Here is a collection of true ghost stories from the world’s most creepiest places. This list will have some familiar names, and some places you never expected to be haunted. Paranormal activity is an really a very international affair, and ghosts and apparitions intermingle with the living everywhere day and night. When it comes to the number and regularity of ghost sightings and unexplained events, these real haunted sites can’t be beat. A collection of history, folklore, and true ghost stories from the world’s most creepiest places.
No. 1: Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Oswiecim, Poland.
Auschwitz death camp was in operation from May 1940 until its liberation by Soviet forces in January 1945. It is estimated that 2.1 to 2.5 million people were killed in the gas chambers during that time, of whom 2 million were Jews and the remainder were Poles, Gypsies and Soviet POWs. But this estimate is considered by historians to be strictly a minimum, because the total number of deaths at Auschwitz and its sister camp Birkenau can never really be known.
It is clear that Auschwitz-Birkenau was considered by the Germans to be one of their most efficient extermination centers as early as 1941 when the mortuary crematorium at the Auschwitz main camp was adapted as a gas chamber. Additional huts, called “bunkers,” were added around January 1942 and were especially active in the autumn of 1944 when extra capacity was needed for the systematic murder of Hungarian Jews and the liquidation of the ghettos. Between January 1942 and March 1943 over 175,000 Jews were gassed to death here, their bodies burned in open pits nearby.
By early 1943 it was clear that Hitler’s SS were using Auschwitz as a mass-murder factory. Twin pairs of state of the art gas chambers using Zyklon-B gas were opened in March and April 1943. The capacity of these crematoria was 4,420 persons. Once inside the chambers it took about 20 minutes for the gas to kill this number of people. The killings took place in the underground chambers and the bodies were carried to five crematoria ovens on an electrically operated lift. Before cremation, gold teeth, jewelry, and other valuables were removed from the corpses. Captured Jews, known as “sonderkommandos” were forced to work the crematoria under SS supervision.eople have reported cold spots and areas of intense emotional concentration. Recent reports have come in that while touring the camp some have been touched or even grabbed by unseen hands. One visitor report that someone or something tugged on her clothes and she heard a voice whispering to her but could not make out anything but one or two words. ” Please and leave”!
As of date no paranormal group or investigator has released their findings of the most haunted place on earth to the public. But often tales of this the Most Haunted Hot Spot in the world has many haunted secrets yet to reveal.
Photographs over the years have revealed the presence of spirit manifestations in the form of misty apparitions, shadows, light anomalies and orbs. Given its history and the imprint of horror it leaves on the modern mind, Auschwitz-Birkenau is the most creepiest place on earth.
No. 2: Whitechapel/Spittalfields, London East End, London, England.
The Whitechapel / Spittalfields area of East London has been actively settled since Roman times. Many of the historic buildings are built on the remains of old Roman settlements. Throughout the Dark and Middle Ages, the East End was a burgeoning commerce area, mostly inhabited by Anglos and Jewish moneylenders. In Elizabethan times the East End looked and smelled like something right out of one of Shakespeare’s history plays, and, in fact, the character of Falstaff (Henry V) is said to have been based on an innkeeper from the notorious East End. It was a place of soldiers and prostitutes, brawls and bawdy houses.
The coming of high Victorian morals did nothing to dull this seedy reputation and the Whitechapel / Spittalfields area, while known to humanitarians for its extreme poverty, was also known to all as the home of thieves, prostitutes, and the most derelict of English society.
In 1888 the Whitechapel area of London was the scene of some of the most brutal murders ever recorded: the famous Jack the Ripper crimes. Yet the murders – and the identity of Jack – remain unsolved, even today. Many assert that the killer was a doctor or was somehow connected to the medical profession; others believe the killer to have been Queen Victoria’s grandson, Prince Albert Victor, though nothing substantial has ever arisen to support the theory.
Five women, all of them poor prostitutes, were slaughtered by the mysterious Jack in the span of just four months, known collectively as “The Autumn of Terror.” Four of the women – Mary Nicholls, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes – were found in various streets and alleys throughout Whitechapel horribly disfigured and mutilated. The fifth – Mary Kelly – was the only victim murdered in an interior location; as such she was the most horribly mutilated, the death scene like something from a slaughterhouse.
