15 Most Haunted Places in the World With Frightening Sightings

Updated August 13, 2021
Ghost girl on stairs

The world is full of creepy places where earthbound spirits wander. No matter where you travel or live on Planet Earth, there's a haunted place nearby. Explore some of the world's most haunted places where the restless spirits of tragedy, torture, and death are doomed to roam.

Poveglia Island, Italy

Many people believe Poveglia Island in Venice, Italy is cursed. The island's ghostly reputation forced the local government to close it to public entry. Someone interested in creating a family vacation home bought the island. However, after spending only one night there, the family escaped the island, never to return.

Poveglia Island

The island's past is one of torture, abuse, human experimentation, and unimaginable suffering. It was where people with Bubonic plague lived and died; about 160,000 plague victims died there. Authorities tossed bodies into trenches and burned them, and many victims were still alive when they were set on fire. The sticky black ash of burned victims permeates the soil. Fishermen avoid the surrounding waters for fear of their nets snagging human bones. In later years, a mental hospital operated on the island. The staff tortured and experimented on patients, who were often murdered.

Visitors hear disembodied cries and screams. Apparitions of corpses, plague victims and shadow figures move throughout the island buildings. Some visitors claim to be possessed by spirits. In 2010, during the filming of a Ghost Adventures episode on the island, show host Zak Bagans was possessed. Several tour companies, like Classic Boats Venice (CBV), provide private tours of the island.

Salem, Massachusetts

From February 1692 to May 1693, 20 people were convicted and hanged in the Witch Trials of Salem, Massachusetts, USA. Most were women accused of spell casting and devil worshipping. The spirit of Bridget Bishop, the first victim, haunts Turner's Seafood at Lyceum Hall. The building sits on the ground where her apple orchard was. The Lady in White appears at Old Burying Point, but will transform into an orb if you attempt to photograph her.

Cemetery, Salem, Massachusetts

The angry spirit of Giles Corey--a wealthy farmer accused of witchcraft who died three days after his torture from pressing--lurks about the Howard Street Cemetery. However, Burying Point Cemetery has its share of ghosts, including Giles's second wife, Mary Bright Corey, who died eight years before the Witch Trials. Proctor's Ledge is highly active and believed to be where the hangings were held.

The infamous rocking chair rocks on its own in the House of Seven Gables. The spirit of a woman in blue lingers in the back of the cemetery and carries a picnic basket. Her young son appears occasionally. Just about any building you visit in Salem has a ghost story.

Ancient Ram Inn, England

The Ancient Ram Inn, located in Wotton Under Edge, England, is over 1,000 years old and was originally a church. It sits on two ley lines that run all the way through Stonehenge. Built in 1145 by priests, enslaved labor was used to build the St Mary Church. The church was sold in 1930 and became private property. The building sits on a Pagan burial site that dates back to 5,000 years. Remains of devil worshipping have been found that included skeletons of children with broken daggers still wedged in their remains. A witch was burned at the stake on the site. Twenty spirits reside in the inn.

Ram Inn

In 1968, owner John Humphries discovered the children's skeletons. Caregivers attending the aged Humphries fled the inn when children's bloodcurdling screams frightened them, and they refused to return. Eventually, they worked in pairs. Furniture moves about, cold spots are common, and invisible hands tug on the clothing of visitors. Humphries's daughter saw drawers lifted up and dropped down the stairs. Humphries claimed on one occasion he was dragged feet first from his bed. In a 2014 Official UK Haunted investigation, Humphries complained he was being terrorized by a succubus or incubus. Children and a centurion on horseback wander about the inn. The room, Bishop's Inn, is haunted by a monk. When the inn was a B&B, the monk scared off many guests who fled in the middle of the night. Today, you can visit the Inn, take a guided tour, or book a paranormal investigation.

Pluckley Village, England

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Pluckley Village is the most haunted village in England. Some 12 to 16 ghosts reside there. A few of the spirits may be a residual haunting, like the hanging schoolmaster that appears in Dicky Buss's Lane. At Mill Hill, you can see the miller going about his business. If you're in the St. Nicholas' churchyard at night, you may run into the Red Lady as she glides about the cemetery or catch a glimpse of the playful small white dog spirit. You don't want to hitch a ride with the phantom coach and horses that roll about the village. Fright Corner is the spirit of a highwayman killed when he was pinned to a tree with a sword. His spirit doesn't wander very far from that fabled tree.

