The term “haunted” refers to a place or object that is believed to be the dwelling or source of paranormal activity. A haunted location is typically associated with ghostly apparitions, unexplained sounds, eerie feelings, and other supernatural occurrences that cannot be easily explained by natural phenomena.
Many ghost stories and urban legends revolve around haunted places, adding to their intrigue and mystery. As one visits the catacombs of Paris, a sign above reads Arrête! C’est ici l’empire de la Mort (“Stop! This is the empire of Death”).
In this series, we have tried to compile a list of 50 haunted places around the world notorious for their ghostly tales and paranormal activity: Here is part 2. (Top 50 most haunted places on planet Earth # 1)
11. Castle Houska, Czech Republic
Castle Houska, also known as Houska Castle, a mysterious fortress in the Czech Republic, is today known for its paranormal status. Unlike typical castles that were built for strategic or defensive purposes, Houska Castle built in the 13th century, in a remote area north of Prague lacked certain features found in typical fortresses, such as a water source, kitchens, and functional outer walls. This has led to many intriguing theories about the true purpose of the castle.
Over the centuries, Castle Houska has become associated with many creepy stories. One of the most famous and chilling legends surrounding the Houska Castle is that it was built on a gateway to Hell. According to the legend, a deep hole in the castle’s cellar was considered a direct portal to the underworld. It is said that horrific creatures and demonic entities would emerge from this hole at night. The castle was constructed to seal this gateway and prevent evil from spreading into the world.
Another well-known legend speaks of a winged creature that was allegedly seen flying around the castle. It is said to have terrorized the castle’s inhabitants and visitors, adding to the eerie aura of the place.
According to local folklore, birds don’t fly over Castle Houska, as if they sense something unnatural or ominous about the place.
12. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Cambodia
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, originally known as Tuol Svay Prey High School in Phnom Penh, is a sombre reminder of the atrocities committed during the Cambodian Genocide.
The Khmer Rouge regime renamed it as “Security Prison 21” (S-21) complex in 1976 and converted it into a prison as well as a centre for detention, torture, and execution of perceived enemies of the region. The buildings were surrounded by electrified barbed wire. The classrooms were converted into tiny prisons and torture chambers, and all windows were covered with iron bars and barbed wire to prevent anyone to escape or commit suicide.
Over a period of three years, more than 20,000 odd Cambodians were subjected to brutal treatment at S-21 before being sent to the killing fields for execution. At any one time, the prison held between 1,000 and 1,500 prisoners who were tortured and coerced into naming family members and close associates, who too were arrested, tortured and killed. The prisoners were shackled to the walls or the concrete floor. They were made to sleep on the floor without mats, mosquito nets, or blankets and were not allowed to talk to each other. The prisoners received four small spoonfuls of rice porridge and a watery soup of leaves twice a day. They weren’t allowed to drink water without asking the guards. Anyone who defied these inhuman orders was subjected to torture and severe beatings. The museum now stands as a memorial to those who lost their lives during one of the darkest periods in Cambodian history.
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum today offers a glimpse of the human suffering and cruelty that occurred during the Khmer Rouge regime and serves as a stark reminder of learning from history to prevent such tragedies from happening again.
13 Ross Castle, Ireland
The Ross Castle in County Kerry, Ireland has a long and fascinating history as a paranormal hotspot. The castle originally known as O’Donoghue Castle was built in the 15th century by the O’Donoghue clan.
One of the most famous legends associated with Ross Castle involves the ghost of a former owner, O’Donoghue of the Glens, who is said to rise from the waters of Lake Lough Leane on the first morning of May every seven years. According to the legend, he rides a magnificent white horse and circles the lake before retreating back into the waters. It is believed that anyone who witnesses this spectral event will be granted a glimpse into the past and the future.
In addition to this ghostly apparition, visitors and staff have reported other paranormal phenomena within the castle walls. People claim to have heard unexplained footsteps, doors opening and closing on their own, and strange noises echoing through the halls. Some visitors have even reported encountering apparitions of unknown figures throughout the castle.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, visiting Ross Castle offers a chance to explore a fascinating piece of Irish history and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage.
14 Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle, located atop Castle Rock in Edinburgh, Scotland, with its long history of battles, executions, and intrigues, has a long list of ghost stories and paranormal occurrences. According to legend, one of the most famous ghosts ghost associated with the castle belongs to the Headless Drummer who beats his drum just before a tragic event like a royal death or a military defeat is about to occur. Another well-known spectre is the ghost of the lone piper who mysteriously vanished in the castle’s underground tunnels. Even today, his haunting music can be heard. The castle is also said to be haunted by a ghostly apparition known as the White Lady who also died in the castle under tragic circumstances.
