Famous landmarks are a big draw for tourists, sometimes to the point that locals start to hate them. People love stories, however, and these landmarks have legends and lore that have only grown over the years. Many of the tales are well-known and intriguing, but you may have toured a famous home or landmark and had no idea about the darker tales behind it.
Secrets and tales of misery hide in the nooks and crannies of buildings in historic cities like Rome, Moscow, London, Paris, and even Washington D.C. Those who died decades ago are said to return to walk the halls, forever tied to the famous homes where they lived or the buildings where they worked. And it seems that the people who died in brutal ways still have a claim on the famous landmarks where they perished.
So the next time you feel a chill in the air while visiting one of these famous places, just know that they may be haunted.
Queen Elizabeth II may have banned garlic from Buckingham Palace, but there are forces far more sinister that not even the crown can stop. The enormous and elaborate royal residence was built on land that once held a monastery. It is said that the ghost of a monk who died in his cell haunts the rear palace terrace at night, wearing his brown cowl. A first-floor office is also said to be haunted by Major John Gwynne, a former private secretary to King Edward VII who shot himself there due to a scandal that erupted when he divorced his wife. Over the years, palace staff have claimed to hear the sound of a gunshot coming from the office.
Rome’s famed ancient arena is the site of many reports of paranormal activity. People have reported cold spots, ghostly whispers and phantom hands touching them. Staff members have also reported strange noises and screams, both belonging to humans and animals — not surprising considering the bloody fights and executions that occurred there for over four centuries.
Visiting the Eiffel Tower is one of the top things to do in Paris, and it’s a popular spot for marriage proposals. Legend has it, however, that one man who proposed to his girlfriend at the top of the tower pushed her off in a fit of rage when she turned him down. Indeed, many visitors have reported a woman’s laughter followed by screams. Several suicides at the famous tower have also led paranormal investigators to investigate the spot.
More than 12 million immigrants started their new lives in America by going through Ellis Island (which is actually, along with its immigration museum, technically mostly located in New Jersey rather than New York). More than 3,500 people died on the island; many of them were sent to the hospital complex after failing their medical tests and succumbed to illness. Over the years, many people have claimed to have heard the sound of voices or muffled crying inside the museum, as well as doors opening and closing on their own.
The area around the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has its fair share of ghost stories. Some witnesses have reported seeing old ships that disappear after they pass the bridge. Many other ghost stories also surrounding the bridge have to do with the roughly 1,600 people who have committed suicide there over the years.
An estimated 2 million people died during the building of China’s Great Wall over several centuries, and many visitors have reported odd occurrences there, including hearing people marching but seeing no one. Some tourists report feelings of uneasiness, nausea, and pain; others have said they felt as though something unseen grabbed them. Local legend has it that the spirits of the fallen workers will haunt visitors until they cross a line of firecrackers.
Hollywood, California, is a great place to eat, shop, and of course, sight-see. One of the most famous sights in Hollywood is its eponymous sign, but many who drive by it don’t realize it’s had a dark history too. In 1932, a struggling 24-year-old actress by the name of Peg Entwistle drove to the famous Hollywood Hills landmark, climbed to the top of the letter ‘H’ and jumped to her death. Since then, people have reported seeing what they thought was a lost hiker on the darkened path. Described as a lost and frightened-looking blonde, they often find that she disappears as soon as they see her.
Moscow is not only one of the most expensive cities for food, but it is also one of the most historic cities in the world. Much of that history occurred at the Kremlin, and the ghosts of its past have not quite left — literally. Security guards have reported having the ghosts of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin appear before them while walking the grounds late at night. Some witnesses have noted a disturbing chill in the air before the appearance of Stalin in particular. The ghost of Ivan the Terrible has also reportedly been seen near the Kremlin’s bell tower at night.
Over the years, security personnel have reported many ghostly run-ins with previous curators, researchers, and others at the world’s largest research and museum complex, including its founder James Smithson. Reports include hearing footsteps and seeing shadowy figures moving in the darkened hallways of the Smithsonian.
Not only has the White House hosted some of the most elaborate state dinners, but it has also hosted some of the most famous ghosts. The ghosts of Presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, and William Henry Harrison have been seen by multiple people in the house. White House staff members and guests, and even first ladies and presidents, have reported feeling ghostly presences, hearing unexplained noises, or running into apparitions. First Lady Dolley Madison’s spirit is also said to protect the Rose Garden.
There are certain foods you should avoid at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, as well as a certain spirit. According to security personnel who work there, the ballpark is haunted by former Cubs manager Charlie Grimm, who led the team to the 1932 World Series. Some of his ashes were spread at Wrigley after his death in the early 1980s. There have been reports of the bullpen phone ringing in the middle of the night, and some believe it’s Grimm calling from beyond the grave. We can assure you, however, that catching a game at Wrigley Field —or visiting any of the sites on this list — won’t bring you any harm, as the resident ghosts seem to be quite harmless. These 25 destinations, however, might actually kill you.