35 Most Haunted Places in the World

While some haunted houses may seem a little hokey — filled with actors dressed as ghouls, goblins, and mad scientists — many places around the world have well-earned reputations for being actually haunted.

Some of these spots are shrouded in mystery, with creepy legends about them passed down through the centuries. Others are much newer, but they are still haunted by their tragic pasts. Each one has an interesting backstory and is known for ghostly sightings or other spine-tingling experiences.

Meet the Expert

Conner Gossel is the history buff and paranormal investigator behind the Haunted Historian podcast and Instagram account, which tell the stories behind some of the world’s spookiest places.

Ghost hunters across the globe are always trying to catch a glimpse of a spirit, hear mysterious voices coming from an empty room, or feel a chill while investigating a creepy corridor. Luckily, there are numerous reportedly haunted places that are open for public tours or even overnight stays. No matter where you are in the world, there’s probably a haunted house or haunted hotel nearby that’s just waiting for you to visit.

“If you’re hoping to do more than just read about popular paranormal hot spots, the best place to start is with some simple research,” said Conner Gossel, paranormal investigator and historian, in an interview with Travel + Leisure. “Find out what local legends and historic sites exist in your neck of the woods. Chances are, a couple offer guided tours and/or public paranormal investigations that give you all of the tools and spooky insight without any of the actual danger of being in a real-life haunt by yourself. ”

Plenty of places in the United States — from the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose to the historic battlefields of Gettysburg — can send a chill up your spine. Outside the country, ghosts, strange sounds and lights, and bizarre UFO experiences have been reported around the world.

Here’s a look at 35 of the most haunted places in the world.

Raynham Hall in Norfolk, United Kingdom

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This English country home may be gorgeous, but it also has a dark past. The mysterious “Brown Lady” who haunts its halls is rumored to be Lady Dorothy Walpole, who was trapped in an unhappy marriage and later found solace in the arms of a fellow British aristocrat. Stories say it was either her enraged husband or the scorned wife of her lover who locked her in her room at Raynham Hall, where she eventually died in 1726. Her ghost, nicknamed so for the color of her dress, was reportedly captured on film in the December 1936 edition of Country Life. Guests can visit the home on any of its “Open Days” throughout the year.

Bhangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India

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This long-abandoned fortress, in a valley roughly 30 miles northeast of Jaipur, is considered one of the most haunted places in India. According to one story, a tantric priest fell in love with Ratnavati, a beautiful princess who lived at the fort. After Ratnavati spurned his advances, the priest cast a spell that prevented everyone in the fort and the surrounding village from being reborn. Another story tells of a sadhu, or holy man, ordering Ratnavati’s grandfather to build the fort without casting shadows over the sadhu’s own house (spoiler alert: Ratnavati’s stepbrother ignored the warning and built a towering addition; the entire town was soon destroyed). These two curses, as the legend goes, doomed the ghosts of the princess and her fellow villagers to wander the now-desolate settlement for eternity. Today, guests can still visit the fort’s impressive ruins, though the entire area is closed to the public between sunset and sunrise – perhaps to give the ghosts some space.

Poveglia in Venice, Italy

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A half mile offshore from the Lido, the beautiful island of Poveglia was once a quarantine zone for people suffering from the plague, and it was used as a psychiatric hospital in the early 20th century. Paranormal investigators claim the ghosts of the former patients have made this spot their eternal stomping ground. The island is officially closed to the public, though ferries and charter boats will occasionally take passengers on pre-approved visits.

“Time and again, Poveglia Island has found itself up for sale at dirt-cheap prices; the owner(s) no longer wanting to be responsible for its upkeep or for the active, often physical spiritual entities that reside there. Some claim they number in the hundreds. Whether that be true or not, it’s an island so feared the world over that it may never see its crumbling structures brought back to life again,” says Gossel.

