16 Haunted Destinations Every Brave Soul Should Visit
If you love traveling and a good scare, we've got the perfect combination for you. We've gathered the ultimate haunted travel bucket list featuring destinations you can actually visit — if you dare. Strange happenings and paranormal sightings have been reported by visitors, and many of the ghosts that gave each place its eerie reputations are said to lurk the halls. Haunted hotels, castles, hospitals, and other sites with unsettling pasts are featured ahead, so take a look at the following 16 spooky spots.
Lizzie Borden House in Massachusetts
The gruesome tale of Lizzie Borden killing her parents lives on in their Fall River home. You can stay at the now bed and breakfast where she allegedly murdered them with an axe in the late 1800s. It's said that her departed father and stepmother still haunt the site.
RMS Queen Mary in Southern California
Once the biggest and fastest ship that defined luxury in the late 1930s, the Queen Mary is now a Long Beach icon as a floating hotel and museum. It played a significant role for troops during World War II before reverting back to a cruise for the upper-class. The Queen Mary is supposedly one of the most haunted places with over 100 spirits known to occupy its quarters and 49 reported deaths over the last 60 years. You can stay aboard or take a paranormal tour at night to see any strange sightings for yourself.
Château de Brissac in France
In 1502, the Duke of Brissac tore down the original medieval castle from the 11th century and rebuilt it into the Château de Brissac that stands today. Located in Brissac-Quincé, the castle is infamous for its inhabitant: the Green Lady. When Charlotte de Brézé, the illegitimate daughter of King Charles VII, was caught having an affair by her husband, he murdered both Charlotte and her lover. She's stayed as a permanent resident in her green dress, and the current owners of the castle (the 13th Duke of Brissac and his family) say she's friendly. Patrons can take tours of their gorgeous home and grounds.
Villisca Axe Murder House in Iowa
The small town of Villisca was forever changed by the dark events that took place in this home in 1912. Every member of the Moore family was brutally murdered by an axe within these walls. Josiah and his wife Sarah, their four kids, and two friends who slept over that night were all found dead in their beds. Based on the home's website, guests have had numerous paranormal experiences during their stay including the flickering of flashlights when they called the departed children's names.
Moundsville Penitentiary in West Virginia
The West Virginia Penitentiary has had a history of riots and executions. Even Charles Manson requested to be relocated here and his handwritten letter sits near the electric chair, "Old Sparky." All hangings were public until one inmate was decapitated in 1931. Brave visitors are allowed to stay overnight or freely roam inside until 6 a.m. on their own for the midnight tour. Some have reported seeing the "Shadow Man" and former inmates and guards roaming.
Aokigahara Forest in Japan
Also known as Suicide Forest, Aokigahara stands at the base of Mount Fuji and is a place where many people go to die. The terrifyingly quiet forest has been a popular place for committing suicide, and bodies are moved annually before the holidays. Legend has it that those who enter this forest don't return. A popular belief among Japanese people is that a soul remains wandering if they left deeply angry or sad. Guards surprisingly sleep in the same room as the found corpse, or else the soul is believed to roam screaming if left alone.
The Stanley Hotel in Colorado
Horror author Stephen King once stayed at this Estes Park hotel, which inspired his famous novel The Shining. Former owner Freelan Oscar Stanley has been seen in photographs in the Billiards Room (his favorite room in the hotel) after his death, while his wife's piano can be heard at night. Guests can even book "Haunted Rooms" that have been said to have high paranormal activity.
The Crescent Hotel in Arkansas
"America's Most Haunted Hotel" is located in Eureka Springs and has served several different functions throughout its history. Its most creepy purpose, however, was as a hospital in the late 1930s. A man named Norman Baker claimed to be a doctor and converted the place into Baker's Cancer Curing Hospital for three years. Although some left recovered, many patients also died within the building. Some patients claimed they received pseudo-treatments that only left them suffering more. Tours in the Crescent Hotel include tales of the Nurse and the "Girl in the Mist."
Highgate Cemetery in England
Highgate Cemetery in north London was once a popular burial site among flashy Victorians. But after World War II, the cemetery was abandoned. Numerous stories of encountering ghosts and frightening figures were reported until the grounds were renovated in the 1980s in efforts to make up for the lack of upkeep. Although the project seemed to have decreased the amount of strange activity, the ghost of a mad old woman looking for her children and a vanishing figure are said to be present today.
Beelitz Heilstätten in Germany
This eerie hospital complex in Beelitz was open from 1898 to 1930, treating wounded soldiers during World War I, including a young Adolf Hitler. It later served as a military hospital for the Nazis until the Russians took it over in 1945. Although the neurological unit remains operating, the rest of the compound has been abandoned. A serial killer known as The Beast of Beelitz has stories of strangling women with pink lingerie before being detained in a psychiatric ward. In more recent times, a sadist and photographer reportedly beat a young female model to death on the grounds in 2008.
Edinburgh Castle in Scotland
The very castle that inspired the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter series is also said to be one of the most haunted places in Scotland. Hundreds of French prisoners were locked up and tortured in the castle's dungeon during the Seven Years War, where paranormal activity supposedly occurs today. A woman was also burned at the stake during the 16th century for false accusations of witchcraft. Visitors have said to have experienced a burning sensation on their arms, inexplicable noises, and ghostly sightings.
Island of the Dolls in Mexico
This small island lies in between the canals of Xochimico and features hundreds of disturbing dolls. The island's caretaker, Don Julian Santana Barrera, found a little girl drowned on the Isla de las Muñecas and saw a doll floating nearby. He assumed it belonged to her and hung it to a tree as a sign of respect. Supposedly, Julian was haunted by her spirit and began to hang more dolls for her. He believed that the dolls were possessed by other departed girls and 50 years later, he was found drowned in the same spot. Visitors are able to see these dolls spread throughout the island and mutilated without limbs or heads.
Bhangarh Fort in India
Locals claim that paranormal happenings take place among the ruins at night — even the Archaeological Survey of India prohibits tourists from entering before sunrise and after sunset. It's been said that those who have tried to stay after hours were never found.
Hotel Monteleone in Lousiana
Guests have long reported eerie experiences at the famous New Orleans hotel since its opening in the late 1880s. It's been known to be haunted with an elevator that stops on a cold floor with children playing, and a locked restaurant door that somehow opens almost every night. Guests have also reported seeing a boy named Maurice Begere near the room where he died.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium opened in 1910 as a treatment facility for tuberculosis patients. It housed over 500 people at one point even though the building was originally equipped for only 40 patients. Many died daily and once cases of tuberculosis began to decrease, the sanatorium turned into the Woodhaven Geriatrics Hospital by 1961. Rumors say it was an insane asylum and Woodhaven had to close 20 years later based on charges of patient abuse. A shadow spirit known as the Creeper supposedly haunts the halls and crawls on the floor and ceiling.
Winchester Mystery House in Northern California
This San Jose gem once belonged to Sarah L. Winchester, who lost both her infant daughter and husband to disease in the late 1880s. She went into a deep depression and invested all of her energy into designing their home into a wondrous maze. For reasons unknown, she had it constructed with twisting hallways, secret passageways, and stairs that lead to the ceiling. Legend has it that she looked to her nightly séances for these architectural ideas in hopes of keeping the bad spirits out. A number of strange stories from the mansion's caretakers and employees have been told, making it a popular destination for tourists.