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Do you believe in ghosts? Do you ever get the feeling that something strange is watching you? Something, perhaps, that may not be alive anymore? Believe it or not, a decent amount of people have felt this at one point or another.
In some places, it's clear that the jittery vibe you're getting could be your mind playing tricks on you. In others, it's not always so simple. Certain places, for one reason or another, seem to naturally attract strange energy, tragedy, and hauntings.
Throughout the world, some places are considered to be more likely to be haunted than others. Here are the most haunted places in the world—and why they strike fear into the hearts of people who visit them.
Eastern State Penitentiary—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When it comes to haunted reputations, not many places will have as big a rep as Eastern State Penitentiary. Regularly cited as one of the most haunted places in America, this now-defunct prison has seen more tragedy than most areas of the world.
As a prison that once housed the most feared criminals in the United States, Eastern State was designed to be brutal. In the first decades of its existence, prisoners were not allowed to speak or make noise—or even have any outside stimulus. This drove many of them mad, with several reports of people gouging their eyes out as a result.
As the prison progressed, punishments evolved. Noise became allowed, but the prison guards became incredibly cruel. Many inmates were doused with ice water, left to starve to death, or were beaten to death by guards. It's uncertain how many prisoners died here, but the number is seriously high.
Over the years, Eastern State Penitentiary has seen quite a few famous inmates. One of them, Al Capone, had paranormal experiences of his own while here. He allegedly would wake up screaming because he would see a man he killed, and would beg him to leave him alone.
Saying that this is one of the most haunted places in the world, then, shouldn't be a shocker. Just the tragedies found here alone would make most people feel a little creeped out, don't you think?
The most common haunting you will hear about is the disembodied voices. Most people will hear whispers or footsteps in hallways that are empty, and quite a few EVPs have been gotten here. That being said, full-bodied apparitions and poltergeist activity have also been noted by investigators.
Feeling brave? Take a visit. It's one of the coolest prison museums in the US.
The Tower of London—London, England
The Tower of London is one of the many haunted places in the UK, but very few will see as much bloodshed as this place did. During its 900-year span of use, the Tower of London was used as a prison to hold people before their executions.
To our knowledge this is one of the most royally haunted places in the world. Seriously, there are a lot of royal family members who have either been killed, imprisoned, or tortured in this area.
Among them was Anne Boleyn, who was sent here to be beheaded after King Henry VIII got tired of her. Her headless figure is still seen walking around the Tower, searching for help after she died.
Catherine, Henry VIII's first wife, was also a spirit that found her place in the tower. Known as the "Screaming Queen," you can still hear her shrieks and pleading for mercy as she's dragged to her death. At least one other queen has also been seen reenacting her death.
Another woman, a person known only as the Grey Lady, is often seen in a white dress, waving at unseen people in the courtyard. Many believe she was a wet nurse who died of smallpox.
Two young boys are also seen in the tower dressed in period clothing, holding hands, looking terrified. They are presumed to be the princes who were sent to their deaths after being claimed illegitimate.
Not all ghosts in the Tower of London are royalty, nor are they all confirmed to be royal. Sir Walter Raleigh, who was imprisoned here for 13 years, has been seen pacing his old room.
Château de Brissac—Maine-et-Loire, France
Not to be outdone by England, the French can also lay claim to housing one of the most haunted places in the world: Château de Brissac. Known for being the tallest castle in France, this castle's history spans almost 1,000 years of time. During that time, some horrible things have happened that seem to have left an indelible mark on the place's energy.
The ghosts here tend to be way more disturbing than your typical phantoms. The most commonly seen ghost is la Dame Verte, or "the Green Lady." She's seen milling about the castle grounds in a beautiful green dress, sporting long hair that hides her face.
If you look at her face, that's when you realize something is horribly, horribly wrong. Where her eyes should be, you'll see only two rotting, gaping holes. Her nose, too, has gone missing. Almost immediately after you see her face, she'll dissipate into nothing.
No one really knows who she is or what her deal is. However, she's assumed to be the illegitimate child of nobility, and may have also been killed as a result of being involved in an affair with the wrong person.
Today, she still regularly wanders about, and you can hear her moans and sobs pretty loudly through the castle.
Lawang Sewu—Semarang, Indonesia
Lawang Sewu is the kind of place that makes frequently-haunted Southeast Asia look totally placid. Currently, it's considered to be one of the most haunted places in the world by many—and the most haunted monument in Indonesia by most.
Loosely translated into "Thousand Doors," this massive building was once a railway station, and a war prison during World War II. As you can imagine, it has some seriously ugly stories that lurk behind those pretty white walls.