The Ancient Ram Inn in Wotton-Under-Edge, United Kingdom

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This 12th-century hostelry, located on the western edge of the Cotswolds, is one of the oldest in the Western world. It was built atop what is believed to have been an ancient pagan burial ground, and it’s supposedly haunted by more than 20 spirits, including several children and a monk. Fearless travelers can book a ghost tour at the inn in hopes of experiencing the specters firsthand.

“Travelers be warned: One of the most prominent spirits said to reside inside the home is a succubus, a demonic entity often characterized as a seductress.” Gossel says that spirit alone is “a good reason to be fearful of shutting your eyes for too long while here.”

Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia

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British colonialists founded Tasmania’s Port Arthur as a penal colony in 1830. After arriving from the United Kingdom, the settlement’s prisoners endured solitary confinement, hard labor, and both physical and psychological abuse. More than 1,000 of them died before operations ceased in 1877. We imagine any tortured soul would find it hard to rest after all that, and visitors to the site have reported everything from empty rocking chairs moving on their own to ghosts dressed in 19th-century clothing suddenly appearing in windows.

The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California

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This beautiful ocean liner, launched by Cunard White Star in 1936, spent more than 30 years in service before permanently docking in Long Beach and becoming a hotel and tourist attraction. Ever since then, visitors and staff alike have reported seeing countless ghosts on the ship. These include The Lady in White, often spotted clad in a pale evening gown and dancing by herself in the lobby bar; William Eric Stark, an officer who died on board from an accidental poisoning and has been seen roaming the promenade deck; and Leonard Horsborough, a cook who died at sea on the Queen Mary’s final voyage and is said to now haunt the hotel’s kitchen.

Gossel recounted his recent stay to T+L, saying, “The RMS Queen Mary put a moratorium on its hotel operations during the pandemic, which I can tell you from first-hand experience seemed to have riled up the estimated 100 spirits onboard. I had the pleasure of staying on the ship recently and was at various points of the night woken by frantic knocking on my door. As you can imagine, nobody was there!”

Burg Wolfsegg in Wolfsegg, Germany

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This 800-year-old Bavarian fortress has its own Lady in White. In life, she was married to the lord of the castle, whose military duties often kept him away from home for long stretches. Upon learning of an affair between his wife and one of his soldiers, the jealous husband killed them both. Now the woman’s ghost, so the story goes, spends eternity climbing Burg Wolfsegg’s stairs and wandering its hallways. The castle is typically open on weekends and public holidays from May to early October.

The Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts

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The 1892 murders of businessman Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abigail, in this unassuming home made headlines across the country. Andrew’s daughter Lizzie was accused of killing her father and stepmother, but she was eventually acquitted in the much-publicized trial that followed. Since then, guests have reported all sorts of strange sightings in the house, now a bed-and-breakfast. Ghost tours and overnight stays are available for intrepid travelers who want to experience the notorious residence for themselves.

Casa Loma in Toronto, Ontario

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For decades, both guests and staff at this Gothic Revival castle have reported seeing apparitions and hearing strange voices, footsteps, and closing doors around the property. The “Lady in White” is thought to be the ghost of a maid who dies of influenza in the early 20th century, while the spirit of Casa Loma’s original owners, Sir Henry Pellatt and his wife Lady Mary, are rumored to still haunt the grounds. Tour the home and gardens during the day or visit in October for its annual Legends of Horror events, when guests can wander a trail through some of the castle’s creepiest tunnels.

Château de Brissac in Brissac-Quincé, France

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This 17th-century Loire Valley castle incorporates two towers from the medieval castle — once occupied by Jacques de Brézé, the Duke of Bressac — that it replaced. According to legend, after de Brézé caught his wife, Charlotte, and one of his huntsmen en flagrant délit in the south tower, he killed them both on the spot. Some visitors have claimed to have seen Charlotte’s ghost, nicknamed The Green Lady for the color of her dress, roaming the halls. Visit the château and try to spot her yourself. Honestly, though, the stunning architecture alone is worth the trip.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

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Not only is this popular Rocky Mountain destination famous for inspiring Stephen King’s classic horror novel “The Shining,” it also has its own spooky past. Allegedly, staff members have encountered ghosts such as the maid from Room 217, who is known to pack away guests’ clothing when they aren’t looking. The hotel offers a variety of accommodations and ghost tours of the property if you’re feeling brave enough. It also makes a great base if you want to visit nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.

Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff, Alberta

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This postcard-perfect chateau, open since 1888, has long been associated with paranormal activity. One of the most well-known stories is of the “Ghost Bride,” the spirit of a woman who died during her wedding at the hotel. She is sometimes seen still dressed in her white gown and waltzing alone in the Cascade Ballroom. Another is of Sam the Bellman, a cantankerous old porter at the hotel who threatened to come back and haunt the place after he died. He apparently kept his word, as numerous guests have told of a silent bellhop who brought their bags to their rooms before disappearing without a trace.

St. Augustine Lighthouse in St. Augustine, Florida

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This red-white-and-black beacon has guided mariners through St. Augustine Inlet since 1874. It’s also drawn a host of seaside specters. Employees have attributed a clanging bucket and randomly opened windows to the Shadow Figure, whom many visitors insist they’ve seen peering down at them over the interior railings. And the ghost of a former keeper reveals his presence with the aroma of burning cherry tobacco – despite the lighthouse’s no-smoking rule. During the day, climb the spiral staircase to the widows walk for beautiful views of Anastasia Island, the Matanzas River, and the Atlantic Ocean— or take a ghost tour at night, if you dare.

One If by Land, Two If by Sea in New York City

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The owners of this legendary Greenwich Village establishment claim that it occupies a former carriage house once owned by Aaron Burr — yes, the same Aaron Burr who infamously shot Alexander Hamilton — and that his ghost still haunts the place. In reality, the two-story brick structure was built as a private residence in 1834 (while the disgraced ex-VP was hiding across the Hudson from his creditors). Still, One if by Land is consistently ranked among New York’s most romantic restaurants. Given Burr’s well-documented penchant for living the high life, it’s only natural he’d frequent the gorgeous candlelit dining room here in the afterlife.

The Tower of London in the United Kingdom

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The Tower of London complex became the final resting place for many people of historical significance. The site of imprisonment and executions more than 900 years, it’s known especially for its ghostly sightings of English royalty. Anne Bolelyn, the second wife of Henry VII, was beheaded in 1536 on the Tower Green. Her ghost is said to haunt the space today. Lady Arbella Stuart, imprisoned for following her heart rather than the rules, starved herself to death in 1615 inside the Queen’s House. Several visitors have reported seeing her apparition there.

Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina

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Originally built as the Planters Hotel in 1809 and converted to a theater in 1935, this famous playhouse in the city’s French Quarter continues to host performances, despite the horror lurking within its walls: Patrons have claimed to see ghosts up in the rafters, as well as on the stage. Its most well-known apparitions include Nettie, a former sex worker who plied her trade at the hotel and can be seen still wearing her red dress (stories say she was struck by lightning during a storm in the 19th century), and Junius Booth, the father of the man who shot Abraham Lincoln, who once stayed at the Planters Hotel with his acting troupe.

Tao Dan Park in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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The gorgeous gardens of Tao Dan Park may look lush and relaxing during the day, but some say the space takes on an entirely different feel at night. That’s when, according to urban legend, the ghost of a young man who was killed in an attack still wanders the park, looking for his lost love.

The Old Vicarage in Borgvattnet, Sweden

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This former home for Lutheran vicars is considered one of Sweden’s most haunted houses. Over the years, residents and visitors have reported oddities like unexplained footsteps and music, apparitions of a woman dressed all in gray, and a rocking chair that seemed to move without any earthly assistance. The Old Vicarage currently operates as a cafe and an inn, so brave souls can stop for a bite or spend the night.

