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30 Nightmarish Facts About Haunted Places

Shannon Quinn

Throughout the world, there are stories of haunted places where the unfortunate souls of the people who died still linger on. These 30 stories are so creepy, they may just give you nightmares.


30. Come Play With Us

The Maple Hill Cemetery was built in 1882 in Huntsville Alabama, which makes it the oldest burial site in the town. The cemetery spreads across a massive 100 acres. In the 1960s, multiple children went missing, and their bodies were dumped at a playground that is right next to the cemetery. Locals say that around 10 pm every night the swings will rock and the slide will groan under an invisible weight. The sound of children’s giggling can also be heard in the darkness.

29. Please Find Me

In the 17th Century, the Dutch East India Company built the massive Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, South Africa. The edifice allowed traders to have a place to rest during their travels. For a while, people reported seeing a ghostly apparition of a woman they called “The Lady in Grey” sobbing. The employees of the castle decided to dig in the area where the ghost was seen; sure enough, the body of a woman had been buried at the site. Once she was exhumed and given a proper burial, the hauntings allegedly stopped.

28. I Failed You

After the end of World War II, Japan surrendered to the United States. Legend has it that a large group of Japanese pilots committed Hara-Kiri, or ritual suicide, for their failure to serve the Emperor. Now, people say that the Atsugi hangar bay is haunted by the ghosts of these men. People have reported seeing red eyes floating in the night.

27. Stay Away

Poveglia Island in Italy was used to quarantine people with the Bubonic Plague in the 14th century; thousands of people died excruciating, painful deaths on the island. In 1630, when a recurrence of the disease spread through Italy, the government again sent the bodies to Poveglia Island. The island is now abandoned, and locals avoid it, well, like the plague.

26. The Devil Made Me Do It

Limerick County, Ireland, is home to the ancient ruins of the 13th century St. Katherine’s Abbey, where nuns lived and prayed. Legend has it that one nun was secretly working with the devil. One day, the other nuns found her sitting in a chair: she was dead, her eyes were open, and her face was contorted in a scream of horror. The nuns claimed that the Devil finally came for her soul.

25. I Seem To Have Lost My Head

Jack the Ripper was a vicious serial killer who brutally slaughtered women in London in the 1880s. On 29 Hanbury Street, the body of a decapitated woman, one of Jack’s victims, was found. Years later, a brewery opened on the spot where she died; people say that they sometimes see the figure of a decapitated woman walking at night, searching for her killer.

24. A Peaceful Place to Die

The Aokigahara Forest sits on the edge of Mt. Fuji in Japan. The forest is beautiful and mysterious, filled with lush vegetation and twisting trees. Since the 1950s, over 500 people have committed suicide in these woods, earning it the name The Suicide Forest. Every so often, the police sweep the forest to collect the bodies of suicide victims. Those who visit the woods to hike will see evidence of nooses and the random belongings of those who died.

23. I’ll Do Anything to Stay

During the 1700s in Louisiana, a slave girl named Chloe was noticed by her master, Judge Clark Woodruff, for her good looks. She was asked to leave the fields of Myrtles Plantation to become a house maid for Woodruff’s wife and daughters—and to keep the judge’s bed warm. Once Woodruff started losing interest, Chloe was afraid of losing her position and began to eavesdrop on the family. Chloe was caught, and Woodruff cut one of her ears off as a punishment; she wore a green turban after the incident to cover her ears.

Fearing the loss of her status now more than ever, Chloe devised a plan: she would grind up poisonous leaves into a cake and serve the dessert to the family. They would then get sick and she could nurse them back to health with the antidote. Her plan backfired: The children immediately became violently ill from the poison, and died. Chloe, now wracked with guilt, confessed to her friends, who then promptly turned on her, dragged her from her bed in the middle of the night, and hanged her.

Modern visitors to the Myrtles Plantation have reported seeing the figure of a woman wearing a green turban walking the grounds. The house now has Halloween tours where people claim to feel a spooky presence surrounding them.

