“True are the nightmares of a person that fears. Safe are the bodies of the silent world.” Humans always seek a way to feel the sudden rush of adrenaline. Roller coaster rides, near death experiences, death defying escapes; all these are some of the numerous attempts made by humans to barrel along the fear in them. And similar to these attempts are the numerous sapient endeavours to contact the unknown, the world of spirits and ghosts, the paranormal. Horror movies, Ouija boards, ghost hunters, documentaries and found footages, poltergeist recordings; all these point to the voluminous human ventures to satiate their epinephrine appetite. When one talks of ghosts and spirits then the mention of haunted places is as inevitable as the very goose bumps. Every one of us seems to have knowledge of at least one haunted place or haunted house; as kids there certainly used to be one in our very own neighbourhood. These are the places where the roving souls of the night dawdle, apparitions with a very pale perfume, eerie voices that seem to manifest themselves as the very root of our fear. The following list takes a look at the various places, which through years of experience and unnerving reputation, have earned the creepiness to be termed the most haunted.
1. Changi Beach, Singapore
Changi Beach served as a popular killing ground for the Japanese during the Second World War. Thousands of Chinese were tortured and killed during the operation as they were suspected of being anti-Japanese. Strange crying and screaming are reported by people. The heads of the Chinese dead bodies are sometimes seen levitating everywhere and headless bodies walk around the beach. The description itself is quite direful. The scariest thing is that the ghosts leave blood stains. During nights people observe dug holes that appear as if they were used for burying bodies. The eastern Asian countries are home to various other creepy phenomena as well such as the Aokigahara forest in Japan but the Changi Beach tops the list in terms of gruesomeness and being macabre.
2. Screaming Tunnel, Niagara Falls, Canada
The haunting of the Screaming Tunnel is one of Niagara Falls’ most famous and persistent fables. Located in Canada, the tunnel is famous for the ghost of a girl. According to a local legend, a girl was set afire in the tunnel by her father when he lost the custody of his children to his wife. Another interesting version of the story tells of a young girl who was raped inside the tunnel and her body burned to cover the evidence. All these stories have given birth to the myth that if you stand in the middle of the dark tunnel at midnight and light a match, the flame will go out and a girl’s screams will be heard. Who would do something in such a shuddersome place?
3. The Bhangarh Fort, Rajasthan, India
Bhangarh Fort is on the way from Jaipur to Alwar in Rajasthan, India. It is actually the only historic site in India without an office of the Archaeological Survey of India. There is a board installed by the Government stating “Staying after sunset is strictly prohibited”. This is called the most haunted place in India and has been featured on various Indian travel shows. According to a legend, Singhia, a black magic tantrik cursed the palace that everybody would die in the palace and their souls will stay there for centuries without rebirth. Another interesting point is, all the houses in this area are without roofs because whenever a house is built with roof, the roof collapses. People who visit the fort experience anxiety and restlessness. The fort has also been featured on the NDTV Good Times Show “India’s Most Haunted” hosted by Rocky and Mayur and by the look on their faces during the investigation it certainly seemed that something was sinister about the place.
4. The Myrtles Plantation, Louisiana, United States
This place has been touted as “one of America’s most haunted houses”. It is reported that 10 murders occurred in the house but historically, the murder of William Winters is the only one that has been recorded. The most well known ghost in the Myrtles Plantation is that of a slave known as Chloe. According to one story, she was pressurised by her owner into being his mistress. Both were caught by the owner’s wife and Chloe was caught listening through keyholes as to what would happen to her. As a punishment for eavesdropping they chopped one of her ear off. Numerous sightings of a girl with a blood daubed scarf wrapped around her missing ear have been reported by those visiting the house.
5. Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, United States
Almost all of us who have seen Hollywood movies remember seeing at least one penitentiary in any movie about gangsters or criminals. Remember Robert De Niro as Al Capone in the gangster movie The Untouchables. Well this is the one where Al Capone was imprisoned. This penitentiary was opened in 1928 in the Eastern United States was the first place to use solitary confinement as a form of punishment. Pure evil by its very description! In a documentary called “The Most Haunted”, the crew went live to the penitentiary. A part of the crew went to Al Capone’s cell and that is where they went wrong. Two people passed out while filming and investigating the prison. The crew even claimed to have contacted the spirits but there was no hard evidence to justify their claims.