Jack the Ripper enjoyed a brief career as London’s most infamous serial murder and the fact that he was never caught still adds to the mystery surrounding him. Nevertheless, it is thought that his horrible mutilation of Mary Kelly was his last act of violence and there is no evidence that Jack, whoever he may have been, killed again after November 1888.
Today visitors to London’s East End can walk the streets that Jack prowled and visit pubs and other locations he may have haunted in life – and death. Walking tours of the area are very popular and although Jack’s legacy is certainly the most enduring, other ghosts that haunt the East End are those of Jack’s victims, in various stages of mutilation; a ghostly band of Roman soldiers; a murderous sea captain’s ghost that haunts a local pub; and a mysterious black carriage drawn by ghastly white horses that approaches without a sound and disappears right before your eyes. These and other haunts, combined with the long haunted history of the East End make it one of the must visit ghostly locations in the world.
No. 3: Underground Vaults, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Far below the busy streets of modern Edinburgh lies a dark, forgotten corner of history. Discovered in the mid-1980’s, the Edinburgh Vaults had been abandoned for nearly two hundred years. Lying beneath the South Bridge, a major Edinburgh passage, the rooms were used as cellars, workshops and even as residences by the businesses that plied their trade on the busy bridge above. Abandoned soon after they were built due to excessive water and moisture, the vaults remain, unaltered, never illuminated by the light of day.
The South Bridge has stood since 1785 and it was around this time that the huge supporting arches were first divided for use by nearby businesses. The vaults were once bustling with life, the vast overflow of an ever-growing city.
When the vaults became mostly abandoned because of the unwholesome atmosphere they were still used sporadically by the poor and homeless of Edinburgh society. As with any great concentration of unhealthy people, there were outbreaks of plague and other devastating illnesses; many of the people who took refuge in the vaults ultimately died there. There is evidence that at least some of these people may have met untimely ends because it was here in the Edinburgh Vaults that the nefarious pair, Burke and Hare, plied their trade of providing cadavers to the nearby teaching hospitals of Infirmary Street.
Paranormal investigations have been conducted in the vaults practically since their discovery and to date the location has not failed to provide a wealth of disturbing and unexplainable activity. Recently visited by the crew from England’s “Most Haunted,” the vaults maintained their reputation as the spookiest place in Edinburgh – no member of the team would voluntarily return there.
No. 4: Greyfriar’s Kirk Cemetery / Covenanter’s Prison, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Greyfriar’s Cemetery has been considered haunted for generations. Its history is filled with the horrific, from deliberate headstone removal and desecration, bodysnatching and live burial, to witch burnings and use as a mass prison. Around 1998, however, a new and inexplicable phenomenon began occurring in the graveyard where visitors claimed to have encountered cold spots, nauseating smells, loud noises coming from empty tombs, and even physical injury. Many visitors and tour guides have been the victim of attack by unseen entities who leave bruises, cuts, and scratches on the unwary. People were routinely knocked unconscious and overcome by debilitating nausea and vomiting. Homes near the graveyard became plagued by poltergeist activities such as smashed china and glassware, moving objects, shadowy figures, and menacing, guttural laughter.
There are two areas of the cemetery where activity is extremely dense, one being the area around the MacKenzie Mausoleum (also called the Black Tomb) and the other in the gated area known as the Covenanter’s Prison.
It is said that George MacKenzie is the shadowy entity haunting the area near his family tomb. In the 17th century, MacKenzie, a loyal subject to Charles II of England, is said to have ruthlessly persecuted and imprisoned “unrepentant” Scottish Presbyterians who formally entered into what they called a “Covenant Between God and Country.” This act of Scottish loyalty excluded the authority of Charles II and it is said that MacKenzie soundly punished all those Covenanters he could round up. Many were imprisoned in harsh and unforgiving conditions in a small area inside Greyfriar’s and most of the Covenanters died there rather than revoke their oath. Since that horrible event, the Covenanter’s Prison as well as the MacKenzie Mausoleum have both been fearsomely active, although it was not until recently that the spirits said to inhabit the area have begun to strike out against visitors and nearby residents.
Currently, the Covenanter’s Prison area is only accessible to visitors accompanied by a tour guide; the MacKenzie Mausoleum is nearby and can be visited and photographed – at one’s own peril, evidently.
