15 Scariest Places to Visit (You Won’t Want to Go Alone)

Updated May 27, 2021
London tower at Thames River water front

You can visit some of the scariest places in the world and maybe come face-to-face with a ghost. From a spooky Japanese suicide forest to a Mexican island filled with creepy haunted dolls, you'll discover some of the world's most hunted places guaranteed to creep you out.

The Haunted Tower of London, London, England

The Tower of London is one of the most haunted places in the world. The castle is a World Heritage Site and where the Crown Jewels are kept. The White Tower was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror. The castle was also used from 1100 to 1952 as a prison and was the site of numerous executions. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Tower was known mostly for its use as a prison for anyone who fell out of favor with Queen Elizabeth 1. Prior to her using the Tower, her father King Henry VIII made good use of the prison for his many enemies and even to hold two of his six wives Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard before he had them beheaded.

Reportedly there are 13 ghosts of the Tower of London:

  • Queen Anne Boleyn is seen at the Tower Green where she was beheaded. Her headless body is seen wandering about the castle corridors.
  • The Grey Lady is only seen by women.
  • Sir Walter Raleigh wanders the Bloody Tower and the battlements
  • The childish spirits of Prince Edward V and Richard, Duke of York are seen dressed in nightshirts.
  • The elderly Countess of Salisbury, Margaret Pole, who was hacked to death by her incompetent young executioner appears to people.
  • Lord Guildford Dudley sits in his cell and weeps.
  • Arbella Stuart is seen about the Queen's House.
  • Lady Jane Grey wanders about the battlements.
  • Guy Fawkes is noisy with screams and cries heard in the Council Chamber.
  • Henry VI appears at midnight on the last stroke of the clock.
  • The Smothering Force is an entity that has attempted to strangle and physically harm guards.
  • A ghostly grizzly bear ghost charged a guard and has been seen on occasion.
  • White Lady brings the smell of cheap perfume and taps on the shoulder.

Island of the Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico

Mexico's Creepy La Isla de la Muñecas (Island of the Dolls) is one of the creepiest places you can ever visit. If you're near Mexico City, be sure to check it out...if you dare. The island is supposedly a tribute to a poor little girl who drowned. The caretaker of the island, Don Julian Santana Barrera, found her. It's said he also recovered the girl's doll and hung it in a waterside tree as a memorial.

One thing led to another, with him adding more dolls and eventually realizing the dolls were possessed. The dolls are often gruesome with missing limbs, eyes, and even heads. Eyewitnesses claim the dolls whisper to each other, move their arms, legs, head, and will even open their eyes.

The Langham Hotel, London, England

The Langham Hotel (The Langham) opened its doors in 1865 and was built to be a luxury hotel, the first one in London. Located in the West End, The Langham has its share of tragic guest stories and multiple sightings of resident ghosts.

One of the most horrific tales of The Langham is the bridal couple who checked in to the hotel and stayed in Room 33. The couple never checked out. The husband, simply identified as a doctor, murdered his bride and then killed himself. His ghost is frequently seen in the room dressed in Victorian garb, complete with cravat and cloak. In 1973, James Alexander Gordon, a BBC announcer, stayed in Room 333 and claimed he had an encounter with the spooky doc.

Next up is an unidentified German prince who also seems to gravitate to Room 333, but unlike the doctor makes his appearance during early morning. Rude, as he is, he just walks through the closed doors uninvited. It said that the prince took his own life by jumping from one of the fourth floor windows. He's rather spiffy in his jacket that witnesses describe as a military style. He's the most seen ghost in the hotel.

  • Another costumed regular is the ghost of a footman, complete with his powdered wig.
  • You probably won't have cause to venture into the basement. However, on the off chance you somehow end up there, beware, Emperor Napoleon III (not to be confused with his uncle Napoleon I) is said to lurk about, perhaps still hiding out during his days of exile.
  • If you're squeamish, don't venture into the halls at night. There's a ghost wandering about who startles guests with his gruesome facial wound. He apparently shares the halls with another ghost that walks about in his socks.
The Langham Hotel, London, United Kingdom

Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, PA

The Battle of Gettysburg turned the tide of the Civil War with the Union victory. General Robet E. Lee's campaign to the North was brought to a standstill. Over 7,500 soldiers died in the battle, with a total of 50,000 casualties over the span of only three days. The battle was the bloodiest one of the war. So moved by the battle was he that President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "Gettysburg Address."

