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  • Writer's pictureBon Blossman

Spooky Echoes & Shadowy Corners: Top Haunted Locations That’ll Give You Shivers This Halloween

As the veil between worlds thins this Halloween, the time is ripe to explore the spine-tingling mysteries of the supernatural. "Spooky Echoes & Shadowy Corners" takes you on a chilling journey to some of the world’s most haunted locations, where shadows whisper tales of anguish, corridors echo with footsteps of the unseen, and the past lingers in every dim-lit corner. From the foreboding chambers of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum to the mournful wails within the Tower of London, these eerie sites are steeped in histories as dark as a moonless night. Read on, if you dare, but beware – these haunting tales might give you shivers that linger long after the last candle of Halloween has been snuffed out.


Top Haunted Locations to visit this Halloween:

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, located in Weston, West Virginia, is a site with a dark and turbulent history. It was constructed between 1858 and 1881 and is one of the largest hand-cut stone masonry buildings in the United States. The facility was originally designed to house 250 patients, but by the 1950s, its population had swelled to over 2,400, leading to overcrowding, poor living conditions, and inadequate care.

History:

Originally named the Weston State Hospital, the asylum was intended to be a haven for the mentally ill, providing them with a serene and curative environment. However, as the patient population increased, the facility became a hotbed for maltreatment and unethical medical practices.

Shocking Incidents:

Lobotomies & Electroshock Therapy: Dr. Walter Freeman, known as the father of the lobotomy, performed numerous ice-pick lobotomies at the asylum in the 1950s. These procedures often left patients in a vegetative state or with severe cognitive impairments.

Electroconvulsive therapy was used excessively and often without proper medical justification, leading to adverse patient effects.

Overcrowding & Inhumane Conditions: The severe overcrowding led to unsanitary and inhumane living conditions. Patients were packed into rooms, with some reports suggesting that they were kept in cages.

The overcrowding also contributed to violence within the facility, with reports of assaults among patients and between patients and staff.

Patient Abuse & Neglect: There were numerous accounts of patients being physically and sexually abused by staff members. Neglect was rampant, leaving many patients uncared for and in squalid conditions.

Several unexplained deaths and mysterious injuries were reported, with some patients disappearing without a trace.

Paranormal Reports: After its closure in 1994, the asylum became known as a hotspot for paranormal activity. Ghost hunters and visitors have reported hearing unexplained noises, seeing apparitions, and experiencing sudden temperature drops.

Several TV shows and documentaries have featured the asylum, exploring its haunted reputation and documenting alleged paranormal encounters.


https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0
2019 face image of Weston State Hospital (aka Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum) that is located in Weston, Wv and was finished in 1881 and began accepting patients in 1864 during the Civil War. Created by: Sedgwickbrettm, Wiki Creative commons

The Tower of London, England

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. Over the centuries, it has served variously as a royal palace, a prison, a place of execution, an arsenal, a royal mint, and a treasury. Given its multifaceted history, it’s unsurprising that the Tower of London is considered one of the most haunted places in England.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Bob_Collow%C3%A2n
Tower of London viewed from the River Thames by Bob Collowan, Wiki Creative commons. link in alt text

Haunting Tales:

Anne Boleyn: Perhaps the most famous ghost at the Tower of London is Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII. She was beheaded in 1536 for treason against the King. Visitors and staff have reported seeing her apparition carrying her head under her arm near the Tower Green, where she was executed.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=Anne+Boleyn&title=Special:MediaSearch&go=Go&type=image
The beheading of Anne Boleyn from Bilder Saals, 1695. wiki creative commons

Princes in the Tower: The Tower is also famously associated with the disappearance of the young Edward V and his brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, also known as the Princes in the Tower. It’s widely believed they were murdered, possibly by order of their uncle, Richard III, to clear his way to the throne. Ghostly apparitions of two small children, believed to be the princes, have been reported, often seen in the White Tower, holding hands and looking forlorn.


https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=Princes+in+the+Tower&title=Special:MediaSearch&go=Go&type=image
The Princes in the Towerm, by Samuel Cousins (died 1887), after Sir John Everett Milais (original 1878). Mezzotint. National Portrait Gallery (RN37073). Link in alt text to Samuel Cousins

Lady Jane Grey: Born in 1537, she was the great-granddaughter of Henry VII and was, therefore, a cousin to Edward VI. Her life took a dramatic turn following the death of Edward VI in 1553. Lady Jane Grey was Queen of England for just nine days before being dethroned by Mary I and was executed at the Tower in 1554. Her ghost is said to appear around the anniversary of her death, particularly near the Tower Green and within the White Tower.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=Lady+Jane+Grey%3A&title=Special:MediaSearch&go=Go&type=image
The execution of Lady Jane Gray, the Nine Days Queen. Link in alt text

The White Lady: The White Tower, one of the oldest buildings within the complex, is said to be haunted by the White Lady. She has been seen waving to children from a window, and her perfume is said to linger in the air.


