10 Haunted Destinations to Visit for Halloween

10 Haunted Destinations to Visit for Halloween

braved eerie European castles and abandoned asylums
(encountering a few bone-chilling ghosts along the way) to find the
world’s most
locations – and they’re not just for 31 October.

Not just for Halloween: these are the world’s most spooky

Eastern State Penitentiary

Philadelphia, US

Once the world’s most expensive prison, the Eastern State
Penitentiary housed 1,700 inmates in its heyday – including Al
Capone – and was the first of its kind to introduce extreme
solitary confinement. Manifestations of former prisoners have been
wreaking havoc here since the 40s, leading to the site being
abandoned in 1971 – but ghosts tours are still available.

Isla de las Muñecas


On Teshuilo Lake, 29km south of Mexico
, the “Island of the Dolls” is the macabre creation of Don
Julian Santana Barrera who lived as a recluse here until his death
in 2001. He hung dismembered dolls from trees (often on a noose or
with spikes driven through their heads) as an ode to a young girl
who drowned in the canal decades earlier. In a twist of fate,
Santana’s body was found floating face down in the same spot that
the girl was discovered.

Ancient Ram Inn

Gloucestershire, UK

Built in 1145 upon the intersection of ley lines (believed to
carry supernatural energy) and a pagan burial ground, the Ancient
Ram Inn is prime territory for poltergeists. This haunted hostel is
said to be frequented by a witch who was burned at the stake in the
16th century, a monk (he inhabits a room on the first floor),
ghostly children (the skeletons of which were discovered under a
staircase) and a Roman centurion on horseback.

4. Lawang Sewu

Semarang, Indonesia

A pontianak (a female vampiric ghost in Indonesian mythology)
haunts the corridors of this former head office of the Dutch East
Indian Railway Company. Meaning “Thousand Doors”, Lawang Sewu
served as a detention camp during the Second World War, when
Japanese forces used its basement to conduct torture and violent

Poveglia Island


Half a mile from Venice’s canals, this island is beleaguered by
its eerie past. In the 1700s bubonic plague sufferers were
quarantined here, and in the 1920s it became an asylum for the
mentally ill – a doctor is believed to have performed sadistic
experiments on patients before throwing himself off the
institution’s bell tower. Stepping foot on the island is illegal
today, but its decaying hospital can be viewed from Lido’s

Bhangarh Fort

Rajasthan, India

Looks can be deceiving. Backdropped by the Aravali hills, the
beautiful ruins of the 17th-century Bhangarh Fort rank among
India’s most haunted places. Legend has it that a priest adept in
black magic fell in love with Bhangarh princess Ratnavati – when
his advances were rebuked (and just before he was crushed to death
by a boulder) he cursed those inside the fort, condemning their
souls to be imprisoned in the palace for centuries. Today it’s
believed that anyone who visits after sunset will disappear. Enter
at your peril.

Banff Springs

Alberta, Canada

Commonly referred to as “The Castle in the Rockies” this popular
baronial-style resort ought to come with a warning. Visitors should
brace themselves for an encounter with one of many resident ghosts,
including a bride who broke her neck when falling down a staircase,
a family that was murdered in room 873, and Sam the bellman who
worked at the hotel in the 60s and 70s (his spirit is believed to
help guests with their bags – try to tip him and he’ll vanish).


Massachusetts, US

Salem is synonymous with the 17th-century witch trials, when
Puritans persecuted (mostly) women for consorting with the devil,
casting spells upon children, ruining harvests and the like. The
town embraces its witchy history in October with performances at
the House of the Seven Gables among the many celebrations, but
paranormal activity can be experienced year-round at the Joshua
Ward House which sits atop the site of witch-hunting Sheriff George
Corwin’s former residence. Broomsticks at the ready.

9. Castle of Good Hope

Cape Town, South Africa

Want a face-to-face with an 18th-century ghost? Make for Table
Bay, where the Castle of Good Hope opens its doors (and former
torture chamber) to thrillseekers. In the 1700s Governor Pieter
Gysbert van Noodt condemned several men to be hanged here, one of
which cursed him from the gallows – van Noodt died of a heart
attack later that day, and his ghost has been hanging out (pun
intended) around the battlements ever since.

10. Bran Castle,

Transylvania, Romania

Casting a brooding silhouette on a clifftop, this 14th-century
castle inspired the setting for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula – it’s
best visited in November around St Andrew’s Eve (when vampire
activity peaks). While you’re in the country, head to Hoia Baciu
Forest, too – in this “Bermuda Triangle of Romania”, on a plateau
where no plant life grows, there have been reports of UFOs, missing
persons and paranormal activity.