22. Goodbye, Cruel World

In Savannah, Georgia, there is an 18th Century three-story home called the Hampton Lillibridge House. The home miraculously—or supernaturally—survived Savannah’s Great Fire of 1820, which destroyed many surrounding homes. The house has a dark past: the original owner, Hampton Lillibridge, died in the house; later, a sailor renting out one of the house’s rooms hanged himself from the ceiling; after this, a construction worker was crushed to death while performing renovations on the house. The house has even been exorcised by a priest.

21. Why Did You Do It?

In 1912, in Villisca, Iowa, the Moore Family was murdered while they slept. The killer chopped every member up with an axe, ran away, and was never seen again. The house is still standing, and it was preserved as a museum for ghost tours. Visitors of the Moore house claim to hear creaking floorboards and the sounds of children crying.

20. Red Mary

In Ireland during the 1600s, a beautiful redheaded girl named Maire Rua inherited a vast fortune. She and her second husband, Conor O’Brien, then built a massive estate known as Leamanagh Castle. After O’Brien died in battle, Rua knew that the only way to support her castle and 11 children was to marry a third man, John Cooper, who worked for the infamous political leader Oliver Cromwell.

Locals were jealous that Maire (who they called “Red Mary”) was able to maintain her wealth and status, and were angry that she had married someone connected to Cromwell. Rumors began to spread that Rua was a black widow who had killed 25 husbands in order to keep their money. Other rumors claimed that she abused her housekeepers. A group of local men kidnapped Rua and trapped her inside of a hollow tree, where she screamed for help that never came. She starved to death inside of the tree before her body was discovered. Even to this day, people say they see the ghost of a redheaded woman walking through Leamanagh Castle.

19. The House of Death

Some say that a home at 14 West 10th Street in New York City is haunted, and it has been nicknamed The House of Death. In the 1960s, actress Jan Bryant Bartell bought the house. After moving in, Bartell almost immediately began feeling icy hands on the back of her neck, and could smell a rotting corpse. Her dogs began to growl at an invisible enemy in the room, and one of the dogs died soon afterwards.

Bartell decided to do some research on the history of her new house, and discovered that multiple people were murdered or committed suicide there over the years. She hired a psychic to digger deeper: upon communing, the medium went limp and claimed that bodies of children were buried under the floorboards and that multiple ghosts from various generations were haunting the residence. Bartell fled the house and wrote about her experience in Spindrift: Spray From a Psychic Sea. A month later, Bartell was dead from an apparent suicide. The tragedies didn’t stop there: In the 1980s, a new family moved in. The father, attorney Joel Steinberg, killed his six-year-old daughter.

18. I’ll Never Leave

The Hotel Majestic was built in San Francisco in 1902. The original owner, Milton Schmidt, used it as his personal home until 1904, when he sold it. His daughter was very upset when her father sold the place, and people say that she still roams the halls of the fourth floor where she once lived. There is also a portrait hanging in the lobby of her; visitors claim her spirit still lives on in the painting.

17. We’re Crossing Over

Locals all know about the Screaming Bridge in Liberty Township, Ohio. The bridge was built in the 1870s, and many people say that the name actually comes from the fact that it’s haunted. People claim to hear screams of a woman who apparently fell off the bridge and died. There are several stories of deaths on or near the bridge, and some paranormal investigators have claimed to capture photographs of orbs in the area.

16. Howdy, Partner

Jerome, Arizona is a ghost town in more than one sense of the word. In the 1800s, people poured into this Western town to mine copper. Men began to have gun fights, people died of overdoses in opium dens, and mines collapsed, each incident leaving dead people in its wake. There are now several stories of ghosts that apparently lurk in the ghost town, including Sammie Dean, a sex worker who was choked to death in her brothel. They say she still walks the streets, searching for the man who killed her.

