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It’s October and with it comes the anticipation of Halloween and talk of haunted places in the world.
All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints Eve was historically a time dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints, martyrs and all the faithful departed.
Its origins and many traditions are believed to trace back to ancient Celtic harvest festivals. (Read more about other harvest festivals here).
Along with the costumes, trick-or-treating and scary movies, visiting haunted attractions is a popular way to celebrate the season.
We’ve gathered up 6 of the scariest, most haunted places in the world that are guaranteed to give you chills and thrills:
Paris Catacombs, France
“Arrête, c’est ici l’empire de la mort” (“Stop, here is the empire of death!”)
This is the sign you will be greeted with if you venture on a tour of the Paris Catacombs.
Descend sixty-five feet below the streets and you will enter a labyrinth of burial tunnels lined and elaborately decorated with the bones of over six million dead Parisians. Yeah you read that right – six million.
Paris has always been overpopulated but it was at its peak in the 18th century where the graveyards were literally overflowing with corpses. The government, as a solution to housing all the surplus bodies, turned a former mining network into underground ossuaries.
Visitors of the burial grounds have reported being touched by invisible hands, experienced sensations of being followed and hearing disembodied voices trying to lure them deeper into the tunnels to lose there way and to remain lost until death.
Only a small part of the 185 miles are open to the public, the rest is only accessible through hidden passageways throughout the city.
It’s probably best to stick, tightly, to the tour with this one. 😱
The Ancient Ram Inn, Britain
An angry witch spirit, ghost monks, flying furniture and phantom crying children…
Just a few things to look forward to during your stay at The Ancient Ram Inn.
Nestled on a curving street in Wotton-under-edge, a small village in Gloucestershire, England, is a cozy and quaint B&B…
…that is home to over 20 terrifying specters that refuse to leave.
Although not an active bed and breakfast any longer, ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts flock to The Inn in the hopes of a tour of the building dubbed the most haunted in the country.
The former pub has a dark and brutal history of murders on the premises. One that includes burning of a resident witch, a hanging in the attic, and children buried under the floorboards.
All of which have been spotted since their death in the Inn among others that have decided to stay somewhere along the 900 years the building has been standing.
It is speculated that it sits on an ancient pagan ritual ground and also aligns with Ley Lines that connect it with the center of Stonehenge, which feed the paranormal power found there.
John Humphries saved the building from demolition in the 1960’s and made it his mission to save the structure despite being physically and mentally attacked by the spirits that dwell inside.
The Ram Inn is not for the faint-hearted!
Poveglia Island, Italy
Poveglia Island is not a promoted tourist attraction.
Seriously. The Italian tourism board prohibits visiting this island (on paper), though there are people determined to visit.
Completely abandoned and isolated from the public, Poveglia Island is located between Venice and Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, in Northern Italy.
Its history weaves a morbid web. Back in 1800’s people suffering from the plague were sent there to keep them isolated until death from the rest of the healthy population. When the Black Death hit, it again became a quarantine station and a dumping ground for the diseased and dying.
In 1922, a long-term care facility for the mentally ill was erected and run by a deranged doctor who experimented on patients. He later threw himself from the hospital tower after claiming he had been driven mad by ghosts.
According to legend, the island is haunted by the burned plague victims, criminals and mental patients who were exiled there throughout history.
Japan’s Sea Of Trees is a forest so dense and thick with foliage that some visitors use tape to mark their path in as it can be too easy to get lost amongst the thriving trees.
Aokigahara sits on the northwestern flank of Japan’s Mount Fuji, rooted into volcanic rock left by the last major eruption from the mountain.
Its other unofficial name is the Suicide Forest as it is eerily one of the most popular suicide spots in the world. Signs mark the entrance urge suicidal visitors to reach out for help and to think of their families.
The area is speculated to have been a spot used for ubasute, an alleged practice common during times of drought and famine where infirm or elderly relatives were carried into a desolate place and left to die.
Stories of ubasute are argued to be gruesome myths and not actually something that happened but they have become part of the legend of the forest.
It is also believed that the Sea Of Trees is home to “yūrei,” or ghosts of the dead, in Japanese mythology that haunt the area.
Isla de las Muñecas (The Island of the Dolls), Mexico
This bizarre island has a tragic story.
A boat ride will take you to a small island (technically a floating garden) in Xochimilco, Mexico, that is covered in dolls. Yep, dolls.
And not cute, friendly ones…
The scene is straight out of a horror film. Hundreds of them are hanging from tree trunks, branches and on every available surface.
Don Julian Santana Barrera was the caretaker of this island and living in isolation at the time he found a young girl washed up on shore along with a doll that belonged to her. He hung her toy in a tree to memorialize her.
Increasingly haunted by the girl’s apparition he started hanging more and more dolls in the trees in the attempt to please her. For 50 years he collected and displayed dolls around the island that have been there ever since.
Santana died of a heart attack in 2001 and was found in the same location where the girl died.
The dilapidated and weather-worn dolls have been described to whisper to each other at night and visitors have reported seeing dolls heads move and their eyes blink.
Hoia Baciu Forest, Romania
Step inside the forest and you may never come back.
Situated near Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the Hoia Baciu Forest covers an area of over 250 hectares and is often referred to as the Bermuda Triangle of the country.
It is named after a shepherd who vanished after entering the woods along with his herd of 200 sheep… never to return.
Many locals are afraid to go inside in fear they too will be swallowed by the trees.
Countless UFO and ghost sightings have been reported in the area the most famous evidence being a flying disc hovering in the sky captured in a photo in the 1960’s.
It also has a freaky circle where nothing grows even though soil samples reveal nothing out of the ordinary. The trees themselves are unusual in shape twisting and curving in unnatural positions.
Some think it is a gateway to another dimension.
People who are brave enough to visit report feeling light-headed, anxious and uneasy. Electronic devices often fail and some even emerge with unexplained rashes, scratches, and burns.
There seems to be no doubt Hoia Baciu Forest is home to some strange paranormal phenomena.
Whew! I’ve got goosebumps already! Do you dare visit any of these haunted destinations? Or have you already visited?
Tell us your ghost stories in the comments below!