Continuing this month's apropos theme of all things haunted, I bring a list of 13 of the most haunted places in the world. Paranormal activity is an international affair, and ghosts and apparitions toy with the living everywhere from California to Mumbai. This list will have some familiar names, and some places you never expected to be haunted (The White House?!), but each one comes with tale after tale of weird and terrifying experiences with the phantom world.
Ballygally Castle - Ballygally Bay, Ireland
Though now a newly renovated hotel, Ballygally Castle was built in 1625 by James Shaw. True to most castles in Europe, it is, of course, haunted. The most notable ghost in Ballygally is that of Lady Isobel Shaw, who was locked in a room by her husband James and starved to death. Said to be friendly, she amuses herself by knocking on doors and then disappearing. Another apparition is Madame Nixon who can be seen and heard walking around in her silk dress. When Ballygally was actually a castle it came under attack several times and many soldiers lost their lives. Consequently, their restless souls frequent the castle grounds in military uniform toying with guests, and perhaps searching for their enemies.
The Crescent Hotel - Eureka Springs, Arkansas, US
I admit to a guiltless plug here because I am from Arkansas and have actually stayed in this hotel. Nonetheless, this place is renowned for its possession and I have friends who can attest to its haunts. This 78-year old hotel is haunted by a number of ghosts, including Michael, an Irish stones man who worked in the hotel and took a fatal fall off the roof into an area that is now room 218. His ghost is said to still roam the halls surrounding the room. Also roaming the grounds is a gentleman in Victorian clothing who haunts the lobby, the confused ghost of Doctor Baker (who ran the facility in the 1930s
when it was a hospital/health spa), and the ghost of a nurse dressed in white who wanders the entire hotel. A good friend of mine, who claims he has a knack for getting into trouble with the paranormal, swears that while he was staying in room 202 (a notably haunted room in the hotel) he saw the nurse ghost briefly when he entered his room. He also said that the nurse ghost played with the lights, touched his arm and shook the antique mirror that hung above his bed. When my mother remarried in Eureka Springs, I tried to talk her out of having the family stay in this hotel. She didn't listen but, luckily, we had a ghoul free weekend.
The Rose Hall Great House - Montego Bay, Jamaica
The Rose Hall Great House is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jamaica due in no small part to the legend of its mistress, Annie Palmer. Palmer came to Rose Hall in 1820 and was known for her gruesome treatment of slaves. Considered a Black Witch by locals, she brutally tortured slaves and killed many of them simply because she was bored by them. She is also said to have murdered three of her husbands: the first by poison, the second my stabbing and then pouring boiling oil in his ears, and the third my strangling. All of Annie's victims are said to haunt the grounds and tourists come armed with instant cameras in hopes of snapping a picture of ghosts such as the ones in the picture. There is also rumored to be secret underground tunnels on the grounds and visitors have spoke of bloodstains smeared in numerous places. It should also be noted that the included picture was taken without a flash or sun exposed windows.
Ok, I know Singapore is an entire country, but I was reading about some pretty disturbing stuff that goes on around there. Considered Asia's most haunted city, Singapore is home to many locations that register high numbers in paranormal activity. Strange lights glitter through Hougang School near East Coast Beach and one ghost actually goes around slapping people at the Changi Beach House. Near the coast at Lor Halus, ghosts of the poor beg for food and money along the streets. Many years ago at the Bedok Tenant House, a ghost apparently killed a resident and now the woman is herself a screaming ghost who disturbs the residents at the Hou Gang Tenements. In the Fort Sentosa district, the Punggol White House is haunted by a whole family who committed suicide together, while headless apparitions terrorize passengers as they pass through certain MRT mass transit stations in the city. As you can see Singapore has a slew of hauntings that are ceaseless in their disturbance to the living.
