Goblins and witches and ghosts, oh my! If they exist, these are the spots you’ll be most likely to find them – the top spookiest places on earth. We’ve rounded them up and found some lovely (completely, 100% unhaunted) places for you to stay. So take a peek… if you dare.
A small island near Venice, Poveglia is an island with a rich, long history of death. Through its history it is estimated over 160,000 died there. It was first used by the Romans to isolate plague victims and was later used in the Middle Ages for the same reason during three major plague outbreaks. It was also used as a leper colony for a number of years. In more recent history, in 1922, a mental hospital was erected on the island. There is a legend that one of the doctors and jumped from the very top of the hospital tower. Public access is absolutely forbidden, so you’ll have to settle for viewing it from afar. But given it’s history maybe it’s just as well.
Aokigahara Forest, Japan
The Aokigahara Forest has a historic association with demons in Japanese mythology. In recent years it has reportedly become the world’s second-most popular place to commit suicide (after the Golden Gate Bridge). Over the years, Japanese businessmen have wandered into its depths and 500 or so have never returned. Some spiritualists in Japan believe that paranormal activity is what prevents people who enter from escaping. Contributing the area’s eeriness are the “twisting network of woody vines,” the “dangerous unevenness of the forest floor” and the rich deposits of magnetic iron which render compasses and mobile phones useless.
According to legend, Bhangarh was cursed – either by a magician spurned by the city’s princess or by Guru Balu Nath, depending on the version. Regardless of a curse existing or not, the city is eery due to the fact that it has been uninhabited since the late 1700′s. A sign erected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) specifies: “Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited. Legal action would be taken against anybody who does not follow these instructions.”
Two of the most haunted London hotspots topping our list are the Tower of London and Whitechapel. One of the spookiest buildings in the kingdom, the Tower of London was the site of many a beheading. Among the ghosts said to roam the grounds are Queen Anne Boleyn, Thomas Becket, Lady Jane Grey, and Sir Walter Raleigh. In the case of Lady Jane Grey, who was beheaded there in 1536, her ghost has been spotted many times, sometimes carrying her head.
Whitechapel was the area of London that Jack the Ripper, at one time London’s most infamous serial killer, used as his hunting grounds. Some of the small alleys have changed little since his time (the 1880′s), making it easy to be transported back to those haunting times during a tour of the streets he prowled and pubs and other businesses he may have frequented in his life.
Edinburgh, Scotland (Edinburgh Castle)
Edinburgh has the reputation of being one of Europe’s most haunted cities. And Edinburgh Castle is one the area’s most haunted sites. Constructed in the early 12th century, it has a rich history of war and executions. Among the ghosts that can be spotted there are that of Duke Alexander Stewart of Albany (imprisoned there and then escaped after stabbing his guards and burning their bodies), an unnamed headless drummer dubbed the “Lone Piper” (who is said to be spotted before an attack on the castle) and Lady Janet Douglas of Glamis (burned at the stake under the accusation of witchcraft).
Paris, France (the Catacombs)
In the 1700′s,the cemeteries of the city of Paris were becoming too full (some so full the ground swelled 10 feet above the road). Therefore the decision was made to move bones from the overcrowded cemeteries to a network of tunnels under the city that had been built to procure building materials over the centuries. Perhaps because the near-universal taboo of disturbing the dead was broken, but also due to the sheer number of Parisians buried within the Catacombs (numbering between 6 and 7 million people), the mass grave is arguably the city’s spookiest site.
The home of Vlad the Impaler, the real-life inspiration for the fictional vampire Count Dracula. His reputation for excessive cruelty was well cemented in his own lifetime, during which he was said to have executed 40,0000 to 100,000 victims. Travelers today can visit his reputed home in Bran Castle, his official residence (Poienari), or his final resting place at Lake Snagov.