1. Borley Rectory
The derelict building in the photo above is not a place to enter lightly. Though the small village of Borley, near Sudbury, UK, is not the sort of place one would associate with ghosts, it has a dreadful reputation because it was the site of the infamous Borley Rectory, reputedly the ‘Most Haunted House in England’.
Built in 1863 for the Reverend Henry Bull, it sits on the site of an ancient monastery. The ghost of a mournful nun who patrolled the so-called ‘Nun’s Walk’ had often been seen there. An old story claimed that she had fallen in love with a monk from the Borley Monastery – to much outrage – and the two had tried to elope together but had been quickly tracked down. The monk was executed and the nun bricked up in the cellars of the monastic buildings!
2. Stanley Hotel
There are countless tales of ghosts from all over the world, but some are more skin-crawling than most. Many of us remember the superb horror film The Shining, based on the novel by Stephen King. The book was inspired by a stay at the Stanley in Estes Park, Colorado. Assigned Room 217, King reportedly heard ghost children playing in the hallway. Many have experienced paranormal activity here, but these real-life ghosts seem harmless. Many spirits are said to haunt the place, while guests and employees claim to have heard faint music coming from the ballroom and seen the piano keys moving.
3. Tower of London
The picture here is of one of the most famous spirits to haunt the Tower of London: one of the wives of Henry VIII, beheaded in the Tower in 1536. Her ghost has been seen on many occasions, sometimes carrying her head, on Tower Green and in the Tower Chapel Royal.
Other ghosts include those of Henry VI, Thomas Becket and Sir Walter Raleigh. One of the most gruesome ghost stories describes the death of the Countess of Salisbury. According to one account, “the Countess was sentenced to death in 1541 following her alleged involvement in criminal activities (although it is now widely believed that she was probably innocent). After being sent struggling to the scaffold, she ran from the block and was pursued until she was hacked to death by the axe man.” Her execution ceremony has been seen re-enacted by spirits on Tower Green.
4. Woodchester Mansion
Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire, England, is another building with a ghostly reputation. Building work has never been completed here, and in the last 200 years workers have repeatedly run from the place and seven builders are rumoured to have died in inexplicable accidents.
Strange noises are often heard, like the sounds of crashing masonry or voices wailing, and many ghosts, including those of Roman soldiers and young girls, have reportedly been seen. Regular ghost hunts are held here.
5. The Parisian Catacombs
The Paris Catacombs are a maze of tunnels and crypts underneath the city streets where Parisians placed the bones of their dead for almost 30 years. Prior to the creation of the Catacombs in the mid-1700s, residents buried their dead in cemeteries, but as the city grew, they quickly ran out of space.
The decision was made to use an underground section of quarries in Paris, and the bones from Paris’ city cemeteries were moved underground between 1786 and 1788. The process was conducted with reverence and discretion – the quarry space was blessed before any bones were moved there, bones were always moved in a quiet parade of carts accompanied by priests, and these movements always took place at night. The quarries continued to be used as the collection point for the bones from Paris’ cemeteries through 1814 and now contain the bodies of roughly 6-7 million Parisians. Watching the video here will give you some idea of what a scary place this is.
6. The Skirrid Inn
One of the most notorious haunted sites in England is the Skirrid Mountain Inn in Llanfihangel Crucorney, Wales. According to folklore, in its 900-year history over 180 people have been hanged from a beam on the staircase, which is still in place today, with rope marks, apparently. The first floor of the inn is thought to have been a courtroom in the past.
Glasses often suddenly fly across the room of their own accord, faces are seen at windows and people feel nooses around their necks. Guests who stay there often report waking to icy room temperatures – even when the heating is on – and the feeling of being watched. 17th-century barmaid Fanny Price is thought to be the most active spirit among many, but everyone agrees that this really is one scary place to stay.
7. Rose Hall
You might not think that Jamaica would be the site of an infamous haunted house, but Rose Hall in Montego Bay is exactly that. This huge house is inhabited by the ghost of voodoo priestess’s daughter, Annie Palmer, who reportedly causes bloodstains to appear and disappear randomly. She was murdered in her bed after an 11-year reign of death, torture and nymphomania.
Annie murdered three husbands and a succession of slave lovers by poisoning, strangulation and witchcraft, before forcing other slaves to carry bodies through a tunnel to be buried on a beach. According to legend, it is not just the tormented Annie who roams the house, but also ghosts of the slave babies she sacrificed in rituals. Reports have it that her male victims have actually been not only heard but also captured on camera. Not a pleasant place to spend the night.
8. Bell Farm
The Bell Farm haunting is recognized throughout the paranormal community as the only known account of a ghost that caused the death of a living person. During the years of 1817 and 1821 a woman entity terrorized the Bell family. She became known as the Bell Witch or ‘Kate’. She had tortured John Bell so much that it led to his death. He did suffer from a nervous system disorder, and Kate’s antics made his condition worse.
Beside John’s deathbed was found a vial of black liquid. When paranormal experts asked Kate what it was, she claimed she gave it to him. It was thought that the liquid Kate gave to John is what killed him. To test the validity of the liquid, they placed a drop of it on the family cat’s tongue which immediately killed it. Current residents near the Bell Farm believe Kate is still up to no good.