Pluckley, St Nicholas' church

The spirit of the Lady of Rose Court, who took poison as her only escape from a love triangle, haunts the village. The residual haunting of the spirit of the mysterious White Lady is still around. Said to be of the Dering family, she died at a young age and the thoughts of her rotting in a grave was too much for the family to bear. They created a series of seven lead coffins with the final coffin made of oak, all in the effort to prevent her from decomposing. Her spirit obviously escaped the grave and appears in St. Nicholas' Church.

Hoia Baciu Forest, Romania

The mysterious paranormal phenomena of the Hoia Baciu Forest (Shepard's Forest) in Cluj-Napoca, Romania is complex and ancient. Legend claims it was created some 55,000 years ago by the first Atlanteans that came to Earth. Locals believe Cluj-Napoca is the center of Atlantis. A being known as Atlanta created the forest to serve as a portal for easy travel between the Atlanteans' planet and Earth. The forest provides a time travel portal that can take the person to any time period on any planet, including Earth, without the need of a spaceship.

Hoia Baciu Forest

In 1968, Emil Barnea photographed a UFO in the forest that became famous worldwide. Locals see UFOs and strange lights. Investigators documented electromagnetic interference, radioactive emissions, microwave emissions, magnetic anomalies, and infrared emissions, all above normal ranges. Locals don't venture into the forest, but many people go into the forest to perform various magic or satanic rituals. The forest supposedly amplifies the energy and gives the magic greater power. However, many people who brave enter the forest get headaches, become dizzy and nauseated. Some people emerge from the forest with strange burns or long, deep scratches. The centuries of sightings include light beings, fairies, and evil spirits.

Dragsholm Castle, Denmark

Dragsholm Castle in Denmark, one of the oldest castles in the country, was built early in the early 1200s. There are a whopping 100 ghosts residing in the castle. The Earl of Bothwell (husband of Mary, Queen of Scots) died as a prisoner and wanders about the castle. Bishop of Roskilde was imprisoned, along with other religious clergy, in the castle tower during the Reformation Movement. Guests staying in the tower hear disembodied moans, groans, crying, and wailing.

Dragsholm Castle Denmark

The spirit known as the White Lady is Celina Bovles whose skeleton was discovered in a wall during a 1930s renovation. Her tragic story ended with her falling in love with a castle worker and becoming pregnant before her marriage to a nobleman. Enraged, her father chained her to the basement wall and built a wall around her. She wanders the castle halls, sobbing and in search of her lover. Her disembodied wails echo throughout the castle. Unlike the mourning White Lady, the Gray Lady is a happier spirit who died from an infected tooth. Her spirit moves about the castle, helping the workers and aiding guests. The castle was renovated into a luxury hotel. Various travel agencies offer overnight package deals that include a private ghost tour.

Paris Catacombs, France

When searching for a word to describe the disturbing scene of the Catacombs of Paris running underneath the French city, macabre doesn't begin to convey the horror and terror the Paris Catacombs evoke. Over 2,000 years of quarrying stone and over 200 miles of tunnels later, what remains is a burial site with over six million skeletal remains. The public can participate in official tours. The skulls and bones are used as some twisted form of art and are architecturally embedded. It's little wonder that these spirits are not at rest and, according to reports, many are angry.

Paris Catacombs

Those venturing into the Catacombs encounter many types of paranormal activity, with the spookiest occurrences happening after midnight. Disembodied voices encourage visitors to venture farther into the tunnels. Orbs of light float past. You might feel as though you're being watched, capture a misty image in your photos or videos, or record ghost voices.

Bhangarh Fort, India

Touted as the most haunted fort in India, the Bhangarh Fort in Rajasthan contains temples, palaces, and gates. Ruler Bhagwant Das built it in 1573 for his son Madho Singh. The fort was abandoned sometime around 1783 AD. Also known as Bhoot Bangla (Fort of Ghosts), the city boasts two mesmerizing stories of how the township was cursed.