No. 5: Coliseum, Rome, Italy.
At the height of Rome’s power the Coliseum represented everything that was Imperial to the citizens of Rome. Gladiators would fight to the death here for the amusement of Caesar and the mobs; thousands of prisoners of war and victims of religious persecution met their end in the jaws of lions and tigers in the sandy arena of the Coliseum; and even those animals were decimated, for in its time the Coliseum consumed tens of thousands of animals, some reportedly driven into extinction by the Roman lust for blood and gore.
The workings of the Coliseum, the place where the real grit of life took place, were in the vaults beneath the sandy floor. Now long ago exposed by the ravages of time, there is still a pervasive feeling of awe associated with the lingering presence of a power so mighty it once encompassed the entire known world.
In the pits beneath the Coliseum, gladiators waited to fight, prisoners waited to die, and average Romans placed bets on the outcomes of myriad competitions. Such a fabric of life can’t help but wrap itself around the pillars and posts that make up the foundation of this ancient charnel house, and it is no surprise that many reports of ghostly activity have been associated with the Coliseum over the years.
Tour guides and visitors alike have reported cold spots, being touched or pushed, hearing indiscernible words whispered into their ears; security guards with the unenviable task of securing the ancient edifice have reported hearing the sounds of swords clashing, of weeping in the more remote areas, and, oddly enough most disconcerting, the sound of ghostly animal noises such as the roars of lions and elephants. Ghostly citizens have been seen among the seats of the Coliseum, and the sight of a Roman soldier standing guard, silhouetted against the night sky, is a common one. With such ancient history and such a legacy of death and bloodshed, there is little wonder why the Roman Coliseum is one of the most creepiest place in the world.
No. 6: Walachia, Transylvania, Land of Dracul, Romania.
“Beyond the green swelling hills of the Mittel Land rose mighty slopes of forest up to the lofty steeps of the Carpathians themselves. Right and left of us they towered, with the afternoon sun falling full upon them and bringing out all the glorious colours of this beautiful range, deep blue and purple in the shadows of the peaks, green and brown where grass and rock mingled, and an endless perspective of jagged rock and pointed crags, till these were themselves lost in the distance, where the snowy peaks rose grandly . . .
“Just then a heavy cloud passed across the face of the moon, so that we were again in darkness . . . This was all so strange and uncanny that a dreadful fear came upon me, and I was afraid to speak or move. The time seemed interminable, as we swept on our way, now in almost complete darkness, for the rolling clouds obscured the moon.
“We kept on ascending, with occasional periods of quick descent, but in the main always ascending. Suddenly, I became conscious of the fact that the driver was in the act of pulling up the horses in the courtyard of a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the sky.”
– “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.
“Perhaps the only place I felt Dracula’s presence was on a long, curving road that twists over the Transylvanian Alps. The area is so remote and impenetrable that no major road crossed this often stormy mountain pass until 1974. As my car climbed into the mist, traffic disappeared, and the radio stopped working. The road passes a dam and a hydroelectric plant guarded by a handful of soldiers standing alone in the gloom. And at the bottom of the road are the ruins of a castle.
Dracula created this fortress as a refuge. When the Turkish army surrounded him, he is said to have escaped through a tunnel and disappeared into the mountains.
His young son was strapped to the side of his horse but slipped off and was left for dead. His wife didn’t even try to flee. She threw herself to death from a tower window.
I stepped out of the car to take a look. But it was night now, and the climb to the castle would be difficult. I looked up at the dark mountains and started to shiver, glad to have a car to spirit me away.”
–Larry Bleiburg, The Dallas Morning News, January 2, 2005
We think that’s enough said!
No. 7: Unit 731 Experimentation Camp, Harbin, Manchuria, China.
“It is called the Asian Auschwitz and, in terms of inhumanity and horror, it certainly warrants this description. Yet there remains a fundamental difference with the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis against Jews: While Germany has shown deep contrition and remorse, the leaders the country that spawned the evil of Unit 731 still struggle to come to grips with what occurred . . . In the end at least 3,000 prisoners, mainly Chinese, were killed directly, with a further 250,000 Chinese left to die through the biological warfare experiments.”