6. The Tower of London, London, England
Her Majesty’s Royal Palace along with the Fortress of The Tower of London, commonly known as the Tower of London is a historical monument in central London on the North Bank of Thames. The tower is said to be haunted by the ghost of Ann Boleyn, one of Henry VIII’s wives, who was beheaded in the tower in the year 1536. Just imagine a cadaverous lady with her own head. Somewhat like Nearly Headless Nick from Harry Potter. Ghastly! She has been seen on numerous occasions carrying her own head in the tower. Also the ghosts of two young boys playing in the alleys and hallways have also been seen in the tower.
7. Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, United States
Sanatoriums and hospitals have always been eerie place for me. The peculiar smell of iodoform and other disinfectants, the creepy silence in the long halls, the morgue; in short, hospitals are really creepy places. The Waverly Hill Sanatorium opened in 1910 for the treatment of tuberculosis patients. It has been featured on the FOX Family Channel’s Scariest Places On Earth as well as on VH1’s Celebrity Paranormal Project. The sanatorium has been the sight of various paranormal occurrences. Ghoulish sound recordings, isolated cold spots and mysterious shadows are a few of the many haunting. Screams have also been heard in the empty hallways as well as fleeting apparitions have been seen disappearing into the thin air. A macabre infirmary! Scary!
8. The Queen Mary, California, United States
RMS Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner that sailed in the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967 for Cunard Liner and was built by John Browne & Company. In 1967 the ship sailed to the port of California where she remains permanently docked. The engine and boilers have been removed and the entire ship has been refurnished to serve as a hotel. Ever since its docking the ship has become famous for its haunting. The most haunted area of the ship is said to be the engine room where a 17-year-old sailor was crushed to death trying to save himself from a fire. People have claimed to hear banging on pipes in the erstwhile engine room. The front desk of the hotel seems to be haunted by the apparition of a white lady and ghosts of children are said to haunt the ship’s pool area. Just imagine taking a dip in the pool and opening your eyes to little kid staring right at you. That would certainly scare the Christ out of you! The ship has been featured in an article, “10 Most Haunted Places in America” by the Times Magazine in 2008. Interestingly, ever since the rumours about the ghost got out, the hotel business has increased manifolds.
9. The White House, Washington DC, United States
The home of the president of the United States is also the home for various haunting and that too, the famous ones. The 9th U.S. President, William Henry Harrison is heard ferreting out around in the attic of the White House. President Andrew Jackson has been seen in his White House bedroom in the form of apparitions and the ghost of First Lady Abigail Adams has been seen floating through one of the White House hallways. The most famous ghost is said to be Abraham Lincoln’s ghost that has been frequently sighted. Eleanor Roosevelt once said that she felt Lincoln watching her while she worked in the Lincoln Bedroom. Also during Roosevelt administration, a young clerk claimed to have actually seen the ghost of Abraham Lincoln sitting on a bed pulling off his shoes. A guest at the White House claimed to have woken up in the middle of the night only to find the apparition of a face staring back at her from the top.
10. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
This fort dominates the skyline of the city and is reputed to be Scotland’s most haunted places. The human habitation of this site dates back to the 9th century and the preserved parts of the fort now-a-days services as the most paid tourist attraction in the country. But despite such embellished environment this place remains the most haunted spot in Scotland and the city itself has often been called the most haunted city in all of Europe because of the very reason that this castle houses itself in this city. On various occasions, tourists have reported seeing a phantom piper, a headless drummer and colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War. It is also speculated that the spirit of a dog also haunts the castle. I, myself, remember watching the episode of Discovery Kids’ show ‘Truth or Scare’ featuring the Edinburgh Castle and being scared to my very core. The episode featured the pied piper whose finger were apparently chopped off to prevent him from playing the pipe and was buried within the castle. Years later explorers found a skeleton buried in the castle whose fingers were actually missing. Although a strong evidence is absent but missing fingers strengthened the legend of the pied piper.