Edinburgh Castle was the place where many people were imprisoned and executed. A popular belief is that the tormented spirits of the former prisoners still linger within the castle’s walls. Another place of intrigue is a dog cemetery where the loyal canines were buried. Some visitors claim to have seen or heard ghostly dogs in the area. Many visitors have experienced sudden chills and cold spots, even in relatively warm areas of the castle. Some accounts mention objects moving on their own, doors slamming shut, and other poltergeist-like occurrences. Many of these stories have been passed down through generations and contribute to the castle’s rich tapestry of mystery, intrigue and ghostly legend.
15 Waverly Hills Sanatorium, USA
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky, USA is renowned for its haunted reputation and is considered one of the most haunted places in the United States. The sanatorium was originally built in 1910 as a two-story hospital to accommodate tuberculosis patients. In the early 20th century, tuberculosis (TB) was believed to be a deadly disease hence the Sanatorium was expanded to a five-story facility catering to over 400 patients. It was meant to provide fresh air and sunlight to patients suffering from TB, which was a highly contagious disease that often led to death. However, soon the hospital became overcrowded and the high death toll within the walls of Waverly Hills Sanatorium began to rise. There were also rumors and unverified stories of mistreatment of patients, and unethical medical experiments.
One of the most infamous features of Waverly Hills was the “Body Chute” or “Death Tunnel” – an underground tunnel that allowed medical staff to transport deceased patients discreetly from the hospital to the awaiting vehicles. The Body Chute contributed to the eerie and haunted reputation of the sanatorium.
However, after the discovery of antibiotics and a decline in the number of tuberculosis cases, Waverly Hills Hospital was transformed into a nursing home before finally closing its doors in the 1980s. After its closure, the building fell into disrepair and became a target for vandals. Numerous ghost stories and paranormal experiences were reported at the desolate sanatorium, which gained notoriety as a haunted location. Many people claimed to witness apparitions and hear voices, footsteps, doors slamming, and chilling sensations while exploring the abandoned building. Today, Waverly Hills Sanatorium attracts visitors who like to go for guided ghost tours and paranormal investigations. However irrespective of whether you believe in ghosts or not, Waverly Hills Sanatorium stands as a poignant reminder of a significant period in medical history and the hardships endured by patients suffering from tuberculosis.
16 Monte Cristo Homestead, Australia
The Monte Cristo Homestead is a haunted mansion widely regarded as one of Australia’s most haunted houses. The homestead’s eerie history and spooky legends attract many ghost hunters and thrill-seekers.
The Victorian-style mansion constructed in 1884 features 24 rooms, a grand dining room, and a tower, with intricate woodwork.
Over time, a young stable-boy was reportedly burned to death in the stables of Monte Cristo. Likewise, a house cleaner named Anne fell from the balcony. Another story goes that a caretaker was found dead in the tower under mysterious circumstances. Their spirits are said to roam around the house and visitors have reported eerie experiences in the mansion.
According to local legend, a ghost lady in a blue dress has often been seen wandering in the estate. Visitors have reported hearing strange noises, footsteps, and unexplained cold spots, as well as witnessing objects moving on their own. Over the years, many paranormal investigations claim to have captured evidence of ghostly activity at Monte Cristo. Some visitors and investigators have reported feelings of being watched, touched, or even pushed by unseen forces.
17 Castle of Good Hope, South Africa
The Castle of Good Hope is a fortress in Cape Town, South Africa. It is one of the oldest surviving colonial buildings in the country with historical and architectural significance. Over the years it has acquired the reputation of being a haunted building. It was built by the Dutch East India Company to serve as a defensive outpost and administrative centre for the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope.
However, over time the Castle of Good Hope acquired a spooky reputation for paranormal occurrences.
One of the most famous ghost stories associated with the Castle is that of a ghostly woman dressed in grey. Legend has it that she is the spirit of a woman who fell to her death from the balcony of the Governor’s residence. Her apparition has been reportedly seen wandering through the halls and gardens.
Likewise, the spirit of Governor Pieter Gysbert van Noodt is believed to linger in the castle producing eerie sounds and sensations.
One of the spookiest places in the castle is the mysterious Bell Tower where the sounds of soldiers marching and the rattling of keys can still be heard. Some people also claim to have seen a spectral black dog on the castle grounds, which is often considered an omen of death or misfortune. Many of these tales have been passed down generations and become ingrained in the historical and cultural fabric of the site.
