on the premises.
Various visitors have reported everything from hearing strange music to seeing a little girl named Harriet who perished playing on the stairwell over a century ago. Some believe the castle was built on ancient pagan burial grounds, so who knows which spirits might next be seen?