For the superstitious amongst us, Halloween is regarded as the most paranormally active night of the year. With this year’s celebrations just around the corner, it is an opportunity to take a look at the spooky phenomenon happening in five of the world’s most haunted locations. With dark histories spanning centuries, and tragedies at every turn, prepare to feel a chill as you uncover the unnerving truths associated with these globally renowned sinister locations.
The Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire, UK
An idyllic British chocolate-box town on the edge of the beautiful Cotswolds is not where you would place one of the UK’s most haunted locations. The Grade II listed building of The Ancient Ram Inn has such a menacing reputation, locals refuse to walk past it. The property was built in 1145, and housed masons and slaves working on St Mary’s Church. By 1965, the Ram was facing dereliction, as customers claimed it possessed a genuinely chilling aura. It was bought in 1968 by John Humphries, who did not want to see the structure demolished.
John allows paranormal investigators and curious individuals in to his home. A group of researchers uncovered an ancient grave, containing the remains of a woman and child. A dagger was found, believed to have been used in ancient sacrifices. These entities, along with a woman murdered by the last two highwaymen in Britain, are said to haunt parts of the bottom floor.
The Bishop’s Room is said to be the most haunted area in the Ram, where visitors have seen a young woman hanging from the ceiling and a dead cavalier, as well as an incubus and a succubus in the bed. Dogs and wolves are heard throughout the property, and many people have been pinned against walls and pushed down the stairs. Reverend John Yates tried and failed to exorcise The Ancient Ram Inn, stating to the media that it is the ‘most evil place I have ever had the misfortune to visit’.
Monte Cristo Homestead, New South Wales, Australia
This beautiful Australian property, built in 1885, would be a dream home for some. However, it is regarded as Australia’s most paranormally active location. The Monte Cristo Homestead is said to have been cursed by a witch and, considering the tragedies related to the property, this story is considered gospel.
The first residents were the Crawley family. During their lifetime, the house was witness to a multitude of unexplained deaths. Young children were flung down the stairs, a pregnant maid fell from an outside balcony, and a stable boy was burnt to death. Most shocking, however, was the finding of a chained up man in one of the cottages on the premises. The man, who had been chained up since a child due to being mentally ill, was found after 40 years, next to his dead mother. Rescuers accompanied the man to a mental institution, where he died immediately upon arrival.
The cursed building is now owned by Mrs Ryan, having moved in just two years after another death, in 1961. During this year, a mentally ill child riddled a gardener with bullets. Mrs Ryan allows paranormal groups to spend a night in the homestead, but many do not last through the darkness. Many see the figure of Mrs Crawley, who died due to heart failure in 1993. Voices and footsteps are heard, and many visitors are injured by the throwing and moving of objects. Due to the sad history of the place, many guests report unbearable feelings of dread and misery, causing them to hallucinate and flee the property.
Aokigahara, Mount Fuji, Japan
The suicide forest at the foot of Japan’s Mount Fuji has always been of interest to paranormal researchers but, since the release of The Forest, the location has been a point of intrigue for many ‘normal’ citizens around the globe. Also known as the sea of trees, the beautiful destination is where many come to die. Seicho Matsumoto’s novel, Kuroi Jukai, was released in 1960, and tells the story of a young lover who commits suicide in the forest. Many argue that the book is to blame for the suicides that have taken place in the forest over the decades, with 50 to 100 deaths annually.
In Japanese history, suicide was deemed only as an act of the samurai. However, nowadays, it has become almost a phenomenon, with authorities sweeping the forest every year to search for bodies. The forest is void of any wildlife, but there are paths open to the public to walk through the stunning, but alien, environment.
It is not just the spirits of the recently deceased that glide amongst the trees of Aokigahara today. In ancient times, families would abandon people in the forest during periods of famine. Those neglected would suffer drawn out deaths due to starvation. Because of this, the forest is said to be haunted by the souls of the abandoned, who draw in the fragile to suffer the same fate.
Bhangarh Fort, Bhangarh, India
Known by Indian citizens as ‘bhoot bangla’ (the fort of the ghosts), Bhangarh Fort is India’s most haunted location. Established in 1573, a lot of the paranormal speculation is derived from myths and folklore of eras gone by. Because of the frightening happenings after dark, there is a strict curfew, with nobody allowed to visit after the sun sets.
The most widespread tale is that King Madho Sing had to seek permission to build at Bhangarh from ascetic guru Balu Nath, who would meditate daily at the location. Balu gave King Madho the green light to build, but only if the shadow of the palace would never fall upon his prohibited meditation retreat. The guru warned that, if this were to happen, the city would turn to ruins. True to the words of the Balu, the entire construction fell to ruins, and any building work that has taken place since, has met the same fate.
Other rumours tell of a curse put in place by a sorcerer who was madly in love with Princess Ratnavati. The princess was wise to the magician’s tricks, and he was crushed by a huge boulder. Before he died, he uttered a curse on Bhangarh, condemning the location to a lifetime of death.
Visitors to Bhangara Fort have narrowly avoided death from falling structures, and recall a feeling of chilling hollowness once the sun disappears. Claims have been made that the eyes of those who cannot be seen are constantly upon them, and even the Archaeological Survey of India have put up signs to caution visitors not to enter.
Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, Victoria, Australia
Originally called May Day Hills Lunatic Asylum, Australia features again on our list of the most haunted locations in the world. The decommissioned hospital opened in 1867 and only closed in 1995, with a rumoured 3000 patients dying within its walls. To be admitted to the hospital, only two signatures were needed. But, eight were needed for discharge, meaning many never left Beechworth. Today, it is run as a hotel, conference centre, and campus of La Trobe University. Many speak of eerie happenings and sightings of the hospital’s previous residents.
Located in 106 hectares of farmland, the asylum was self-sufficient, with its own piggery, orchards, kitchen gardens, fields, stables, and a barn. Essentially, patients were hidden away from the world in a mysterious bubble that many never set foot in.
The most famous apparition is Matron Sharpe. Before the asylum was shut down, nurses on duty would see the ghost of the Matron sitting with patients who were due electric shock therapy. The ghost of Tommy Kennedy is also said to tug at the clothes of modern day visitors to the new theatre. Tommy was a well-liked hospital resident, who was given a job as a kitchen hand. Tommy died in the kitchen (which is now the new theatre) and playfully torments visitors with pokes to the ribs.
One of the most haunted sites is what was formerly known as the Grevillea Wing. This is the section of the hospital that patients feared the most. Straitjackets and shackles were used, and ECT administered. When walking through the wing you could hear the sounds of ligaments snapping, bones braking, and teeth shattering as patients contorted violently during electroconvulsive therapy. This is said to be the most paranormally active area of building any many steer clear of the Grevillea Wing.