Castles aren’t all just fairy tales and princesses. Creepy histories abound in these top ten haunted castles around the world. Read on for all the gory details of these haunted castles.
For centuries, castles have been foreboding fortresses, protectors of the land, and places of unimaginable bloodshed.
So it’s no wonder that so many castles around the world are haunted by their gruesome pasts. Many castles hide secrets of tortured prisoners, unjust murders, tragic demise, and even demonic portals.
These are ten of the most haunted castles found around the world and the heart wrenching stories of the ghosts that wander their halls.
World’s Most Haunted Castles
Discover some of the most haunted castles around the world!
1. Tower of London, England
The Tower of London is England’s most secure castle, having been home to kings and queens, the Crown Jewels, the Royal Mint, and countless prisoners. The history of the Tower of London is steeped in tragedy and death.
Henry VI was murdered in the Tower in 1471 while in prayer at the King’s Private Chapel. Later, the two sons of Edward IV disappeared within the Tower and were presumed murdered. The excavation at the Tower of two young skeletons in 1674 seemed to prove their murder.
Many ghosts still roam this castle today. Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, can still be seen haunting the Tower Green where she was executed. Two young ghosts thought to be the Princes in the Tower also stalk the grounds. There are even stories of a huge bear appearing and frightening visitors to death.
Take a tour of the Tower of London to see if you can find any ghosts yourself!
2. Bhangarh Fort, India
The 17th century Bhangarh Fort in the Alwar district of Rajasthan is known as the most haunted place in India. Visitors are not allowed in the fortress at night because of the ghostly activity.
The most popular legend for why this fortress is so haunted is due to black magic. It is said that a black magician fell in love with Princess Ratnavati of Bhangarh. He attempted to make her fall in love with him with a love potion. But she refused and poured the potion out on a boulder that then crushed the magician. As he was dying, he cursed the land so that no one there would ever live in peace again.
Visitors to Bhangarh Fort report a general feeling of darkness and uneasiness. Locals believe that anyone who visits the fort after dark does not return in the morning. If you visit this fortress, you may find yourself looking back over your shoulder at every turn.
Take this guided haunted tour of Bhangarh Fort to learn more about the most haunted place in India.
3. Leap Castle, Ireland
Built in the 1500s by the O’Carroll family, Leap Castle in County Offaly, Ireland has a long history of death and bloodshed. The family’s violent struggle for power led to many of its members being brutally murdered by their own brothers, cousins, and neighbors.
Ghosts roam nearly every inch of this ancient castle. People have reported seeing a strange light glowing from the Bloody Chapel at night since the mid 1600s. Inside the Bloody Chapel is an oubliette, a small chamber fitted with a trap door above and spikes below. The O’Carrolls would throw dead or dying prisoners into this chamber. During a renovation, three cartloads of skeletons were removed, awakening hundreds of spirits.
The Red Lady is one of the castle’s most famous ghostly residents. This woman is said to have been captured and raped by the O’Carrolls. She then gave birth, and the O’Carrolls killed the baby. The woman, distraught, then killed herself with a knife. Her ghost now wanders the halls, knife in hand, and haunts the room that used to be the nursery, sobbing at the foot of the children’s beds.
4. Casa Loma, Canada
Sir Henry Pellatt built Casa Loma in Toronto, Canada beginning in 1911 as his forever home with wife Lady Mary Pellatt. The endeavor ultimately led to a loss of the family fortune and the Pellatts had to abandon the home in 1924. The castle then had a short-lived career as a luxury hotel, then as a popular nightspot for a few years, and now as a tourist attraction.
Even through its mild history, Casa Loma has plenty of ghosts. The White Lady is the most commonly spotted ghost. She is believed to have been a maid who worked in the castle during the time of the influenza. Visitors and staff have seen her roaming the second floor and the basement.
Sir Henry and Lady Mary Pellatt also appear to still occupy their forever home. Lady Mary has proven elusive, though. The Canada’s Most Haunted attempted to film her room one night, locking the door behind them, only to find the tapes missing the next day. Another attempt on a digital camera showed that the camera had shut off after only ten minutes.
Tour Casa Loma to see the ghosts for yourself!
5. Castello di Montebello, Italy
Castello di Montebello in Italy is a 14th century hilltop castle that looms over the valley of the Marecchia and Uso. The castle has been the site of many battles and has a long history of mystery and hidden treasures.
Montebello is most famous for its legend of Azzurrina, a young albino girl, the daughter of the feudal lord of Montebello. Because albinism was thought to be a sign of evil, her parents tried dying her hair, but this just ended up turning her hair a slight shade of blue.
Azzurrina disappeared from the castle on the summer solstice in 1375. Her ghost returns to the castle every five years from that day. Many people visit the castle on the solstice every five years hoping to spot her.
Take this day tour to visit Castello di Montebello, along with two other castles, to search for the castle’s ghosts yourself!
6. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest fortified castles in Europe, and not surprisingly, it is one of the most haunted places in all of Scotland. The castle has a long history as a royal residence, a military garrison, and a prison.
Hundreds of staff and visitors to the castle over the years have reported feeling a ghostly presence in the castle. Much of this activity takes place in the vaults, where visitors have seen shadowy figures, had their hair pulled, felt an unwelcome presence, and felt a sudden drop in temperature.
Edinburgh Castle even has a ghostly bagpiper. When tunnels were discovered hundreds of years ago running from the castle down to Holyrood Palace, the entire length of the Royal Mile, a young boy was sent down to investigate. He played the bagpipe as he went so those above could track where the tunnels went. The bagpipes suddenly stopped halfway through, and search parties were unable to find the boy. The tunnel was blocked up, but even today people report hearing the faint sounds of an underground bagpipe.
Take a tour of Edinburgh Castle to see if you can find any ghosts yourself!
7. Himeji Castle, Japan
Himeji Castle is the largest castle in Japan. Its history dates back to 1333 and the feudal period of the country. The castle’s beautiful white exterior may look serene, but inside the walls hide some dark secrets.
According to the legend “The Dish mansion in Harima Province”, a servant named Okiku was falsely accused of losing valuable dishes. She was then thrown into a well. People claim to hear her haunting the well at night, counting the dishes. She is said to rise from the well and count to nine before shrieking and returning to the well.
Even if you are not planning on visiting at night and seeking out Okiku, you may still feel a ghostly presence as you explore the castle’s opulent rooms. This may be a castle best explored during the daytime, chills and all.
Take this private half-day tour to see Himeji Castle and do some ghost hunting of your own.
8. Castle of Good Hope, South Africa
The Castle of Good Hope in South Africa was built between 1666 and 1679. It is the oldest surviving building in the country, and as such it is a perfect place for spirits to lurk.
This castle has its share of common ghostly occurrences: disembodied voices and footsteps in the dungeon and in the hallways; a black dog that suddenly appears and then disappears; even the bell in the walled up Bell Tower, where a soldier hung himself with the bell-rope, rings on its own accord.
And Lady Anne Bernard, the colony’s first lady who lived at the castle, still appears when the castle holds important events. It seems Lady Anne is not quite ready to give up her duties of entertaining distinguished dignitaries.
Visit the Castle of Good Hope to see the ghosts for yourself!
9. Houska Castle, Czech Republic
A beautiful example of a Gothic castle, Houska Castle in the Czech Republic was built in the 13th century as an administration center for the ruler of Bohemia. Later, the castle became a home for lords and rulers. But you may be surprised to find what is hidden on the castle grounds.
The mystery begins with where Houska Castle was built – a desolate landscape without a water source. This was not a strategic location, this was not a boarder castle, and this was not a royal residence. And odder still, the castle’s defenses seemed to protect against something internal.
So what is this castle hiding? According to legend, the castle chapel was built on top of a portal to Hell. There are also corridors running beneath the castle where it is said that otherworldly and non-human things are buried. And if that weren’t enough to keep you away, there are also reports of a black hooded monk without a face that watches you if you dare to be on the grounds at night.
Take this haunted Houska Castle tour to learn more in-depth about the castle’s haunted history.
10. Burg Frankenstein, Germany
High up on the hillside overlooking the city of Darmstadt is Germany’s Burg Frankenstein. The castle was built in the 13th century for the noble family of the lords of Frankenstein. And yes, this castle and one of its residents are very likely the inspiration behind Mary Shelley’s famous novel Frankenstein.
In the 17th century, Johann Conrad Dippel was born in the castle and became its alchemist. He was after the secret to immortality, and he experimented with animal remains and created what he called an “elixir of life.” Though there is no evidence that Dippel tried to create a monster out of human parts, he was very interested in human anatomy and believed one could transfer a soul from one body to another.
If that is not enough to draw you to the spooky ruins of this haunted castle, maybe an annual Halloween celebration will be. In the 1970s, U.S. soldiers stationed at a nearby military base took their Halloween party to Burg Frankenstein with its panoramic restaurant and observation deck. This has grown into one of the largest Halloween celebrations in Germany and in all of Europe.
Want More Haunted Travels?
Check out these other spooky locations around the world:
- 13 Chillingly Haunted Spots in San Antonio, Texas
- Roswell Ghost Tour Review: Explore Roswell, Georgia’s Dark History
- 13 Most Haunted Places in Atlanta, Georgia
- 7 Spooky and Haunted Spots in Huntsville, Alabama
- 13 Abandoned Places Around the World You Can Actually Tour
- Ghosts of Marietta Review: Haunted Walking Tour of Marietta, Georgia
- 10 Creepy Haunted Places in Dahlonega, Georgia
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Have you visited any of these terrifyingly haunted castles around the world? Let me know in the comments!