Written by HauntedRooms.
Want to have the best chance of experiencing the paranormal?
Although our specialty here at Haunted Rooms is the UK and Ireland’s most haunted places, we’re fascinated by any haunted place, and there are definitely lots of them about. So, we have decided to put together what we think are the most haunted places in the world.
Below you’ll find a list of 21 of the most haunted locations from across the globe, some of which you will most likely of heard of, and some of which you may have not. What is for sure though, is that you’ll likely want to read some of these stories with the lights on!
1) Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania, United States
Built in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary is a former prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s known for being the very first prison of its kind to introduce solitary confinement, or what they used to call, the Pennsylvania System. Prisoners were sent to solitary during this time as a form of rehabilitation. They would be completely isolated, living alone, eating alone, and even exercising alone in their own individual yards. Whenever an inmate left his cell, a black hood would be placed over his head to assure he remained in confinement.
Due to Eastern States’ harsh approach, many prisoners were drove to insanity, and as a result the Pennsylvania System was scrapped in 1913. From then until 1970 it was used as a regular prison, and held the likes of Al Capone and the bank robber, Willie Sutton.
Reports of the paranormal have been going on since the 1940’s, but ever since the stone prison was abandoned in 1971, paranormal experiences have seemingly increased.
- Shadowy figures that seem to quickly turn away when approached
- a dark figure that is occasionally seen in the guard tower
- an evil cackling is heard coming from cellblock 12
- shadowy figures have been seen sliding down walls in cellblock 6
- ghostly faces have been witnessed in cellblock 4
- and strange sounds such as disembodied footsteps, distant talking, and banging of cell doors have also been heard.
2) Waverly Hills Sanitorium – Kentucky, United States
Waverly Hills was originally a two-story wooden building that was opened in 1910, however the building you see today was constructed in 1926. It served as a tuberculosis hospital throughout the early to mid 20th Century, a time when the disease was at its worst. It is believed that as many as 63,000 patients died there. The death toll as well as the supposed mistreatment and questionable experimental procedures on patients, are all recipes that may be behind one of the most haunted buildings in the whole of the US.
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium has built quite the reputation over the years as more and more people are allowed to investigate the premises. This has thrown up some incredible evidence over the years. It has featured on shows such as Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters (TAPS), and our very own Most Haunted. TAPS captured a figure on their thermal imaging camera that seemed to be walking across the hall. The figure was about 3ft tall, they later found out that the ghost of a young boy named Tim has been spotted there before.
There are vast amounts of varying reports, including full bodied apparitions, fleeting shadows, screams from empty rooms, footsteps, sudden cold spots, and disembodied voices among many others.
3) Monte Cristo Homestead – New South Wales, Australia
The historic Monte Cristo Homestead in Junee, New South Wales is regarded as the most haunted location in Australia. It’s reputation is believed to stem from the amount of tragic events that have occurred there since it was built in 1885. From the time of its construction up to 1948, the Crawley family owned and resided in the property. During this time the family laid witness to many deaths, including the tragic death of a young child who was dropped down the stairs. A maid to the family is believed to have fallen from the balcony, and a stable boy apparently burned to death on the property.
There was also a mentally ill man named Harold (the son of a caretaker) who was chained up in the caretaker’s cottage for 40 years. He was found curled up next to the body of his dead mother, and sent to a mental institute where he died shortly after.
The tragedy doesn’t end with the Crawley’s. After the house was left in 1948, it was taken over by a group of caretakers, one of whom was murdered in the caretaker’s cottage.
4) Castle of Good Hope – Cape Town, South Africa
The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, South Africa was built in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company. It’s the country’s oldest colonial building, originally serving as a replenishment station for ships passing the treacherous waters of the Cape.
The first reported paranormal occurrence was when the apparition of a tall gentleman was seen in 1915 on one of the castles’ ramparts. The man wasn’t seen again until 1947, when he was seen on a regular basis over a two week period. He would be seen jumping off the side of one of the castle walls, and walking between the bastions Leerdam and Oranje.
One of the most popular stories associated with the Castle is of the former governor Pieter Gysbert van Noodt. He died on 23 April 1728, the same day he had sentenced to death seven soldiers who were caught attempting to desert the military. It’s believed one of the soldiers placed a curse on him and demanded he came to watch the execution, which he didn’t. Later that day, Van Noodt was found dead slouched over his desk with a look of terror on his face.
Another famous haunting is of the Lady in Grey. She has been witnessed running through the castle holding her face and crying hysterically. However, since a woman’s body was found during recent excavations her ghost hasn’t been reported.
