Whether you’re an adventure traveler or Ghostbuster looking for work, here are 20 haunted cities that we think you’ll enjoy.
We’re not sure if travel insurance covers haunting-related injuries, but these possessed places sound well worth the risk.
We’re not quite sure what Toowoomba did to deserve it, but people in this Queensland town have reported a recent rash of hauntings.
They’ve even organized a group called the Toowoomba Ghost Chasers. Their Facebook page is full of photographs of the supernatural, including a persistent and spooky blue mist and a lady in a red dress that’s become famous around town.
Turns out, you can’t burn a bunch of women at the stake without leaving behind some residual weird vibes. The witch trials are long over, but Salem still has a reputation of being haunted by the ghosts of its victims.
From local hotels to liquor and bookstores, people have reported apparitions showing up, moving things around, screaming into the night, and generally expressing their displeasure about what happened in 1692.
This city houses most of its best ghosts in its museums and monuments. It’s a practicality for a city built on the bones of six million of its former citizens (that you can see yourself for 13 euros per person). You can pay 10 euros to climb the Eiffel Tower for a glimpse of the girl who’s boyfriend pushed her off, or see the ghost of Marie Antoinette at Versailles (for an 18 euro admission fee).
But it’s not all pay to play. Paris’ largest cemetery is home to 300,000 of its dead and you can be haunted by the ghosts of Chopin, Oscar Wilde, or even Jim Morrison for free.
Portland has a reputation for being a quirky place populated by microbreweries, eccentric eateries, and large numbers of men with expressive facial hair. But that’s above ground.
Below ground, Portland is notoriously haunted. Portland has an extensive tunnel system, once used to move illegal alcohol–and illegal human cargo. The unfortunate souls who died in the tunnels are said to haunt any tourists who dare to go underground.
York is so haunted that one of its ghosts purportedly haunted a tourist all the way back to America. And there are still plenty of noteworthy spook stories left behind. Mad Alice (executed 1825) cackles at passersby in Lund’s Court, and the Grey Lady tickles the necks of tourists who visit her at the Georgian Theatre Royal (in the room where she was bricked in alive).
To see them all, try one of the city’s famous ghost walks that will show you where to spot poltergeists, spook lights, damp patches and cohorts of transparent Roman soldiers in Europe’s most haunted city.
WHERE: South Carolina
Charleston has an impressive collection of famous-adjacent ghost legends. The ghost of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin’s father is said to haunt the local Dock Street Theater; Edgar Allen Poe’s ex-girlfriend reportedly haunts the Unitarian Church graveyard.
And at least a few of the ghosts of the 50 pirates hung at White Point Garden had to be fairly famous.
This city is famous for being home to the ghost story that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Legend has it that at least some of the citizens of Bran are strigoi: people whose souls leave their bodies at night and leave them free to terrorize the village. These prototypical vampires still tempt intrepid travelers to chance spending a night in the city to see just what happens when the sun goes down.
INSIDER TIP Bran, Romania borders Transylvania, where the stunning castle that inspired Count Dracula’s Castle still stands (and is purportedly pretty haunted too).
WHERE: Czech Republic
Visit Prague to be haunted by a wide variety of ghosts. Come to see the Mad Barber, who slashes at pedestrians with his razor-like he did in life. Or hang out with a less murderous specter, like the begging skeleton who simply materializes out of the ether to ask the inebriated for money. There’s even a ghost challenge: grab the sword of the ghost of the (terrifying) local headless horseman and you can free him from the grips of his ghostly servitude.
What isn’t haunted in Dublin? There are poltergeists in Connolly Station, a ghost at Kavanagh’s Pub (who drinks with patrons at the bar), and spooks in the Wicklow Mountains that reportedly tug on tourist’s jewelry and scream in the middle of the night.
The devil himself is said to have appeared at a card game at the Hellfire club, a place where people are rumored to dabble in the occult and sacrifices of the kind that may have resulted in the skeleton found buried in a shallow grave nearby.
