Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Monday, November 3, 2008

Top 10 Haunted Places — The most haunted places on the planet.

1) The Amityville House

Paul Hawthorne / Getty

The house on 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, N.Y., an upscale Long Island suburb, was the site of a brutal family murder in which 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed his parents and four younger siblings on November 14, 1974. But much of the legend surrounding the home stems from the family who moved in a little over year after the murders. George and Kathy Lutz and their four children, knowing about the tragic events that had taken place, agreed to see the property — including a 4,000 square foot house, waterfront access, a boathouse, heated swimming pool, garage and full basement — and eventually bought it.

"As soon As Kathy had walked into the house, she had a smile on her face that just beamed. That hadn't happened in all the previous homes we looked at," George Lutz recalled later, describing the events at Amityville at a paranormal convention. "I knew from the look on her face, that this was to be our dream home." Soon after moving in, though, things changed dramatically. Even after having the place blessed by a priest at the urging of a friend, George and Kathy said they began experiencing strange things: banging noises, footsteps untraceable to any family member's movements, mysterious and pervasive odors, green jello-like substances leaking from walls, toilet water turning back, swarms of houseflies and eyes peering in from outside the windows. Even the family's behavior began to change: George was often sick, went days without bathing and lost weight while Kathy had constant nightmares. The children began to fight with each other.

After the disturbances worsened, the Lutzes decided to leave the house temporarily. But the night in which they were to depart turned out to be their last night there. Although George Lutz is reluctant to explain the full details of that night, he once said that "the hardest thing for those people [who experience a haunting] is the loss of being able to communicate with anyone else about it...It's not talked about, it's not understood...and when it happens to you, you become an alien to everyone else." The Lutzes' entire account was later dismissed as a fabrication by a paranormal investigator, the late Dr. Stephen Kaplan. Ultimately, Kaplan said, George's stories of haunting were "too wide-ranging" and probably stemmed from a pre-existing obsession with the paranormal.

2) Eastern State Penitentiary

Matt Rourke / AP

Built in 1829 with castle-like walls and imposing guard towers, Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Penn. was the first prison to institute solitary confinement. Prisoners lived alone, ate alone, and even exercised alone in individual yards. When an inmate left his cell, a guard covered his head with a hood so that he remained in confinement. Although the solitary system was quickly discarded due to overcrowding, Eastern State is widely believed to have caused mental illness among its prisoners. It operated as a regular prison from 1913 until it closed in 1970, during which time it housed both Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton. The prison was abandoned in 1971, and rumors of strange happenings have plagued the stone penitentiary ever since. Visitors to the prison—and there are many, for Eastern State is now a museum and Halloween haunted house—report footsteps in the yards, the sound of someone pacing in the cells, eerie noises, and lonely wails that drift through the cold, dark corridors. Cell Block 12 is famous for its disembodied laughter, and one guard tower appears, on some nights, to be occupied by a shadowy figure keeping watch over the empty prison.

3) Edinburgh Castle

David Sanger / Getty

With some 900 years of history behind it, it would almost be a surprise if Edinburgh Castle wasn't one of Scotland's most haunted sites. Since its construction as a military fortress in the early 12th century, the castle has witnessed surprise attacks, executions, and even a brief capture by the English. Reincarnated as a tourist attraction, Edinburgh Castle now offers haunted tours of its dungeons, which once hosted the likes of Duke Alexander Stewart of Albany (who escaped, stabbing his guards to death and then burning their bodies), Lady Janet Douglas of Glamis (accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake), and an unnamed piper who once wandered down one of the castle's underground passages and never returned.

In 2001, Edinburgh Castle became the site of the one of the largest paranormal investigations in history. A team of nine researchers and over 200 members of the public explored the castle's forgotten chambers and secret passages for signs of ghostly happenings. The public was not told which areas of the castle were rumored to be haunted and which were not. 51% of participants in haunted areas reported paranormal experiences, while only 35% did so in the non-haunted areas. Shadowy figures, sudden drops in temperature and the feeling of something tugging on your clothes are all everyday experiences in Edinburgh.

