World’s Most Haunted Places- Part 1
If you believe in ghosts, you’re not alone. Cultures all around the world believe in spirits that survive death to live in another realm. In fact, ghosts are among the most widely believed of paranormal phenomenon.
The idea that the dead remain with us in spirit is an ancient one, appearing in countless stories, from the Bible to “Macbeth.” It even spawned a folklore genre: ghost stories. Belief in ghosts is part of a larger web of related paranormal beliefs, including near-death experience, life after death, and spirit communication. The belief offers many people comfort — who doesn’t want to believe that our beloved but deceased family members aren’t looking out for us, or with us in our times of need?
Lets take look at the world’s most haunted places:
At the base of Mt. Fugi, you’ll find Aokigahara, Japan’s globally infamous Suicide Forest. Hundreds of people have journeyed into the forest to kill themselves amidst its dense trees and vines, so many people that the local police do annual sweeps to clear away the bodies. They no longer publicize the number of bodies discovered, out of fear that those numbers actually encourage suicides. In 2004, 108 people committed suicide there. Signs around the forest placed by local police plead with suicidal visitors to reconsider: “Your life is a precious gift to your parents” and “Please consult with the police before you decide to die.”
Understandably, many people believe that the forest is haunted by the souls of those who have died there. Others point to a different haunting origin, though. According to one legend, during times of famine in ancient Japan, families couldn’t feed themselves. Some would be abandoned in Aokigahara, where they died of starvation. Those ghosts haunt the forest today, of course.
It’s an all around terrifying place.
Iulia Hasdeu Castle, Romania
The Iulia Hasdeu Castle was built by Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu in Campina, Romania after the death of his 19-year-old daughter, Iulia. Hasdeu dedicated the castle and the rest of his life to lulia. He became a practitioner of spiritualism in an attempt to reconnect with her spirit, and designed one room in the castle solely for the purposes of these daily spiritual exercises. Its walls are all black. Iulia reportedly haunts the castle still, walking through the courtyard in a white dress and holding daisies. Oh, and she still plays the piano each night.
Manila Film Center, Philippines
This one doesn’t look like your typical haunted castle, creepy forest, or old ruin, but its story is sad and terrifying.The Manila Film Center is reportedly haunted by the ghosts of workers killed during a tragic construction accident. At 3 a.m. on Nov. 17, 1981, scaffolding at the site collapsed burying about 169 workers in quick-drying cement. No rescue teams were allowed at the site for nine hours. Reports differ on just how many workers were killed, but it’s possible that several bodies remain entombed in the structure.
A couple of years ago, several taxi drivers have all reported the same bloodcurdling experience on different nights. They would see a bruised woman, with blood on her clothes, wave at the taxi and ask to be taken to a hospital. But when they’d arrive at the hospital, the back seat was empty. The writer Ken Summers investigated the happenings and found out that in 2001, a transvestite (or ladyboy in the locals’ slang), was murdered in the area, and the body was dumped at the Manila Film Center.
Dragsholm Slot, Denmark
Dragsholm Castle in Zealand, Denmark, was once the strongest castle in the region, being the only one to survive the wars of the ‘Counts Feud’.
Dragsholm is residence of at least three ghosts. The first is quite a brief tale, that of a woman who worked at the castle, and who developed a severe toothache. It was here at the castle that a visiting gentleman cured her toothache (no doubt in some manner deemed to be barbaric today), and as thanks she forever serves the castle, checking in on guests, even to this day.
The third ghost seems to also have an identity and a back story. It is not entirely sure when the events of this next story took place, but a good guess would be after the end of the 1600’s, for it was during this time an attempt to blow up the castle was made, during yet another war.
With the castle largely in ruins, the King gave it to grocer Heinrich Muller to clear an outstanding debt. In 1694, the castle changed hands once again, this time ending up in the hands of a nobleman who fixed it up and changed the overall look to what you can see today.
Sometime after this point, the most tragic of tales in regards to the castle takes place. For years, decades, possibly even centuries, the spirit of a young woman, dressed in white, has been reported. She is seen walking the corridors, and at times crying. No one really knew who this young woman could be, until a story began to circulate.
She was the daughter of a noble and was set to be married into another family of nobility, in order to strengthen ties between the two names. She did not want this to happen as she was already in love with another. Her father knew of the relationship and allowed it to go unhindered on the promise that his daughter would do the right thing by the family when the time came.
The girl did her best to put off the wedding, and her acts of perceived betrayal against the family soon riled up her father. The boy she was in love with was just a labourer in the castle, essentially a peasant, and a marriage to him would see no gain for the family.
When she began to show the signs of being pregnant, her father held a ‘celebratory meal’. There she was drugged, after which her father had her imprisoned within the walls. Bricked and mortared in a tiny space, the young woman could be heard to scratch at the bricks and cry. Eventually she fell silent.
It is not certain whether her story was known before or after the following event, but still there seems to be some physical proof of her existence. Soon after World War 1, another restoration and renovation was under way. Workmen were breaking through an old brick wall when they made a gruesome discovery… a skeleton, shrouded in a white dress, was found within the wall cavity.
Some say the story of the girl, and the discovery of the skeleton, were a form of publicity stunt. Others say that the skeleton is indeed several hundred years old, and is physical proof of the existence of the walled in girl.
Raynham Hall, United Kingdom
The are lots of haunted places in the United Kingdom. The most famous is the Tower of London, but that’s kind of played out, so here’s a slightly less famous haunted spot: Raynham Hall in Norfolk, which is haunted by the “Brown Lady,” so named because she appears wearing a brown brocade dress.
The Brown Lady is thought to be the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole (1686-1726). The sister of Robert Walpole (the first prime minister of Great Britain), she allegedly had an affair with a local lord, Lord Wharton. According to one story, her husband, Charles Townshend discovered the affair and locked her in their home at Raynham Hall. Another story claims that it was Lord Wharton’s wife who somehow managed to arrange her entrapment. Either way, Dorothy was locked up. She died, and her soul was freed to haunt the castle.
The Brown Lady has been spotted many times, first in 1825, when guests at a Raynham Hall Christmas party retired to their rooms. The most recent sighting was Sept. 19, 1936, when a photographer for Country Life magazine snapped an iconic photo of her. It appeared in Country Life and then again in Life magazine. It was probably a smudge on a lens or a double-exposure. Or maybe not. Either way, the Brown Lady became famous.
To be continued …..