There’s seeing ghosts and then there’s being physically attacked by them. The owner of the Ancient Ram Inn knows this personally, as the first night he stayed in the twelfth-century house, he was grabbed out of bed and dragged across the room by an invisible force. Since then, he has experienced sightings and run-ins on a daily basis and guests have reported similar incidents — many of whom say staying at the Ancient Ram Inn was the scariest experience of their lives. A few have even fled in the middle of the night! Adding to the eeriness, the site was allegedly a Pagan burial ground more than 5,000 years ago (where countless rituals were held over the years), a witch may have been burned at the stake here in the 1500s (and still haunts one of the inn’s rooms), and the owner says he found the skeletal remains of children under the staircase. TV shows such as Ghost Adventures, Most Haunted, and Great British Ghosts, as well as numerous paranormal investigative teams have explored the spooky property at length.
Aokigahara is a 14-square-mile forest and popular tourist destination near the northwest base of Japan’s famous Mount Fuji. However, Aokigahara is most popular for a much darker reason: It is the most popular place in Japan to commit suicide.
Every year, upward of 100 people end their lives in the “Suicide Forest.” It happens so often that officials have posted signs urging suicidal persons to reconsider and installed security cameras at the entrance, and the grounds regularly need to be swept for bodies. The forest itself is so dense that no sound enters or escapes, and apparently the ghosts (or “yurei”) don’t leave either. According to the legend, the spirits here are vengeful and dedicated to tormenting and luring depressed or distraught individuals. Apparently, it is common for suicidal individuals to leave behind curses before killing themselves. Visitors have reported hearing bloodcurdling screams when no one is around, rescuers have had their tape (left as a trail in order to find their way back) inexplicably cut, and the Syfy ghost-hunting show Destination Truth may have even caught an apparition on camera.
It’s never a good sign when a place is so haunted that even the locals are afraid of it. Such is the case with India’s Bhangarh Fort, which used to protect a town of 10,000, but now finds the region’s residents refusing to live or go anywhere near it. As the story goes, an angry wizard once placed a curse on the fort, and shortly afterward, it was invaded by the Mughals and everyone inside was slaughtered. The site is now open for tours, but absolutely no one is allowed to remain on the property at night — for the safety of the people. Confirming these fears, nearby residents often report hearing strange noises (screaming, crying, talking, jingling of jewelry), smelling odd scents, and seeing ghostly shadows, apparitions, and strange lights.
This former Dutch East India Company building is the oldest in all of South Africa, so logically it would have the most ghosts. In fact, an early curse was placed on former South African governor Pieter Gysbert van Noodt on April 23, 1728. On that day, he sentenced seven deserting soldiers to death, one of whom demanded he come to watch the execution. Van Noodt declined and was found dead at his desk later in the day, with a look of terror on his face.
Additionally, a lady in gray was sometimes seen running through the castle and crying, but this stopped after a woman’s body was found during recent excavations. In 1915, a tall ghostly gentleman was seen on the ramparts and he began to appear on a regular basis in 1947, jumping off the walls and walking between the bastions. The ghost of a black dog has been known to leap onto visitors, and the bell tower’s bell — sealed off for centuries — is said to ring on occasion.
Often referred to as the most haunted town in the world, Edinburgh’s most haunted location is its namesake castle, which is still home to the Scottish crown jewels and some of the military. Dating back to the twelfth century, this site has seen bloody battles, tons of torture and executions, and other violent incidents, which have yielded ghosts of a headless drummer boy (first seen in 1960), former prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars, a woman burned alive as a witch on July 17, 1527, and even a phantom dog that roams the grounds. There is also an elaborate system of tunnels that are said to lead to the palace at the end of the Royal Mile. However, when a bagpiper was sent down to investigate how long they extended, his music suddenly stopped and he was never seen again — except in ghost form! In 2001, a team of scientists investigated the castle and concluded that their findings supported many of the legends.