It seems like Lawang Sewu was destined to be a place of sorrow, bloodshed, and tears. During World War II, Building B acted as a place to house and torture prisoners of war. When guards finished torturing people, they would decapitate the prisoners and leave their heads in a corner.
Afterwards, the building was the setting of a major attack against leftists by the Dutch. At least five railroad workers died due to that skirmish alone, with many more being horrifically wounded.
Due to the nature of war, it's uncertain how many people were killed during that time. However, the deaths didn't stop after the revolution ended. One woman who found herself jilted at the altar committed suicide on the grounds.
A number of ghosts are said to haunt this place. You can still hear POW's screams at night, and shadow people are regularly seen wandering around Building B. The jilted bride is often seen wandering outside, looking morose as she did during her final day.
Perhaps the strangest ghost, though, is the kuntilanak. A kuntilanak is a traditional Indonesian monster that is similar to a female vampire. However, this vampire can only be created by a woman who died in childbirth. Sightings and strange happenings have been known to happen in Building B—and the kuntilanak may be to blame.
Hoia Baciu Forest—Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Romania is home to quite a few locations that could vie for being one of the most haunted places in the world, but for the sake of this article, we're going to zero in on one: Hoia Baciu Forest.
Regularly considered to be the most haunted forest in the world, this beautiful wooded area is one of the very few places where locals oftentimes will refuse to go. Simply put, weird things happen here.
Even going in the forest tends to elicit strange symptoms in sensitive people. It's not unusual to get strange headaches, feel nauseous, or get vertigo while traveling through the forest. Electronic devices, too, tend to lose their ability to function around the region.
It's a place where people often will hear disembodied voices calling for them, luring them deeper into the forest until they get lost. Sometimes, people will see apparitions of hikers in traditional Romanian dress that vanish at an instant.
This forest is no stranger to high strangeness. Along with potentially seeing ghosts, you might get a glimpse of what may appear to be fairies or a sasquatch-like creature. UFOs, too, have been witnessed through the trees.
The most alarming story associated with Hoia Baciu deals with the disappearance of a 5-year-old girl. The girl vanished for years and was declared dead. Then, she was discovered years later—alive, unaged, and wearing the same clothes she disappeared in.
Needless to say, this might not just be one of the most haunted places in the world; it could be a portal to another dimension.
Old Changi Hospital—Changi, Singapore
If you haven't guessed, Southeast Asia has seen its fair share of horror—especially during World War II. Some of the areas that have been used as war hospitals or POW camps have never fully recovered from the terrible events that happened there.
One such place is Old Changi Hospital, and due to the genocidal atrocities it's seen during World War II, it's considered to be one of the most haunted places on Earth. Countless people have died here during its time as a hospital, but when it was turned into a POW camp, things got really ugly.
People who were tortured here were regularly starved, beaten, had limbs cut off, and beheaded. Old Changi was considered to be one of the most vicious POW camps in Singapore—and through the war, housed over 50,000 people.
After the war, it was repurposed into a hospital. However, neither the staff nor patients seemed to want to be anywhere near the place. It shuttered within years because no one wants to check into one of the scariest hospitals in the world.
Since the hospital shuttered, it became clear that the ghosts have taken over. Shadow beings are regularly spotted, and it's not uncommon to hear screams of soldiers being tortured echo through the halls. Visitors have seen a nurse carrying a baby walk through the area that once was the prenatal ward.
At night, things get a little more terrifying, and even a little violent. Visitors at night have claimed to be grabbed by unseen forces. Even the attacks aren't that shocking compared to the dopplegänger that seems to lurk in the shadows of Old Changi.
People who have gone exploring with friends claim to lose a person in the group, and find them walking away from the grounds. When they finally catch up to the missing person, they see the person transform into a deceased-looking person who tells them to leave the property and let it remain for the dead.
Bhangarh Fort—Rajasthan, India
Notice how many of these places involve war in some way? Bhangarh Fort is no exception to the rule. This fortress has a strange history that led to it being abandoned, including the legend that a sorcerer cursed the fortress in retaliation for being rejected by a local princess.
According to the legend, the tantrik sorcerer knew he had no chance with the princess, and decided to shift his chances by casting an enchantment on a bottle of perfume the princess wanted to buy. She got wind and threw the bottle at him. The bottle turned into a giant rock that crushed him—but not before he cursed the royal family.
Almost immediately after, the royal family found themselves at war. They lost the war, and each one of them perished in a horrible way. The fortress' denizens didn't fare much better, and many believe that those who live in the fort can no longer be reborn according to Hindu tradition.
Knowing that, it's not surprising that Bhangarh Fort was quickly abandoned. These days, it's known as one of the most haunted places in the world.
