The number of purported “most haunted places on earth” is countless. In fact, you probably know someone who claims to live in a paranormal location or have visited one. However, in various places around the world, there is a different type of haunting that is steeped in cultural tradition and is typically home to historical tragedies. Paranormal hotspots tend to have many encounters of ghoulish activity that compels even non-believers into thinking something otherworldly is happening. The following are eight notorious places reportedly teeming with inexplicable events.
Leap Castle is interesting in that, not only is it located in one of the most superstitious countries, it reportedly has two types of haunting. The castle was built in the 16th century and has been occupied ever since. There has been a lot of conflict around the castle. According to one legend, the brothers who were to build the castle had a deadly contest. They leapt off the rocks where the castle is now. The one who lived got their clan and the castle. Within the castle are several supposedly haunted locations and many supposed ghosts. The chapel is said to be haunted by a priest. It also contains an oubliette, which raises the hair on more than a few arms, as oubliettes have a bad reputation for being made into small prisons. (“The Labyrinth,” anyone?)
Other ghosts and creepy places include The Red Lady, The Murdered Woman and “The Murder Hole Room.” These are all what you might think of as traditional hauntings. The spirits are those of naturally deceased or murdered people who interact with visitors benignly or maliciously. Leap Castle is supposedly home to what is known as an Elemental. In other words, there is a spirit in the castle that was never human. Some stories connect it to early Druids practicing at the site. Others say a magician placed the spirit in the castle. Locals seem to think the spirit is actually that of a man who died of leprosy. No matter where it is from, it is a very grotesque being. It is humanoid with big, black, decomposing eyes, greenish skin, loose lips, a jaw that sets back into the neck, claw-like fingers and is quite smelly. Descriptions sometimes vary, but there is no doubt that the creature witnesses have claimed to see for some time is rather disgusting.
Haunted places do not all have ancient or even centuries old tales to chill the bones. Some, like Aokigahara Forest, have only recently developed a reputation for ghostly inhabitation. Just in the past few decades, Aokigahara Forest has been the last stop for hundreds of people. It is so bad that the forest needs to be searched regularly for bodies. Between 50 and 100, sometimes more, bodies are pulled out annually. Why do so many people die there? They go there to commit suicide. Aokigahara Forest is going to feel like a sinister place to many people based on its reputation for death alone.
The LaLaurie House
When it comes to New Orleans, it is hard to pin down one place as the most haunted. Between the voodoo practiced in the area, the violent crimes committed there and the natural disaster that partially destroyed it, there is plenty of fodder for spirits. The city itself is one of the most reportedly haunted places on Earth. Two locations within the city highlight its reputation best. The LaLaurie House was once home to an avid slave owner named Delphine LaLaurie. This woman was evil and cruel, even by contemporary accounts not linked to tourism. Her cook, who she kept chained to the stove, set fire to the house in 1834 in an attempt to get rescued. The locals found despicably injured slaves, about seven of them, within the house. People were outraged and Madam LaLaurie ran off, apparently to die later in Paris.
The Sultan’s Palace or Gardette-LaPrete House is another corner home in New Orleans with a long balcony and a sinister history. A Turkish man rented the property in the 1830s for himself, his harem and his eunuchs. The man was known for having secretive parties, but it was not his life that would make this haunted location famous. The bodies of himself and his staff were discovered hacked to pieces when someone walked by and saw blood seeping out from under the door of his house. The renter’s identity and that of his killer have never been ascertained.
Eastern State Penitentiary
Evil, brutality, and inhumane conditions lay a fertile breeding ground for the most notorious hauntings. The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one such place. It was built in 1829, and was the first real penitentiary in America. It was based on the solitary confinement model, in which inmates were kept away from other inmates utilizing tall walls bordering their exercise yards, sound-proof doors, and timed outdoor releases that did not overlap with other inmates. All prisoners ate their lunches alone in their cells until the 1920s.