The Catacombs Museum - Paris, France
If you know about Haussmannization, the grand remodeling of Paris in the 1860s, you may or may not know that the Catacombs of Paris were reconstructed in order to support the sprawling housing developments and massive boulevards that would come to define the city. Underneath the beautiful façade of Paris is a structural support system built of human bones. In order to strengthen his structure and alleviate the sanitation issues that were being caused by past improper burial, Haussmann had his team of workers dig up the remains of many of Paris' graveyards and use them as building materials for his project. And what, if anything, do we know
about disturbing graves? Right, it pisses the dead off. Though only a small part of the catacombs are open to the public, there are many secret entrances and tourists and trespassers alike have attested to its haunting with stories and sightings of run-ins with ghosts of a bygone Paris. Expect to see apparitions ranging from the ancients to the revolutionaries and don't forget your flashlight if you go hunting. It's dark down there
The Tower of London - London, England
The Tower of London is known historically as the prison for the crown of England. Its ghostly presence is due no doubt to the mass amounts of executions, tortures and murders that occurred within its walls. Hundreds of ghost sightings are reported there every year by tourists and Londoners alike, and, on a misty night, many hope to catch a glimpse of one of its dead prisoners. A story goes that one night a guardsman was standing watch when he heard a banging noise on his guardhouse. He went out to investigate and he saw a shapeless white figure that very well could have been the ghost of Lady Jane Grey, who was beheaded that very same date, February 12th, in 1554. Others have reported seeing the spirit of Ann Boleyn, a wife of Henry VI, who was also beheaded in 1536. Ann is a frequent visitor to the Tower and she is sometimes seen carrying her own head. Other ghosts include Henry VI, Thomas Beckett, Sir Walter Raleigh and the Countess of Salisbury, whose gruesome execution is sometimes seen being re-enacted by ghosts.
The White House - Washington D.C., USA
Even though the White House is an American institution at the center of our political climate, it is also a hot spot for ghosts. Several former presidents are said to frequent many of the rooms in the house. President Harrison has been seen and heard rummaging around in the White House attic, who knows for what. Andrew Jackson frequently joins guests in what was his bedroom during his presidency, and Abigail Adams has been spotted roaming hallways apparently carrying something. The most spotted president ghost, however, is Abraham Lincoln. Eleanor Roosevelt was said to have felt the presence of Honest Abe while she worked in the Lincoln bedroom. Also, during the Roosevelt administration, a young clerk saw Lincoln's ghost sitting on a bed removing his boots. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, during an overnight stay, was awakened by a knock at her door and, upon answering, saw the ghost of President Lincoln facing her in the hallway. Calvin Coolidge's wife reported on several occasions seeing President Lincoln standing at a window in the oval office with his hands clasped behind his back, appearing to be in a deep contemplative mood
The Queen Mary - Long Beach, California, USA
This once famous luxury cruise liner was purchased by the city of Long Beach and converted in a hotel in 1967, but many passengers and crew members from its sailing days still haunt the ship. The most haunted room is said to be the engine room where a 17-year-old sailor was crushed trying to escape a fire. It has been numerously reported that he bangs on pipes throughout the room. There have also been reports of a "lady in white" around the front desk of the hotel and the ghosts of children haunting the pool area. Many visitors claims to hear the ghost of a little girl, who reportedly broke her neck while swimming, asking her mommy for her doll. In the pool's changing room, there has been plenty of strange activity. Furniture is said to move by itself and unseen figures touch hotel guests. In the front hull of the ship, there is a ghost that some guest say they can hear screaming. He is said to be a sailor who was killed when the Queen Mary collided with another, smaller ship.
Raynham Hall - Norfolk, England
Raynham Hall is one of the most famous haunted places in the world due largely in part to its most famous ghost, the Brown Lady, who was captured on film in 1936 in what is said to be one of the most authentic ghost photos every taken. The Unexplained Site describes one of the first encounters with the spirit: "The first known sighting happened during the 1835 Christmas season. Colonel Loftus, who happened to be visiting for the holidays, was walking to his room late one night when he saw a strange figure ahead of him. As he tried to gain a better look, the figure promptly disappeared. The next week, the Colonel again came upon the woman. He described her as a noble woman who wore a brown satin dress. Her face seemed to glow, which highlighted her empty eye sockets." The photo has been examined multiple times by experts who all confirm it is authentic and untouched. The Brown Lady is said to have been confined in a room by her husband, unable to see her children. She soon perished in the room and has continued to haunt Raynham Hall clad in her brown dress.
