5. Paris Catacombs
The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries in Paris, France, which hold the remains of more than six million people in a small part of a tunnel network originally built to consolidate Paris’ ancient stone mines. There became an urgent need in Paris in the 1780s to relieve the mass grave at Saint Innocents Cemetery, which had been collecting bodies since the year of 1130, when a basement wall of an adjacent property collapsed under the weight of the bodies and decomposed corpses flooded into the basement. Three mine networks had previously existed in Paris for limestone used in building construction and gypsum used in plaster of Paris. The use of the old mines as an ossuary coincided with the consolidation of the mine network as mine collapses began occurring throughout the city.
The transfer of the remains began after the blessing and consecration of the site on April 7th 1786, and it continued until 1788, always at nightfall and following a ceremony whereby a procession of priests sang the service for the dead along the route taken by the carts loaded with bones, which were covered by a black veil. Then, until 1814, the site received the remains from all the cemeteries of Paris.
Exploring the mines is prohibited by the prefecture and penalized with large fines. Despite restrictions, Paris’ former mines are frequently toured by urban explorers, popularly known as cataphiles.It’s said that those who venture into the catacombs after midnight hear the walls talking to them, urging them to wander off into the maze. While disembodied voices lure adventurers farther into the tunnels, victims go mad and suffer a slow and agonizing death.
In 2010, cave explorers claimed to have recovered video footage that they stated showed a man wandering, lost, through the catacombs until he finally panicked, dropped the camera, and ran off into the darkness, never to be seen again. The found footage is said to have inspired the popular horror movie As Above, So Below (2014).
Popular rumors of the catacombs included cultists stealing bodies from morgues to perform rituals within the catacombs and adding their remains to the plethora of human bones.
The oldest ghost story of the Paris catacombs, beginning in 1793, belongs to Philibert Aspairt, doorkeeper of the Val-de-Grâce hospital who entered through a passage in the hospital with the intent to look for the famous Chartreuse liquor stocked in the cellar of a convent. He entered with only a single candle and was not seen again for 11 years. Presumably, his candle went out and became lost in the darkness alone wandering the galleries of bones before collapsing and succumbing to death. He was finally found in 1804, identified by his Val-de-Grâce ring and the bottle of alcohol he carried. He was buried at the place in which he was found and is now celebrated as the Protector of the Cataphiles. Each November 3rd, the date on which he ventured into the catacombs, it is said his ghost haunts the complex.
On his tomb, one can read this epitaph:
THE MEMORY OF PHILIBERT ASPAIRT
LOST IN THIS QUARRY ON NOVEMBER 3RD 1793
FOUND ELEVEN YEARS LATER
AND BURIED AT THE SAME PLACE
ON APRIL 30TH 1804
4. Ohio State Reformatory
The haunted Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, served as a state correctional facility for nearly a hundred years, with over 154,000 prisoners passing through its gates, but beginning in 1896 with only 150 prisoners. The site was originally a Civil War training camp in 1861, and construction on the prison began in 1886, continuing through 1910. The first prisoners housed were tasked with helping to build the facility that would keep them imprisoned. The East Cell Block remains the largest free standing steel cell block in the world at six tiers high.
From 1935 until 1959 Arthur Lewis Glattke was the Superintendent. His wife, Helen, died of pneumonia at the facility in 1950, three days after an accident in which a handgun went off when she reached into a jewelry box in the family’s quarters. Her ghost, wearing rose perfume, is said to haunt the administrative wing. Nine years later, Glattke, himself, died of a heart attack in his office. Over 200 people died at the Ohio State Reformatory, including two guards who were killed during escape attempts.
Paranormal activity at the prison includes The Chair Room, named after the sole piece of furniture in it. It’s said the chair can be heard scraping around on the floor when no one is in the room, and one paranormal investigator claims to have received scratches while sitting in the chair.
The library at Ohio State Reformatory was also once the infirmary, and used for a time as a tuberculosis overflow facility, and it’s rumored to be haunted by a nurse as well as sick inmates who died there.
One of the spirits in the east cell block belonged to a man who set himself on fire in his cell. He doused himself with chemicals from the prison furniture workshop and lit a match. By the time the guards got to him, it was too late, and his skin was already falling off in chunks. He haunts the cell where he died and sometimes shows himself to visitors.
