17 Haunted Houses and Castles

Edited by Kathy McGraw, Maria Quinney

While no one knows for sure whether ghosts exist, tales of haunted houses and castles still thrill our imaginations and make us tremble at the thought of unseen forces at work in the world. Haunted houses and castles are found all over the world, wherever drafty old buildings exist and where the blood of history has been spilled. Here are 17 of the most ghoulish haunted houses and castles in the world.

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  1. 1
    Houska Castle, Czech Republic
    The primeval forest surrounding Prague is noted for its legends of prowling half-human beasts that used to call it home. Houska Castle was said to have been built to contain the creatures and the gate to hell from whence they came. Centuries later, the Nazis occupied it for a while because of Hitler's interest in the occult. Although no one knows what came of the Nazi scientists' experiments while at Houska, in the years after World War II, there were skeletons of German soldiers found around the castle. They appeared to have been executed rather than simply murdered.
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  2. 2
    LaLaurie House, New Orleans Louisiana
    A real house of horrors, LaLaurie House, was the home of Madame Delphine, a serial killer who devised a torture chamber in her home and went on to torture and kill slaves there from 1831 to 1834 when her secret was found out. The murder victims are said to haunt the house to this day.
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  3. 3
    Chillingham Castle, England
    Chillingham Castle is one of those places that you expect to be haunted: built to guard the north of England against attacks by the Scots, the castle and the lands surrounding it have seen more than their fair share of bloodshed over the years (if there is such a thing). The most noted ghost is the Blue Boy who appears as a flash of blue light as well as a blue halo hovering over guests beds and the ghost of John Sage, hung during one of the Scottish wars. He prowls the castle and the sounds of him dragging bodies around echo through the lonely hallways.
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  4. 4
    Frankenstein Castle, Germany
    Believed to have been the inspiration for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, this gloomy German castle is the home of Arbogast, a knight who lived there once upon a time. He haunts the castle and the grounds to this day. Interestingly, in 2008, Ghosthunters International proved that some paranormal activity is indeed happening there.
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  5. 5
    Moosham Castle, Austria
    The Archbishop of Unternberg ordered hundreds of girls and women taken to this picturesque castle to be tortured and eventually killed for the supposed crime of witchcraft. In the bowels of the castle, the dungeon where the horrific murders took place still exists, and it is said that the ghosts of the slain girls and women yet prowl the grounds, seeking redress for their grisly deaths.
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  6. 6
    Villisca Axe Murder House, Villisca, IA
    Is there anything that inspires as much fear as the potential to be hacked to death by an axe-wielding maniac? Well, that unfortunate circumstance happened to the Moore family on June 10, 1912. For reasons unknown, someone took an ax to Josiah Moore, his wife Sarah, their four children, and two guests. The crime remains unsolved, which is perhaps why the ghosts of the murdered family have stuck around this long. You can stay there, for $400 a night, but beware, the house is as it was back in 1912: it has no power or running water. Also, one paranormal investigator who stayed there in 2014 stabbed himself to death. Hmm.
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  7. 7
    House of Death, New York, NY
    This Fifth Avenue Brownstone is home to over 22 ghosts, according to some, including the ghost of Mark Twain, who purportedly lived there from 1900 to 1901. Why the author of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer would bother haunting a place where he may have spent a year of his life as opposed to his better-known residences is beyond me. But hey, we're talking about ghosts here, so anything is possible, right? Another ghost said to haunt the place is that of the six-year-old daughter of a criminal prosecutor, Joel Steinberg, who beat her to death in 1987.
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  8. 8
    Chateau de Brissac, France
    Chateau de Brissac was the home of Jacques and Charlotte, husband and wife, in 11th century France. Charlotte was known for her extra-marital affairs with younger men, which she delighted in rubbing poor Jacques' nose in, even bringing her beaux into their home and making love to them within earshot of her cuckolded husband. As such stories often go, one day, Jacques lost it and, according to differing accounts, either stabbed Charlotte and her lover with a sword or strangled Charlotte in the chapel tower. If you stay in the castle, now turned into a hotel, you may hear the moans and screams of Charlotte and her doomed lover wailing through the walls of your room.
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  9. 9
    Dragsholm Castle, Denmark