15. What’s For Dinner?

In the 17th Century, a man named John Jarman owned The Ostrich Inn in London, England. Jarman had rooms at lower rates, but kept a separate VIP suite above the kitchen. Little did the VIP guests know that when they were sleeping, Jarman would open a trap door underneath their bed and dump the unsuspecting guests into a pot of boiling water in the kitchen below. Jarman killed 60 people, making sure to steal their valuables after he did so, using the inn’s basement to store bodies. Today when people visit the inn, they claim to feel a strange sense of unease.

14. Gimme More

There is a very small island in the canals of Xochimilco just outside of Mexico City. The location is better known by its nickname: The Island of the Dolls. In the 1920s, a young girl was playing in the murky water of the canals and drowned. Years later, in the 1950s, a man named Julien Santana Barrera bought the tiny island and moved his family there. Barrera soon met the ghost of the little girl, who insisted on a doll. He began leaving dolls for the her but she became more and more demanding; Barrera’s life was consumed with giving the ghost what she wanted. His body was found drowned in the exact same spot where the girl had died. Today, this spot is a tourist attraction, and guests to the island are required to bring a doll as an offering to the little girl’s ghost. Creepy dolls hang from nearly every tree.

13. It Wasn’t Me

The Carrickfergus Castle in Northern Ireland was built in the late 1180s. In the 1800s, a soldier named Robert Rainey was stationed at the castle and fell in love with Betsy Baird. Baird, however, was unfaithful, and in a fit of rage Rainey killed her other lover. Rainey’s friend Timothy Lavery was then pinned for the murder and hanged for a crime he didn’t commit. They say that Lavery’s ghost still haunts the castle, seeking revenge for the injustice.

Haunted Places FactsGetty Images

12. Lady In Green

The tallest castle in France is the Château de Brissac. In the 15th Century, there was a double-homicide inside the castle walls. Now, some say that a “Green Lady” will roam the halls wearing a green dress. Her face looks as though she is halfway through decomposing, and she walks slowly through the hallways of the castle.

11. Room For One, Please

Mineral Wells, Texas, is home to the massive, abandoned, and potentially haunted Baker Hotel. Visitors have claimed to hear a young boy crying, “It hurts, mommy!” Another legend says that a woman killed herself by jumping from the hotel’s roof, while yet another story tells of a ghostly old woman sitting in a wheelchair, muttering, “I can’t do it. I can’t do it.” Since it is abandoned, and without electricity, anyone who explores The Baker Hotel would have to do so in the dark.

10. Locked Up

Thanks to its spectacular architecture, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania used to be the most expensive prison in the world. The famous gangster Al Capone was once incarcerated there. During his stay, Capone claimed to see the ghost of “Jimmy,” a friend he was responsible for killing.

9. Barren Lands

There is a massive forest in New Jersey called the Pinelands National Reserve, or The Pine Barrens. The forest is over 1,100,000 acres. Local legend has it that the Italian Mafia use the woods as a dumping ground for the bodies of their victims.

8. We’re Watching You…

Borgvattnet, Sweden is a very small town with a very big haunting. The local vicarage is said to be home to ghostly women in grey. One woman staying at the vicarage woke up to find three women, all wearing grey, standing at the foot of her bed and silently staring at her while she slept. The building has since been converted to a restaurant, although the bedrooms are available to rent; if anyone sleeps in the vicarage they get a certificate for surviving the night.

7. I’m Sorry, Baby

Hundreds of men and women were executed at Bodmin Jail in Cornwall, UK in the 1700s for their violent crimes. One legend tells of a future inmate who gave birth to a disabled child. Unable to handle raising a baby with a disability, she drowned her child in a well and was arrested for murder. Now when children pass by the woman’s old cell at Bodmin, they have been known to ask, “Who was that lady that was standing there crying?”

6. Cat People

In December of 1920, the Westminster Abbey choir was practicing songs a few days before Christmas. The choir had locked themselves inside of the empty Church to be safe during their nighttime rehearsal. When they were done singing a few songs, an elderly woman wearing old-fashioned clothing appeared. Although no one knew how the woman managed to get inside, they pulled up a chair for her.

