The Halloween season is here and you don’t have to seek out a modern-day manufactured fright house for a scare.
Mystery shrouds many famous tourist destinations that have been around for centuries, and where the ghosts of the people who once walked their streets and halls still linger.
Whether it’s a castle in Ireland, an island in Mexico or a collection of underground tunnels in Paris, check out these creepiest destinations.
1. The Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, Beechworth, Australia
Take a nighttime ghost tour at this former hospital, which leads visitors through the wards, cells and surgical rooms of the Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum. It’s believed that former patients who died violent deaths still roam the halls. If you want more of a fright, Beechwood Ghost Tours offers a hour paranormal investigation tour, which equips visitors with night vision cameras, infrared goggles, laser grids, EMF detectors, laser thermometers, parabolic microphones, spirit boxes, motion sensors and a range of other equipment.
2. The Bhangarh Fort, Bhangarh, India
According to legend, the Bhangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India and the residents of the palace were cursed by a black magic sorcerer who said they would die an unnatural death, with their sprits haunting the fort forever. Because of the curse, few homes were built by the fort, and some local villagers built their houses without rooftops for fear that the moment a roof is built, the house would collapse.
3. Hell Fire Club on Montpelier Hill, Dublin, Ireland
The Hell Fire Club in Dublin, Ireland is called “the most terrifying experience in Dublin.” The lodge, which sits on Montpelier Hill, is believed to be at the site of an ancient burial site. When the lodge was constructed around 1725, workers took the stones from the grave sites to use for the building. Shortly after its completion, a storm blew the roof off, which locals say was the work of the devil. It’s believed occult practices took place there, and that it’s haunted to this day. Guests on a walking tour to see the site are warned that they may experience head and chest tightness –but let’s hope that’s just due to the strenuous hike up the hill.
4. Chateau de Chateaubriant, Chateaubriant, France
This medieval castle attracts tourist from around the world, but not everyone is brave enough to enter its Chambre Doree. As legend has it, Françoise de Foix (1495-1537), wife of Jean de Laval, was locked in her room and assassinated by her jealous husband on October 16, 1537. Every year since then, a pool of blood has appeared in the room in front of the chimney.
5. The Island of the Dolls, Mexico City, Mexico
Just south of Mexico City is the Isla de las Munecas, or the Island of the Dolls. The island, hidden among the Xochimilco Canals, is dedicated to a girl who, according to legend, drowned many years ago under mysterious circumstances. Hundreds of dolls –or parts of dolls — hang from trees or lie in the grass, and are believed to be possessed by her spirit. The severed limbs and decapitated heads of the dolls are creepy enough as is, but visitors have said that they’ve seen heads and arms move, and even seen some eyes opened.
6. Hunedoara Castle, Transylvania, Romania
The Hunedoara Castle, also called the Corvin or Hunyad Castle after the Hunyad dynasty, has some fairly freaky stories attached to it. It’s sometimes mentioned as a source of inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Castle Dracula, although the Bran Castle more often earns that distinction. But it’s believed that two children were found murdered in their beds inside the castle sometime during the 16th century, and in a separate incident, a woman who was having an affair with a soldier was murdered there by her husband, only to have her body found 200 years later inside one of the walls. Many attempted exorcisms have taken place here to rid it of these negative spirits, but they still remain.
7. Stull Cemetery, Stull, Kansas
Cemeteries tend to give off a spookiness as a general rule, but not many cemeteries are known for being one of the seven gateways to hell. Nestled inside this sleepy town, there are hidden steps that are said to lead to the netherworld. The steps are extremely hard to find, and are only ever visible during Halloween and the Spring equinox. If someone is lucky (or unlucky) enough to find them, they are urged not to descend the stairs, since it’s impossible to come back up from them.
8. Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Byberry Mental Asylum at the Philadelphia State Hospital was opened in 1912 in a good faith effort to accommodate the mentally ill in the City of Brotherly Love. Over the years, neglect, sub-human standards for patients and alack of funds led to the hospital’s closure in 1990. For many years, the buildings stood empty and attracted vandals and people who performed satanic rituals. Finally, most of the complex was demolished in 2006, but a single remaining building at the Byberry campus stands today.
9. The Mines of Paris, Paris, France
The Mines of Paris is a stone quarry made up of a web of tunnels underneath the city. What makes the mines so creepy, is that in the late 18th century, some of the tunnels were converted into catacombs to hold the bones of those buried in overflowing mass graveyards around Paris. An abandoned railway tunnel and a portion of the catacombs are open to the public — where visitors say they see ghosts walking the dark tunnels.