18 St. Augustine Lighthouse, USA
The St. Augustine Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse in Florida, USA notorious for being a haunted monument. The Lighthouse built in 1824 to guide ships entering the St. Augustine port, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States is today a part of many ghost stories and paranormal claims. The original lighthouse was damaged due to erosion, hence a new tower was constructed in 1874.
One of the most famous ghost stories associated with the St. Augustine Lighthouse is that of a young girl named Eliza, the daughter of one of the lighthouse keepers. According to the legend, Eliza accidentally drowned in a construction accident while the lighthouse was being renovated. Her spirit still haunts the tower, and visitors have claimed to see the apparition of a young girl in old-fashioned clothing on the lighthouse catwalk. Many people claim to hear strange sounds and eerie laughter. Some visitors have reported seeing shadowy figures moving about the lighthouse, particularly in the darker areas and stairwells.
Some have captured photographs that show unusual light anomalies or orbs around the lighthouse. Over the years, the St. Augustine Lighthouse has been the subject of numerous paranormal investigations, besides being featured in TV shows and books on ghost hunting. The lighthouse also offers guided ghost tours for those interested in exploring the alleged haunted history of the site.
19. The Catacombs of Paris, France
The Catacombs of Paris is an underground ossuary in France. It is a unique and eerie historical site that holds the remains of more than six million people and attracts thousands of visitors each year. The Catacombs were created to overcome the urgent problem of overcrowded cemeteries in Paris during the late 18th century. By the 1700s, Parisian cemeteries were overflowing, leading to unsanitary conditions and public health issues. The solution was to transfer the bones from various cemeteries into the disused underground quarries beneath the city.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, skeletal remains from different cemeteries, including the Cemetery of the Innocents, were carefully moved to the Catacombs. The sombre and meticulous task involved stacking the bones in an organized manner, creating walls of skulls and bones in the Catacombs which stretch over several kilometres beneath the streets of Paris. However, only a small portion of this underground network is open to the public. The accessible part consists of a guided pathway that takes visitors through narrow tunnels lined with neatly stacked bones and skulls. The Catacombs hold historical and cultural significance for Paris. They serve as a reminder of the city’s past, the challenges it faced due to population growth, and the measures taken to address those challenges.
The Catacombs have also given rise to numerous legends and stories, adding to their mystique. There are many tales that talk of hidden chambers, secret societies, and ghostly encounters within the dark tunnels. While some of these stories are fictional or exaggerated, they have contributed to the reputation of the Catacombs as a place of mystery and intrigue.
Due to their eerie atmosphere and macabre nature, the Catacombs of Paris have gained a reputation for being haunted. The association with death and the presence of countless bones and skulls stacked neatly in the underground tunnels add to the sense of mystery and the belief in potential paranormal activity. People have claimed to hear unexplained footsteps, whispers, and distant voices echoing through the dark passages. Some visitors have reported seeing ghostly figures or shadowy shapes moving in the darkness. Sensations of sudden drops in temperature, particularly in certain areas, have been reported. Many visitors have experienced unease, anxiety, and discomfort due to feelings of being watched or followed.
It is essential to consider that the human mind can be influenced by environmental factors, and the dark, claustrophobic nature of the Catacombs can play tricks on one’s perception. Whether the Catacombs of Paris are genuinely haunted or not, they remain a haunting and fascinating historical site, drawing visitors from around the world to explore the depths of this underground ossuary.
As one visits the catacombs, a sign above reads Arrête! C’est ici l’empire de la Mort (“Stop! This is the empire of Death”). Since the catacombs are directly under the Paris streets, large foundations cannot be built above them and cave-ins have destroyed buildings. For this reason, there are few tall buildings in this area
20. Aokigahara (The Suicide Forest), Japan
Aokigahara, also known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees, is a dense, lush forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. Aokigahara has earned a dark reputation due to the high number of suicides that have occurred within its confines. The forest’s association with suicide is a tragic and sensitive issue. Though the actual reason is complex and can vary from individual to individual, Aokigahara has been associated with death and the afterlife in Japanese literature and mythology for centuries.
The forest gained international attention in recent years through documentaries, books, and online media, highlighting the suicides and tragic stories of individuals who have entered the forest with the intention of ending their lives. Such media exposure inadvertently contributed to the allure and notoriety of the site.
In response to the tragic loss of life in Aokigahara, Japanese authorities and various organizations have taken measures to address the issue. Signage has been placed throughout the forest, encouraging people to seek help and consider the value of life. Volunteer patrols also work to locate and assist those who may be contemplating suicide.
The serves as a reminder of the mental health challenges that people face worldwide. While Aokigahara is not associated with supernatural phenomena; it remains haunted due to the heart-wrenching tragedies that have occurred there.