More often than not, buildings, islands, forests, etc. are creepy simply because they look the part and have a terrifying backstory. For instance, the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town imprisoned slaves over 150 years ago, and terrible stories of torture and execution emerged. An article posted on a South African news website back in 2001 stated that security officers at the castle were afraid to do their rounds because they kept hearing high-pitched screams, disembodied voices, and ghostly footsteps.
Stories like these keep the interested coming. The Castle of Good Hope is part of Cape Town’s ghost tour, and people line up to experience the creepiness for themselves. But what exactly is it that makes a place creepy? Is it the (true) stories of historic incidents? Or is it because knowing what happened there makes the atmosphere change? Either way, places like those below tend to give just about everyone, well, the creeps.
10 Takakanonuma Greenland Amusement Park
While Japan is known for cool things such as samurai swords, festivals, amazing food, and technology, it is also known for terrible things. Just think dolphin slaughter and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. If that wasn’t enough, the country is often the target of terrifying natural disasters, such as massive earthquakes and tsunamis.
Inevitably, the island also has quite a few creepy tales surrounding it. Just one of these is the Takakanonuma Greenland amusement park in Fukushima, which was abandoned in the 1970s after being operational for only two years. Rumor has it that several people lost their lives on the rides, while others maintain that ticket sales were very low due to a lack of interest.
The park reopened in 1986, but it closed down again in 1999. It now lies abandoned in a forest. It seems that nearly every picture taken of this park shows the place enshrouded in a thick mist, making it look even more creepy. Photos also show how the forest is slowly reclaiming its territory by growing up and over the remains of the roller coasters and other rides.
The spookiest thing about the place, however, is that officially, it never even existed. It’s not listed on maps, and there is no official information to be found about it anywhere.
9 Cinco Saltos
The ghosts haunting the town of Cinco Saltos, Rio Negro, Argentina, are said to have their origins in black magic. One of the tales has it that a baby drowned in the Pellegrini Lake near Bajo Negro (where witchcraft is said to be performed). It is alleged that the ghost of the poor infant still haunts the lake. Visitors to the area have reported hearing the cries of a child, but none of them have been able to trace the source of the sound.
Stories of groups of people in black robes performing strange rituals have also made the rounds, while others have reported seeing UFOs in the area. In 2009, the intact corpse of a girl was found inside a cemetery. She had never been buried; her body was simply stuffed into a box and left inside an ossuary back in the 1930s. Naturally, after this discovery was made public, several people reported seeing a specter floating around in the cemetery.
8 Dragsholm Castle
Yet another castle that gives people the heebie-jeebies is Dragsholm Castle in Zealand, Denmark. Dragsholm is thought to be haunted by around 100 spirits. One of these used to be a royal named James Hepburn, fourth earl of Bothwell, who was imprisoned in this castle for five years until he passed away in 1576 or 1578. Being in solitary confinement drove him insane before his death. His ghost can apparently be seen riding into the castle’s courtyard on his horse.
Inevitably, there are also tales of a Grey Lady and a White Lady haunting the castle. The White Lady’s story is somewhat more creepy. She was the daughter of one of the former owners of the castle. Falling in love with a peasant or commoner was unacceptable in those days, but that is exactly what the White Lady did. Her father was so upset by this turn of events that he killed her and immersed her body inside a wall.
Today, the White Lady haunts the castle, most likely because she is unable to escape her eternal prison. It is said that when the walls of the castle were torn open in the 1930s during a plumbing job, a skeleton in a white dress was discovered inside.
Nyai Roro Kidul was the daughter of King Prabu Silwangi and Princess Kadita. She became the legend known as the Princess of the South Sea (the Indian Ocean) in Indonesia, after committing suicide by jumping off a cliff and landing in the ocean, where she subsequently drowned. Other versions of the story say that she didn’t drown but was magically transformed in a goddess of the ocean. It is said that Kidul haunts this particular part of the sea. If someone goes swimming here (wearing the princess’s color of choice: green), she will pull them under the water and drown them.
It is also believed that Kidul haunts Room 308 at the Samudra Beach Hotel in Pelabuhanratu (aka Pelabuhan Ratu). It is said that Sukarno, Indonesia’s first president, gave the instruction to leave this particular hotel room open for her spirit to inhabit. The room has been turned into a shrine for the Princess of the South Sea, sporting green furniture, a green wardrobe, and several portraits of Kidul.
