If you’re into encounters of the spine-tingling variety, you’re part of a small but passionate group of travelers. “Paranormal Travel” enthusiasts participate regularly in online forums, and there’s even a small cottage industry that specializes in highlighting travel to spooky destinations. If this interests you or someone you know, here’s a quick list of some of the world’s reportedly most haunted places.
Castle of Good Hope, Capetown, South Africa
This place has some of the standard ghosts — a man who reportedly walks the ramparts, and a crying woman whose haunting ceased when her body was discovered in later excavations. But this castle also claims a supernatural canine that jumps up on guests as they walk the halls. Down, Fido!
Tower of London, England
Medieval England was not a warm and fuzzy place, especially under the rule of power-hungry and often insecure kings. The Tower of London claims the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, and several other royals who were murdered by their more powerful husbands or uncles.
Island of the Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico
The creepy factor with this one is pretty high. In the 1950s, a man named Julian, who was the caretaker of the island, sensed the spirit of a young girl who had drowned was also present on the island. In an attempt to calm her spirit, he bought hundreds of dolls and hung them from the trees in an attempt to make her happy.
Some say he was driven mad by the thought that he could not save her. Later, Julian was found drowned in the same spot the girl had died. Today, residents of the island say many spirits haunt the dolls.
Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada
This majestic hotel, set against the dramatic and moody backdrop of the Canadian Rockies, claims a few friendly spirits and a few cranky ones. One kindly ghost is a former bellhop who reportedly offers to help guests with their luggage. And visitors have reported seeing a spectral bride dancing alone in one of the ballrooms.
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
This famous Rocky Mountain destination is known as one of the inspirations for Stephen King’s “The Shining,” but it also has its own spooky past. Allegedly, staff have encountered ghosts during their time there, such as a maid from Room 217 who is known to pack away guests’ clothing when they aren’t looking.
For sale in the gift shop is a book detailing various ghostly encounters by guests and employees throughout the years. It’s a great read!
The Catacombs, Paris, France
No list would be complete without an official burial ground. The Paris Catacombs is truly one of the spookiest places in the world, with hundreds of miles of tunnels that served as a burial ground for Parisians in the 1700s. Official tours happen regularly, so it’s an excellent Halloween destination.
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
This 12th-century castle holds a tremendous amount of history. Many experiences have been reported throughout the years, including unexplained music echoing through the halls. Some guests believe the music is from the ghost of a piper who once died in the castle. Guided tours of the castle are available to visitors, including private ones. It’s a wonderful way to learn all the rich details this landmark has to offer.
Poveglia Island, Venice Italy
There are many beautiful little islands surrounding the city of Venice. A short trip away is the beautiful island of Poveglia. This destination has scars from being a quarantine zone for people suffering from the plague. In addition, the island was used in the early 20th century as an insane asylum. Ghost hunters claim this spot is a hotbed of paranormal activity.
These eight spots are of course just the tip of the ghostly iceberg. Lists abound, ranging from the quirky to the macabre and everything in between. One thing’s for certain: there’s a haunted place to explore in every corner of the globe.