If the castle's paranormal activity isn't enough, Edinburgh also boasts the Mary Kings Close, an underground area of the city in which victims of the Black Plague were quarantined and left to die.

4) Gettysburg Battlefield

The battle of Gettysburg lasted for three days and was one of the bloodiest in American history; some 50,000 young men died in the conflict. With so many young men killed so violently, many believe the site is haunted by fallen soldiers unable to accept their untimely fate. These restless souls wander the Pennsylvania field, searching for their rifles and comrades, unaware that the battle is over.

5) The Myrtles Plantation

Robert Holmes / Corbis

This estate in St. Francisville, La., built in 1796 by General David Bradford, is considered one of America's most haunted locales. Some say it has witnessed as many as ten murders. Though it allegedly hosts several ghosts, one of the most popular tales concerns a former slave named Chloe, who, as legend goes, had her ear chopped off by her master for eavesdropping. She allegedly sought revenge by poisoning a birthday cake, which killed two of the slave master's daughters (their spirits are also said to haunt the plantation). According to the story, Chloe was hung by fellow slaves, and lingers around the plantation, her severed ear concealed by a turban.

6) The Queen Mary

A former luxury ocean liner and war ship nicknamed the "Grey Ghost," the Queen Mary was purchased by the city of Long Beach in 1967, transformed into a hotel, and became a popular tourist attraction (a meal and a guided walk around the ship's paranormal hot spots can run up to $109). Among the ghosts reportedly still hanging around are a sailor who died in the ship's engine room, a "lady in white," and children who drowned in the ship's pool.

7) The Tower of London

Hulton Archive / Getty

Erected by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, this former political prison and place of execution has long been viewed as one of the most haunted buildings in the British Isles. Among the ghosts flitting through the fortress are the spirits of Anne Boleyn, the wife of Henry VIII, who was beheaded in 1536; Lady Jane Grey, who was spotted by a guardsman on Feb. 12, 1957, on the 403rd anniversary of her death; and Sir Walter Raleigh. The first ghost allegedly spotted in the building was Thomas Beckett's, in the 13th century.

8) The Whaley House

Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune / ZUMA

Even hardened government skeptics apparently couldn't refute the evidence that this home in San Diego's Old Town neighborhood harbors spirits: in the 1960s, the U.S. Commerce Department classified the Whaley House as haunted. The Travel Channel has also dubbed it America's most supernatural home (obviously, they're experts). Its earliest ghost was "Yankee" Jim Robinson, who was hanged on the site in 1852. When James Whaley built the house — which in the mid-19th century served as a granary, courthouse and general store — in 1857, he claimed to hear Robinson padding loudly through the halls. Whaley and his wife are also said to inhabit the house, announcing their presence with cigar smoke and perfume. Visitors have also reported sightings of a startlingly lifelike young girl in a long dress lounging in the dining room.

9) The White House

America's most famous residence is also allegedly one of its most haunted. According to lore, some of its inhabitants felt such ties to the seat of the American power that they chose to linger long after their deaths. If you believe the whispers, the ghost of Abigail Adams (wife of John) does laundry in the East Room, while Dolley Madison's spirit likes to lurk around the Rose Garden—and, of course, the Lincoln Bedroom may be the site of visits from Honest Abe.

10) The Winchester House

If this "mystery house" isn't actually haunted— and the U.S. Department of Commerce has certified that it is— it's still one of the spookier construction projects in history. After the death of her husband and child, Sarah Winchester (the wife of the rifle-maker's son) consulted a seer who proclaimed her family had been killed by the ghosts of those who died of bullets from her family's guns. The seer suggested that only perpetual construction on the family's mansion could mollify these spirits. So that's what Sarah Winchester ordered. Workmen labored on the property every hour of every day for 38 years. The 160-room estate, built entirely without the aid of blueprints, is truly bizarre: some of the creepier features are staircases to nowhere, doors that open onto brick walls or ten-foot drops, and a window with an etched-glass spider-web motif.