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Monday, October 14, 2013

Spooky and Haunted Places Around the World

There are many places around the world that some consider to be haunted and people have claimed to have seen, heard and felt things out of the ordinary. Some are right out your back door and others are in the far flung corners of the world. In no particular order, here are some cool and interesting places that are said to be haunted. I gotta say, I would love to visit some of these!


The Tower of London is actually a collection of buildings and towers.  The White Tower was the first, commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1078. throughout history more towers and buildings were added by more rulers so now there are about 20 towers and a mix of buildings. Having once been a prison, there were hundreds of executions carried out there. The executed include famous figures in history such as Ann Boleyn, wife of Henry the VIII, who had her beheaded after he tired of her and had moved on to a new conquest, Sir Walter Raleigh and Lady Salisbury. Others with criminal tendencies, political activists and petty criminals also found themselves imprisoned and tortured here.

Several former Presidents are said to haunt the White House. President Harrison has reportedly been heard rummaging through the attic. President Andrew Jackson is thought to haunt his bedroom. President Lincoln is the most frequently seen or felt. Some of those reporting sightings include First Ladies, guests and even Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. A few First Ladies have been seen as well. Abigail Adams is one.

Edinburgh Castle has been called the most haunted place in Scotland and even the world. A battleground of countless deaths. Fallen soldiers, French prisoners, colonial prisoners and even a dog wanders through the castle cemetery. Sighting have also included a phantom piper and a headless drummer.  

Out of necessity, New Orleans' dead are interred in fantastic above ground mausoleums. Of these St Louis Cemetery Number One is considered the most haunted cemetery in the world. Cries, moaning, voices, apparitions and more have been heard coming from the tombs. One of the most famous is the Voodoo Priestess, Marie Laveau. Her life is a swirl of rumor and lore, but it accepted as truth that she lived to be 100 while maintaining the body of a sensuous and beautiful young woman. from the time of her death in 1881 her apparition has been seen. The frequency of sightings have not decreased even in modern times. People still seek out advice and help and leave her offerings. There are many haunted places in the area such as The Sultan's Palace, The Beauregard-Keyes House and the Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carr. 

The Catacombs - Paris, France - Skeletons
Photo by Jeff Belanger
What is more horrific in our modern thinking than human bones being used as construction material? The Catacombs are an underground ossuary  that holds the remains of about six million people. It is built in a section the remnants of the renovated tunnels and caverns that were Paris' stone mines. It was begun as a remedy to overflowing cemeteries and for sanitation issues. Here is an article by Jeff Belanger about his visit and tour of the catacombs.


Sloss Furnaces is known today for the Fright Furnace event that is held every year beginning in late September through October, but it has a long history. Begun in 1882 by Col. James Sloss, until 1971, Sloss Furnaces transformed coal and iron into the materials used to build the skyscrapers of New York to the automobiles be made in Detroit. It was a tough and dangerous job for the men that worked there though. Many lives were lost, and many more were injured and disabled by accidents. One of the well told tales is of James Wormwood. Wormwood was a foreman in the early 1900's. He forced the men under him take dangerous risks in order to speed production to impress his supervisors. In 1906 Wormwood inexplicably lost his footing at the top of the biggest furnace known as "Big Alice" and fell into the pot of melted ore. His body was instantly melted. Since he had never before stepped foot on the top of the furnaces in all his years of employment, it was rumored that the workers had exacted their own revenge for the years of abuses, but none was ever charged. There are many other incidents that have been reported over the years and continue to be reported from people visiting the site.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

The battle at Gettysburg saw the most casualties during the Civil War. Besides the battlefield itself, there many places in the area that have had reports of haunting or paranormal experiences.  The Ghost Train is the only tour that takes visitors over the actual battlefield and many report cigar smoke and apparitions of soldiers near the tracks. Other places with ghostly appearances, smells and sounds include Gettysburg College, Cashtown Inn, The Daniel Lady Farm, Devil's Den, Cemetery Hill, The Jenny Wade House & Museum and the Farnsworth House Inn. Read about more tales of Haunted Gettysburg

The Winchester Mystery House

Located in San Jose, California, the Winchester home is an odd masterpiece. Construction on the unfinished farmhouse was begun by Sarah L. Winchester in 1884 and continued non-stop until her death 38 years later. Sarah was the widow of William Winchester, the manufacturer of the repeating rifle. They were rich and happy, rubbing elbows with the society elite. In 1866, their infant daughter died and 15 years later Mr. Winchester died as well. In her grief, Sarah sought help from a spiritualist know as the Boston Medium. She told Sarah there were many, many angry spirits of people that had been killed by Winchester rifles and that these spirits had caused the deaths of her daughter and husband and she might be their next victim. However, the medium also told Sarah she could appease these spirits by moving West and building a great house for them. So she did! As the house grew and grew, Sarah reportedly never slept in the same room two nights in a row to confuse the spirits. It has been said that she consulted with the spirits nightly for guidance on her construction plans. The house is famous for the stairway to nowhere. At the time of her death, the house had grown to include 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms and 6 kitchens.  

Moundsville Penitentiary, Moundville, West Virginia

The Moundsville Penitentiary is an imposing Gothic structure that opened in 1886 and closed in 1995. In it's more than 100 years of operation, Moundsville was America's most violent penitentiary. Prisoners were executed by hanging or electric chair. There was severe over-crowding and at times 3 men shared a 5 x 7 cell. The crowding led to fights and riots in which prisoners and guards were killed. Reported activity includes hearing footsteps, voices, screams, crying, pleading and even laughing. Banging sounds and light anomalies have also been reported. 

 Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia has a rich history as well as an apparently active after-life crowd. There are many places and building that are said to be haunted. If you've seen the movie "Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil", you know the story of Jim Williams. He lived in the Mercer House (pictured above) and murdered Danny Hansford there in 1981. Some have said they saw the house lit up and heard voices of revelers just like the extravagant Christmas parties Jim used to throw. Another locations featured in the movie is Bonaventure Cemetery. Packs of wild dogs can be heard but not seen running through the cemetery. At the grave of Gracie Watson, a female crying can be heard and the statue marking her grave has appeared to cry tears that resemble blood. The Bird Girl statue that was featured in the movie and on the cover of the book of the same name, was located in Bonaventure until 1997, when it was moved to the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah.

The William Kehoe Historic Inn (pictured below)was a huge four-story home where William and Annie Kehoe raised their many children. Visitors have reported hearing children laughing and playing in the hallways. Apparitions of William, Annie and children have been seen in various parts of the house as well.
The Williams Kehoe House
The Olde Pink House (pictured below) is a home-turned-restaurant in Savannah. Construction on the house was begun in 1771 by James Habersham Jr., but he didn't finish it until 1789. War interrupted and the British soldiers took up residence in the home. 85 years later, General Sherman's generals also holed up there. The main structure was built using red brick and covered in white plaster, but James was horrified to find the red from the brick would bleed through and turn the white plaster pink! The only solution was to repaint the plaster white whenever the red bled through. Finally in 1920 a woman owner painted it pink once and for all and it has remained that way since. Patrons and visitors have reported hearing voices of children, seeing James Habersham as well as an unidentified woman crying on the second floor. There was a time when there were slaves at the home and slave children have been seen and heard in the basement bar area. 

There were many many places I read about. Way more than I could include here! There are LOTS of haunted prisons, insane asylums, cemeteries and places all over the world. Do you have a house or place in your area that is said to be haunted? Have you ever experienced something spooky? 

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