Australia’s “most haunted house” is also one of the most haunted places in the world. Owner Olive Ryan says her and her late husband experienced all sorts of supernatural activity ever since they bought the property in 1963. Most of the occurrences have been attributed to the original owners, Christopher and Elizabeth Crawley, who died in 1910 and 1933, respectively. Luckily for the Ryans, they’ve only experienced apparition sightings, disembodied voices, random noises, touches on the shoulder, and lights acting oddly. Previous residents haven’t been so fortunate and numerous people have died in the house under mysterious circumstances. This includes a child dropped by a nanny who claimed it was pushed from her arms, a maid that apparently committed suicide off the balcony, a young stable boy who burned to death in his bed, a caretaker who was shot dead, and a housekeeper who tired his mentally ill son in the outhouse for more than three decades. Don’t believe the hype? See for yourself with a ghost tour or sleepover.
As if old, abandoned hospitals aren’t creepy enough already, this one was also a former British Royal Air Force barrack that was seized by the Japanese Secret Police during World War II for use as a prison and torture facility — meaning it now houses some seriously vengeful ghosts. These include bitter Japanese soldiers, executed prisoners, and patients that passed away on the property. Specific sightings include that of an old man walking down the corridors and a woman appearing in many of the rooms, along with unexplained screams, loud noises, odd smells, and erratic lights. It is not uncommon to see the spirits of children in the old children’s ward as well — which, according to every Japanese horror movie ever made, is the scariest thing in the world.
It’s worth noting that when a mockumentary called Haunted Changi was filmed on site in 2010, the crew was constantly bombarded by strange happenings and may have even captured a “shadow person” on film.
On the island of Jamaica / Quite a long, long time ago / At Rose Hall Plantation / Where the ocean breezes blow / Lived a girl named Annie Palmer / The mistress of the place / And the slaves all lived in fear / To see a frown on Annie's face.
These were the lyrics of Johnny Cash from “The Ballad of Annie Palmer,” a song about the woman who haunts the Rose Hall Planation in Jamaica. Also known as the “White Witch,” Palmer’s parents died when she was young and little Annie had to be raised by a nanny who taught her witchcraft and voodoo. According to the legend, Palmer murdered three husbands (including John Palmer, her first) and numerous slaves before getting killed herself by a slave named Takoo. The validity of this story is uncertain, but there have nevertheless been so many ghost sightings of the White Witch that TV shows such as Ghost Adventures and The Scariest Places on Earth have both filmed episodes here. Capitalizing on the curse, Rose Hall now offers nightly ghost tours.
Upon looking up to the highest point of The Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Columbia, guests will see three windows in the turret, which was completed in the 1920s and constructed without a door. During renovation of the hotel a few years ago, a roofer was stretching a 2-by-4 across to the eaves when he walked over and peeked inside the window. Inside the sealed room, inexplicably, was a pillow and blanket, which remain there to this day. There’s also an old lady who is said to wander the sixth floor knocking on doors while looking for her room, a dead maid who cleans rooms on the same floor, a little girl ghost, and a mustachioed man with a cane (possibly Francis Rattenbury, the building’s architect).
Some 65 years ago, a distraught Julian Santana Barrera decided to live his life as a recluse in the remote forest of Xochimilco, Mexico. Shortly after his arrival via a two-hour canal ride from Mexico City, Barrera discovered the body of a little girl who had died in the waters.
He soon began hearing her tormented screams and footsteps and hung a doll he found (possibly hers) from a tree hoping to appease the girl’s ghost. It seemed to have some effect, so he hung more and more dolls over the course of 50 years until they filled the forest. Eerily, Barrera himself was found dead due to drowning 15 years ago, but visitors have continued bringing additions to the “Island of the Dolls” to continue his work. Many people claim the dolls talk to them, the eyes follow movement, and they hear whispers and footsteps in the night. Locals try to refer to the place as “charmed,” but most visitors agree “haunted” and “terrifying” are better terms.