Do you believe in ghosts? Even if you don’t, it’s hard to deny some of the paranormal activity that has been reported in locations all over the world. Often times these apparitions and strange happenings occur at the sites of tragedies, where the souls of those who lost their lives linger restlessly. Other times these ghosts simply return to a place they once called home, whether out of comfort or necessity. While there may be millions of places on the Earth where these sightings are reported, there are some locations where the concentration of mysterious happenings is much higher. So if you’re seeking a good ghost hunt, read on to discover some of the most haunted places in the world.
10. Aokigahara – Mt. Fuji, Japan
Also known as the “Suicide Forest,” Aokigahara is located at the base of Mt. Fuji. Its infamous name comes from its reputation as the most popular place in Japan to commit suicide, where monthly “body hunts” are conducted to recover the remains of those who have taken their lives. It is thought that these individuals are drawn to the forest by supernatural forces, which many believe are the souls of those who were abandoned there by their families during times of food scarcity. People also blame these spirits for the lack of wildlife in the area, causing a deafening silence under the dense canopy of trees. Many visitors have reported that their compasses and cell phones have stopped working while in the forest, leading them to become disoriented and lost. And discarded objects such as shoes, photographs, letters and dolls contribute to the eerie feeling that surrounds the area.
9. Island of the Dolls – Xochimilco, Mexico
There’s a legend surrounding the island that a young girl drowned on the shores after she and her two friends were playing in the area. Local residents believe the girl’s spirit remains on the island, unable to leave, causing them to be fearful and unwilling to visit. But in the 1950s a man named Santan Barrera, who was unaware of the legend, moved to the island to become a recluse. Soon after he arrived the little girl began speaking to him, telling him the story of her death. To comfort the young girl, Barrera began buying dolls for her. But he soon realized that she had an insatiable need for the dolls, telling his nephew he was worried that she would want him to join her in the afterlife. And on the very same day he and his nephew had that conversation, he was found face down in the exact spot where the young girl had drowned many years before.
While the area is now a popular tourist destination, many report feeling the eyes of the dolls following them as they tour the island, and even hearing the dolls whisper. It is believed that both Julian’s ghost and that of the young girl still remain on the island.
8. Monte Cristo Homestead – New South Whales, Australia
Built in 1884 by Christopher Crawley, the Monte Cristo Homestead was constructed as a home for his family. Members of the Crawley family owned and resided in the home until 1948. During this time many tragedies had taken place on this property, including the deaths of a young stable boy who burned to death, a maid who fell from the balcony, and a baby who was dropped down the stairs. A caretaker of the property had also chained up his mentally ill son in his cottage for over 40 years. And another caretaker was murdered on the property in 1961 after he was shot by a local youth.
In 1963 the then-rundown Monte Cristo Homestead was purchased by the Ryan family for a mere AUD$2,000. When the Ryans first arrived at the property they found the house glowing with light, despite the house not yet being hooked up to electricity. It is believed that the house is haunted by Christopoher Crawley and his wife, Elizabeth, which the Ryans attribute to strange happenings such as hearing footsteps on the balcony, the feeling of being watched, and seeing shadowy figures.
7. The White House – Washington, D.C., USA
With a history dating back to 1800, it’s no surprise that The White House is home to a ghost or two. Most commonly seen is an apparition of Abraham Lincoln standing by the fireplace in none other than the Lincoln Bedroom. And President Andrew Jackson is said to haunt the Rose Room with his laughter and angry shouts. While others have reported seeing Abigail Adams, the wife of President John Adams, floating through the East Room with her arms outstretched, seemingly carrying a basket of laundry to where she used to hang dry it. In addition to apparitions, both residents and staff have heard footsteps and screams throughout the building, and many have encountered sudden cold spots.