The Bell Farm - Adams, Tennessee, USA
The Bell Farm has been made notorious through books, TV specials and movies. Most recently the events at this small Tennessee farm were dramatized in the 2005 movie An American Haunting. The story behind the Bell Farm haunting is so notable and recognized because it is said to be the only documented account in paranormal history when a ghost caused the death of a living person. Between the years of 1817 and 1821, the Bell Family was terrorized by some sort of entity, mostly said to be a woman, who became known as the Bell Witch or, more personally, "Kate." She is said to have perturbed and tortured John Bell (the father of the family and victim of a nervous system disorder) so much that it lead to his inevitable death. He was unable to sleep or recuperate and the ghost's antics worsened his condition. It is also said that a vile with a strange black liquid was found at John Bell's deathbed and that Kate herself claimed she gave it to him. Supposedly, in order to test the liquids validity, a drop was placed on the family cat's tongue and it immediately killed the animal. Though the haunting of the Bell Farm has been sensationalized many times over, it is still inarguable that something happened there during those three years. A family and a community were terrorized by an entity of some kind, and residents still believe Kate is up to no good.
The Borley Rectory - Borley, England
England is widely known as a land haunted by spirits, and the Borley Rectory claims to be the most haunted place in England. The rectory was built in 1863 next to the Borley Church as a home for Reverend Henry Bull. After its construction it became the site of intense poltergeist activity such as spontaneous displacement of objects, strange odors, cold spots, the sound of galloping horses and ghostly apparitions. The rectory was destroyed by fire in 1939 but photos of the ruins still contained odd images and unexplained elements. Captain W. H. Gregson, one of the last residents there, reported seeing the ghost of a nun wondering the grounds. People even reported seeing Gregson being accompanied by a lady in a gray cloak and a bald man in a long black jacket. Perhaps the most disturbing activity occurred around Marianne, the wife of Reverend Lionel Foster, who took residence in the house in 1930. An entity of some kind tried to communicate with Marianne through scratching messages on walls and the whole episode was captured on camera. Also photographed was a floating brick and a floating ribbon-like apparition. To this day odd images show up in photographs and as recently as 2000 a photo was taken with a mysterious orb floating in the background.
Edinburgh Castle - Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle, suspected to be one the most haunted spots in Scotland, is appropriately judged considering Edinburgh has been said to be the most haunted city in all of Europe, and possibly the world. The castle is a historical fortress and parts of it have withstood its 900 year history. A battleground of countless deaths, Edinburgh Castle can easily be thought of as an eternal spot of unrest for fallen soldiers. Other ghosts said to haunt the castle are a phantom piper, a headless drummer, the spirits of French prisoners from the Seven Years War and colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War and even a dog that wanders the castle's cemetery. Other areas of Edinburgh also have ghostly reputations: the subterranean vaults of South Bridge and a disused street called Mary Kings Close where victims of the Black Death plague were sealed up to die. What also makes Edinburgh Castle so noteworthy among the paranormal community is that in 2001, Dr. Richard Weisman took a group of 240 volunteers, ignorant of the castle's past, on a walk-through of the castle and its surroundings in order to gather paranormal data. Armed with every ghost busting tool imaginable, almost all the volunteers reported experiences such as drops in temperature, shadowy figures, burning sensations in the limbs, physical touching, and tugging at clothes. One woman was even brave enough to stay the night alone in a South Bridge vault. She reported hearing heaving breathing from the corner of the cell that got louder throughout the night and she saw strange flashes of light. What is most intriguing about the whole experiment is that even though none of the volunteers had any previous knowledge of what rooms had haunted reputations and which ones didn't, they reported the most amount of activity from the reputed locations and saw many of the same things as other tourists.