Thomas A. Becket: Another spectral resident is said to be Thomas A. Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. After challenging King Henry II and subsequently being murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170, he was declared a martyr and canonized. His ghost is said to have been seen near the Salt Tower, where he purportedly struck the wall, leaving a visible mark.


The Ghost of Margaret Pole: Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, suffered a grisly execution at the Tower in 1541. Reports say it took the executioner several blows to complete the beheading. Her spirit is said to haunt the site of her execution, with some claiming to hear her screams.


Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania

Known for its strict solitary confinement and eerie, wheel-shaped design, this former prison is a hotbed of supernatural occurrences. Ghost enthusiasts have reported hearing footsteps, wailing, and even seeing shadowy figures through the crumbling cellblocks.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:Carol_M._Highsmith
Hallway at the now-abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By Carol M. HighSmith link in alt text

Al Capone's Luxurious Cell: Al Capone, the infamous Chicago mob boss, spent time in Eastern State Penitentiary. Shockingly, his cell was far from typical—it resembled a luxurious room more than a prison cell. Furnished with oriental rugs, a cabinet radio, fine furniture, and artwork, Capone's cell showcased the stark contrast between his living conditions and those of the average inmate.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=al+capone%27s+cell+in+Eastern+State+Penitentiary&title=Special:MediaSearch&go=Go&type=image
Al Capone's Luxury Cell at Eastern State Penitentiary. Wiki Creative Commons, Mike Graham. Link in alt text

Willie Sutton's Escape Tunnel: In 1945, the notorious bank robber Willie Sutton and 11 other inmates executed an elaborate escape through a tunnel they had been digging for months. The tunnel, which was 97 feet long, extended beyond the prison walls, and its construction remained undiscovered due to the inmates’ ingenious methods of disposing of the dug-out dirt. Sutton was eventually captured, but this incident showcased significant security lapses at the penitentiary.


Mad Chair and Iron Gag: Eastern State Penitentiary was known for its cruel and unusual punishments. One such device was the "Iron Gag," where inmates had an iron collar clamped onto their tongues, and their hands were tied behind their back. Any movement resulted in a tearing of the tongue and severe bleeding. The "Mad Chair" bound inmates so tightly that circulation was cut off, leading to muscle atrophy and, in extreme cases, the amputation of limbs.

The Iron Gag of Eastern State Penitentiary
The Iron Gag. Wiki Commons. Published in: American political prints, 1766-1876 / Bernard F. Reilly. Boston : G.K. Hall, 1991, entry 1835-4.;

Poveglia Island, Italy

Once a plague quarantine station and later an asylum, Poveglia Island is renowned as one of the most haunted locations on the planet. Visitors aren’t officially allowed, but those who’ve managed to explore have reported hearing screams, seeing apparitions, and feeling an overwhelming sense of dread. The same doctor who was accused of performing inhumane experiments on patients allegedly went mad and committed suicide by jumping off the bell tower. Some local legends suggest that he was driven to his death by the angry spirits of his victims. Mass graves were discovered on the island, holding the remains of thousands of plague victims. These findings further deepened the dark aura surrounding Poveglia, and some visitors have reported eerie occurrences and ghost sightings.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=Poveglia+Island%2C+Italy&title=Special:MediaSearch&go=Go&type=image
Plague mask and tools for disinfecting letters discovered on Poveglia island by Theodor Weyl in 1889. By Theodor Weyl, Wiki Creative Commons. Link in alt text.

Aokigahara Forest, Japan

Known as the Sea of Trees, Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mount Fuji has a dark reputation for being a site of suicides. Visitors have encountered eerie quiet, personal items, and ghostly figures among the dense trees. Venturing here is a chilling and somber experience.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=Aokigahara+Forest%2C+Japan&title=Special:MediaSearch&go=Go&type=image
Aokigahara (suicide forest) - a woman stands by the warning sign for suicides. By Liz Mc, Wiki Creative commons. Link in alt text

Compass Malfunction: It's reported that compasses and GPS devices often malfunction in the forest due to the rich deposits of magnetic iron in the area's volcanic soil. This has led to people getting lost, contributing to the forest’s eerie reputation.

Spectral Sightings and Sounds: Visitors and locals have reported seeing apparitions and disembodied screams and moans in the forest. Some believe these are the spirits of those who have taken their lives there.

Government Intervention: Due to the high number of suicides, the Japanese government has installed signs throughout the forest urging individuals to think of their families and contact a suicide prevention hotline. Surveillance cameras have also been placed at the entrance in an attempt to identify those entering with the intention of self-harm.


