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13 of the Most Haunted Places in the World

A bucket list of must-go destinations for scare-seekers and ghost hunters across the globe.
Hi, I'm Justin!

A writer and editor based in the Bay Area, Justin has worked in book, magazine, and digital publishing for more than two decades. When he's not dreaming about his next trip, he's planning a future restaurant adventure. He's written for New York Magazine, The Village Voice, Newsday, Google Play, Zagat Survey, and more.

We've all felt that eerie sensation when you're visiting a place that doesn't feel quite right—your arm hair stands up, the temperature drops, and you suddenly jump at shadows. If you're the person who gets the chills when thinking about the most haunted places in the world, you'll want to check some of these scary places on this list. From bells that ring by themselves to roaming dog spirits and a cursed Indian fort, these spots are a ghost hunter's dream (or nightmare).

1. Tower of London, England

The Tower of London as seen at night from across the Thames River
The Tower of London is known for its headless ghosts.Photo Credit: Annapurna Mellor / Viator

Britain’s most famous fortress has a dark and ghostly past.

During the 17th century, the Tower of London was used as a prison for those accused of treason. Some of the Tower's most famous residents include Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII and the "Nine-Day Queen" Lady Jane Grey. Both were beheaded on the Tower Green and buried in the chapel. It’s said their headless ghosts roam the halls to this very day.

The Bloody Tower is also thought to be the spot where the young sons of King Edward IV were murdered on orders from their uncle in order to take the crown for himself. Guy Fawkes is also said to haunt the Tower; he was murdered for attempting to assassinate King James I, and then there is the ghost of Lady Arbella Stuart, who was imprisoned for secretly marrying William Seymour and seen as a threat to the throne. She later died in the Tower from starvation. See it all on a ghost tour of London.

2. The Whaley House, San Diego

A ghost tour bus parked outside the Whaley House in San Diego
The Ghosts & Gravestones tour bus parked outside the Whaley House in San Diego.Photo Credit: tour storici d'America / Viator

Paranormal activity at this San Diego landmark stems from multiple tragedies.

Welcome to perhaps the most haunted house in America. Built in 1857, San Diego’s Whaley House is reportedly home to multiple frightening ghosts. The earliest documented ghost, "Yankee Jim," was convicted of grand larceny and hung off a wagon on the exact spot where the house now exists. Almost as soon as the Whaley family moved in, they reported hearing heavy footsteps. Today, museum visitors have seen windows mysteriously fly open, the spirit of family head Thomas Whaley roaming the upper landing, and a creepy little girl in the dining room. Urban legend has it she's the ghost of a friend of the Whaley children, who accidentally broke her neck on a clothesline in the backyard.

3. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Visitors walk through a military prison at Edinburgh Castle.
Travelers have spotted phantom dogs wandering the pet cemetery at Edinburgh Castle.Photo Credit: Anna Cervinkova / Viator

This Scottish landmark is so haunted even the dogs turn into ghosts.

There have been hundreds of ghost sightings at Edinburgh Castle, including a headless drummer boy, French and American prisoners of war, and even phantom dogs wandering the pet cemetery. In 2001, as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, a team of scientists spent ten days investigating the castle, with many reporting paranormal activity like sudden drops in temperature and the feeling of people tugging at their clothes. Explore all of its spooky history as part of a self-guided Edinburgh ghost tour.

Looking for more haunted spots in Edinburgh? The castle isn't the only spooky part of this ancient city. Mary King's Close, an underground alleyway beneath the City Chambers, has been haunted since the 17th century, when residents who had the plague were sealed into their homes and left to die.

4. Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romania

A path in Hoia-Baciu Forest covered with leaves
The Hoia-Baciu Forest has a history of supernatural disappearances.Photo Credit: Sergiu Vălenaș / Unsplash

Discover UFO sightings and eerie phenomena in the creepiest forest in the world.