No one really knows who the ghosts that inhabit this fort are, but there are many. You can actually hear skirmishes from the invasion on a regular basis, and moving shadows stroll the halls during the day.
One thing you should be aware of is that people who enter the fort at night never return during the day again. This isn't even just legend; real evidence has shown that travelers who break into the fort are never found alive again.
Akershus Festning—Oslo, Norway
If you thought that the frigid North couldn't be haunted, take a look at Akershus Festning. Akershus Festning was Oslo's major stronghold for centuries, and had seen plenty of wild events during its time in existence.
Most people will recognize Akershus Festning as a prison that housed rebellion members, and saw the deaths of many soldiers during war. As one would expect, some prisoners stuck around. Ghostly screams and whispers are often heard at night, and some caretakers also claim to be pushed by unseen hands.
Unlike other venues, no one really knows the source of some of the ghostly denizens here. The most well-known ghost of Akershus Festning is a demon dog called Malcanisen. Anyone who sees this giant black dog will die a painful death within three months.
Another ghost to make its appearance from time to time is the apparition of a woman who's only known as Mantelgeisten. She roams the castle's hallways heading back to her room, just as she did when she was alive. People think she's a normal tourist until they notice that she doesn't have a face.
The Castle of Good Hope—Cape Town, South Africa
The Castle of Good Hope is a place that does not live up to its name at all. Once a place where ships would replenish their goods before sailing around the Cape of Good Hope, this 300-year-old castle quickly found itself to be a setting of tragedy.
The Castle had, at one point, a dark hole called Donker Gat that was used to literally throw away prisoners. Unsurprisingly, you can regularly hear voices coming from that hole—often asking to be let up.
In the 18th century, a former governor called Pieter Gysbert van Noodt died the same day he sentenced seven soldiers to death. The soldiers wanted van Noodt to see their execution, but he refused to go. One soldier cursed van Noodt, claiming he'd never leave the Castle of Good Hope alive. He was found dead the same day, a look of terror on his face. Sometimes, a man matching his description occasionally makes an appearance.
Another ghostly denizen is the Grey Lady, an unnamed woman who ran through the castle crying hysterically. Since a woman's body was unearthed on the grounds, though, she hasn't been seen.
Soldiers are occasionally seen walking through the corridor—and at least one hung himself in the bell tower. Despite the castle's bell tower being walled off, you can still hear the bell ring on its own, pulled by invisible hands.
That's not the only suicide that has been witnessed here, either. One tall man who jumped to his death is regularly seen reenacting his dying moments, at least, when he's not walking through the garden area.
Finally, this is one of the many haunted places to have a demon dog as a resident. Rumor has it that the dog attacks you, but disappears right before it can bite.
Poveglia Island—Poveglia, Italy
Poveglia Island might not just be one of the most haunted places in the world; it might be the most haunted place in humanity's history. Seriously, Poveglia is dark stuff.
This island has seen more horrific tragedy and death than most places ever will, and it's even said that a good portion of the island's sand is actually ground up bone as a result of the sheer number of people who died here.
During the time of the Bubonic Plague, the country of Italy would send people who were suffering from the plague here to die. Many who were healthy were sent here too, often by relatives who wanted them out of the picture for one reason or another.
At the island's center, those who died from the plague were burned in a giant pyre—along with the living who were too sick to protest as they were dropped onto the flames. It was a death sentence, and a horrible one at that.
Once the Bubonic Plague subsided, history repeated itself once more when the Black Death ripped through Europe. As with last time, being sent here was a death sentence, regardless of your health status when you first arrived.
No one knows how many people died here when the island was used as a body dump; all we do know is that it was a horrifying place to be. It's said that many who were dumped here felt betrayed by the action and still feel rage at the living.
Centuries after, the island became home to a mental institution reserved for the worst cases of mental illness. The asylum was poorly built, had few amenities, and was mostly used as a form of exile to Italy's undesirables. Doctors who worked there often felt uneasy, or even felt invisible forces shove them.
It didn't take too long for the brutal nature of the island to show itself again. Rumors began to swirl about cruel experiments being performed on patients, and one such patient cursed the doctors at the hospital. By the 1930s, those rumors were treated as fact.
The doctor responsible for the experiments started to behave strangely, claiming to see dead people harassing him. He went mad, and threw himself off the balcony to his death soon after. By the 1950s, Poveglia Island's asylum shuttered its doors.
Over the years, people have tried to buy and reuse Poveglia for a number of projects. No one has been able to do that due to the sheer amount of paranormal activity that they witness there.
Invisible attackers, disembodied voices, and full-bodied apparitions have all been seen here. This even happens during the day, which is allegedly why the Italian government banned any and all visitors from the island.