Poveglia is a small island located between Venice and Lido in the Venetian Lagoon of northern Italy which became a permanent confinement station for the ill in 1805 until 1814. 100 years later, the island was again used as a quarantine station, and in 1922 it was converted to an asylum for the mentally ill and for long term care. Allegedly, one of the doctors began performing gruesome experiments on mental patients and later threw himself from the tower, the last remnant of a 12th Century church destroyed by Napoleon, after claiming he was being terrorized by ghosts. Some say he jumped of his own accord while others say angry spirits pushed him over the edge. Yet another story states that he initially survived the fall and a nurse witnessed a ghostly mist choke him to death on the ground.
The facility eventually closed in 1968, and the island became abandoned.
In earlier history, octagonal battlements were built in the 14th Century to repel Genoese invaders, and then later used by English soldiers during the Napoleonic wars where prisoners were taken ashore and burned. Poveglia is believed to contain more than one plague pit, a mass grave for disease victims, and it’s estimated that over 100,000 people died on the island over the centuries. During the worst outbreaks, Poveglia and the surrounding islands were quickly overrun with the dead and dying, who were hastily shoveled into grave pits, and when those were full, burned.
Today, the buildings on the island are left to deteriorate as access is difficult. Those who manage to slip onto Poveglia have reported the overwhelming feeling of being watched, disembodied screams and moans are heard throughout, and the stench of decaying flesh still wafts through the air. Some have experienced unseen entities pushing them into walls, and yet others have claimed to have seen specters of the past. One Australian news team claims that a steel hospital side table that they had photographed earlier in the day was on the right side of the room was, later in the day, on the left side of the room.
2. Corvin Castle (Vlad’s Castle), Transylvania
Corvin Castle in Romania was also known as Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle in the area that had once been known as Transylvania. With construction beginning in 1446, it is one of the largest castles in Europe. This is the castle in which Vlad the Impaler was held prisoner by John Hunyadi for seven years in one of the tower cells when Vlad was deposed in 1462. They later formed a political alliance even though Hunyadi was responsible for the death of Vlad’s father.
Vlad the Impaler was Vlad Tepes, who waged a fierce war against the Ottoman empire when he refused to pay the Sultan tribute. On many occasions, he impaled those he conquered, hoisting up bodies on long wooden stakes, and turned one Ottoman camp into what was called a forest of the impaled.
The name “Dracula” can be traced back to Vlad as he was known to sign letters Dragulya or Drakulya in the late 1470s. His father, referred to often as Vlad Dracul, was a member of the Order of the Dragon, so the literal meaning of “Dracula” is “son of the dragon.”
There are many legends surrounding the construction of the castle, such as the one about the Turkish prisoners who built the interior fountain. The story says that they were promised freedom, but after 10 years of work, they were instead, executed. For this reason, one of the prisoners added the following inscription to the fountain: “You have water, but not soul.” Even today, Turkish tourists throw coins into the fountain in the memory of their enslaved countrymen.
The Capistrano Tower acquired its name from a monk named Ioan of Capistrano. Legend says that the last monk who was caught spying on the noblemen in the Council Room was walled into the recess in the wall of the room.
One tale that has been spread is that of a group of tourists who convinced the guards to let them remain in the castle at night. They came out the next day bruised, beaten, and terrified – supposedly suffering the wrath of an angry ghost who had tortured them until the early morning.
Of course, many believe that Vlad the Impaler also haunts this historic castle.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress on Castle Rock in Edinburgh, Scotland. A royal castle has been established on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the Twelfth Century, although archaeologists have established human occupation of Castle Rock since at least the Second Century AD. It has been one of the most important strongholds in the history of Scotland, having been involved in many historical conflicts, including the Wars of Scottish Independence, and research has identified 26 sieges in its history, giving it claim to being the most besieged castle in all of Great Britain. It is also claimed to be the most haunted location in Scotland, while some say Edinbugh is the most haunted city in all of Europe.
On various occasions, visitors to the castle have reported a phantom piper, a headless drummer, the spirits of French prisoners from the Seven Years War, and colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War — even the ghost of a dog wandering in the grounds’ dog cemetery has made appearances.
In April 2001, Edinburgh Castle was one of the haunted locations in Edinburgh chosen for an ambitious paranormal experiment. A group of 240 volunteers were enlisted to explore allegedly haunted sites in Edinburgh for a 10 day study of paranormal activity. Chosen participants from around the world were to have no knowledge of Edinburgh’s hauntings, and were led to both haunted locations and locations that were not considered active. By the end of the experiment, nearly half reported phenomena that they could not explain.
– sudden drops in temperature
– seeing shadowy figures
– a feeling of being watched
– one person reported a burning sensation on the arm
– an unseen presence touching the face
– the feeling of something tugging at clothes
One reported sighting was of an old in a leather apron — a ghost that has been seen before at the same location.