This forest is called the “Bermuda Triangle” of Romania due to the rumored supernatural disappearances of visitors, subsequently earning the Hoia-Baciu Forest a reputation for being one of the most ghostly places on earth. What can you expect when you're wandering through the eerie, twisted trees of this supposedly haunted forest? Unexplainable headaches, rashes, and scratches, as well as feelings of being watched. Some people have even claimed to see ghostly apparitions of soldiers who died there. If that wasn’t scary enough, the place is also known for UFO sightings—in the 1960s, two different photographers snapped images that showed disc-shaped objects hovering above the forest. Take a guided night tour of the Hoia-Baciu Forest … if you dare.

5. Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania

Interior of the Eastern State Penitentiary
The Eastern State Penitentiary housed famous criminals like Al Capone.Photo Credit: Kevin Jarrett / Unsplash

This former prison is a Pennsylvania landmark and has a reputation for being haunted.

Opened in 1829, Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous prison in the world. It was the first to throw inmates into solitary confinement and housed notorious criminals like Al Capone. About 1,200 prisoners died there, and when it opened to the public in 1994, many visitors reported hearing strange noises: footsteps in the yards, wails in the corridors, and disembodied laughter, and it is now considered one of the most terrifying places in America. Gluttons for spooky places can wander the 11-acre prison, and if you're there during the summer, you can hang out in the beer garden afterward and share your own ghost stories.

6. Château de Brissac, France

The massive, 7-story Château de Brissac was originally built as a castle in the 11th century
The Château de Brissac is a castle located in the Loire Valley of France.Photo Credit: Bea L. / Tripadvisor

A tragic affair and murder led to the most haunted castle in France.

Located in France’s Loire Valley, the massive, 7-story Château de Brissac was originally built as a castle in the 11th century, destroyed and rebuilt several times, and (lastly) refurbished after the French Revolution. With its long and turbulent history, it’s no surprise there’s a wealth of ghost lore attached to it, turning it into one of the most haunted manors in France. Château de Brissac’s most famous spirit is the Green Lady, the former lady of the house who was murdered by her husband after he discovered she was having an affair. She is rumored to scare modern-day visitors with her corpselike face and eerie moans. If you’re in the area for a Loire Valley wine tour, add a stop to the Château de Brissac and see if you can see (or hear) the famous Green Lady herself.

7. Castle of Good Hope, South Africa

Located in Cape Town, South Africa, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving colonial building.
The Castle of Good Hope was built in the 17th Century and has a spooky past.Photo Credit: LongJon / Shutterstock

The oldest surviving building in South Africa is full of unexplained bell ringing and phantom dogs.

Built in the 17th century as a refreshment base for Dutch East India Trading Company ships, the Castle of Good Hope is South Africa's oldest colonial building. Over the years, it has also served as a fortress and a prison, and it currently houses a history museum. And, over the years, several specters have been seen roaming the castle, including a soldier who repeatedly leaps from its walls, a woman dressed in gray wandering the castle’s corridors, and a spectral canine or ghost dog seen roaming the grounds. There’s also a bell that reportedly rings by itself even though no one is around to ring it.

8. Muriel’s Jackson Square, New Orleans

The exterior of Muriel’s Jackson Square restaurant in New Orleans.
Muriel's Jackson Square has a Seance Lounge on its second floor.Photo Credit: Muriel's Jackson Square

New Orleans is a paranormal epicenter thanks to its long history of torture and murder.

New Orleans is a famed hotbed of supernatural activity, and there are endless ghost tours you can take to explore some of its spookiest landmarks. One of the most famously haunted landmarks is La Laurie Mansion and while you can’t go in, a walk past this 19th-century mansion is enough for most. To get even closer to ghosts, book a table at Muriel’s Jackson Square, a restaurant rumored to be haunted by the spirit of former Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan, who committed suicide after losing the restaurant in a poker game; he supposedly appears to visitors as a sparkling light. The restaurant even has a Seance Lounge upstairs, where you can sip spirits while you wait to see one.