The Catacombs of Paris, France

Beneath the bustling streets of Paris lies a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers lined with the bones of over six million people. Visitors to the catacombs have reported hearing whispers, feeling unseen presences, and witnessing apparitions in the shadowy corridors.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=The+Catacombs+of+Paris%2C+France&title=Special:MediaSearch&go=Go&type=image
Paris, France, Catacombs. Brian W. Schaller. Link in Alt Text

In 1793, Philibert Aspairt, a doorkeeper of the Val-de-Grâce hospital, ventured into the catacombs to access the cellar of the Chartreuse convent to pilfer liquor. He got lost in the dark, labyrinthine tunnels and died. His body wasn’t discovered until 1804, 11 years later, just a few feet from an exit. A tombstone in the catacombs marks the spot where his body was found.


Hoia Baciu Forest, Romania

Dubbed the “Bermuda Triangle of Romania,” this forest is known for its paranormal activities, including UFO sightings, ghostly apparitions, and unexplained health issues among visitors. Those who dare to explore have reported feelings of anxiety and the sensation of being watched. Click here for my article about the most haunted forest in the world.

One of the many clearings (unexplained).
Drone shot of the Hoia Baciu Forest - the world's most haunted forest.

Myrtles Plantation, Louisiana With a history of violence and tragedy, this antebellum plantation is said to be home to at least 12 ghosts. Visitors have reported seeing apparitions, hearing mysterious noises, and capturing unexplained images in photographs. (Source: The Myrtles Plantation)

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=Myrtles+Plantation%2C+Louisiana&title=Special:MediaSearch&go=Go&type=image
Myrtle Hill Plantation House in Gloster, Louisiana. By Robert F. Menasco. Link in alt text

Chloe's Apparition: The most famous ghost of the Myrtles Plantation is Chloe, a former enslaved worker. Legend has it that Chloe was caught eavesdropping and, as punishment, had her ear cut off. To exact revenge, she allegedly poisoned a birthday cake, killing two of the owner’s children and his wife. Visitors and staff have reported sightings of Chloe’s apparition and the ghostly presence of the children.

The Mirror of Death: A mirror located in the plantation is said to hold the spirits of Sara Woodruff and her children, who were poisoned. Visitors have reported seeing handprints, drip marks, and shadowy figures in the mirror, which are said to be the trapped spirits trying to communicate.


Phantom Footsteps & Piano Playing: Guests and staff have frequently reported hearing unexplained noises, including footsteps ascending the stairs and the sounds of a phantom pianist playing the old piano in the music room. Some claim that it is the spirit of a young girl named Cornelia, who died in the house, expressing herself through music.

Conclusion


In conclusion, steeped in history and mystery, these locations offer a tantalizingly terrifying experience for thrill-seekers and ghost enthusiasts alike. Venture if you dare, but be warned – these haunted locales are not for the faint of heart!


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  2. Dwyer, Colin. "A History Of The Lobotomy." NPR, June 16, 2015, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/06/16/414321115/a-history-of-the-lobotomy

  3. "Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum." Atlas Obscura, https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/transallegheny-lunatic-asylum

  4. "Tower of London." Historic Royal Palaces, https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/history-and-stories/

  5. "Haunted History of the Tower of London." Ghosts.co.uk, http://www.ghosts.co.uk/haunted-history-of-the-tower-of-london

  6. Jones, Richard. "Haunted Tower of London." Haunted Britain, http://www.haunted-britain.com/haunted-tower-of-london.htm

  7. Sifakis, Carl. "The Mafia Encyclopedia". New York: Da Capo Press, 2005.

  8. McCarthy, Tom. "Escape from Terror". The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 4, 1945.

  9. Johnston, Norman. "Eastern State Penitentiary: Crucible of Good Intentions". Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1994.

  10. Caliandro, Stefania. "Island of Ghosts: The Dark Secrets of Poveglia". Atlas Obscura, October 29, 2015.

  11. Gilhooly, Rob. "Inside Japan’s ‘Suicide Forest’". Japan Times, June 26, 2011.

  12. Ma, Alexandra. "Why Aokigahara, Japan's Suicide Forest, is a popular tourist attraction despite its grisly purpose". Insider, December 28, 2018.

  13. McCurry, Justin. "Japan’s Aokigahara Forest". The Guardian, March 23, 2011

  14. Romero, Melissa. "Aokigahara: 5 Things To Know About The Haunted Japanese Forest In 'The Forest’". Bustle, January 8, 2016.

  15. Harden, Blaine. "In Japan, a Sea of Trees and a Forest of Lost Souls". The Washington Post, September 12, 2010.

  16. Lichfield, Gideon. "A Journey Through the Paris Catacombs". MIT Technology Review, October 31, 2012.

  17. Dwyer, Jeff. "Ghost Hunter's Guide to New Orleans." Pelican Publishing Company, 2007.

  18. Hauck, Dennis William. "Haunted Places: The National Directory." Penguin Books, 2002.

  19. Nickell, Joe. "The Myrtles Plantation: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…" Skeptical Inquirer, 2016.

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