It’s easy enough to discount reports of haunting with a skeptical wave. After all, the world would be littered with ghosts and ghouls if spirits of the dearly departed hung around. So far, Earth is holding steady at a 100% mortality rate, so we’d barely be able to move for all the dead dinosaurs and war veterans who met their end on the field of battle if ghosts were a concern. With that said, there’s certainly something to certain places on the planet. Call it a bad energy, a dark imprint, ley lines, or whatever you want, but some spots are undeniably hiding a sinister secret, and setting foot on them or in them at the wrong time will leave you with a memory you’d rather do without.
If you like chasing the specters of years past, or just like giving yourself a good spook, here’s 16 haunted places that will make you a believer in whatever demonic realms might lay just outside of our perception.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
A former high school that was turned into a prison and torture facility by the Khmer Rouge. Thousands of soldiers were brought there for questioning, which mostly entailed torturing them until they died. During the interrogations, they would often reveal innocent family and friends as being part of a conspiracy, just to make the pain stop. Those people would then be brought in to meet a similar grisly end.
Paris Catacombs, France
Probably the most famous of haunted places around the world, spending a little time in the dry, dusty underground tunnels lined with bone is enough to make anyone a mite jumpy. More than six million people are interred here over the course of 200 miles. While tours are given and most of the area is safe, rumors and legends abound about the countless incidents of wayward souls being seen lurking in the dark recesses.
The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague
Though small and cramped, there’s actually more than 100,000 bodies buried in this cemetery because it has filled up time and again. New layers of dirt and corpses have been added since it began in 1478, with a full dozen tiers reportedly existing beneath the one that is visible. Ghosts from every century have been reportedly seen by visitors and passers-by.
Abandoned after the Chernobyl meltdown, Pripyat is as likely to be haunted by true specters of the past, mutated animals, and dangerous radiation as it is by the spirits of the painfully departed. Evacuated in a rush, stories abound of the ruins being haunted by those who didn’t escape with their lives, and the tragic people who might still call this home.
Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, Australia
Opened in 1867, thousands of residents suffering from various kinds of insanity have died within the walls of this dour place. Pound for pound and foot for foot, old asylums see more suffering than anywhere else on the planet, due to the cruel experimentation that went on for years, and the forgotten souls who roamed these hallways; neglected in death as much as life.
Island of the Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico
A little girl drowned on this island, and her spirit is still said to walk its shores, tauting and torturing visitors. In the 1950’s a man moved onto the island where this girl’s shade harried him day and night. To help her find rest, he decorated the island with dolls, then drowned himself in the exact spot where she died, in order to join her. Both can allegedly be seen together, treading among the whispering playthings.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia, United States
Also known as the Weston State Hospital, this is a double winner in the haunting lottery. Both an asylum for more than a hundred years and an outpost during the Civil War, patients and departed soldiers alike are rumored to still call it home. Paranormal tours can be enjoyed, with a special overnight ghost hunting option for those who still doubt.
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, United States
A weird, rambling Victorian mansion, the Mystery House is allegedly haunted, but could just as easily be indicative of the illness of the owners. Renovated, altered, and remodeled several times, the architectural oddities were created by former residents specifically to try and mislead spirits they claimed to be present on the property.
Amityville House, Long Island, United States
The name should be familiar to any fan of horror films, as the tragic story of two families is tied to this home. First, there was the DeFeo clan, who were found brutally slaughtered inside in the mid-70’s. Later, the Lutz family would take up residence there, only to leave after reporting strange smells, the presence of a porcine demon, cold drafts, and other paranormal activities.
Hunedoara (Hunyad) Castle, Transylvania
The home of Vlad the Impaler, Hunyad Castle was considered a nexus of dark energy before Vladimir ever took up his spiky hobby. Though other castles in the area have been destroyed, Hunedoara remains in surprisingly good condition, mostly because even invading armies chose to leave it alone. Renovations have been attempted, but most work crews leave quickly after bloodstains appear on the walls and apparitions drive them away.
Bhangarh Fort, Rajasthan, India
Cursed by a sorcerer, visitors are not allowed to stay in the ruins after dark since the people who once lived there take umbrage to the living invading their homes. Comprised of a cluster of buildings without roofs, attempts have been made to build over it, with many hazardous and deadly collapses forcing any attempt to change the fort to cease with haste.
The Tower of London, London, United Kingdom
A veritable who’s who of poltergeists call the notorious Tower of London home. Anne Boleyn, decapitated bride of Henry VIII is just one of the ghosts that have come out of the 900 years worth of torture, imprisonment, and death that is the tale of the Tower. Several women, and a pair of bastard children are among the cast of posthumous players that can be seen around the castle grounds.
Shades of Death Road, New Jersey, United States
“Shades of Death” is the official name of the road, for reasons that many suggest had to do with mosquitoes causing viral outbreaks. Nonetheless, the name has remained due to the high number of car accidents, as well as more than few lynchings, and murders bearing odd circumstances along the 7-mile stretch.
Aokigahara Suicide Forest, Japan
Resting at the foot of Mt. Fuji, the suicide forest is actually a beautiful location, so it’s unclear why more than 500 people have used it as the place to end their lives. The vast number of sad souls shuffling off this mortal coil would be enough to haunt it, but it’s the fact that many go in with apparently no suicidal intent that leads many to believe it is spirits that drive them to do it, rather than their own hand.
St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida, United States
Still in operation today, this is an idyllic lighthouse with a checkered past. A pair of little girls appear throughout it, along with a weeping woman who will often plead for help with the residents. At times, a former caretaker of the property can be found in the basement, still attempting to work.
Fort George, The Citadel, Nova Scotia, Canada
Notorious around Canada, even skeptics have experienced seeing soldiers walk past them and disappear, a wizened woman appearing in mirrors, and the sensation of a small child holding their hand. Hundreds of reports have poured in surrounding the Halifax Citadel, making it far and away the most fiendish spot in the frozen north.