Haunted places are nothing new, and there is not always concrete proof that such places are the hunting grounds of ghouls and poltergeists. However, the aura such environments possess is one that you can be only too familiar with from horror movies. Welcome to the most haunted places on Earth with histories of violent deaths and stories of souls who roam the realm of the living in search of revenge.
1. Mary King's Close, Edinburgh, Scotland
Once a warren of streets and narrow dwellings, this was a thriving trading area before the plague broke out in 1645. Today, it is part of the city's popular haunted places walking tour where tour guides and visitors have reported ghosts of an elderly lady, a woman in black and a little girl named Annie. Annie has been known to interact with people who leave behind gifts for her.
Paranormal activities reported are flicking stones, following footsteps and sounds of toasting in a tavern.
2. The White House, Washington D.C.
It seems unthinkable that the residence of the American President and the symbol of American politics is a haunted house. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why Barrack Obama seems to be aging rapidly after almost 2 terms of presidency.
World leaders like the late Winston Churchill, former president Theodore Roosevelt, and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands had reportedly seen apparitions of Abraham Lincoln standing by the fireplace in various rooms and in the hallway.
3. Bhangarh Fort, Alwar District, Rajasthan
This fort is said to be haunted by a tantrik who tried to use black magic to make a princess fall in love with him. Unfortunately, it backfired and he cursed the fort and all its residents. Stories of people going mad with fear and abductions of intruders have been reported over the past.
Today, the fort is closed after sunset and locals warn visitors of not going anywhere near it after dark.
4. Old Changi Hospital, Singapore
The hospital was built in 1935 as part of a military base which was soon taken over by the Japanese occupation. The Kempeitai (Japanese Imperial Secret Police) used it as a torture camp and prison for Allied hostages.
After Word War II, the building remained a hospital till 1997 until the construction of the new Changi General hospital. The abandoned hospital is said to be haunted by Japanese soldiers and victims of wars crimes and executions. Loud bangs and screams have been said to be heard.
5. Island of Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico
Legend has it that a girl died on this artificial island after drowning in one of the canals that crisscross it. Julian Barrerra, a man who moved there in the 1950s, was haunted by the spirit of the girl and in order to appease her, he bought several old dolls and hung them around the island. Julian had told his nephew that the ghost wanted him to join her as a playmate in the afterlife after which his body was found in the canal in 2001 at the same spot where the girl had drowned.
Visitors to the island have reported the dolls eyes following them as well as sounds of whispers and giggling.
6. St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida, USA
Built in the 1820s, this lighthouse has had a remarkable history. Today, it has ghost tours and many visitors have noticed the scent of a burning cigar believed to belong to one of the men who was a caretaker and died on the job. Other ghosts who haunt the tower are two girls who were believed to have died from an accident during the construction of the building. Visitors have reported being pulled downstairs by the spirit of a girl dressed in blue velvet, perhaps one of the girls who had died.
Due to the overwhelming number of reports coming from the location, the TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) crew investigated and found several pieces of evidence, including a video of what appears to be a woman looking over the railing on the lighthouse staircase. They also captured shadow figures, and an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) of a woman crying out for help! Due to their success in capturing paranormal evidence, TAPS coined the location ‘the Mona Lisa of paranormal sites’.
7. Aokigahara Forest, Japan
Located at the base of Mount Fuji, this forest is a notorious site where people commit suicide. It stands second to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Due to its association with demons and the wind blocking density of trees, the forest has an eerie feel, and almost 100 lives are lost in it every year. Volunteers help searching for bodies as the government continues to make efforts to not share the statistics of deaths reported. Spirits remorseful about leaving the land of the living are said to haunt the forest. Visitors are advised to mark their trails with tape so as to not get lost.
8. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
An iconic heritage city and tourist spot in the city, the castle is also home to a phantom piper, a headless drummer and a spectral dog. In 2001, the castle vaults and chambers were subjected to a rigorous 10-day scientific survey, using night-vision equipment, digital cameras, thermal imaging, and 240 carefully-screened volunteers. Nearly half of those who took part reported ghost sightings and spooky phenomena, including sudden drops in temperature and the sensation of unseen presences tugging at their clothes.
9. Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
Built in the 16th century by the Dutch East India Company for the purpose of replenishment of ships that were about to venture into the treacherous waters of the Cape, the castle has several stories of ghosts like a screaming woman, a tall gentleman and a black dog that pounces on unsuspecting visitors.
Even today, blood-curdling screams, strange voices and footsteps still terrify soldiers on guard during the late night shift at the Castle of Good Hope.
10. Monte Cristo Homestead, New South Wales, Australia
One of Australia's most haunted places, this house was owned by the Crawley family that lived in it from 1855 to 1948. The family was witness to many deaths including that of a mentally ill man who was found chained in the caretaker's cottage. Videos of paranormal activity in the house have been recorded several times.
11. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Cambodia
This former high school was turned into Security Prison 21 under the Khmer Rouge and was used as a base in 1975 to imprison and torture prisoners. Prisoners were tricked into naming their families and associates who were imprisoned, tortured and eventually murdered. The ghosts of 17,000 victims are said to roam the halls of this museum and it's not hard to see why.
12. The Tower of London, England
A historical icon and tourist hot spot, the Tower of London is also one of the most haunted places in the United Kingdom. That's no wonder because this was the site where several figures in English history were beheaded for sedition and betrayal.
Tower Guards or "Beef Eaters" as they are called have reported seeing the headless ghosts of Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey as well as the ghosts of two young princes who were sent to the tower and disappeared after being deemed illegitimate.
13. Humberstone and La Noria, Chile
These two mining towns were both abandoned in 1960 due to the collapse of the economy and horrible treatment of workers.
It is rumored that the dead of the La Noria cemetery rise at night and walk around the town, and ghostly images frequently show up in photographs in Humberstone. These towns are so terrifying, the residents of nearby Iquique refuse to enter them. The former residents never left, and can be seen walking around, and children have been heard playing. Some graves in the cemeteries are fully exposed and nobody has been able to confirm whether this is the work of grave robbers or zombie activity.