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California

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Three years after rifle magnate William Wirt Winchester died in 1881, his widow, Sarah, moved into an eight-room farmhouse on the still-rural outskirts of San Jose. She spent the next 38 years expanding the modest structure into this dizzying 160-room labyrinth, which has 10,000 windows, 13 bathrooms, six kitchens, and 47 stairways – some of which lead to nowhere. Rumors swirled that Winchester built the maze-like mansion to evade the vengeful spirits of those killed by her husband’s guns. Others suggested the ghosts themselves directed the construction during seances that Winchester conducted. Is the home haunted today? Take the Walk With Spirits tour and decide for yourself.

The Driskill in Austin, Texas

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Many big-name celebrities have stayed at this popular downtown Austin hotel since it opened in 1886. So, apparently, have more than a few phantoms. One of the most notorious tales involves two women, each jilted at the altar, who took their own lives in room 525 – several decades apart. Founder Jesse Driskill’s ghost is sometimes spotted roaming the grounds, smoking his cigar. Some guests claim to have also seen the ghost of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who went on a first date with his future wife here in 1934 and frequented the hotel throughout his life.

Akershus Fortress in Oslo, Norway

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This medieval castle once served as a defensive stronghold for the city of Oslo, and it is rumored to be the most haunted place in all of Norway. The most well-known supernatural sightings include a demon dog that’s said to guard the gates to the castle, and the spirit of a woman with no facial features. It’s free to visit, so ghost-hunting travelers will definitely want to check it out.

Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, South Africa

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The Dutch East India Company built this pentagonal fortress in the late 17th century to protect its burgeoning Cape Colony, and the British later used part of it as a prison with a torture chamber. Several ghosts reportedly wander the grounds, including that of a tall man walking along and falling from the ramparts, and that of Lady Anne Barnard, who once entertained important visitors to the fort. Another curiosity: The bell in the bell tower sometimes rings all by itself, despite being blocked off by bricks hundreds of years ago. Visitors can tour the fort and learn more about South African history in the Cape Heritage Museum.

The Paris Catacombs in France

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The Paris Catacombs are truly spooky, with the remains of more than six million people located throughout the vast system of underground tunnels. While you can tour some of the tunnels today, be warned, as they’re not for the faint of heart. And don’t even think of venturing down there after midnight. According to urban legend, that’s when strange voices (supposedly belonging to those who are buried there) will try to convince you to wander deeper and deeper within the tunnels until you get lost.

Edinburgh Castle in Scotland

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This 12th-century fortress has seen a lot of action over the years. Many different eerie experiences have been reported, including unexplained music echoing through the halls. Many believe it comes from the ghost of a piper who died in the castle while investigating a series of tunnels that had been discovered — they were later resealed, but his tunes can still be heard on quiet nights. A ghostly drummer has also been spotted along the battlements and was known to appear prior to an attack.

The Forbidden City in Beijing

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You may not necessarily think of the Forbidden City as haunted, but ghost hunters know better. Though crowded with visitors during the day, the ancient complex closes every evening – and that’s when things get interesting. More than a few night watchmen have reported the apparition of a woman dressed in white, sobbing as she wanders the grounds. Others claimed to have cornered a woman dressed in black and ordered her to turn around, only to see an intruder with no face. Still not convinced? Take a tour and ask your guide why the thresholds are all so high. (Spoiler alert: Ghosts can’t jump.)

Hoia-Baciu Forest in Cluj-Napoca, Romania

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Many aficionados of the paranormal consider this spot – with its eerily crooked trees and a barren patch of land rumored to be a portal to another dimension – the most haunted forest in the world. Visitors often report intense feelings of anxiety and an overwhelming sense of being watched while traveling among the trees. Some of the most commonly reported supernatural occurrences here include unexplained apparitions, photographs showing faces that were not visible to the photographers when the pictures were taken, and UFO sightings.