Sometime in the 1700’s, a soldier was found hanging from the bell rope in the bell tower, which overlooks the entrance to the castle. After his death, the bell tower was sealed off however, to this day the bell has been known to strike off its own accord. There’s also the ghost of a black dog who has been known to pounce on unsuspecting visitors, then simply vanish into thin air.
5) The Tower of London – London, England
With a history of torture and execution going back over 900 years, the Tower of London is regarded by many as one of the most haunted places in the UK. It was originally built in 1078 by William the Conqueror, and has served a major role in the history of England ever since.
There have been many reports of the paranormal at the Tower of London over the years. The most famous of all the spirits that live within its walls, is Anne Boleyn, the wife of King Henry VIII. She was beheaded in 1536, and her headless body has been seen walking the Tower’s corridors and often near the spot of her demise.
Other full bodied apparitions have also been seen including Lady Jane Grey, who was spotted by a guardsman in 1957. In the White Tower the White Lady has been seen, often standing at window, where she once stood waving to her children on the other side of the building.
Perhaps the most spine chilling of all reports includes the mysterious appearance of two children. They have been witnessed throughout the rooms of the castle. They’re often seen in their nightgowns, holding hands and with a look of terror on their faces. It is believed these are two former Prince’s, who were sent tot he Tower after they were deemed illegitimate by Parliament. They vanished one day and it was assumed that they were murdered by order of their uncle, the Duke of Gloucester. Apparently, two small skeletons were exhumed beneath a staircase in the White Tower.
6) Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire, England
Built in 1145, the Ancient Ram Inn is believed to be the most haunted house in the entire British Isles, and perhaps the most haunted house in the world. The tales of child sacrifices, devil worship, and evil spirits are believed to be behind the terrifying happenings in this building. The Inn was built on the intersection of 2 ley lines, what many people believe is a conductor for spiritual activity. In addition, an ancient Pagan burial ground is said to have resided in the property over 5,000 years ago.
During its time as a bed and breakfast, people would often flee in the middle of the night, often seeing full bodied apparitions in their rooms, the feeling of being touched/pulled, disembodied voices, and the just the general feeling of evil.
John, the current owner and resident of the Ram Inn, has reported that on his first night in the house in 1968, he felt a presence grab his arm, before being dragged out of bed and across the room! John has since found evidence of devil worship and ritual sacrifice. He found two child skeletons underneath the staircase, as well as broken daggers. He continues to experience the hauntings and the attacks to this day.
7) Fort George, The Citadel, Nova Scotia, Canada
Labelled as Canada’s most haunted historic site, the Halifax Citadel has received hundreds of reports of ghost sightings over the years. Situated at the summit of Citadel Hill in the town of Halifax, Nova Scotia, this star shaped fort is almost 300 years old, with the original foundations being built in 1749, and reconstructed in 1856.
Staff and visitors have reported several apparitions walking the grounds here, with one particular visitor witnessing a soldier in uniform walk into one of the rooms in the old prison area and simply vanish. This is a common theme with many reports centered around apparitions. Other ghostly figures that have been witnessed include an old man, a woman, a man in a red cloak, and an older lady who has been known to show herself in mirrors.
A little girl is said to follow the groups taking part in the ghost tours, with group members often experiencing her holding their hands. Other reports include disembodied voices, unexplained bangs and knocks, mists captured on film and with the naked eye. The feeling of being watched is a common complaint, as is the sudden feeling of nausea, sudden gusts of wind in closed off rooms, furniture moving, doors banging, and on occasion people have been pushed by an unseen force.
8) Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada
The Banff Springs hotel in Alberta Canada, was built over 125 years ago by the Canadian Pacific Railway, as a luxury stop off point for train travelers. Don’t let its picturesque surroundings fool you though, it’s rumoured to be one of the most haunted in the country.
Terrifying reports include the sighting of a bride who fell down the staircase breaking her neck after panicking when her dress caught fire. Her apparition has been seen on the staircase and in the ballroom dancing, with many reporting the flames from the back of her dress.
The main story that is told by locals is that of the family that was murdered in room 873. The door to this room has since been bricked up, but the family that lost their life in this room are still seen to this day, often in the hallway outside the room.
Perhaps the most popular of all the reports is the former bellman, Sam Macauley. He served at the hotel during the 60’s and 70’s, and is still seen to this day. He likes to help guests up to their rooms, dressed in his 60’s uniform, often turning on lights and opening locked doors. If you try and make conversation or tip Sam, he vanishes.
9) Château de Brissac, Maine-et-Loire, France
Originally built in the 11th century as a castle by the Counts of Anjou, Château de Brissac was rebuilt in 1502, by Charles II, Duke of Brissac, who gave it its name. This noble castle is the tallest in France, and it exudes old world charm, but one of its past residents has shocked more than one visitor.