6. Manila Film Center – Pasay City, Philippines
Built with the intention of hosting a film festival that would rival Cannes, the Manila Film Center was constructed in the early 1980s. In order to meet an inaugural festival date of January 18, 1982, it was built at an extremely rapid pace under the orders of then-first lady Imelda Marcos, who forced the employees to work day and night. As a result of these conditions, an accident occurred during the early morning of November 17, 1981, when scaffolding collapsed and dozens of workers fell into the wet cement being leveled below; reportedly 26 were killed and 36 were injured. Not wanting to delay construction any further, the project supervisor, Betty Benitez, ordered for cement to be poured over the bodies of those who were involved in the accident, even though many of them were still alive. Since then, those who are brave enough to enter the building have reported hearing moans and screams coming from beneath their feet and seeing half-submerged apparitions coming out of the floor.
5. St. Augustine Lighthouse – Florida, USA
Built in 1974, the structure is an active lighthouse and museum located in St. Augustine, Florida. Since its construction, the lighthouse and its surrounding buildings have been haunted by the ghosts of several people. Most commonly seen are the apparitions of two young girls, Eliza and Mary Pittee, the daughters of the construction superintendent, Hezekiah H. Pittee, who accidentally drowned on the premises. The ghost of lighthouse keeper Joseph Andreu also haunts the area, after he fell to his death off of scaffolding while he was painting the tower. Visitors also report hearing footsteps and seeing a woman on the stairway who is crying for help.
4. The Tower of London – London, United Kingdom
With a history of torture and execution that dates back to 1078, it’s no wonder the Tower of London is considered one of the most haunted places on Earth. Built by William the Conqueror, it has served many purposes throughout its 900 years, including royal residences, barracks, armory, prison and, at present, a museum. Many people have reported paranormal occurrences throughout the property over the years, including apparitions of Anne Boleyn’s headless body walking through the building’s corridors and near the site of her execution. There has also been sightings of “the White Lady” in the White Tower, where she stands at the window waving to passersby. Other have reported seeing two young children in their nightgowns who are holding hands with a frightened look on their faces. It is said that these children were former princes who were murdered after they were deemed illegitimate by parliament.
3. Poveglia Island – Italy
Intermittently inhabited over the years, the island, situated between Venice and Lido, became a quarantine site during the Bubonic plague of the 14th century, where many people died and had their bodies burned. It was later said to be the site of a mental institution in the 1800s, with a reputation of mistreatment and experimental procedures. And from the mid-20th century until 1975 it served as the location of a geriatric hospital. At present it is entirely abandoned, but home to many supernatural spirits. Visitors have reported hearing voices and screams and seeing dark shadows throughout the island. There have also been several claims of possession, including that of Zak Bagans from Ghost Adventures, who experienced a fit of extreme rage while he and the show’s crew were there filming.
2. Banff Springs Hotel – Alberta, Canada
Constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway over 125 years ago, the Banff Springs Hotel was intended to be a luxury retreat to stop at along the passenger’s journey. There have been many hauntings reported in the hotel over the years, including that of a bride who fell down the stairs and broke her neck after her dress caught fire. She has been seen in the stairwell of her accident and dancing in the hotel’s ballroom, with her dress still aflame. Another story surrounds room 873, where a family was murdered. Although the door to the room was later bricked up, many have seen the family’s ghosts wandering the hallway outside of their room. The most common sighting is that of Sam McAuley, a former bellman at the hotel, who is said to help guests to their room by opening doors and turning on lights, but disappears should you try to talk to him.
1. Waverly Hills Sanatorium – Kentucky, USA
Built in 1910 to treat those who became ill with tuberculosis, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium also had a reputation for mistreatment of patients and experimental procedures. After the discovery of the antibiotic streptomycin proved very effective in treating the disease, the facility closed in 1961 due to a lack of patients. But during its 51 year history over 63,000 people died there. With so many having perished within its walls, it’s no wonder that the facility is among the most haunted in America. Visitors and hunters of the paranormal have reported seeing a young boy playing with a bouncing ball, as well as a little girl with no eyes on her face. There are also several stories surrounding room 502, where people have claimed to see a nurse in uniform. Apparently a nurse is said to have hung herself in the room for becoming pregnant out of wedlock, and later another nurse committed suicide by jumping off the building’s roof after having worked in the room. Others reports include sudden cold sports, seeing shadows, and hearing footsteps, voices and screams from empty rooms.