Becky Hart | Feb 17, 2023
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love the fall for cozy sweaters, pretty leaves, and apple cider donuts, and those who love it for ghost hunts, scary stories, and the chance that the pale man in the corner might turn into a bat. If you’re in that second group, this is the list for you. Grab your EMF readers, night vision cameras, and as much courage as you can muster to visit these 10 spookiest places in the world.
We might not have medieval castles with dark dungeons, but that doesn’t mean the United States is short on hauntings, creepy destinations, and stories that will make your skin crawl.
Believe it or not, it is said that the number one haunted house in the United States is none other than the White House. President Harry Truman once wrote to his wife that the White House was “haunted sure as shootin'.” Who’s the most notorious ghost at 1600 N. Pennsylvania? That would be Honest Abe Lincoln himself.
It’s not just the creepy basement and attic of the White House haunted, though. Legend has it that the famous Rose Garden is haunted by First Lady Dolley Madison, who planted it in the early 1800s. A century later, First Lady Ellen Wilson requested the garden be dug up. However, workers reported that Dolley Madison's ghost appeared and refused to let them remove her garden.
About an hour south of Boston rests the former home of the infamous Lizzie Borden. If you’ve ever experienced the macabre New England sense of humor, chances are you know her from a dark little children’s rhyme:
"Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one."
Sorry, kids. This story is all too real. In 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were found murdered in their home, by way of axe wounds. Their youngest daughter, Lizzie, was the prime suspect.
Their house has been converted into both a museum and bed and breakfast. Gruesome photos of the crime scene are on display, and, if you can brave it, you can spend the night in one of its allegedly haunted rooms.
How spooky is it really? Take it from former Seven Corners writer Melanie Danko: “I’ve stepped foot into the bed and breakfast for the daytime tour, and that was more than enough for me to get freaked out. Friends of mine have braved staying the night, and many have reported paranormal activity.”
Wait, you mean the park with El Capitan and Half Dome, amazing waterfalls, ancient sequoia trees, and all-around natural beauty? Yup, that’s the one. According to Native American folklore, you can hear a boy crying at the Chilnualna Falls Trailhead. The boy drowned in Grouse Lake, and he pulls underwater and drowns any hiker daring enough to try to help him.
Hammock House is the oldest home in Beaufort. During its 300 years of existence, its most well-known resident was probably the infamous pirate, Blackbeard.
The haunting story goes that Blackbeard lived here with an 18-year-old French common-law wife who was not a willing resident of Hammock House. Blackbeard got so incensed with her that he hanged her on an oak tree in the backyard before he left. Some say her screams can still be heard.
Silver mining in the early 1900s basically led to the existence of Tonopah, Nevada, and the Mizpah Hotel was at the center of it all. When the mining industry went bust, the hotel was all but abandoned. Then in 2011, it reopened with many of its original fixtures, décor … and ghosts. Many of the rooms are named for the guests who never leave — a senator whose body was hidden in an ice-filled bathtub, a strangled prostitute — and you can share your encounters with them in a book at the front desk.
If you aren’t totally freaked out after a road trip to America’s scariest stops, look for these international spooky places to visit in October.
Less than 20 miles from Darjeeling is a beautiful hill station with a less lovely reputation for being haunted. If you want to be spooked by a headless boy, lady in grey, mysterious red eye, and other indescribable feelings of being followed, then the Dow Hill Forest is for you. And if you want more, as in you find it exciting to hear footsteps where no one is walking and whispering when you’re alone in a room, look no further than the century-old Victoria Boys High School on the forest’s edge. People have been known to lose their minds during their visits, however, so enter at your own risk.
South of Mexico City is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Xochimilco, but what draws many visitors to the area is the hundreds of creepy dolls — and doll parts — hanging from trees and on the grounds surrounding the canals.
As the story goes, a little girl drowned in the canal. The island’s owner used the dolls to try to ward off evil spirits and please the girl. Unfortunately, La Isla de las Muñecas had the final say and the man eventually went crazy and drowned in the canal, too.
You probably know Paris as the city of light and romance. But underground lies a darker history. Sixty feet below the city lies a crypt said to house the exhumed remains of approximately six million Parisians. In fact, the walls are decorated with skeleton bones and skulls.
This destination is not for small children or the faint of heart. It’s a bit claustrophobic, and you should prepare for your personal space to be invaded by decaying bones.
A geothermal mud pool isn’t exactly the most picturesque site in the best of times, but add a witch haunting to the mix, and things get a bit more interesting.
As Icelanders tell it, Gudrun, an old woman often accused of being a witch, was mysteriously found dead, and her ghost continued to wreak havoc. Townsfolk turned to the local priest for help who told them to rig a trap that would drag her down to the hot spring. Take care on the boardwalks if you visit. They say Gudrun still hangs on to the spring’s edge, obscured by the thick steam constantly rising from the pit. (The boardwalks can also get icy during the winter, so still be careful even if you aren’t superstitious.)
Ossuary: (noun) a container or room in which the bones of dead people are placed
Beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in central Czech Republic is a chapel packed with disturbing décor, but at least it had a purpose. The Sedlec Ossuary originally solved the problem of not having enough room in the cemetery for more burials. The abbots exhumed old bodies to make way for new ones, and so used the services of a local woodcarver to arrange the bones in a decorative manner around the chapel. Among the “highlights” is not one but four skeletal candelabras and a massive chandelier that uses almost every bone found in the body.
The places you go might be on the scary side, but travel shouldn’t be. Consider travel insurance to protect your next trip. With our licensed experts and easy quote tool online, buying the best travel insurance doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
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