A double murder that occurred sometime in the 15th century within the walls of the castle, has resulted in one of the more popular ghosts of the Château de Brissac, that of the la Dame Verte, or “Green Lady”. The current residents (the current Duke of Brissac and his family) have become accustomed to her roaming the rooms, but she has scared many a guest. She is often seen in the tower room of the chapel, wearing her green dress. What’s most terrifying however, is her face. If she looks at you, you’ll see that her face has gaping holes were her eyes and nose should be, resembling what a corpse would look like. As well as her sighting, her moans are also often heard throughout the castle in the early hours.
10) Borgvattnet (The Haunted Vicarage) – Sweden
Borgvattnet is a small village in Jämtland County, Northern Sweden. It’s renowned for having one of the most haunted houses in Sweden, The Old Vicarage, which was built in 1876.
The first ghost ever documented at the vicarage came in 1927, when the chaplain Nils Hedlund resided. He reported many strange happenings including one particular encounter with something paranormal. He was on his way up to the attic to gather his laundry when he witnessed his laundry being torn down from the line by an unseen force.
Rudolf Tangden, a priest who lived at the vicarage during the 1930’s, saw an old woman dressed in grey appear in a room. He followed her as she walked away, but she vanished in front of his eyes. In the 1940’s Tangden’s successor, Otto Lindgren, and his wife said they had several paranormal experiences including unexplained sounds and moving objects.
On one occasion a woman who was staying in the guestroom was awoken in the middle of the night to see 3 old women sitting staring at her. She quickly turned on the light and they were still looking at her, however they now appeared blurry.
In 1945 the chaplain, Erick Lindgren moved into the vicarage, and he began a journal recounting many of his own experiences in the house. He reported being thrown out of his chair regularly by an unseen force.
The current building is serving as a restaurant/cafe, as well a guest house. If you dare to stay the entire night you’ll receive an overnight-stay-certificate to prove it!
11) Babenhausen Barracks – Hesse, Germany
Now a museum, the ghost of World War II German soldiers have been seen in uniform. Lights are known to turn on and off by themselves and voices are heard in the basement. German commands are often heard being shouted out in the middle of the night, and disembodied footsteps are a common experience.
Soldiers who have visited museum and picked up a telephone have reported hearing a woman talking backwards, it’s not clear whether it’s in English or German.
In the town of Babenhausen, a with was allegedly burned at the stake sometime in the 19th century. Her ghost is said to have seduced and killed several German soldiers.
12) Lawang Sewu – Semarang, Indonesia
Lawang Sewu (meaning “Thousand Doors”) was Built in 1917 by the Dutch East Indian Railway Company. During World War II the Japanese occupied Indonesia, and Lawang Sewu was taken over by Japanese forces. The basement of B building was used as a prison, were many people were treated harshly, with many of them being executed. When Semarang was retaken by the Dutch in October 1945 at the battle of Semarang, Dutch soldiers used the tunnel underneath A building to sneak into the city. A battle ensued and numerous Indonesian soldiers were killed, as well as 5 employees.
Lawang Sewu is believed to be the most haunted place in Indonesia, with many tourists visiting the beautiful building to hopefully catch a glimpse of the paranormal. Among the many ghosts that have been reported here, the most popular and often sighted spirit is the Dutch woman. She is believed to have committed suicide there, and was captured on film during a TV program.
Headless spirits are known to wonder its corridors and grounds, and the basement in B building is believed to be haunted by a kuntilanak.
13) Poveglia Island – Italy
In the Venice Lagoon between Venice and Lido, sits the small island of Poveglia. Inhabited since 421, when mainlanders fled to seek refuge from the invaders, Poveglia’s population began to dwindle centuries later, and by the 14th century the island was completely abandoned. As with many small islands in Europe during the Bubonic Plague outbreak in the 14th century, the island became a quarantine colony. Many Venetians were sent here to die, their dead infected bodies being burned on giant pyres. This was also the case in 1630, when the Black Death swept through Venice.
The site was apparently used to as a mental asylum during the 1800’s, however many sources state that this simply is not the case. Stories persist though of ill treatment, and experimental procedures being carried out in building. During 1930 a doctor is believed to have committed suicide, jumping to his death from the bell tower. From the mid-20th century up until 1975 when it was closed, Poveglia hospital was used as geriatric centre.
Today the whole island is abandoned, and it’s believed that many locals dare not step foot on the island for fear of being cursed. Fisherman also refuse to fish in the area for fear of dragging up human remains.