Bhangarh Fort in India

One story blames the ill-fate of the town on a tantric priest who forbade the building of any structure that rose higher than his home. When one building shadowed his home, the man cast a curse over the town. The other story tells how a lovelorn wizard cast a love spell over the Princess of Bhangarh, but she overcame his magic. In retribution, the wizard placed a curse on the town. There are many stories about the strange haunting of the Bhangarh Fort. Ghosts aren't the only spirits roaming the fort. Frightening ghouls inhabit the fort and the town! Tourists experience odd unexplained noises, apparitions, and music/dancing inside the fort.

The fort is closed between sunset and sunrise. Consequently, there are numerous urban legends about people sneaking into the fort after dark. These people either disappear, never to be heard from again, or after their nightly adventure inside the fort walls, they later meet with an untimely death or disaster.

Corvin Castle, Transylvania

The Gothic style Corvin Castle in Hunedoara, Transylvania was built in the 15th century on the same site of an ancient Roman encampment. Today, the castle is a museum and. on occasion, hosts special celebrations and private events. The castle is best known as the place where Vlad "the Impaler" Dracula was imprisoned and tortured. Many point to this treatment as the root cause of him becoming Vlad the Impaler. Not surprisingly, Vlad's spirit roams the castle.

Corvin Castle in Romania

The spirits of prisoners that Dracula impaled haunt the castle as well. The specters of twin children murdered in their beds play in the castle. The ghost of a woman with a spike in her skull who was murdered by her husband moans and appears in the hallways. There are so many ghosts haunting the castle, you may run into an apparition, or one might show up in your photos. According to Ancient Origins, a group of tourists sneaked into the castle one night. They emerged the next day terrified and sporting bruises, having been badly beaten by a violent ghost. The tourists claimed they were tortured until daybreak.

The Myrtles Plantation, Louisiana

If you're looking for a total immersion into one of the most haunted places in the world, look no further than The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana, USA. Built in 1796, the plantation operates a Bed & Breakfast, but also caters to day visitors. Ten murders supposedly took place on the property. However, only one is documented, and that's the 1871 murder of former owner William Winter. His spirit may be a residual haunting as it stumbles into the house and crawls up the stairs the same way he did before dying on the 17th step.

Myrtles Plantation

The spirit of a young girl performs voodoo rituals that wake overnight guests in the middle of the night. If you decide to visit, you, too, may capture a photo of Chloe, an enslaved girl who appeared in a famous photo. The spirits of Sara Woodruff and her children reveal themselves in one of the main house mirrors. Legend claims that Chloe murdered them. Chloe loved to eavesdrop on the family and when caught, one of her ears was sliced off as punishment. In retaliation, she poisoned the plantation owner's wife, Sara, and children by lacing their food with oleander leaves. Chloe was hanged for her crimes in the courtyard. Another famous photo of Ghost Girl is the captured ghostly image of an early 19th-century young girl gazing out a window in the main house. You might see other apparitions wandering about the plantation or hear disembodied voices of children playing, phantom footsteps, and music.

Forbidden City, China

The Forbidden City in Beijing, China covers 180 acres with 980 buildings. It was home to the Chinese Emperor until early 20th century. In 1421, a grieving Emperor Yongle ordered that his 3,000 ladies-in-waiting be killed. He believed his favorite concubine had been poisoned and sought retribution. It's said the emperor spared the lives of some of his harem. However, 16 courtesans were hanged with silk nooses on the day of his funeral.

The forbidden city - Beijing, China

All these and other deaths within the walls of the Forbidden City make it one of the most haunted places in China. Some specters and ghostly activities are downright terrifying. For example, there's the spirit of a faceless woman in black walking about the grounds. A common encounter is the spirits of dead bodies lying in the city in pools of blood. The spirit of a woman runs away from a ghost soldier chasing her. A ghostly woman in white wanders about the city. Disembodied sounds of sobbing, screams, and sword-fighting unnerve visitors. The Forbidden City is open to self-guided tours, or you can participate in a guided tour.

