Top 10 Haunted Places to Visit in the World

Top 10 Haunted Places to Visit in the World

From eerie mansions to controversial prisons, exploring haunted places provides thrill and adventure for those brave enough to face the unknown. But is it all worth it in the end?

It’s Halloween and everyone’s in the mood for ghost stories and haunted houses. All throughout the world, reports of paranormal activities are common and folklore of ghostly encounters have been passed on from generation to generation.

While the mystery of haunted places continues to compel visitors to experience these unexplained phenomena for themselves, some areas have a long, gloomy history that is best kept in the dark. If this friendly warning falls on deaf ears, read on. Here are some of the most spooky places to visit in the world.

1. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

When talking about some of the most haunted places on earth, one that comes to mind is the Alcatraz, once home to hundreds of infamous murderers, gangsters, and robbers — including the notorious Al Capone.

Reports of paranormal activity from visitors, former prisoners, and guards are common. In fact, a former inmate who later conducted tours for visitors reported that he saw a large looming figure of a former inmate he had befriended when the latter was still alive.

Image credit: News Dog Media

Other visitors have heard wailing and screams, while holidaymaker Sheila Sillery Walsh managed to snap a picture showing a figure of a woman looking through the cell window recently. Creepy indeed.

2. Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester House is always a hot topic when it comes to ghost-hunting activities in the United States. It was the residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of firearm businessman William Winchester. The house is full of dead-ends and staircases going nowhere. Since its construction in the early 1880s, many claimed that the mansion is haunted by those killed with Winchester rifles.

Fortunately, you can tour 110 of the 160 rooms and spend almost three hours during the tour looking out for signs of supernatural activity. What happened to the other 50 rooms? Perhaps that’s best left unanswered, especially in a house as mysterious as the Winchester House.  

3. Aokigahara Forest

This 3,500-hectare forest of dense woodland at the base of Mt. Fuji is one of the most popular places for people in Japan to commit suicide. So you can understand why this location is on this list.

If you happen to visit this forest, be careful not to stray away from the official path as naturally occurring magnetic anomalies will only get you even more lost. As if the countless reports of mysterious hauntings are not enough to spook you out!

4. Eastern State Penitentiary

Once the most expensive and famous prisons in the world, the Eastern State Penitentiary is a now dilapidated world of crumbling cell blocks and a hotbed for supernatural activity. This might just be the creepiest place in Philadelphia. Empty guard towers line the compound while it’s vaulted, skylit cells — which held some of the most notorious names in American history — are now merely blank spaces. Or are they?

According to those familiar with the vicinity, many tortured spirits, including criminals such as “Slick Willie” Sutton, continue to haunt the prison grounds up till today.  If you’re hungry for some spooky action, the “Terror Behind the Walls”, a Haunted House Halloween event, is held annually at the prison. 

5. The Castle of Good Hope

This is South Africa’s oldest colonial building and possibly one of its most haunted. The Castle of Good Hope was built in the 17th century and served as a replenishment station for ships passing the deadly waters of the Cape.

Today, the structure is a reminder of the compound’s eerie past. Paranormal sightings reported include the apparition of a tall gentleman first seen in 1915 before he was sighted again in 1947 on a regular basis for two weeks. He was seen jumping off from one side of the castle walls. Similarly, incidents of a woman wearing grey, running through the castle while wailing have been reported. Perhaps it’s time for a name change?

6. Lawang Sewu

haunted places around world

Indonesia’s 1,000 doors to hell is a haunted place unlike any other. The Lawang Sewu, meaning “Thousand Doors” in Bahasa Indonesia, was built in 1917 by the Dutch East Indian Railway Company.

During World War II, Japanese forces would treat and execute prisoners inhumanely in the basement of building B, which was used as a prison. It is no surprise that Lawang Sewu is one of the country’s most haunted places where headless spirits are known to wander its corridors and grounds. To make things worse, the basement is believed to be a dwelling spot for Pontianaks (a female vampiric ghost in Malay mythology).

7. Island of the Dolls

haunted places around world

If the picture of dolls hanging from the tree does not give you chills, this story will. A man named Julian Santan Barerra moved to La Isla de la Munecas (Island of the Dolls) near Mexico City in the 1950s.

Unfortunately, he was unaware of the island’s dark history. Legend has it that a girl drowned on the island in the 1920s and her spirit was unable to leave the island. When Julian moved to the place, the girl’s spirit started talking to him. She told him how she died and he began to get dolls for the little girl to play with. He bought many old dolls for the girl and was soon worried that he could no longer appease the desires of her spirit. One day, Julian’s nephew found him face down in a canal — the exact location where the little girl had drowned seventy years before.

Today, many visitors talk about how the doll’s eyes are always following them and reports of the dolls whispering to them are common. Who else remains on the island? People believe that the spirits of Julian and the little girl are still there.

8. Old Changi Hospital

One of my childhood memories: Sitting down in a dark corner of the house and having my older cousins and siblings tell me a story about the Old Changi Hospital. 

Built in 1935 in Singapore, the compound was used by the Kempeitai (Japanese Secret Police) as a prison and torture camp during the Japanese occupation. The hospital resumed services after the war but closed down in 1997, where it has stood derelict ever since. Its haunted past continues to intrigue locals and foreigners alike. Visitors have spotted apparitions of an old man, as well as a woman, walking through rooms. Spirits of children are also known to haunt the old children’s ward and unexplained screams and loud bangs are a common occurrence. Access to the property is prohibited — so if you’re lucky enough not to be caught by a demonic spirit, you’ll probably have less luck with the police.

9. Stanley Hotel

This hotel in Colorado is famous for inspiring Stephen King’s “The Shining”. Room 217, where the celebrated author stayed, was infamous for being a hotspot for the supernatural since 1911. So what are some of the freakish experiences you can expect? Things moving, lights turning on and off, and the laughter and sighting of young spirits running through the hotel rooms. If you feel adventurous and curious enough to test the truth of such claims, the hotel organizes a wide range of ghost tours.

10. The White House

haunted places around world

Surprise entry on the list! Yes, the White House in Washington D.C. is probably the most well-known residence in the world since it is the home of the President of the United States. With such a vast history, it is no surprise that many consider it to be one of the most haunted houses in the country, too.

On one particular visit, Winston Churchill was staying in the Lincoln Bedroom, where he saw Abraham Lincoln standing by the fireplace after his shower. Talk about cross-era diplomacy meetings! Other occupants of the White House have seen the ghost of many historical figures, including Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Jackie Kennedy. Sudden cold spots, unexplained voices and knocks, and strange footsteps have provided an unexpected experience for visitors and those living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

There we have it, some of the most haunted places on the face of this planet. If you’re one with an adventurous spirit and a hunger to explore the unexplained, what are you waiting for? Just remember not to turn around when you feel a tap on your shoulders.

Also read: 7 Festivals to See Around the World if You’re a Fan of Halloween

About Author

Alif Amsyar
Alif Amsyar

Alif is that friend you’ll catch searching for new places to explore during lectures. With a penchant for both travelling and writing, he carries the world in his trusty backpack and a small journal. He believes in the saying “who lives sees, but who travels sees more” and hopes to share his adventures with other people. Other times, he’s just dreaming of taking the perfect selfie with a Quokka.

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