With just a week until Hallowe’en, take our tour of haunted houses, ghost towns and macabre attractions around the world.
Often described as the most haunted village in Britain, Pluckley – near Ashford in Kent – is said to be frequented by at least a dozen ghosts. Ghoulish attractions include Fright Corner, where a highwayman met his untimely demise, and the Screaming Woods, where it is rumoured you can still hear the chilling cries of the dead. Many of Pluckley’s residents have become fed up with its ghoulish reputation, however, and the hordes of ghost-hunters that flock here every Hallowe’en.
The Island of the Dolls, Mexico
Xochimilco is a district of Mexico City that contains an extensive system of canals and artificial islands, or chinampas, the most famous of which belonged to a man named Julian Santana Barrera. After he discovered the body of a dead girl in a nearby canal, he began collecting discarded dolls and doll parts, which he would hang from the trees on his island in an attempt to ward off evil spirits. Mr Barrera died in 2001, but the dolls remain, and the creepy island can be visited by boat.
Hashima Island, Japan
Found around 15km from Nagasaki, Hashima was used as a coal mining facility between 1887 and 1974, with its population reaching a peak of 5,259 people in 1959, or 216,264 per square mile. After petroleum replaced coal throughout Japan in the 1960s, Hashima was abandoned, and is now known as “Ghost Island”. A small portion of the island was reopened to tourists in 2009, and sightseeing boat trips often stop here.
Tower of London
London’s imposing stone tower is, according to legend, haunted by dozens of regal souls, many of whom met their end within its grey walls. They include Thomas Becket, whose ghost has reportedly been sighted here; Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury (the Princes in the Tower), who were probably murdered here in 1483; Anne Boleyn, beheaded at Tower Green in 1536; and Catherine Howard, who was executed six years later.
The Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
The Hill of Crosses is a Catholic pilgrimage site that was established in the 1830s. It is thought to contain at least 100,000 crosses and giant crucifixes, and was been described by Pope John Paul II as a place for hope, peace and love. You wouldn’t want to spend the night here alone, however.
This forest at the base of Mount Fuji is like something out of The Blair Witch Project. It has an historic association with demons in Japanese mythology, and is the second most popular place in the world for suicides, after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. More than 50 people took their own lives here in 2010 alone, and an annual body hunt is undertaken by volunteers. The forest is also noted for its quietness, thanks to the wind-blocking density of the trees. Hikers are advised to use plastic tape to mark their route and avoid getting lost.
This underground ossuary contains the remains of some six million people. Its countless caverns and tunnels extend for 280km beneath the city and were used by the French Resistance during the Second World War. They are open to tourists in search of the macabre – an entrance can be found at Place Denfert Rochereau. Similar catacombs can also be found in Rome and Palermo.
One of Scotland’s most haunted sites, Edinburgh Castle is said to be home to a phantom piper, a headless drummer and a spectral dog. In 2001, the castle vaults and chambers were subjected to a rigorous 10-day scientific survey, using night-vision equipment, digital cameras, thermal imaging, and 240 carefully-screened volunteers. Nearly half of those who took part reported ghost sightings and spooky phenomena, including sudden drops in temperature and the sensation of unseen presences tugging at their clothes.
There is something undeniably disconcerting about a ghost town, and it’s not just the name. Prypiat, within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, was founded in 1970 to house workers at the doomed power plant, and was subsequently abandoned in 1986 after the disaster.
via – telegraph