Traveling is fun. You get to meet new people, experience diverse cultures, enjoy a variety of cuisine, and take in breathtaking sights. That is if those are the reasons you travel, of course. Some people prefer places where history collides with the here and now. Places where the dead whisper from the rolling mist and cold fingers brush the back of your neck.
If you’re one of those types of people, the travel destinations on this list might just be perfect for your next trip.
10 Hike to Your Ultimate Fate
Yosemite is one of the world’s most well-known and popular national parks. Here you can gaze up at the giant wonder of the ancient sequoia, explore deep valleys, and take picturesque hiking trails that lead to stunning waterfalls.
One of these trails is the Chilnualna Falls Trail— pronounced “Chil-noo-al-na”—which is 13.2 kilometers (8.2 miles) long (round trip) and includes amazing views of the Chilnualna Falls waterfall. It is a truly spectacular trail and also one of the scariest in the U.S. A Native American legend has it that where the trail passes by Grouse Lake, hikers can hear the cries of a young boy who drowned long ago. Anyone who jumps in to try and save what they think is a child drowning at that moment will disappear below the water’s surface, never to be found again.
If you happen to make it past Lake Grouse without incident, just ensure you stay away from the edge of the waterfall when you get to the top. Getting too close might conjure up an evil spirit behind you that will push you over the edge.
9 Even the Devil Couldn’t Stand It
In the south-central region of Poland, Polish Jura, stand the ruins of Ogrodzieniec Castle. It was built in the 14th century and has been rebuilt many times. Renaissance frescos of lilies can still be seen here, and the chapel that sits close to the castle still sports some original elements.
It is said that the 17th-century owner of the castle, Stanislaw Warszycki, made a fortune during his time at the castle. However, he refused to spread the wealth and wouldn’t even give any money to his own children. Warszycki was apparently also a hard and cruel man. He built his own torture chamber, where he gleefully inflicted pain on anyone who “wronged” him.
Warszycki became so evil that not even the devil could bear to look at him. He dragged Warszycki to hell, but the eternal flames couldn’t stop this evil man from coming back. Visitors have reported seeing a huge, black dog roaming the grounds, sporting a heavy chain around its neck. The dog’s glowing red eyes never stop searching for more victims, just as Warszycki had in life.
3 The Night is Alive
The Presbitero Maestro Cemetery was the first municipal cemetery in Latin America, built between 1805 and 1808. It sits on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, and covers an area of around 25,000 square meters (269,000 square feet). More than 220 000 people have been buried here, including Peruvian war heroes, and it is said that not all of them stay in their graves when night falls.
Six-year-old Ricardo Espiell died of a “pernicious disease” in 1893, and his body was entombed in a mausoleum inside the Presbitero Maestro. It didn’t take long for whispered rumors to start making the rounds that Ricardo wasn’t resting peacefully. Instead, he appeared at night, ran around, and came to a halt behind the caretakers’ backs, giggling at their efforts to contain him. Sometimes the giggling morphed into a demonic cackle.
These rumors grew to the extent that, to this day, visitors to the cemetery leave food, flowers, and toys around Ricardo’s mausoleum.
7 A City of Souls
Rome seems to have as many ghosts, ghouls, and scary places, as it has historic sites and statues. In the Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory is a collection of objects with handprints allegedly singed into them by the hands of those burning in purgatory. They did this to implore their loved ones in desperation to pray harder for their souls while they were stranded in limbo.
Over the Ponte Sisto, you might catch a glimpse of Olimpia Maidalchini’s ghostly carriage, speeding toward the edge of town. At Campo de’ Fiori, philosopher Giordano Bruno wanders around the area where his hooded statue has been erected.
Another Roman ghost is that of a young woman, Beatrice Cenci, whose story has inspired countless paintings, poems, and plays. She was the daughter of the tyrannical aristocrat Francesco Cenci, who famously abused his wife and daughter. After plotting to have him killed, Beatrice, her stepmother, and her brothers were later sentenced to death. Even with public sympathy on her side, Beatrice was killed—decapitated on the scaffold in front of a younger stepbrother. On the anniversary of her death, Beatrice can be seen carrying her severed head as she walks across Ponte Sant’Angelo.
6 Underwater Melody
In 1895, a family living near the shore of Gardner Lake in Connecticut decided that they wanted to move their house to the other side of the lake. They came up with what seemed to be a fool-proof plan. They would wait until the lake froze and then slide their house onto sleds and pull it across the ice. Because of the sheer size of the lake, they couldn’t complete the move in a single day, and the house was left on the ice until the following morning.
Sadly, when they returned, some of the ice had cracked below the house, and a part of it had already sunk below the thick surface. The family tried to salvage as much as possible, but a couch, a stove, and a piano couldn’t be saved.