When the choir finished practice, however, the woman vanished just as quickly as she had appeared. The only sign of life was a cat running through the church. The community later theorized that the old woman was the ghost of a former choir mistress who loved both carols and cats. For the next 10 years, people claimed to have seen this old woman appear and reappear in Westminster Abbey.

5. Good Evening, Mr. President

The White House is also home to hauntings. Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, actually died of typhoid fever at 11 years old in residence. Mary Todd Lincoln was so upset about her youngest son’s death that she would hold seances in The Red Room to summon and communicate with his ghost. For years after his death, people thought they saw the ghost of Willie Lincoln roaming the halls. During the Taft administration, there were also sightings of a ghost boy whom staff called The Thing. William Howard Taft eventually forbid any mention of “The Thing” in the White House.

4. I Do.

The Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada was built in 1887 and remains a luxurious vacation spot. It is also a haunted spot: as one story goes, a woman was going to get married when her dress caught fire from a nearby candle. She panicked, fell down the stairs, and died from a broken neck. People say that the woman’s ghost shows up to other weddings, sometimes dancing in her dress—complete with flickering flames on her gown.

3. Achtung!

Hesse, Germany is home to the Babenhausen Barracks, which housed soldiers during World War II. Many people who visit the now-abandoned barracks say that they can still see ghosts of the soldiers, or hear German drill commands in the distance. Some visitors also say that when they pick up the telephone they hear the voice of a woman talking backwards.

2. Get Out Of My House

The Lutz house of Amityville, New York is possibly one of the most famous haunted places. The true story of what happened is almost as chilling as the Amityville Horror movie. In 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his parents and siblings with a rifle at 3:15 am, going from room to room and shooting them in their beds.

Just one year later, the Lutz family moved in. The abode is a massive 5-bedroom house, and the family couldn’t resist getting it for only $80,000. However, the Lutz clan only spent one month living in the home; they experienced so many supernatural phenomena that they were forced to leave. The Lutzes experienced green slime pouring down the walls and a ghostly voice screaming “GET OUT,” among other events. George Lutz, the stepfather, would wake up every day at exactly 3:15 am, as if tempted to repeat the crimes of DeFeo.

The entire family passed a lie detector test when they testified that their story was true, and the son, Daniel Lutz, claims to still have nightmares about the house even as an adult. Ronald DeFeo Jr. was interviewed in jail, where he is still alive and living out a life sentence. He said that the voices in his head are still urging him to kill.

1. A Royal Ghost

Anne Boleyn was married to King Henry VIII. She was beheaded for adultery, incest, witchcraft, and conspiracy against the king in the Tower of London in 1536, just three years after her wedding to the king. When Anne Boleyn was escorted to the scaffold to be beheaded for her crimes, she begged leave to address the crowd gathered to witness her execution. Despite the lack of evidence against her, her final words to the people were as follows:

“Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, according to law, for by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I come here only to die, and thus to yield myself humbly to the will of the King, my lord. And if, in my life, I did ever offend the King’s Grace, surely with my death I do now atone. I come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that whereof I am accused, as I know full well that aught I say in my defence doth not appertain to you. I pray and beseech you all, good friends, to pray for the life of the King, my sovereign lord and yours, who is one of the best princes on the face of the earth, who has always treated me so well that better could not be, wherefore I submit to death with good will, humbly asking pardon of all the world. If any person will meddle with my cause, I require them to judge the best. Thus I take my leave of the world, and of you, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. Oh, Lord, have mercy on me! To God I commend my soul.”

She spoke this address bravely, with a calmness that many of the dukes and earls gathered there later wrote about. She was then asked to kneel, awaiting the French executioner’s sword. Reports stated that she appeared dazed and fearful as she awaited the blow, saying a simple prayer: “O Christ, receive my spirit.”

As the steel met her neck, “immediately, the executioner did his office” (Weir, Alison “The Lady in the Tower” ). Her head fell onto the straw, and her body lay on the scaffold for several hours because burial preparations had not been made.

There have been many reports of a ghostly apparition of a headless woman roaming near on the north side of the White Tower, where Boleyn was killed, as well as in the White Tower.

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