Some people love a good thrill and a chill. They enjoy that spine-tingling sensation and rush they get from watching a scary movie, or even a rerun of Ghost Hunters. For the thrill-seeking set, you might want to get in on the action.
There’s a whole subset of the travel industry dedicated to ghost hunting. If this sounds fascinating, then keep reading. You’ll find a short list of some of the most haunted locales around the world. From bed and breakfasts and popular hotels to vintage castles, there’s always somewhere to catch a spook, spector, or simply have a story to share with your friends.
The Most Haunted Places in North America
It’s always good to start your haunted bucket list in your own backyard. Thankfully, there are plenty of scary good spots right here in the U.S. as well as Canada and Mexico. From legendary spook centrals to lesser-known hidden gems, consider a stop at these places.
Lizzie Borden House
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Located in Fall River, Massachusetts, the Lizzie Borden House is the home of the notorious criminal of the same name. Lizzie Borden rose to infamy in 1892 after being accused of gruesomely killing her father and stepmother with a hatchet in her home. She was acquitted, but her home — now a bed and breakfast and museum — offers ghost tours and overnight stays. Some guests reported seeing and hearing strange things at what’s known as the most haunted house in America. It’s also not too far from Salem if you’re down to learn more about the witch trials.
Canada is also home to plenty of reportedly haunted spots. But the spookiest honor goes to Casa Loma, a home designed using gothic revival architecture. Built in 1914, it’s complete with hidden passageways and dark corners, which is perfect for imagined or real apparitions. Today, Casa Loma is an award-winning event venue in Toronto — and reportedly very haunted. Often referred to as Toronto’s Camelot, you can tour the grounds, hope to spot a ghost or feel a chill up your spine, enjoy one of the two on-site restaurants, or book a special event there.
Templo Mayor Ruins
Hardly anyone is surprised that ancient archeological sites are haunted. If you’re brave enough, head to Mexico City and stop by Templo Mayor. This is the site of an ancient Aztec community and is now an active museum and tourist attraction. For many of the original inhabitants, this site was home to human sacrifices for the Aztec Gods. And historically, it’s where the last Aztec emperor, Cuauhtémoc, made an unsuccessful and fatal stand against invading Spanish armies. Visitors report experiencing strange sensations and seeing shadowy figures around the ruins.
Most Haunted Places in Europe
Anywhere that has a long history is often home to some very haunted places. Europe is no exception. Practically every country has a famous site for spine-tingling experiences. But the following are considered the most haunted places across Europe.
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Poveglia is an island in Italy that’s not far from Venice. However, it has a dark history and is known as the ghost island. When the plague ripped through Europe in the late 1700s, this island became a quarantine zone. So, you can imagine that several people met their end here and experienced real pain along the way. Fast forward to the 20th century and the island became a psychiatric hospital. Today, Poveglia sits abandoned but is a tourist destination. Amateur and more seasoned ghost hunters swear that the island is one of the hottest places to go if you want to have a paranormal encounter.
If you’re heading to Germany and like a good spooky story, don’t forget to stop by the tiny village of Burg Wolfsegg in the Bavaria region. The Wolfsegg castle located there has become a tourist attraction but you’ll need to go between May and October. Apparently, this 800-year-old castle is home to a ghostly woman that scares off visitors. The inside scoop is that it’s the ghost of Klara von Helfenstein, who was murdered by her jealous husband.
Tower of London
Even if you have a passing understanding of British history, this entry should come as no surprise. Whether you watched The Tudors or know about the chaos around the royal court, the Tower of London was home for several famous people. This included a few of Henry VIII’s wives, and many members of nobility, before being executed in the accompanying square. With over 900 years of tragedy and wild historical events, it’s unsurprising that the Tower of London is one of the most popular places in the British Isles to get up close and personal with haunts and spectors.
The Most Haunted Places in South America
No one continent has the market cornered on spine tingling scary stories about specific locales. Across South America, there are a few haunted spaces with sobering tales. So much so, that only the bravest of the brave will push their luck by visiting these haunted places.
La Casa Matusita
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Named after its final high-profile inhabitants, a good catchphrase for La Casa Matusita in Lima, Peru would be “abandon all hope ye who enter here.” Locals believe even the ground the house sits on is cursed. Almost all of the house’s previous inhabitants met fateful ends. Before anything was built, a woman named Parvaneh Dervaspa was accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake during the Colonial period.
After cursing the land just before her death, future residents also faced worse luck. One landowner built a house there, threw a party, and his guests were drugged followed by a massacre. Meanwhile, 100 years later a Japanese family named Matusita moved into the home and the husband murdered his entire family after finding out his wife was unfaithful. These are just the haunted highlights as much more has happened over the centuries. But it’s understandable why the locals avoid this place.