6 Mount Everest
Mount Everest is a majestic example of nature at its finest. It is also the resting place of Andrew Irvine, a climber who died in 1924 trying to reach the summit, along with many others with the same goal in mind. If you ever have the inclination to climb the mountain, you might just encounter the spirit of Irvine or one of about 200 others. You’ll definitely encounter the frozen bodies of climbers. One person described the experience of seeing all the bodies on the mountain as like being in a morgue.
One tragic story is that of the unidentified corpse believed to be Tsewang Paljor, an Indian climber who lost his life on the mountain in 1996. He eventually became known as Green Boots, due to the color of the boots still on his feet. Climbers using the north side of the mountain for their expeditions all encounter Green Boots on their way up. Green Boots was reported missing in 2014 but was rediscovered in 2017.
5 Quinta Da Juncosa
Quinta da Juncosa in Penafiel, Portugal, is an old farmhouse believed to be haunted by the Baron of Lages. The Baron was suspicious of his wife’s activities and became convinced that she was cheating on him. As a punishment, he decided to tie her to a horse. He then frightened the horse, causing it to drag his wife across the ground in a mad dash to get away. She died of her injuries.
Tragically, the Baron found out afterward that his wife did not, in fact, cheat on him. Devastated, he then killed his children and committed suicide. The Baron’s tragic figure is reportedly often seen at Quinta da Juncosa. Apparently, his guilty conscience keeps him from crossing over to the other side. His wife’s ghost has also been spied on the grounds, seemingly unable to find rest for her soul.
4 Akershus Fortress
Akershus Festning, also known as Akershus Castle, is a medieval fortress that was built around 1300. It consists of dungeons, banquet halls, and staterooms and even includes a chapel. The fortress was also used as a prison at some point.
Akershus has the distinction of being known as the most haunted place in Norway, having seven royals buried on the premises. However, it is the story of a demon dog guarding the place that often gets the most attention. It is said that a dog was buried alive at the entrance of the fortress in order to become an angry demon dog after it eventually died. The reasoning was that the demon dog would protect the area. The dog became exactly that, scaring the pants off the soldiers guarding the fort every time it made its presence known.
Several visitors to the fortress in modern times have also reported seeing the ghost of Mantelgeisten, a female in a full-length robe who has no face.
3 Hellingly Hospital
The East Sussex County Asylum was opened in 1903 as an alternative to the overcrowded Haywards Heat Asylum. It was eventually renamed Hellingly Hospital and became famous for all the wrong reasons, namely the extremely cruel treatment of its patients. They were subjected to painful treatments and suffered several outbreaks of unpleasant diseases because of a lack of basic health and safety rules.
The hospital was abandoned in 1994 and soon became the target of ghost hunters both experienced and inexperienced. Reports emerged of loud footsteps sounding up in the empty asylum, unexplained feelings of illness, strange mist filling up rooms, voices crying and shouting in pain, and even time slips. Hellingly was eventually demolished completely to make room for a new housing project, and the ghost reports seem to have died down shortly after.
2 The Reina Sofia Museum And The University Of Cordova
The Reina Sofia museum in Madrid (pictured above) started out as a hospital back in the 17th century. During that time, patients were cared for by churchgoers and religious leaders. In modern times, some tourists have reported seeing the ghosts of nuns wandering the halls of the museum, while others say that they hear voices while no one else is around. Sometimes, the elevators move by themselves, with no one near the control buttons.
The museum isn’t the only creepy place in Spain. At the University of Cordova in Andalusia, the older part of one of the buildings is reportedly haunted by a host of the undead, including the ghosts of women who lost their lives while giving birth to their children, teachers who died in the building, and the ghost of a grumpy soldier who threatens murder to those who disturb him.
1 Calcasieu Parish Courthouse
On November 28, 1942, Toni Jo Henry became the only woman to be executed by means of the electric chair in Louisiana. She had broken her husband out of jail, and together with another accomplice, they robbed, tortured, and murdered Joseph P. Calloway. They hid his body in a haystack in the eastern part of Calcasieu Parish. Henry received the death sentence after three trials. Before her execution, she spoke with her husband one last time. On her final day, she seemed jovial, only complaining when they cut off her hair.
Visitors and employees of the Calcasieu Parish courthouse are convinced that Henry’s spirit is haunting the place. They have reported unexplained electrical malfunctions, the smell of hair burning mixed with cheap perfume, equipment starting up by itself, as well as flickering lights and the sense that someone was watching them when no one else was around. Some have even reported hearing the voice of a woman in the distance, a door locking by itself, and screams echoing through a stair landing.
Estelle lives in Gauteng, SA.