    Built in the 12th century, Dragholm Castle is said to have hundreds of ghosts roaming its halls, but the most tragic ghost tale belongs to the White Lady, a young girl clad in white who inhabits the castle to this day. Apparently, the White Lady was the daughter of a noble who fell in love with one of the workmen employed by her father. When her father discovered the relationship, he banished his daughter to her room and locked her inside forever. In an eerie turn of events, while the castle was undergoing renovations sometime during the 20th century, the skeleton of a young woman dressed in white was discovered in the castle walls. She is believed to be the nobleman's daughter. Today, her ghost may be seen gliding through the castle and its grounds, forever seeking her lover.
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  10. 10
    Bran Castle, Romania
    While no one can say for sure whether this 14th century castle was the home of the legendary Vlad the Impaler, that charming fellow who enjoyed killing his enemies and setting their heads on pikes, it is known the be the inspiration for Bram Stoker's seminal work, Dracula. Regardless, perhaps you should wear a necklace of garlic and carry a silver crucifix around with you while you are exploring this place. It never hurts to be prepared for ghouls with fangs.
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  11. 11
    Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, MA
    The famous axe-murdering Lizzie Borden, who killed her parents with "forty whacks" is said to haunt her family home, which has been turned into a bed-and-breakfast. Of course, her parents haunt the place, too; I mean, who wouldn't? Anyway, you can spend a night there and see for yourself whether there's any truth to it.
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  12. 12
    "Haunting in Connecticut" House, Southington CT
    The story of the Snedeker family who lived in this house during the 1980's inspired the 2009 movie, The Haunting. Apparently, the home used to be a funeral parlor before the Snedekers moved in. During their time in the home, the adult Snedekers were repeatedly attacked and sexually assaulted by demonic forces while their son was terrorized by a man with long black hair. The house remains a private residence, and the current owners report that all is peaceful in the home, except for the random drive-bys from lookie-loos.
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  13. 13
    Berry Pomeroy Castle, England
    The story behind the haunting at Berry Pomeroy Castle is one of sibling rivalry gone wrong. Lady Margaret Pomeroy lived in the castle with her older sister, Lady Eleanor. Lady Eleanor was always jealous of her younger and prettier sister and one day, she decided to lock Margaret away in the dungeon and get rid of the key. Having died of thirst and starvation, the ghost of Lady Margaret now haunts the 12th century estate. If you see her, she will appear completely white and you will feel the overwhelming presence of anger and sadness flowing from her spirit.
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  14. 14
    Castle of Bardi, Italy
    During medieval times the castle was occupied by a lord and his daughter, Soleste. Soleste fell in love with the captain of the knights, Moroello, a brave young soldier who was frequently sent away from the castle on battle campaigns. It was Soleste's habit to watch from the ramparts for Moroello's return. On one such morning, Soleste saw riders approaching the castle, but they were wearing enemy colors. Fearing that her beloved had perished, Soleste threw herself off the castle walls and fell to her death. Tragically, the riders turned out to be Moroello and his men, wearing the enemy's colors in a show of braggadocio. When Moroello found out that his Soleste had killed herself, he threw himself off the wall, as well, and followed his lover into death. It is said that the young lovers roam the castle grounds together, forever caught in the cycle of their tragic and untimely deaths.
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  15. 15
    Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
    The halls of Edinburgh Castle are not for the faint of heart, for countless deaths have occurred within its walls over the centuries, and the ghosts of the restless dead wander the castle and its grounds. Notable ghosts include that of the Lady Glanis, who was burned alive for being a witch in 1537 and the headless drummer who was first sighted as early as 1650.
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  16. 16
    Leap Castle, Ireland
    This creepy Irish castle will raise the hair on your arms for sure, whether you spot the ghost of Emily, a little girl who fell to her death from the castle walls in the 17th century and her sister, Charlotte who are often seen playing together on the grounds, or the black-eyed, half human, half sheep creature that roams the castle and smells like rotting meat. Other grisly sites include the "bloody chapel" where a priest was stabbed to death b his brother's sword, and the Oubliette, a chamber where people waited to die.
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  17. 17
    Bell Witch Farm, Adams, Tennessee
    Kate Batts was convinced that her neighbor, John Bell swindled her out of some land and on her deathbed, she swore that she would haunt him and his family forever. Subsequent to her death, members of the Bell family reported being physically assaulted by unseen forces as well as the sightings of strange animals on their property, things that are just wrong, like a dog with the head of a rabbit.
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Categories : Travel & Leisure

Recent edits by: Kathy McGraw

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