Haunted Places to Visit

Abandoned penitentiaries and asylums get a bad rep for being haunted, and for good reason. Dark, echoing hallways, peeling wallpaper and unexplained sounds are nightmare fuel for many.

Haunted Places to Visit

Places with checkered pasts are often labeled as haunted by those who are in tune with the negative energy that once inhabited them. Let’s take a look at some of the most haunted places around the world, and what has transpired there.

The Catacombs of Paris, France

If you don’t feel spooked walking through the bone-lined passages of the Catacombs in Paris, share your secret! While there’s nothing sinister about the origins of the Catacombs, it’s still an unsettling sight to see.

In the late 1700s, cemeteries in France were overflowing. So, for 12 years, the city of Paris had bones moved to the quarry tunnels that already existed under the city. After dark, 6 to 7 million bodies were moved to the tunnels. If you think it’s creepy that bones were arranged from floor to ceiling under Paris, it was even more creepy that bodies in the original cemeteries were starting to resurface due to overcrowding. Better to have the bones deposited in the Catacombs than poking up from their plots in the Saints-Innocents cemetery.

By 1809, the Catacombs opened for public tours. It has not remained open consistently since then, but it has undergone improvements to connect it with the Carnavalet Museum, add new exits/entrances, and include a boutique. Only about one mile of the Catacombs can be walked by the public today, and it can be experienced with or without a guided tour.

The Tower of London

In the United Kingdom, the Tower of London was built in the 1070s at the behest of William the Conqueror. This tower, in actuality a large fortress, has served as a palace, prison, royal mint, and a place where many faced death. In its 1000 years, the fortress has expanded and has provided protection for England’s rulers and crown jewels. 

People Executed at the Tower of London

  • William Hastings

  • Henry VI

  • Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury - King Edward IV’s sons 

  • Anne Boleyn - Henry VIII’s second wife

  • Margaret Pole

  • Catherine Howard - Henry VIII’s fifth wife

  • Jane Boleyn - sister-in-law of Anne Boleyn

  • Jane Grey - Queen of England for nine days 

  • Guildford Dudley of Syon - Jane Grey’s husband

  • Robert Devereux

This storied history may account for why many visitors feel a haunted vibe when at the Tower. It has been reported that Anne Boleyn still roams the fortress, looking for her head. Arbella Stuart, a captive in the Tower, starved to death and is said to haunt the Queen’s House (she is the Queen’s cousin) and the two little princes (Edward V and Richard) have also been seen.

The Queen Mary

A queen of a different sort, this boat is docked in Long Beach, California. She originally sailed in 1936 and spent 30 years serving the seas as a cruise ship before being transformed into a hotel. Like the Titanic before her, she ferried passengers to and fro in the Atlantic Ocean, albeit with a less gruesome fate.

After a brief stint in military service, the Queen Mary retired and eventually opened as a tourist attraction in 1971. Ownership changed hands over the years, but one thing about the ship never changed- it is believed that at least 50 people died on the ship, and the cruise liner itself caused 300 deaths when it crashed into the Curacoa and tore that boat in half.

As a result of these deaths attributed to the Queen Mary, Disney attempted to capitalize on the macabre and offered The Haunted Passages tour in the 1990s. Disney created a Haunted Mansion-esque experience in room B340 on the ship, which was eventually stripped bare, locked up, and forgotten when Disney abandoned the project altogether.

Despite the lack of special effects in B340, visitors today still claim to feel the presence of the paranormal. Now that the Queen Mary is a hotel, you can explore the ship via Haunted Encounters with reservations, and even spend a night if you dare. It’s understandable if you’d rather stay in a suite with more comforts than curiosities, though.

Myrtles Plantation

Unfortunately, stories from the South are rife with mistreatment of enslaved people, which leads to spooky experiences at former plantations such as Myrtles. As recently as 1992, a photograph depicting an apparition of an enslaved girl garnered media attention after National Geographic included it in a documentary about the plantation. The Chloe Postcard is still in circulation today, and other paranormal photographs have since surfaced.

The plantation was originally built in 1796, and as of 2017 offers a single tour that focuses on both the history of the property and the unexplained mysteries encountered by visitors.

Sallie House

A house with a gruesome past can be hard to sell. After all, who wants to live in a home where fires start by themselves, objects are never where they were left, and the heaviness of death still lingers? For these reasons and more, the Sallie House in Atchison, Kansas has been empty since 1993. 

The home once housed the town’s doctor, but in 1906 he had to perform surgery on six-year-old Sallie. Before any anesthesia could kick in, the doctor chose to start the appendicectomy in an attempt to save Sallie. Unfortunately, the child died in the home during the operation.

Although people continued to live in the home for decades after this tragedy, renters finally had enough of the hauntings. Since its abandonment, the house has been open for scheduled tours and overnight visits. It’s enough to inspire any hopeful homeowner to do a little digging before committing to purchase a home that could potentially be haunted.

The Stanley Hotel

If you’re familiar with the Shining, by Stephen King then you need to visit the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. This sprawling property was built in 1909 by F. O. Stanley, who sought rejuvenation in the Rocky Mountains.

After Stanley died in 1940, his ghost has allegedly lingered at the hotel. Some visitors have also reported eerie piano music being played, which they attribute to Stanley’s late wife. A haunting housekeeper is also reported to rearrange items in one of the rooms where she was injured in an explosion.

The ghosts of children are also reportedly seen and heard at the hotel, which may be what inspired King to include the murdered twin girls in his novel. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a pet cemetery at the hotel, and some guests claim to have seen apparitions of a cat and a dog on the property.

Whether you stay close to home or head around the world, there are myriad historical, haunted places to visit.