Today, many visitors who have tried their hand at fishing on Gardner Lake have reported hearing piano music rising from below the surface. Not just random notes either, but intricate melodies…
5 Screams of the Tortured
[ 4K ] Singapore | Hell’s Museum | Haw Par Villa | 新加坡 | 虎豹别墅地狱博物馆 | November 2021
In 1937, brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par opened the Haw Par Villa theme park in the Queenstown district of Singapore. The park included more than 1,000 statues, and scattered throughout were 150 massive dioramas that depicted scenes from Chinese culture, including folklore, history, mythology, and philosophy.
One of these dioramas was the eerie 10 Courts of Hell display, which parents often used to keep their children from running wild. The display depicted in detail the terrible punishment that awaited sinners. While 10 Courts of Hell was closed, along with the entire theme park, when visitor numbers dwindled, it was reopened in October 2021.
Hopefully, once people are allowed inside again, they won’t encounter the statues that come to life at night or disappear via the Gate to Hell that is rumored to exist somewhere on the grounds. And perhaps the theme park will close early enough so that visitors won’t hear the chilling screams that several security guards have heard emanate from the 10 Courts of Hells display over the years.
4 Freezing and Frightening
It isn’t cold enough in the polar regions to keep the ghosts at bay.
Disembodied voices have been heard echoing through the thick ice. A figure has been seen walking along some ruins, and orbs have been spotted over Whalers Bay, located in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.
In 1918, the Arctic Circle Hot Springs Resort was built near the town of Central, Alaska. It lasted until 2002, undergoing several ownership changes over the years. Finally, it was officially announced that financial difficulties had sunk the resort. However, some were of the opinion that the strange goings-on at the place had more than a little to do with it.
Staff and visitors alike have reported hearing whistling noises coming from outside the resort and in the hallways. Several of the cleaning staff claimed to have seen the ghost of a woman in the library on the third floor. Some have seen the chandelier in the main hall moving on its own accord, and others have stood transfixed in front of large paintings as the characters in them came to life before their eyes.
3 Screaming into the Afterlife
The historic country of Egypt is most well-known for the giant pyramids of Giza and the majestic Sphinx. Here, dry desert winds sweep the Sahara, and the Nile flows unabated into the Mediterranean Sea.
Egypt, too, has its fair share of ghosts. The specter of the monarch, Akhenaten, has been spotted floating around in the Farafra Desert, while far-off gunshots have been heard from what used to be a military training base at Dashour.
One of the creepiest places in Egypt is the Roshdy Building, located in Alexandria. After a series of hair-raising incidents, the building was evacuated and locked. It remains locked more than five decades later. Several of the previous residents claimed to have seen blood leaking from their taps and heard screams travel through the corridors.
It is believed that several laborers died on site while the building was being constructed and that their spirits are doomed to forever haunted the completed structure.
2 The Spirit(s) of Mother Russia
And we’re not talking about the vodka.
St. Michael’s Castle in St. Petersburg was the royal residence of Tsar Paul I. The tsar was murdered by a group of conspirators on March 21, 1801, but his spirit has remained on the premises ever since. He has been seen floating around in the corridors carrying a burning candle.
The tsar has also been seen in his other residence, Gatchina Palace, where workers have witnessed him walking around in the park surrounding the palace. It is said that if anyone meets the ghost of the tsar, they should nod at him politely and step aside to let him pass by, lest they be harmed.
The tsar is not the only restless specter in Russia. After Emperor Peter III was assassinated, he began roaming the Palace of Ropsha and the Palace of Oranienbaum. Workers at the palaces became so accustomed to the emperor’s presence that they made a ritual out of greeting him each morning as they entered the various rooms and apologized for disturbing him.
1 Ship of Ghosts
Between 1936 and 1967, the RMS Queen Mary sailed the North Atlantic. She ferried troops during WWII and became the ocean liner of choice for the rich after the war ended. The Queen Mary was retired at the end of 1967 and is now moored at the Port of Long Beach in California. Unfortunately—or fortunately, if that’s your thing—the ship also happens to be one of the most haunted sites in America.
The Queen Mary, which is now a hotel, has been investigated by more than one group of paranormal investigators who have reported much the same as visitors and staff. A woman dressed in a white evening gown has been seen floating at the end of the first-class lounge. The ghost of a young girl named Jackie has been heard splashing around where the ship’s second-class pool used to be. Jackie Torin drowned in that pool when she was about six years old.
A growling ghost nicknamed Grumpy lurks in a room underneath a set of stairs, and the spirit of John Henry, who died in the boiler room, still lingers there.
It is also alleged that a woman named Dana and her family were murdered on board and that Dana has been found with Jackie at the swimming pool. She also sometimes visits both Grumpy and John Henry, all of them hanging out in the boiler room.