Kehoe House in Savannah, Georgia

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This Renaissance Revival mansion was completed in 1892 for William and Anne Kehoe, who lived there with their 10 children. In 1930 it became a funeral parlor. The house was eventually turned into a bed-and-breakfast, and guests have noted mysterious sounds of little ones playing, among other creepy occurrences. Ghost-chasing guests visiting the notoriously haunted city of Savannah should feel right at home here.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

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More than 7,000 soldiers lost their lives here during the Civil War’s deadliest engagement, and their tortured spirits are said to still wander the town. Many visitors to the hallowed battlefield have reported seeing phantom soldiers – some on horseback, others marching in formation. Downtown, some people have reported hearing and seeing the ghosts of children in the building that once housed the National Soldiers’ Orphans Homestead. And the spirit of Jennie Wade, the Battle of Gettysburg’s only civilian death, is said to still haunt the home where a stray bullet took her life.

Corvin Castle in Hunedoara, Romania

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If you’re a fan of vampire lore, you’re probably familiar with Vlad the Impaler, who famously inspired the title character in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” In real life, the bloodthirsty ruler was kept prisoner at Corvin Castle (also called Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle). Other prisoners included a monk bricked into one of the walls as punishment for spying. His ghost is thought to haunt the castle to this day. So too are the spirits of three prisoners promised freedom if they dug a well and found water. They did, but they were never freed. You’ll just have to plan a visit to see whether the legends are true.

Lawang Sewu in Semarang, Indonesia

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This former railway headquarters and World War II-era prison is believed to be the most haunted place in Indonesia. Apparitions that have been reported here include the ghost of a Dutch woman, various headless spirits, and a kuntilanak (a female vampiric ghost of Malaysian and Indonesian mythology). Visitors can check out the historic building on their own or take a haunted heritage tour to see whether they can spot any phantoms themselves.

Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires

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While Recoleta Cemetery may be best known as the final resting place of former Argentine first lady Eva Perón, the labyrinthine necropolis is also famous for the stories of its many ghostly residents. One popular tale is that of a woman in white who chats up single men near the corner of the cemetery and gets them to fall in love with her. To their surprise, the men later learn that the mystery woman has been dead since 1925 and is actually entombed near the cemetery’s entrance.

Teatro Tapia in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Open since 1832, Teatro Tapia (officially Teatro Alejandro Tapia y Rivera) is almost as famous for its hauntings as it is for its performances. Audience members have reported hearing strange voices and footsteps coming from empty rooms, and the building itself is said to be haunted by two specific ghosts. One is the spirit of a woman who dresses in red and still attends shows (keep an eye out if you’re seated in Box 105). The other is that of an actress who tragically fell to her death during a performance; she has reportedly been spotted on stage before disappearing into thin air.

Old Parliament House in Canberra, Australia

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It turns out that Australia’s legislature used to convene in one of the country’s most haunted buildings. Security guards have reported doors that opened by themselves, the sound of a woman screaming, a specific spot that always smelled of cigar smoke, and an apparition so terrifying it scared several of them into abandoning their posts (one even quit on the spot). Though ghost tours no longer operate here, you can still visit the Museum of Australian Democracy to at least get a peek inside during daytime hours.

Himeji Castle in Himeji, Japan

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This 17th-century fortress consists of of 83 buildings and a maze-like floor plan designed to confuse invading enemies. The tiles on its roof are decorated with images of Onigawaras, meant to keep evil spirits away. Despite that, the castle is said to be haunted by, among other ghostly creatures, a young servant woman named Okiku. According to local lore, she was accused of losing one of her master’s 10 porcelain plates, all part of a plan to trick her into becoming his mistress — when she refused, he pushed her down the well. Okiku still haunts it, returning every so often to count her plates and wail whenever she reaches missing plate number 10. If this story sounds familiar, that’s because it inspired the film “The Ring.”

The Cuban Club in Tampa, Florida

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A popular venue for weddings and cultural events since it opened in 1918, the Cuban Club is also reputedly home to about 300 ghosts, including a playwright said to haunt the theater, a young boy seen in the basement (where the pool he drowned in once stood), and a young woman who was pushed from the ballroom’s third-floor balcony after she refused to dance with someone. Take a ghost tour of the venue to learn more — if you dare.

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