In the gruesome world of Unit 731 the unthinkable was done on a daily basis. Prisoners, mostly taken in Japan’s conquest of Manchuria at the beginning of WWII, were subjected to unimaginable horrors. They were infected with diseases such as anthrax, cholera and even bubonic plague. To gauge the effect of these diseases on their subjects – whom they dehumanized by calling them “logs” – live, un-anesthetized vivisection was performed. In many cases the subjects would regain consciousness while the dissection was taking place.
Whole towns and villages were decimated by the ghoulish doctors and researchers of Unit 731 and the effects of their horrible crimes still resonate there to this day.
Parts of the Unit 731 complex still remain – there are buildings where frostbite experiments were performed, courtyards and open areas where prisoners were subjected to live bombs detonated at close range to enable researchers to evaluate the effect of explosives of the sort that Japanese soldiers were encountering in the fields. Other buildings where live human vivisections took place overlook the prisoner holding area and the long-unused railway station where the “logs” were offloaded for their horrible fate.
The Chinese government sanctioned the Unit and the surrounding area as a learning center for future generations of Chinese, and just recently visitors from the West have been allowed access to the killing fields at Harbin. But for many years there have been reports of paranormal activity associated with the old charnel houses: ghost lights and apparitions are frequently seen, including a ghostly figure that walks the empty precincts surrounding the frostbite units. Ghostly voices have been heard and anomalies frequently appear in photographs taken in the area. Recently, during the filming of a BBC television documentary, the English film crew experienced unexplainable problems with their lights and batteries – often a sure sign of ghostly activity. Many speculate that as the story of Unit 731 is more widely told, the ghosts of those tragically tormented and murdered there are becoming more and more active, and more anxious for justice than ever before.
No. 8: Palmyra Island Atoll, Pacific Ocean.
Many have extrapolated the question: Can an entire island be haunted? Palmyra Island, really an atoll along the rim of a long dead Pacific volcano, has a long history among sailors and landlubbers alike as being an unwholesome place. Perhaps best known as the location of a sensational 1970’s murder case detailed by author Vincent Bugliosi in his novel “And the Sea Will Tell,” Palmyra has long featured in many cautionary tales passed among old salts who know perhaps more than they care to about this troublesome speck in the ocean.
Many claim that there is a “malevolent aura” surrounding Palmyra, such as Richard Taylor, a yachtsman who gave testimony at the sensational murder trial:
“I had a foreboding feeling about the island. It was more than just the fact that it was a ghost-type island; it was more than that. It seemed to be an unfriendly place to be. I’ve been on a number of atolls, but Palmyra was different. I can’t put my finger on specifically why, but it was not an island that I enjoyed being on. I think other people have had difficulties on that island.”
Palmyra has been called the remotest place on earth, one of the last few truly uninhabited islands, lying near the very center of the Pacific Ocean, about 1000 nautical miles south-southwest of Hawaii and about one-half of the way from Hawaii to American Samoa. It is tiny – measuring approximately a mile and a half long and a half-mile wide. The island lies well off the major Asian/American shipping lanes. There is a huge bird population and an abundance of insect and reptile life. The interior is rain forest jungle and the entire island is surrounded by coral reef; the waters of the reef and the inland lagoons are prime breeding spots for gray and blacktip sharks that are found to be unusually aggressive in the waters surrounding Palmyra. Some visitors and servicemen who spent time on the island in WWII reported that the sharks took “one to two” victims a month. Even the native fish that populate the reef are poisonous because they feed on deadly algae that grows on the coral, making them deadly to consume.
Legends of the island appearing out of nowhere and nearly grounding vessels are intermingled with tales of buried pirate gold; even in modern times, in addition to the grisly murder of the 1970’s, there have been bizarre and deadly occurrences. Many of these tales include the crashes and unexplained disappearances of US fighter planes during the war – a history similar to the Bermuda Triangle legacy. But where Bermuda is inhabitable and has some redeeming attractions, there is nothing to redeem Palmyra Island, at least in the minds of those who have experienced it. Truly, as one man said, “only H.P. Lovecraft could have invented this place.”
No. 9: Catacombs, Paris, France.