It's believed to be the most haunted location in the entire United States. The battlefield and several adjacent buildings and home that were commandeered for hospitals.

  • Ghosts of Union and Confederate soldiers are seen.
  • Sightings are reported of seeing the ghost of General Robert E. Lee.
  • Not all the dead received a proper burial.
  • Many soldiers died in the homes turned into makeshift hospitals.
  • Phantom sounds of gunfire and cannon fire, disembodied war cries and cries of agony are reports.
  • Phantom horses neighing or their hooves digging into the earth are heard.

Paris Catacombs, Paris, France

If disturbing the dead is taboo, the Paris Catacombs should be haunted by thousands of spirits. In 1785, the evacuations of the largest cemetery, Saints-Innocents, began. The Tombe-Issoire quarries soon became known as the Catacombs. Moving six million remains underground was seen as a way to counter the increasing health issues of the overcrowded cemeteries. In addition to these concerns was the very real problem that residents complained about, the overwhelming stench of decaying bodies.

This underground burial chamber houses millions of bones removed from overloaded cemeteries. The removal of bodies and bones from the cemeteries was done at night to lessen the reaction of the public. The workers simply tossed the bones into piles, creating a huge disarray and appearance of disrespect. Politician and mining engineer Louis- Étienne Héricart de Thury, instructed the workers to arrange the bone in macabre designs to simulate walls, crosses and more. It's no surprise that the catacombs are teeming with ghosts and all manner of paranormal activity.

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

The historic fortress of Edinburgh Castle rises from Castle Rock above the capital city like a guardian. Some areas of the castle are still used by the military and is also a tourist destination. The castle endured many sieges. War, strife, and bloodshed have made Edinburgh the most haunted castle in Europe. Paranormal encounters at this location include:

  • Sightings of Greyfriar's Bobby, a former canine resident
  • A mysterious man in a leather apron
  • The haunting sounds of a bagpipe played by a lost piper
  • The headless drummer boy
  • A feeling of being watched by unseen entities
Edinburgh Castle

Hôtel Ritz, Paris, France

The Hôtel Ritz is not part of the Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel chain. It's located in central Paris. Founded in 1898 by César Ritz, the Swiss hotelier, and French chef Auguste Escoffier, it quickly became the hub for politicians, royalty, and celebrities. The hotel's first claim to fame was one of the first European hotels with electricity, en suite bathroom, and a telephone in the rooms.

Some of the famous registered guests included a regular visitor, Ernest Hemingway. In fact, the cocktail lounge was named in honor of the writer, Bar Hemingway. However, its 34-year resident, Coco Chanel gets all the ghostly publicity because she died in one of the hotel suites in 1971. That suite was promptly named after her.

Frightened guests have reported seeing Coco pop-up in the suite mirrors. Her apparition has also been seen floating about the suite. F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to lurk about the hotel, often in the suite named after him. And, of course Ernest Hemingway is seen about the hotel's bar.

Aokigahara Forest, Mount Fuji, Japan

Sitting at the northwestern base of Mount Fuji, Aokigahara Forest is more commonly known as Suicide Forest for the sheer number of suicides committed there. It is also known as the Sea of Trees because the forest is so dense. The forest density makes it dark. The lava rocks are said to absorb much of the forest sounds.

The lush overgrown forest, and the terrain is redundant and similar. This makes it difficult to discern landmarks and makes it very easy to get turned around and lost. It attracts people who wish to get lost and then commit suicide. In fact, the suicide rate of between 10 and 30 deaths per year, and rumors are it is both terrifying and haunted. The very trees in the forest are said to be filled with the malevolent energy soaked up through their roots and limbs. Demons are said to live in the forest, and no one should ever be in the forest after sunset.

Pripyat, Ukraine

Pripyat in Ukraine is a ghost town - literally and figuratively. Only two miles from Chernobyl, the town was evacuated in 1986 because of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. In 2010, Pripyat and Chernobyl were declared safe for tourists. You can participate in a guided tour. You'll need to undergo a radiation check before you enter and when you leave.