Once a bustling mining town in Chile, La Noria is now a ghost town turned tourist attraction for those willing to brave the Atacama Desert. The town was founded in 1826, and was originally a bustling economic center. But competing industries in nearby towns, along with a fire that ravaged the infrastructure turned it into an abandoned shell over time. However, the real story is that many people lost their lives mining saltpeter in the local mine.
The main attraction today is the cemetery, which has open graves with visible bones of the dead now sun-bleached after decades or more of exposure. Locals in nearby areas claim to have heard screaming or footsteps while others recounted seeing apparitions.
Las Ruinas de la Parroquia
Once upon a time, a Catholic church stood on what’s now Las Ruinas de la Parroquia. But nothing turns a structure into a home for haunts like unrequited love. Las Ruinas de la Parroquia are what’s left of a church built in the Costa Rican town of Cartago. Originally built in 1573, it suffered repeated damage from earthquakes over the centuries before the locals decided that the constant damage was a sign that a church shouldn’t be on that land.
However, legend has it that the real cause for all those natural disasters was a case of sibling rivalry mixed with an impossible love triangle from the 1500s. According to the tale, two brothers — one a priest — fell in love with the same woman. Even though the priest never had a real shot, he got jealous when the love interest went for his brother instead. After killing his brother, he repented and atoned for his mortal sin by building a church. However, even while the priest was alive, his attempts to build a church constantly ran into calamity as earthquakes plagued his endeavors.
The Most Haunted Places in Asia
Asia is another continent that’s home to rich history, which can lend itself to ghost stories and close encounters with the other world. From China to Japan, and even Singapore, here’s a short list of some of the most haunted spots you can visit in the far east.
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If you’re into the supernatural and paranormal realm, you’ve probably heard of Aokigahara Forest. Located near Mount Fuji on the island of Honshu, this is one of the most well-known haunted places in Japan. Informally known as “suicide forest,” this is where countless Japanese residents have either attempted or committed suicide. It’s so widely known for this that a sign sits at the entrance to the forest begging people to think twice before taking their lives and to call a number at the bottom if they’re in distress. As a result, the forest is said to be haunted and people traveling through the forest have reported hearing screaming and feeling presences.
The Great Wall
The Great Wall that stretches across China is one of the most amazing structures made by man. Every year roughly 10 million people visit it, although few attempt to actually trek the entire expanse from end to end. In truth, some parts of the wall in more remote areas aren’t in the best condition, making it unsafe to do so. But, the Great Wall of China is also considered incredibly haunted. Ghost hunters frequently visit there, hoping to catch a glimpse of something otherworldly. And even tourists have reported seeing ghosts walking, the sounds of marching footsteps, and even getting nauseous or feeling ill while visiting the Great Wall. The reason for this? A structure of this size takes a lot of people to build, and many of those individuals lost their life to create this fortified defense and natural wonder.
Old Changi Hospital
Hospitals, orphanages, and prisons are default spaces for haunts. If you’re up for the challenge, the Old Changi Hospital in Singapore is said to be one of the most haunted places on the island. It’s no longer in operation, but while it was open between 1935 and 1997, it saw its fair share of tragedy. In particular, its time during the Japanese occupation adds to the spook factor. Just note that you can’t legally get into this hospital as it’s long since been closed to the public.
The Most Haunted Places in Africa
If you go digging for spooky spots in Africa, you’ll find that most of the official options are limited to South Africa. So, you might need a truly local guide to help you find a few spine tingling locations elsewhere across the continent. But even so, South Africa has a thriving ghost-hunting tourism industry.
Castle of Good Hope
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Nothing good comes from occupation, and many ghostly places can trace their spooky story origins back to the colonial periods when a country or land was being occupied. The Castle of Good Hope is located in South Africa in Cape Town. it dates back to 1666 when it was originally built under the Dutch East India Company. Legend has it that the building that was turned into a military fort between the 18th and 20th centuries is haunted. As the story goes, the then Governor, Pieter van Noodt, in the 1700s sentenced a few people to death by hanging — one of whom cursed him. Unfortunately, the governor died of a heart attack later that day after the executions. Even now, people claim to have seen Governor van Noodt roaming the building.
The Most Haunted Places in Australia
Rounding out our list is Australia, the continent-slash-country has a variety of haunted places. However, because of its penal colony origin story, many of the most haunted spots tend to be former prison sites.
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Spooks are everywhere, including in the land down under. If you’re in Tasmania, head to Port Arthur, it’s a small town that’s best known for its other-worldly inhabitants. If you have a basic understanding of Australian history, you know that the continent’s colonization started as a penal colony where England sent its worst offenders. Port Arthur was a particularly bad one, with many of its transplant inhabitants enduring solitary confinement and forced church services.
Again, prisons tend to be breeding grounds for paranormal activity since we’re sure it wasn’t all quiet, rainbows and hymnals being sung before the penal colony was suspended. The place was only a prison colony for 47 years, but over 1,000 people died during that time. But if you’re up to the challenge, you can book a nighttime ghost tour.