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Savannah, Georgia is surprisingly charming for a city that is built mostly over ancient burial grounds.
Its town square is just above a mass grave from the Revolutionary War. And not only is there a Native American burial ground, but it was desecrated when they exhumed one of the residents — a chief who was buried with honors for bringing peace to the territory — so a railroad magnate could build a new house.
Given that two-minute history lesson, it shouldn’t be surprising that this southern gem is home to dozens of haunted locations and ghost city tours.
It’s hard to imagine that Athens, Ohio didn’t want to become one of America’s most haunted cities. Not only is it home to an insane asylum, but five cemeteries surround it in the shape of a pentagram and it’s all built on top of a Native American burial ground.
And they did a pretty good job. There are few better places in the United States to come as close as you dare to getting scared to death. There’s the very haunted, now-abandoned mental hospital, a local headless train conductor, myriad haunted houses, and we haven’t even gotten started on the cemeteries.
Edinburgh is not only home to haggis and Scotch but also the ghosts of famous body snatchers (and body murderers) Burke and Hare, daily paranormal activity at Edinburgh Castle, a particularly nasty ghost that bruises visitors to Greyfriars Kirkyard, and many more spirits–at least enough to warrant steeling your nerves with a whole bottle of Scotch.
The trouble with ghosts is that they accumulate. And London, founded AD 50, is understandably lousy with them. Nearly every pub, square, and back alleyway is filled with the erstwhile spirits of some of London’s most famous murder victims.
The only trouble is deciding where you want to be terrified first. Spooked by the poltergeist of Jack the Rippers’ victim at the Ten Bells? Haunted by the spooky ghost light at the City of London Cemetery?
There are so many choices that it’s probably best to set about it in an organized way and tackle one of London’s many ghost walk tours.
The best place to start a tour of New Orleans is to begin with its celebrity haunts. First, visit the haunted house of Madame LaLaurie of American Horror: Coven fame. Then, head to St. Louis Cemetery to visit (or be visited by) the ghost of the world’s most notorious Voodoo queen Marie Laveau.
Or just roam any unpopulated street at night and listen out for disembodied screams, look for inexplicable floating orbs, or one of the many ghosts and monsters rumored to roam the alleyways after dark.
Fengdu Ghost City
When it comes to haunted cities, you can’t go wrong with one that has “ghost” right in the name. This city’s haunted history started, legend has it, nearly 2,000 years ago when the city’s one percent headed up nearby Ming mountain to make themselves immortal, shortly before coming back down to drag the local villagers into the underworld.
Today, the area is surrounded by temples and shrines, all dedicated to the underworld, and covered with scenes of tortured villagers and, presumably, the ghosts of the subjects of the paintings.
The beautiful monuments and pyramids of Chichen Itza were not just centers of worship, but home to mass human sacrifices. Tourists who come to marvel at the ancient structures also report seeing the ghosts of those who died there, doomed to wander the city for all time.
Italy isn’t all Vespa’s and “ciao.” Once upon a time, Italy was a much spookier place. And it’s a spirit they’ve preserved in some of their scarier tourist attractions, like the Museum and Crypt of the Capuchins: a crypt storing the bodies of more than 400 Italian Monks. Chandeliers made of leg and arm bones hang from the ceiling, and skulls are embedded in the walls with a sign that says “What you are we once were; what we are you will become.”
In fact, the whole city lies over catacombs, bones, and plenty of places to feel suspiciously eerie at night.
This abandoned mining town doesn’t just look spooky. It’s said to be haunted not just by encroaching sand, but by the ghosts of the German miners who died in the brutal heat there.
Paranormal investigators for the TV show Destination Truth even once recorded “electronic voice phenomena” of whispering ghosts when they visited in 2011.
Bahla is where djinns (genies for Disney fans) come from. And legend has it that one of them built the entire city one night. According to local reports, the djinn still haunt the palm groves and empty houses of the city. But they advise tourists to beware: Djinns can grant wishes but also bring really bad luck.