9. Bhangarh Fort, India

A worthy visit for scare-seekers is Bhangarh Fort in India.
Bhangarh Fort was built in the 16th century in the Indian state of Rajasthan.Photo Credit: WelcomeRajasthan / Tripadvisor

Unequivocally the most haunted site in India.

Built in the 16th century in the Indian state of Rajasthan, Bhangarh Fort initially served as a residence for the son of local ruler Raja Bhagwant Das but is now known as one of the most haunted places in India. Multiple eerie stories have been attached to the fort and its surroundings, including one about a priest who was obsessed with black magic and cursed the area after being rejected by a Bhangarh princess. Some visitors have reported a heavy feeling when visiting the fort, while others have seen apparitions. The fort is closed to visitors before sunrise and after sunset due to a number of visitors getting lost or dying at the site (although some locals say it’s just because of the wild animals in the area). Either way, it has left many to wonder about the fort’s haunted history.

10. Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic

Human bones and skulls inside the Sedlec Ossuary
This chapel is decorated and furnished with human bones from 40,000 skeletons.Photo Credit: Grisha Bruev / Shutterstock

While it may be art, there are sure to be some haunted souls from the bones used to make this ossuary.

The skeletons of 40,000 people were used to create this chapel beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in the town of Sedlec. It's the work of woodcarver Frantisek Rint, who was hired by the House of Schwarzenberg to organize the human bones interred at the ossuary in 1870. The centerpiece is a giant chandelier, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body. Just as creepy are the garlands made of skulls, six large bone pyramids, bone candelabras, and skull candleholders.

11. Paris Catacombs, France

Skulls stacked in rows at the Paris Catacombs
Rows of skulls and human remains line the walls inside the Paris Catacombs.Photo Credit: Travis Grossen / Unsplash

Another spot where over six million remains were moved, this underground attraction is definitely spooky.

This eerie underground attraction holds the remains of roughly six million Parisians, whose bones were moved here from overcrowded cemeteries in the 18th century. Visitors can visit one of the best subterranean attractions in the world, via 130 steps, into the chilly tunnels and crypts lined with human bones to explore what's just a small portion of the nearly 200 miles of haunted passageways beneath the city's streets.

Related: The World's Coolest Underground Attractions

12. Ilha da Queimada Grande, Brazil

A yellow snake at Ilha da Queimada Grande known as "Snake Island", home to thousands of golden lancehead vipers, in São Paulo.
"Snake Island" is home to thousands of vipers.Photo Credit: Sandra Seitamaa / Unsplash

"Snake Island" is home to thousands of golden lancehead vipers (the largest concentration in the world).

Ophidiophobes, this is your worst nightmare. Ninety miles off the coast of São Paulo, Ilha da Queimada Grande aka "Snake Island" is home to thousands of golden lancehead vipers (the largest concentration in the world). Legends loom large around these parts: two fisherman were once bitten here and found dead in a pool of their own blood, and a third was never found. The island is now off limits to everyone except the Brazilian navy who visits once a year to check up on the lighthouse, which was automated in the 1920s after the last keeper was also killed by a snake.

13. Capuchin Catacombs, Italy

Interior of the Capuchin Catacombs in Sicily, Italy
The Capuchin Catacombs contain five corridors lined with 2,000 skeletons.Photo Credit: MarcelClemens / Shutterstock

Up to 8,000 corpses are suspended on the wall or exhibited in glass caskets for the world to observe.

Built as a cemetery for the Capuchin friars in the mid-1500s, this catacomb became the eternal resting place for aristocrats in the 17th century, when it was discovered that bodies buried here had naturally mummified. It was believed to be an act of God, so the corpses were hung from the catacomb walls like relics. Today, five subterranean limestone corridors are lined with 2,000 skeletons, each with a label marking the name and date of death.

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