The ghosts of the patients and victims of disease are said to haunt the island and its buildings. Voices and screams are often heard, with EVP’s often captured. Dark fleeting shadows are often witnessed, and possessions have been reported. Ghost Adventures very own Zak Bagans was apparently possessed during the crew’s visit a few years ago, when he suddenly became over-run by rage. As soon as people step fot on the island they begin to feel an oppressive evil feeling, often departing in absolute terror.
14) Island of the Dolls – Xochimilco, Mexico
Located on Lake Teshuilo in Xochimilco nr Mexico City, the island La Isla de la Munecas (The Island of the Dolls) is certainly one of the strangest haunted locations in our list. In the 1950’s, a man named Julian Santan Barrera moved to the island (despite being married with a young family).
Julian was unaware of the dark history of the area when he moved there to become a recluse. Legend says that three young girls were playing near the water in the 1920’s, when one of the girls fell in and drowned in the murky waters. Locals believed that ever since her death, the young girls’ spirit has been unable to leave the island. It soon grew quite a reputation as a haunted place, and locals wouldn’t go near it at night for fear of what they may see.
Julian claimed that as soon as he moved on the island a little girl began speaking to him. The girl told Julian how she had died, and that she was trapped on the island. He began to get the dolls for this little girl, often selling off fruit and vegetables that he had grown on the island, so that he could buy old dolls for her to play with.
Julian later told his nephew that it was becoming more difficult to appease the young girl’s thirst for these dolls, with him seemingly worried that she wanted him to join her in her watery grave. The same day he had this discussion, his nephew was returning to the island, when he found his uncle face down in the canal. His body was in the same spot where the little girl had apparently drowned seventy years before.
Today, tourists to the island often speak of the doll’s eyes following them. Others have also reported that the mutilated dolls whisper to them, especially at night. Julian’s ghost is also said to remain on the island, as well as the young girls’.
15) Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland
The site on which Edinburgh Castle sits has history dating back to the Iron Age. Situated overlooking what many people believe to be the most haunted city on Earth, Edinburgh Castle has been the site of torture and many bloody battles during its time. Recipes for many a haunted location.
Visitors and staff of this now tourist destination, have experienced many things over the years. The most common is the feeling of being touched and pulled, as well as the sighting of apparitions. Spirits that have been witnessed include an old man wearing an apron, a headless drummer boy, and a piper who mysteriously lost his life after getting lost in the tunnels below the castle.
Other experiences include shadowy figures, strange lights, sudden drops in temperature, unexplained mists, strange sounds, the feeling of being watched, and sudden intense feelings of dread, sadness, and despair.
16) Akershus Fortress – Oslo, Norway
Built around 1300, Akershus Fortress (aka Akershus Castle) is a medieval castle that served as a defensive stronghold for the city of Oslo. It has served as a prison during the late 18th-19th centuries, with many prisoners dying during their imprisonment. Nazi’s also occupied the castle during World War II, carrying out many executions on the site.
Akershus Castle is believed to be the most haunted place in Norway, with many ghosts to speak of. With its vast history it’s of little surprise. The most popular of all is the demon dog named Malcanisen that’s said to guard the gates to the castle. Legend says that anyone that is approached by Malcanisen is sentenced to a horrible death sometime in the following three months.
The ghost of a woman named Mantelgeisten is often seen within the castle, walking back towards her chamber. She appears from the darkness wearing a long robe, and has no facial features.
17) Old Changi Hospital – Changi, Singapore
The Old Changi Hospital is a former hospital in Changi, Singapore. It was built back in 1935 as part of the old Changi military base. During the occupation of the Japanese the compound was used by the notorious Kempeitai (the Japenese Secret Police) as a prison and torture camp. After the end of World War II, the building was again a hospital, and remained so until 1997, when it was replaced by the Changi General Hospital. It has stood derelict and decaying ever since.
The building is now haunted by its past, with Japanese soldiers, people that were executed, and the patients that died here. Apparitions of an old man has been seen walking down the corridors, and a woman has been seen walking through the rooms. The spirits of children are know to haunt the old children’s ward, and the ghosts of bloodied Japanese soldiers have been seen also. Loud bangs and unexplained screams are also a common occurrence.
18) St Augustine Lighthouse – Florida, USA
St. Augustine lighthouse (built in 1974) is an active lighthouse and museum in St. Augustine, Florida. The lighthouse and surrounding buildings are reportedly haunted. The apparitions of two girls has been reported on several occasions by both visitors and staff. The girls are believed to be the daughters of Hezekiah Pittee, who was in charge of construction of the lighthouse in the 1870’s. His two daughters died during its construction, in a tragic accident on the site. Both of them have been seen on the tower catwalk.
