1) The Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, Australia
(National Library of Australia/Wikimedia Commons)
Abandoned asylums, for my money, are the creepiest places ever, and Australia has a good one. The Beechworth 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.
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.
3) The Bhanghar Fort, India
If you’re not scared yet, head over to India, where you’ll find the Bhanghar Fort in the Alwar district of Rajasthan. The fort was built in 1573 and remains today a ruin of several temples, palaces, and smaller living units.
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 continnue to haunt the fort. The Archaeological Survey of India, which manages the site, forbids anyone from staying at the fort after dark.
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, of course.
It’s an all around terrifying place.
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.