Long ago, as the city of Paris grew, it became necessary to provide more space for the living. To do so, engineers and planners decided to move the mass of humanity least likely to protest: in this case, the dead. Millions of Parisian dead were quietly disinterred in one of the largest engineering feats in history and their remains were deposited along the walls of the chilly, dank passageways lying beneath the City of Light. They lie there to this day, in the eternal darkness, an Empire of the Dead.
The Paris Catacombs are infamous and much has been written about their history and purpose. A million visitors a year are said to walk the dank corridors and to stare at the bones and gaze fixedly into the empty eye-sockets of the long dead. Many of these same visitors, and some of their guides, have encountered more than just the silence in the catacombs: they have had encounters with ghostly inhabitants that roam the empty passageways and mutely follow the tour groups around.
Several report seeing a group of shadows in one area of the catacombs; as the living walk along, the dead follow in complete silence. To some the experience is completely overwhelming and tours have been cut short by the growing sense of unease. Photos have revealed orbs and ghostly apparitions, and EVPs have been recorded throughout the vaults.
The catacombs were first cleared in Roman times, with succeeding generations of Gauls and Frenchmen perfecting the Roman engineering. Now the catacombs are a veritable rabbit’s warren, and though many boldly enter without a guide, to do so puts one at risk of being lost there forever. There have been many reports of rash individuals who wandered into the catacombs for a laugh and who have never been seen again.
This, and many chilling tales of experiences in this Empire of the Dead, put the Paris Catacombs on our list of most creepiest places.
No. 10: Magh Sleacht Plain, near Ballyconnell, County Cavan, Ireland.
Cavan is a sparsely populated county in north central Ireland, immediately south of the border with Northern Ireland and midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea. The countryside is dotted with lakes and hills, and the River Shannon, the longest in Ireland, originates in the rugged Cuilcagh Mountains in the west of Cavan.
Cairn tombs and crannog islands dating from ancient times abound in Cavan and Magh Sleacht Plain, near Ballyconnell, was once an important Celtic pagan shrine. Here was located the dreaded Crom Cruach, the Bloody Bent One, the Elder King, the Chief Idol of Erin.
In ancient days Magh Sleacht, which means “Plain of Adoration,” was the location of a mighty stone, covered all in hammered gold, which was the stone image of Crom Cruach. In those days, he was surrounded by twelve smaller stones, gods in ready attendance on the whims of the mighty Old One. Here parents came to sacrifice one third of their children to Crom on Samhain night (October 31st) in exchange for a year full of milk, corn, healthy cattle and a fertile growing season. The god horrified many because of his terrible demands and it was dangerous to worship him because worshippers themselves often died in the orgiastic bloodbath that he required.
The worship of Crom Cruach is said to have been demanded by King Tigernmas whom some describe as a Roman Chieftain, while others claim he was one of the last of the Formorian Kings. Still others believe Crom to be the manifestation of Moloch, the ancient god of the idolatrous Hebrews to whom they sacrificed half their newborn children in a trial by fire. The similarities do not end there. King Tigernmas himself died in worship of the Bloody Bent One, killed by rabid followers in an orgy of blood.
Many believe that the legend is simply that, a legend. Others point to the mention of Crom Cruach in the St. Patrick legend: they claim that when Patrick established Christianity at nearby Armagh, he went to Magh Sleacht and defeated Crom, and having done so, caused the golden idol to sink into the earth. In recent times, however, some followers of the pagan faith have rediscovered Crom Cruach and, perhaps he has been waiting patiently to answer their call.
Visitors to the plain of Magh Sleacht report strange occurrences including the sound of chanting and the smell of burning meat or flesh; others have photographed shadowy shapes that linger about the rocks near sunset; still others claim to have seen ghostly apparitions on the plain in the light of day.
Just as in ancient times, farmers and travelers are giving the old plain a wide berth. They believe that something has lingered there in a long and fitful sleep perhaps, but now it is awake again, hungry and fretful. Can it be that the Bloody Bent One has returned to his native homeland? There are many who think just that.
Countryside tours often include a trip to County Cavan. A side trip to Magh Sleacht may require an overnight stay in nearby Ballyconnell, but isn’t it worth it to experience the reawakening of one of the oldest deities known to man? Or, is it?
Find more at Haunted America Tours