From a ghostly castle in France to a paranormal pub in Britain, these 'possessed' destinations are guaranteed to spook even the most sceptical of travellers ...
The site: Dubbed as the ‘Giant of the Loire Valley’ this is the highest castle in France boasting seven floors, 204 rooms, numerous portrait galleries, and a private opera house which seats 200 people. It was a fortress built by the Counts of Anjou in the 11th Century and King Louis XIII dropped by in 1620.
The ghosts: The most active is La Dame Verte, (Green Lady), who was apparently the illegitimate child of King Charles VII and was later murdered by her husband in the château in the 15th Century after he caught her having an affair. She is often seen in the tower room of the chapel, wearing her green dress, with gaping holes where her eyes and nose should be. When not startling guests by her appearance she can be heard moaning around the castle.
Current situation: The château is a popular hotel that hosts special events such as a Christmas market and tastings of the well-regarded wines, produced from its own vineyards. Guests who are brave enough to stay overnight enjoy rooms lavishly decorated with period furniture.
The site: A late Victorian mansion, with intricate cast iron lattice work, built by wealthy landowner Christopher William Crawley in 1876. Reputedly Australia’s most haunted house.
The ghosts: Take your pick. There’s the young child who was dropped down the stairs, the maid who fell from the balcony or the stable boy who burned to death. The most active, however, is the ghost of the son of the caretaker who was found curled up next to the dead body of his mother and chained up for 40 years.
Current situation: The house currently operates as a B&B, offering dinner followed by a ghost tour where you can learn all about its gruesome past. Those who dare can spend the night in the haunted homestead.
The site: The ruins of a fort city built in the 17th century, Bhangarh Fort consists of fort walls, bazars, havelis, royal palaces, and numerous temples, with three grand storeys you can explore. But do not be fooled by the beauty of these ruins as they are ranked as the most haunted fort in India.
The ghosts: A wizard called Singhia and a princess called Ratnavati who spurned his advances. Legend has it that the enchanted oil he hoped would make her love him turned into a boulder when she threw it away – and it crushed him. But not before he cursed the palace, condemning the inhabitants to death, without any hope of rebirth. Another story suggests a local ascetic cursed the fort because its shadow overpowered his property. And apparently, if anyone attempts to build a roof for the fort, it will collapse.
Current situation: Bhangarh Fort is now an archeological site, known as the ‘House of Ghosts’. It is possible to hire a guide who can show you around the site and give you the details of its eerie past. Be sure to visit in daylight as the fort is closed between sunset and sunrise, with locals convinced that anyone who spends the night amongst the ruins will never be seen again.
The Site: Situated in the small town of St. Francisville, north-west of New Orleans is the mansion of Myrtles Plantation, boarded by a 125-foot veranda. The stained-glass front door leads into a grand foyer displaying a huge French crystal chandelier.
The ghosts: With 10 people being murdered in the mansion itself, it’s no surprise there have been so many reported ghost sightings, the most famous of which is Chloe, who had her ear cut off by her lover. She wears a green turban, peering intently at visitors while they’re in bed and has even appeared in a photograph. A more recent photo also shows another young girl, known as ‘Ghost Girl’ peering through the window of the house. More eerie sightings include a child bouncing on the beds, a soldier, a voodoo priestess and the ghost of a previous owner who was shot in the chest has been heard staggering up the stairs where he died.
Current situation: Despite being known as the most haunted house in America, the plantation is now a pretty Bed and breakfast offering 12 accommodations. Ghost tours are run from the site and you can choose between daily tours or the spookier and more popular evening tours. And soon a new restaurant on site will bring fresh, local food to visitors.
The site: Dragsholm Slot, or Dragsholm Castle, was originally built in 1215, making it one of the oldest castles in Denmark and reportedly the most haunted castle in all of Europe. In the 16th and 17th century parts of it were used to house prisoners of noble or ecclesiastical rank, and in 1694 it was rebuilt in a Baroque style.
The ghosts: The castle is thought to be home to at least 100 ghosts including the Earl of Bothwell, the husband of Mary Queen of Scotts who died as a prisoner in the castle. You may also see the White Lady wandering the halls, who’s skeleton was found encased in a wall by builders in 1930.
Current situation: The castle has been transformed into a luxurious hotel with lavish rooms and a Michelin-rated restaurant serving locally sourced food. The hotel offers their own guided tour explaining the history of the building but for a truly terrifying experience, book a ghost tour including a two-night stay, a tour highlighting the spooky occupants and dinner at the gourmet restaurant.