The abandoned town is overgrown with trees, vegetation, and animals that all add to the creepiness of the town. Visitors claim all kinds of ghostly activities from phantom sounds, disembodied voices, apparitions, shadows, and objects that move on their own.

Abandoned school in the city of Pripyat, Ukraine

The Grande Hotel Trilogia, Cambuquira, Brazil

The Grande Hotel Trilogia was built in the 1920s by an unnamed German woman. The hotel has been plagued with all manner of paranormal activity ever since the city was cursed by a priest. The priest was ousted from the town during political unrest. It's often implied that some of the paranormal activity is because of the curse the priest put on the town. Most of the hotel rooms have some kind of paranormal activity, especially odd noises, cold spots, disembodied voices, and phantom footfalls.

Of all the rooms in the hotel, it's Room 204 that is known to have the most activity. Reports from guests and hotel staff claim unexplained sounds like loud bangs and knocks are a constant. Other paranormal encounters include:

  • The apparition of a man has been seen lurking about the hallway.
  • A bearded man is seen moving about the chapel.
  • The dining room has frequent ghostly manifestations that don't take any specific shape or form.
  • The kitchen is haunted by a child and a woman, both have been seen by the staff.

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA

Eastern State Penitentiary has been the subject of numerous paranormal investigations. During its heyday, the prison was a site of solitary confinement, torture, and despair - all in the name of rehabilitation. The experiment in isolation was intended for prisoners to contemplate their lives and choose to change. The cruel and unusual treatment of the inmates purportedly led many to go insane.

If deep emotions can scar a physical place and leave echoes of the past, Eastern State Penitentiary bears those scars. Some of the paranormal activity includes disembodied whispering, crying, and shadowy figures. These are just a few samples of this ominous building's paranormal activity.

Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Built between 1406 and 1420, the Forbidden City was the emperor's private winter residence. China's former Imperial Palace is not only historic, but it's also haunted. It's cloaked in a dark history of murder, betrayal, and torture.

Visitors report paranormal activity comes alive when the day gives over to night. The city echoes with disembodied strange sounds like screams and music.

  • A woman in White is seen crying while strolling about the grounds.
  • Guards also report a faceless woman dressed in black moving about the buildings.
  • Various apparitions are seen throughout the city complex.

Bran Castle, Bran, Romania

Just mention Transylvania, and many people feel a chill run up their spine. Bran Castle, situated on the border of Transylvania, is better known to the tourists who flock there as Dracula's Castle. One of the resident ghosts is Queen Marie who lived in the castle as her home. When she died, her apparition was seen inside the castle and gardens.

There are no historical records supporting that Vlad the Impaler was the ruler of this castle, although he was imprisoned there for several months. Still, the imagination is a powerful thing and to many, Bran Castle will always be the frightening fortress of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Bran Castle

Mansfield Reformatory, Mansfield, OH

To step inside the dilapidated Mansfield Reformatory in Ohio is to experience true fear. With over 200 deaths in the reformatory, there are many ghosts contained in the buildings, and they love to make their presences known. The areas where the most haunting activity has reportedly occurred include:

  • Infirmary - site of many horrible deaths
  • Chapel - a site reportedly used for torture before being turned into a chapel
  • The hole - a place of punishment and incredible suffering

Parador Jaén, Jaén, Spain

Jaén is known for its olive oil, but the Parador Jaén is known for its ghosts. This luxury hotel overlooks the city and is a converted 13th century Arabic castle. The castle was the scene for many bloody battles, so it's not surprising there are several ghosts haunting the castle and the grounds.

The most ghostly activity seems to be Room 22. Guests have been roused from a sound sleep by what they describe as dull thuds on their door followed by a shrill female cry. It became so bad that the hotel hired a group of paranormal investigators to see what was causing all the commotion. The conclusion was that the woman was the ghost of a young woman who'd died in the castle several hundred years ago.

Other ghostly residents include a prisoner who died as a prisoner from starvation. He is said to be rather harmless and just wanders about the halls. A few of the guests claim to have been temporarily possessed by the prisoner. Perhaps he's still seeking a way to escape the castle.

World's Scariest Places to Visit

There are many scary places you can visit and possibly have a paranormal experience. You can even book a haunted hotel to top off your day of ghostly encounters!

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15 Scariest Places to Visit (You Won’t Want to Go Alone)