The apparition of a woman has also been witnessed, standing on the stairway of the lighthouse or walking on the grounds outside the buildings. Her voice has been heard on several occasions, often crying out for help. There has also been various reports of disembodied conversations, shadows, and the sound of footsteps coming up the lighthouse steps.
The ghost of a man has also been seen in the lighthouse basement, believed to be that of Civil War hero and former lighthouse keeper William A. Harn.
Due to the overwhelming number of reports coming from the location, the TAPS 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 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’.
19) The Queen Mary Hotel – California, USA
The Queen Mary Hotel is a former ocean liner that sailed primarily in the North Atlantic during the 1930’s to 1960’s. Since the 1970’s the liner has been run as a hotel in Long Beach, California.
It’s regarded as one of the most haunted hotels in America, and with the vast array of experiences that have been reported there, it’s hard to argue. The ship has so many haunted areas, that it’s hard to know where to start when trying to explain them.
The most popular of all the reports seems to be from the First Class Swimming Pool. Two women apparently drowned here during the 1930’s and 1960’s. Their ghosts have been seen on numerous occasions in this area.
The figure of a woman in white has been seen in the Queen’s Salon. There have been sightings of a gentleman in a formal 1930’s suit in the First Class suites. The ghosts of two children have been seen and heard near the storage room, and the ghost of a young woman has been seen walking through the Tourist Class Swimming Pool.
In Cabin B340 there have also been a lot of paranormal reports, however this isn’t available for rent any longer. Whether this is to do with the experiences that have been reported there or for very different reasons, is not known.
Looking for more hotel haunts in America? See our sister site HauntedRooms.com for more haunted hotels.
20) Mary King’s Close – Edinburgh, Scotland
Mary King’s close is an underground warren of streets and dwellings. It was once a thriving trade area where Edinburgh’s tradesmen used to live and work however, in 1645 the close was believed to have been abandoned after an outbreak of the plague. Those that were infected stayed behind in isolation. The location is now a popular tourist destination, running daily tours to people interested in learning about the history and the legends associated with the close.
Since the 17th century there have been reports of paranormal goings on in the close, and it’s now regarded as one of the most haunted places in Scotland. The Coltheart family who lived there in 1685 where the first ones to report something paranormal. Soon after they moved in after the outbreak of plague, they began to see ghostly figures, and were left terrified after seeing phantom disembodied limbs, and experiencing very vivid nightmares.
Today, staff and visitors have reported seeing the ghost of a ‘worried woman’, a woman in black, and a little girl named Annie. The ghost of Annie has been known to interact with people who leave her gifts in one of the rooms.
Other reports include sounds, such as scratching, the sounds of a party or tavern, and footsteps that seem to follow you around. Stones have also been thrown and intense EVP’s are often captured throughout the area, particularly in Mr. Chesney’s house.
21) The White House – Washington D.C., USA
Perhaps the world’s most famous residence, the home and office of the President of the United States. It has been the official residence of every president since 1800, when John Adams first moved into the house. With the vast amount of history and historical figures that have graced its rooms, it’s very little wonder that the White House has a tale or two of hauntings. In fact, it’s considered to be one of the most haunted houses in the whole of the United States.
Past president’s, their families, and foreign dignitaries have all attested to the paranormal goings on at the White House. On one particular visit, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, was staying in the Lincoln Bedroom. He had just finished bathing and walked back into the suite where he saw Lincoln standing by the fireplace. He refused to sleep in that room again after that. Other people that have said they have seen the ghost of Abraham Lincoln include president’s Teddy Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, and Dwight Eisenhower; First Ladies Jacquie Kennedy and Ladybird Johnson; and presidential children Susan Ford and Maureen Reagan. Maureen and her husband both witnessed Lincoln standing by the same fireplace where Churchill had once seen him.
Reportedly Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands was staying in the Rose Room when she heard a knock on the door in the middle of the night. When she answered she was confronted by the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, standing in the hallway.
President Andrew Jackson is believed to haunted the Rose Room, with numerous White House employees reportedly hearing his hearty laughter or him in a fit of rage, swearing violently.
The ghost of Abigail Adams (wife of John Adams) has been seen floating through the East Room. This is apparently the room in which she used to hang her laundry, and several eye witnesses including staff and visitors have seen her seemingly floating across the room with her arms outstretched, as if carrying a laundry basket.
Various other spectres have also been seen, including past employees, Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Tyler; First Lady Dolley Madison; a British soldier; and Anne Surratt. Sudden cold spots, disembodied footsteps, voices, knocks, and screams have also been reported at the seemingly very haunted 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.