The site: Built in 1145, the inn was used by priests who kept slaves and workers in there to help build the St. Mary’s Church. Located in Wotton-under-edge, it is situated on two ley lines, places believed to have spiritual energy from Stonehenge. It has also been reported that it was the scene of a child sacrifice and devil worshipping.
The ghosts: It is widely believed that the redirecting of water on the Ancient Ram property caused a portal for dark energy to open up, meaning many ghosts haunt the inn. The ‘Witch’s Room’ is said to be haunted by a woman burnt at the stake in the 1500s as she was accused of being a witch. A high priestess has been spotted sitting on a bed, a centurion on horseback has been seen walking through the walls, the agonising screams of a girl heard, a monk in the most haunted room and even a succubus is said to slip into the beds of visitors.
Current situation: Despite being well known as one of the most haunted places in the world, featuring on TV programs such as ‘Most Haunted’ and ‘Ghost Adventures’, the inn has changed hands several times in the recent past, making the owners difficult to track down. However, many paranormal events are hosted at the inn.
The site: Built in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company, the Castle of Good Hope is South Africa’s oldest building.
The ghosts: The first ghost was spotted in 1915 when the apparition of a tall gentleman was seen jumping off the side of one of the castle walls, and then walking between the bastions Leerdam and Oranje. Another famous ghost, the Lady in Grey, was often seen running through the castle holding her face and crying hysterically, but has not been seen since a woman’s body was found during excavations. Other unexplained events include the bell in the bell tower ringing of its own accord and the ghost of a black dog that pounces on unsuspecting visitors, then simply vanishes into thin air.
Current situation: Arguably one of the world’s best preserved 17th century buildings, the castle is now a popular tourist attraction with three prestigious museums, a memorial to Krotoa the leader of the Khoi nation and an opportunity to learn more of the hidden history surrounding the castle on a guided tour. You can also eat in the restaurant in the front courtyard and watch the Key Ceremony and cannon firing.
The site: The Hell Fire Club was a hunting lodge, built in 1925 for William Connolly, an Irish parliamentary speaker. The stones of the buildings are from ancient passage tombs, said to have angered the Devil, which first associated the site with the supernatural. The lodge reportedly became a gathering place for a small group of Dublin elites who met for debauchery and devil worship. Its ruins sit atop the summit of Montpelier Hill in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains.
The ghosts: Tales of animal sacrifice, black masses, cloven-hoofed men and murder are linked to the structure. The most popular tale tells of a visit by a satanic creature, in the form of a man, who was only discovered when one of the players dropped a card and on picking it up, noticed the guest had cloven feet. On his discovery, the creature disappeared in a ball of flames. There are stories about a big black cat, the size of a dog who took on a priest and haunts the lodge. The most regular ghostly visitor is a young lady, believed to have been placed in a barrel, set on fire and rolled down the hill for fun.
Current situation: The Hell fire club is a popular stopping point on a walking trail through the Dublin Hills. Ghost tours of the site are also available, with extra tours running for the week of Halloween.
The Site: Styled after a Scottish baronial castle, The Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta Canada, is one of Canada’s great railway hotels and reportedly one of the most haunted buildings in the country.
The ghosts: There's a bride who fell down the staircase breaking her neck after panicking when her dress caught fire. She is often seen in the ballroom dancing, with the flames coming from the back of her dress. A family were murdered in room 873. The door to this room has since been bricked up, but the family can still be seen in the hallway outside the room. And former bellman, Sam Macauley who served at the hotel during the '60s and '70s still likes helping guests up to their rooms, dressed in his '60s uniform. If you try to tip him or make conversation, he disappears.
Current situation: Now part of the Fairmont chain of luxury hotels, the Banff Springs, also known as ‘The Castle in the Rockies’ still remains a landmark in the town of Banff, Alberta and remains a popular year-round resort.
The site: In the Venice Lagoon between Venice and Lido, this small island was a place where mainlanders fled to seek refuge from invaders. In the 14th century Venetians infected by the Bubonic plague were sent here to die – and, when they died, they were burned on giant pyres. The site was also used as a mental asylum during the 1800s where patients were experimented on and tortured.
The ghosts: Ask a local and they will tell you the island is full of ghosts and cursed with unhealthy spirits. Voices and screams are often heard, and visitors have reported seeing dark, fleeting shadows. Many visitors say they begin to feel an oppressive evil feeling as soon as they step on the island.
Current situation: Despite nearly being auctioned off to an entrepreneur, the island remains totally abandoned and off bounds to most visitors. Even if you were allowed to go to the island, you’d be hard to find someone willing to take you as many locals won’t step foot on Poveglia for fear of being cursed and fisherman refuse to fish in the area, worried they’ll drag up human remains.
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