Alcatraz, California

Alcatraz Prison, located on an island in the San Francisco Bay, California, is part of the National Park Service and open to the public. The prison held some of the most notorious prisoners, such as Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and the most violent prisoner, Robert Stroud aka The Birdman of Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Island

There are numerous ghosts at Alcatraz. Disembodied screams and crying echo in the prison. Prisoners in Cell Block D encountered ghosts that terrified them. One prisoner in Cell 14D screamed and begged for help, claiming there was some type of creature in the cell with him. Of course, the guards ignored his pleas for help and the next morning, they discovered he had died during the night. Cells 11, 12, 13, and 14 are always colder than the rest of the block. Odd smells, such as smoke and the disembodied sound of sobs, are common occurrences. Guards had their share of paranormal encounters, such as a full-bodied apparition with large mutton chops. If you visit, you may hear disembodied footsteps following you or the slamming of cell doors.

Gettysburg Battlefield, Pennsylvania

With over 51,000 Americans either wounded or killed during the Civil War battle of July 1 through 3 in 1863, it isn't surprising that the Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania is one of the most haunted places on Earth. The Gettysburg Battlefield saw the bloodiest battle in the Civil War and proved to be the turning point with the Union winning in the defeat of General Robert E Lee's North advancement. The grounds, surrounding buildings and homes were turned into makeshift hospitals and are havens for the restless spirits of those who died there.

Row of cannons on the Gettysburg Battlefield

There are so many instances of reported paranormal activity at Gettysburg Battlefield that books have been written to share some of these ghost stories. In the various buildings of the park, lights turn off by themselves. The spirits of soldiers wander about the battleground and buildings. If you visit, you may hear phantom sounds of guns, cannons, drums, and swords clashing. Disembodied voices echo from the past in cries of agony, commanding orders, and yells. The Gettysburg Battlefield is a National Military Park and is open to the public.

Port Arthur, Tasmania

Port Arthur in the island state of Tasmania, Australia was a 19th century penal settlement. The Separate Prison was the first indoctrination for newly arrived prisoners. It was a drastic and torturous existence for those shipped from Britain to Australia's penal colony. At the Separate Prison, the inmates were forbidden to speak to other prisoners and could only communicate with the guards. They had to remain silent the rest of the time. The slightest offenses carried the drastic punishment of being locked in total darkness for as many as 30 days. The prison was closed in 1877.

Port Arthur Penitentiary

There are hundreds of ghosts wandering about Port Arthur. Freakish full-bodied apparitions float through the prison halls mostly at night. The spirit of an elderly woman haunts the asylum. Shadow figures wander throughout the settlement. Disembodied voices and various poltergeist activities take place in most of the buildings. Horrifying faces float in the darkness of night, and a ghostly priest has less than a comforting effect on anyone who sees him. The sounds of children laughing and playing are an eerie sound at night. Today, Port Arthur is a historic museum site.

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Built on top of Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland was first known as The Castle of the Maidens. Legend claims the first castle was actually a shrine to the Nine Maidens, the young girls who were turned to stone as retribution for dancing on the Sabbath. While the castle was long held as a strategic military necessity, the present-day castle wasn't built until the 12th century. The castle survived the two-year siege by the English against Mary, Queen of Scots. it is the site of the execution of Charles I, Jacobite Risings, and was a prison during the many English wars.

Edinburgh Castle

It's easy to understand why Edinburgh Castle is considered one of the most haunted castles in Scotland. Shadow figures move about the castle, and a ghost dog guards the cemetery. The spirit of a headless drummer continues to drum in spite of his missing head. The uniformed spirits of French prisoners (Seven Years War) and Colonial prisoners, mostly sailors (American Revolutionary War) wander the castle and grounds. The most famous specter is the phantom boy piper, who was sent to investigate the underground tunnels beneath the castle. He played his pipes so his whereabouts could be mapped as he made his way through the tunnels. The piper disappeared and even though an extensive search for him ensued, no trace of him was never found.

Ghosts and Hauntings Around the World

The paranormal tales that encircle the glob are tragic stories of untimely deaths. Whether the hauntings are residual or intelligent, each of these places is marred by the past and the spirits that haunted them.

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15 Most Haunted Places in the World With Frightening Sightings