The world is full of places with a reputation for being haunted. Whether or not you believe the claims that such places are truly centers for paranormal and supernatural encounters, you have to agree that these places do indeed have a spooky charm. So if you’re planning to travel abroad for some thrills and scares on Halloween weekend, we recommend that you visit these five destinations, reported to be among the spookiest in the world.
Paris Catacombs, France
The Paris Catacombs is considered to be the world’s largest grave. Located in converted quarries on the outskirts of Paris, the Catacombs were a response to the overflowing cemeteries and graveyard of the city. The Catacombs serves as the resting place of around six million Parisians from previous centuries, their bones arranged in morbidly beautiful arrangements.
Visiting the Catacombs allows you to spend time up close with the long-departed. However, it has frequently served the living as well. The Catacombs served as bunkers for Resistance groups during World War II. It’s also said that the Catacombs is a venue for secret, underground raves and parties.
Aokigahara is a forest on the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan. This forest is so dense that it has come to be called “The Sea of Trees.” It has also the unfortunate reputation of being one of the most popular suicide spots in the world, second only to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The Japanese government has stopped publicizing the number of people who have successfully ended their life at the forest in recent years, but according to some sources, there have been 500 deaths recorded there thus far. The number doesn’t count the people who have done the deed there before the 1980s.
The reputation of Aokigahara as the suicide forest has become so strong that groups of volunteers regularly patrol the forest to dissuade people from entering or camping in the forest. There are also signs at the entrance to the forest persuading people to seek help before they take their life. The long and grim history of the forest has given birth to claims that yurei, souls who have been denied their eternal rest, roam and wreak havoc deep in the forest.
Island of the Dolls, Mexico
Island of the Dolls is a tiny island just south of Mexico City infamous for the dolls hanging from its dense vegetation. Untouched for many years, the dolls have become dilapidated. Many have fallen apart, their plump and scabbed limbs scattered all over the forest floor. Because of their sad state, the dolls have taken on an eerie look to them and gave the island a creepy air.
Legend has it that the island’s previous caretaker, Don Julian Santana Barrera, found a little girl drowned near the island’s shore. Sometime later, he found a doll floating on the same spot where he found the girl. He assumed that the doll belonged to the dead girl and so hung the doll on a tree as a way of honoring the girl’s spirit. But as the years passed, Don Julian became obsessed with the idea that the girl’s spirit has come to occupy the doll. To appease her, he began hanging more dolls. Eventually, he came to believe that other spirits have possessed the dolls. He was later found drowned in the spot where he originally found the dead girl. If you have a strong stomach for creepiness, the Island of the Dolls is worth a visit.
Old Changi Hospital, Singapore
Old Changi Hospital is said to be the most haunted place in Singapore. This abandoned building, with its crumbling, old-world architecture and peeling white paint, does make a perfect setting for hauntings. Add to that its history as the former barracks for Japanese soldiers during the Second World War, where it is reported that many prisoners have died from torture and neglect in the hospital. Ghost sightings include a staring child, a belligerent woman with a dark aura, and other shadows flitting here and there.
There were plans to redevelop the site of the hospital as a spa resort. However, these plans were later abandoned. Today, the Old Changi Hospital remains a crumbling relic of Singapore’s British and Japanese occupation.
The Tower of London, UK
The Tower of London is a historic castle that once served as home to Britain’s medieval monarchs. After these monarchs moved to other residences, the castle saw use as a prison, an armory, a menagerie, and various other purposes. Today, it is where the Crown Jewels of England are kept.
The Tower, however, gained huge notoriety for its use as a prison. Many high-profile personalities were incarcerated and eventually executed or left to die there. Among those executed and reportedly haunting the Tower are Queen Anne, the mother of Queen Elizabeth I who was beheaded there; the Princes Edward and Richard, said to be murdered by their uncle, King Richard III, so they won’t be obstacles to his occupation of the throne; and Lady Jane Dudley, England’s Nine-Day Queen who was dethroned and later ordered executed by her cousin, Queen Mary I.
If you want some thrills and scares this Halloween weekend, you’re sure to find them when you visit any one of these most haunted destinations in the world.