Cruel and unusual punishments were created and administered by guards. “The Hole” was a small pit underground which subjected the inmate to solitary confinement, darkness, lack of air and food, and no toilet. An iron gag, commonly used to control and severely punish slaves, was also used. In this method the tongue was locked down in the mouth preventing swallowing or struggling. The mouthpiece was connected to the hands, which were bound together at the person’s back. Any struggle would tear the tongue and lead to bleeding. The Mad Chair tightly strapped them in from hours to many days, cutting off blood flow so severely that it sometimes led to amputations. The Water Bath used a method in which the prisoner was drenched in ice cold water and chained up to a wall overnight.
There are numerous stories of disembodied voices and dark menacing shadows lingering the halls of the prison. These stories have dated back to before the penitentiary was shut down, and continue today. It is said that the last group of guards to walk the empty halls after shutting down the institution made claims of footsteps, laughter, voices, and dark shadowy figures darting about. Today, many similar tales continue by both volunteers and visitors.
Danvers State Hospital
Creepy histories can often leave their ghostly imprints on us into the future, and Danvers, Massachusetts has a significant history. It is a small town of about 25 thousand people that was built on what used to be Salem’s Village, the original site of the Salem Witch Hunt. At the top of the hill – Hawthorne Hill – in Salem’s Village, the Hawthorne family house was originally built in 1646. John Hawthorne, the most radical judge of the Salem Witch Hunt lived in that house. Although it is disputed, some people also say Hawthorne Hill was also known as Gallows Hill, because accused witches had been hung there.
Later, at this exact location in 1878 the State Lunatic Hospital of Danvers was built, and would operate for 114 years until 1992. Although it was built with good intentions and a desire to humanely care for the mentally ill, the hospital became overcrowded and underfunded. This led to radical treatments and control techniques such as: lobotomies, sedative forms of hydrotherapy, straight jackets, shock therapies and medications.
As previously described by visitors to the hospital in the 1940s, individuals would wander the halls aimlessly, or stare at the walls with vacant stares. Patients were sick and dirty, and sometimes died without being found for days. The hospital remained open until 1992, when it was abandoned, and in 2006 most of the buildings had been torn down and later turned into apartments. Today, the most significant remaining part of The State Lunatic Hospital is a cemetery that contains the remains of hundreds of patients that had died at the hospital, but were left unclaimed. Today, people living at the Danvers site report full body apparitions, doors that open or shut by themselves, windows that break for no reason at all, ghost attacks, screaming, and strange footsteps.
The Paris Catacombs
The Paris Catacombs are a roughly 200-year-old ossuary beneath Paris. These tunnels contain the remains of about six million people, which make them ripe for haunting. Some of the rooms within the catacombs contain the exposed bones of the people laid to rest there. They are often displayed decoratively, such as with the Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp.
To add insult to injury, these displayed remains are largely of bodies exhumed from the cemeteries within Paris and brought into the mines below the city thanks to some very poor burial planning on the part of Parisians.
Monte Cristo Homestead
The Monte Cristo Homestead was constructed by Christopher William Crawley in 1885. This homestead is known as Australia’s most haunted house, possibly due to the many tragedies that have occurred here. According to the wikipedia article on Monte Cristo a boy was tragically thrown from the stairs of this homestead and a maid had fallen off a balcony. The Monte Cristo caretaker, Jack Simpson, was murdered here in 1961. He was shot by a juvenile who just finished watching the Alfred Hitchcock movie “Psycho” on three separate occasions. A stable boy was also burned to death on this location and a mentally ill man was imprisoned here for many years.
Animal mutilations, mysterious lights, the feeling of an unseen presence and ghostly figures presenting themselves are commonly reported by those who have visited the Monte Cristo Homestead. Monte Cristo still stands today, but now operates as a museum and a popular tourist attraction. It is also a widely popular discussion on various ghost and hauntings television shows. Unfortunately, it is impossible to feature all of the most haunted places on earth. These are just a few, however, we would love to read your comments on the places you think we could include as one of the most haunted places on earth.