10) Château de Châteaubriant, France
We’ll end with another story of a woman locked in a castle. This one comes from
France. The Château de Châteaubriant was built in the 11th century. The haunting
dates to the 16th century, and the story of Jean de Laval and his wife Françoise de
Foix. King Francis I asked de Laval to assist him at court, and Françoise joined him
there, becoming the lady in waiting to the queen. She also became King Francis’
mistress. She died on Oct. 16, 1537 under mysterious circumstances. It was rumored
that de Laval had learned of her affair and locked her in a room until he could poison
her. Now, every year, on Oct. 16, Françoise walks the halls of the Château.
9) 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.
8) Dragsholm Slot, Denmark
Back to haunted castles: Dragsholm Slot , or Dragsholm Castle in
Denmark. The original castle was built in 1215. In the 16th and 17th
century, parts of it were used to house prisoners of noble or
ecclesiastical rank. It was rebuilt in a Baroque style after 1694, and is
thought to house at least three ghosts: a grey lady, a white lady, and
the ghost of one its prisoners, James Hepburn, the 4th Earl of Both
7) 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.
6) Hell Fire Club on Montpelier Hill, Ireland
The Hell Fire Club on Montpelier Hill was built as a hunting lodge in 1725 and reportedly
became a gathering place for a small group of Dublin elites who met for debauchery and devil
Tales of animal sacrifice, black masses, cloven-hoofed men, and murder surround the
structure. It’s another popular destination for tourists and ghost tours.
5) 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.
4) Aokigahara, Japan
If you’ve ever visited this haunted place, you’re way braver than I am. 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,
3) The Bhanghar Fort, India
According to legend, the fort became cursed when a wizard who lived in the town fell in love
with the princess of Banghar. Drawing on his skills in black magic, rather than on his
interpersonal skills, he tried to woo the princess with a bowl of magic potion. It didn’t work.
She figured out the play and threw the bowl against a large boulder. The boulder was
disturbed enough to start rolling, and it rolled right in the path of the wizard. As the wizard
faced down the boulder, he cursed the town, saying that it would be destroyed and become
uninhabitable. He was crushed to death. Soon after, the town was invaded and pillaged. Most
of its inhabitants, including the princess, were killed. Those who lived abandoned the fort.
The wizard’s curse remains, of course, and the ghosts of those killed continue to haunt the
fort. The Archaeological Survey of India, which manages the site, forbids anyone from staying
at the fort after dark.
2) The Princess Theatre, Australia
Elsewhere in Australia, you’ll find the Princess Theatre, which is haunted by a ghost
named Frederici. According to lore, Frederick Baker, or “Frederici,” was an Italian
baritone singer who died on stage in 1888. He was finishing a performance as
Mephistopheles in Faust when a trapdoor dropped beneath his feet and he fell
beneath the stage, dying from a heart attack. For many years, the Princess Theater
saved an open seat for Frederic at every opening-night performance.
1) The Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, Australia
Abandoned asylums, for my money, are the creepiest places ever, and Australia has a
good one. The Beech worth Lunatic Asylum — originally called Mayday Hills Lunatic
Asylum — is located in Victoria, Australia. It served as a mental hospital from 1867
until 1995. At its highest capacity, 1,200 patients lived there. About 9,000 patients
died in its 130-year history, and there’s little doubt those souls are haunting it this
very day. Visitors can take a nighttime ghost tour, to which I say, no thank you.