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10 of the Most Haunted Places Around the World

Whether you’re a believer in the supernatural or a stone-cold skeptic, there’s no denying the fun of a good ghost story. Every town has its tales, from creaky old castles to haunted hotels, or a mysterious forest where nothing is as it seems. Read on to learn about some of the most haunted places around the world — just make sure you keep the lights on.

Raynham Hall (Norfolk, England)

The mysterious Brown Lady of Raynham Hall is one of the most well-known ghosts in Norfolk — and perhaps even the world. The 7,000-acre Raynham Hall estate, built in the 1620s, was the home of Viscount Charles Townshend and his wife, Lady Dorothy Walpole, in the 18th century. During this time, Dorothy was not permitted to leave the house, and she died there in 1726. Her ghost is said to have haunted the estate ever since. In 1936, her image was allegedly captured on film for the December edition of Country Life magazine. While the “Brown Lady” photo (named for the brown brocade dress she is seen to be wearing) may not ever prove to be real, the estate’s current resident told the BBC that no one has ever proved that it’s fake, either.

Teatro Tapia (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

The oldest freestanding drama stage in San Juan and one of the oldest operating theaters in the United States has some eerie history to go along with it. Local legend has it that an actress once fell to her death during a performance, and has appeared as an apparition on the grounds ever since, wandering throughout the theater. Visitors and employees have also claimed to hear mysterious footsteps and voices, doors opening and closing, and the sounds of people singing on stage — even when no one is around. The stunning neoclassical theatre has been a staple of San Juan’s cultural life since 1832 and remains an active performance (and paranormal) center.

Larnach Castle (Dunedin, New Zealand)

Larnach Castle is New Zealand’s only castle — and it’s also one of Dunedin’s most famous supernatural sites. The sprawling estate was built throughout the 1870s and 1880s as the family home of prominent local politician William Larnach; it also served as a psychiatric hospital and a soldier’s residence during World War II. But it is the Larnach family who still haunt the property, particularly the ghost of Larnach’s daughter, Kate, who died of typhoid at age 26. Locals say that she still appears in the 3,000-square-foot ballroom, along with other ghostly figures (one of which is believed to be William Larnach himself) who have been captured in photographs standing on the staircase. One bedroom is of particular interest to paranormal investigators — the temperature is much colder than the rest of the rooms on the same floor, and staff routinely describe a feeling of great unease when entering the room.

Ponte Sisto (Rome, Italy)

Rome’s ancient history easily lends itself to legends and folklore. One of the most notorious involves a powerful woman of the 17th century who reportedly haunts the Ponte Sisto bridge. Donna Olimpia Maidalchini Pamphilj was the sister-in-law and close advisor (and controversially, the rumored mistress) of Pope Innocent X. After the Pope’s death in 1655, she attempted to flee town with the church’s riches to avoid confrontation and anger from a public who did not approve of this so-called “secret pope.” If you visit this bridge that spans the River Tiber, legend has it that you'll see Donna’s ghost leading her carriage out of town at sunrise.

The Borgvattnet Vicarage (Ragunda, Sweden)

Since 1947, the Borgvattnet Vicarage (known locally as the Spökprästgården) is considered Sweden’s most haunted house. Originally built in 1876 as a priest’s parsonage, the building played host to strange and inexplicable occurrences throughout the early- to mid-1900s. There have been reports of ghostly sightings, mysteriously moved objects, strange voices, laundry torn from the lines, and an uninhabited rocking chair that just keeps on rocking. A professional paranormal hunting team spent 24 hours on the property in 2018 and reported what they considered to be an “intelligent energy” inhabiting the vicarage, who even knew one of the team members by full name. The site currently operates as a bed and breakfast, and should you bravely make it through the night, you’ll earn your very own certificate.

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (Banff, Alberta)

This luxurious resort was originally built as part of Canada’s grand railway hotel network, affiliated with the expanding Pacific Railway and intended to promote travel and tourism from coast to coast. But since its opening in 1888, the French château-style hotel has been the site of several incidents that give it a haunted reputation. One of the most enduring tales concerns the hotel’s Ghost Bride, a young woman who reportedly died on the candle lit stairs on her wedding day in 1930 and still appears in that very spot to this day. And guests would be remiss not to watch out for signs of Sam the bellman, a former employee who died in 1975 but still helps guests who are locked out of their rooms and pushes elevator buttons for random floors.

Carl Beck House (Penetanguishene, Ontario)

Less than two hours north of Toronto in the quiet bayside town of Penetanguishene, you’ll encounter the Carl Beck house, a stately home built in 1885 by a lumber tycoon of the same name. When Beck’s wife died, their daughter Mary took over in raising the younger children. However, when Mary moved out to start her own family, it caused friction between her and her widowed father; when Beck died, he left Mary just $1 in his will. Over the years, townspeople have reported a visage of a female ghost in an upstairs window, while visitors to the house have said that lights turn themselves on and off and objects move around on their own. Many believe the mysterious occurrences to be Mary’s spirit protesting her unfair inheritance. The house, dubbed simply the “Haunted House,” is available as a vacation rental if you dare.

Hoia-Baciu Forest (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)

It’s known as the "Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania" — and one of the creepiest and most scientifically baffling forests in the world. The Hoia-Baciu Forest was named after a shepherd who, along with his flock of 200 sheep, mysteriously disappeared in the forest and never returned. There have been tales of other disappearances, such as that of a five-year-old girl who reportedly reemerged years later completely unchanged. Many also report feeling nausea and anxiety and seeing ghost-like matter when in the forest. And if that isn’t spooky enough, UFOs, inexplicable hoof noises, and spiral-shaped trees are also part of the Hoia-Baciu Forest’s repertoire. As you can imagine, not even locals like to visit this (literal) haunt.

Kellie’s Castle (Batu Gajah, Malaysia)

Kellie Smith was a Scot who moved to Malaysia to work as an engineer, and within a few years found himself flush in cash thanks to some sound investments. In the early 1900s, he started to build the now-infamous Kellie’s Castle, an eclectic hybrid of architectural styles that created an odd sight in the middle of the Malaysian jungle. Smith and his family didn’t get to enjoy their opulent home for long, however; he died suddenly of pneumonia on a routine trip home to Scotland, and his wife and son never returned to the mansion. It was sold off and sat abandoned as the jungle overtook it. The castle eventually attracted curious explorers, which has resulted in a slew of strange sightings — a car discovered in a hidden passageway and the restless (and possibly homesick) ghost of Smith wandering the second floor.

Loftus Hall (Wexford, Ireland)

The first incarnation of Loftus Hall was built in 1170, and in the 18th century — after rebuilds, renovations, and changes in ownership — it became the site of a devilish incident that has haunted the grounds to this day. According to legend, a visitor arrived one stormy night and was taken in by the family — not an unusual occurrence for a seaside home that often attracted stranded sailors. But before long, one of the owners’ daughters discovered that their guest had cloven hooves instead of feet. When the girl screamed, the strange visitor bolted through the ceiling into a ball of flames, traumatizing the daughter forever. It is said that her shocked spirit still roams the house.

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