Dark, dreary, and abandoned places almost automatically gain reputations for being haunted and scary. But somehow, the threat of unseen entities becomes even scarier when they’re associated with beautiful buildings and sunny locations. On this list are some of the most stunning places you can visit, all with scary ghost stories surrounding them.
10 Tao Dan Park
Tao Dan Park is one of the most alluring green spaces in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The locals love getting their daily exercise here, and the park includes a pool, tennis courts, and a sculpture garden. The park is situated behind the Reunification Palace and is home to historic structures, including an ancient temple and a Lam tomb.
However, when night falls over the city, residents ensure they are far away from Tao Dan Park. This is because the soul of a murdered man allegedly wanders here, looking for his lost love. The story goes that the man was killed and his girlfriend attacked while they were taking a walk through the park in 2007. Park officials have categorically denied that such a murder ever took place, but this has not stopped the urban legend from spreading.
9 Dakeng Scenic Area
The Dakeng Scenic Area boasts a range of mountains as well as ten incredible hiking trails. It is located on the outskirts of Taichung City, Taiwan. It offers residents the opportunity to experience the tranquillity of nature in a lush green setting. Those who get to the trails early are sometimes lucky enough to spot monkeys hanging about.
The Dakeng Scenic Area is also the birthplace of a terrifying urban legend about a family that went hiking in 1998. They carried a camcorder with them as they wanted to capture the beauty of the trails. The footage showed them having a great time, but it also showed that they were unaware of a little girl in a red dress following them. Soon after the family arrived back home, one of the sons featured in the video died. The video was aired by the local news channel and became the main inspiration behind the horror film, The Tag-Along.
8 Waardenburg Castle
The original Waardenburg Castle, located in the Dutch province of Gelderland, was built in 1265 but destroyed completely in 1574. It was then rebuilt in 1627 and restored in 1895. Unfortunately, this medieval castle was damaged again during the Second World War and had to be restored yet again. Only about half of the building remains today.
Local urban legend has it that the infamous Doctor Johann Faust owned the castle at one point. He, apparently inevitably, found himself at a crossroads one night and made a pact with the devil: he would willingly give up his soul to Satan in exchange for unlimited knowledge and a wealth of worldly pleasures.
Faust got his wish, but the devil wasn’t about to forget their deal. As soon as the seven years were over, the devil snuck up on Faust and dragged him all the way to hell. Legend has it that the bloodstains from Faust being dragged across the ground can still be seen outside the castle tower. No matter how much anyone tries, the stains cannot be removed…
It is also alleged that bodies have been found buried in the castle cellar and that phantoms roam the large hallways.
7 San Fernando De Omoa Fortress
The imposing 4,400-square-meter (47,361-square-foot) San Fernando de Omoa fortress stands on a small bay in the city of Omoa, Honduras. It was built between 1756 and 1775 for protection against pirates. However, by the time the Spanish fortress was complete, the pirates had moved on to different waters. Another enemy, in the form of British forces, arrived on October 16, 1779. They caught the Spanish guards off-guard, and 150 British soldiers and sailors captured the fort. However, they withdrew the following month, fearing a Spanish revenge attack.
In the years that followed, the fort was used as a prison before being abandoned. It was restored in 1959 and converted into a tourist site. Those who live close to the fortress have reported hearing cannon fire and gunshots echoing from within its walls at night. There have also been reports of screams and shadow figures roaming around the outside of the structure before mysteriously vanishing.
6 Aguas Buenas
At the base of the Sierra de Cayey section of the Cordillera Central Mountains in Puerto Rico lies the town of Aguas Buenas. It is also known as the town of “Clear Waters” because of the number of freshwater springs that can be found here. Tourists to the area can visit great sites, including the historic fire station, Parque de Bombas Maximiliano Merced, and the Aguas Buenas Caves. The caves are one kilometer (0.62 miles) in length with over 50 species of wildlife as well as ancient Taino paintings that can be observed there.
The town has had its fair share of ghost sightings, with people reportedly witnessing the ghost of a Civil War soldier marching along a road as well as the spirit of an old woman holding a shotgun. There have also been reports of a phantom hunter dragging the body of a dead wolf in a local park and the apparition of a young woman floating over the peak of Altos de San Luis.
A real-life tragedy hangs over the town, however. In 1978, a school bus plunged into a 500-foot ravine, killing 11 students and injuring 30 more. It was believed at the time that the brakes of the bus had failed. Rumor has it that if anyone visits the site of the accident, they will hear children laughing and playing and perhaps even feel a hand nudging them to get their attention…
5 Chislehurst Caves
Covering around 35.4 kilometers (22 miles) in Chislehurst, southeast London, are the Chislehurst Caves. These “caves” are man-made tunnels created between the mid-13th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. After the tunnels were dug, the caves were used as chalk and flint mines. During the First World War, they served as storage space for ammunition, and during the Second World War, it was used as an air-raid shelter. The cave system was swiftly converted into an underground city, complete with electricity, toilet facilities, a hospital, and even a chapel. The shelter was closed shortly after V-E Day.
During the 1950s, the owners of the Chislehurst Caves announced that they would pay £5 to anyone brave enough to spend a night alone in the caves. Tony Bayfield was the only one who succeeded. However, he said afterward that nothing would convince him to do it again as he could feel an entity behind him…breathing loudly.
Legend also has it that a White Lady wanders the caves, eternally restless and searching for her husband who murdered her.
4 Belcourt of Newport
Construction on what was to be a “summer cottage” began in 1891 and was completed in 1894. The result was the stunning Belcourt Castle located in Newport, Rhode Island. The structure featured French Renaissance and Gothic Décor and was further inspired by Italian, English, and German design.
The castle had quite a few owners over the years before it was opened to the public as the Belcourt of Newport. Today it is a museum of antiquities, with at least 12 out of the 60 rooms viewable.
Belcourt has the reputation of being one of the most haunted buildings in Rhode Island. Some believe that the antiques, armor, and art on display have spirits attached to them that refuse to leave. There are two Gothic-styled chairs in the grand ballroom that have been roped off after a tourist tried to sit in one of them and was flung into the center of the room.
A suit of armor, positioned between two splendid windows, sometimes allegedly moves its right arm before letting out a terrifying scream. Furthermore, a monk preparing for mass has been spotted along the staircase, and visitors have reported hearing disembodied voices echoing through the halls.
3 Heidelberg Castle
The Heidelberg Castle ruin is an important landmark in the university town of Heidelberg in Germany. The castle was partially rebuilt after being devastated by the French during the 17th century and then struck by lightning in the 18th century. It attracts around 1 million visitors each year. The ruin is seen as the embodiment of German Romanticism, with the best-preserved building being the Friedrich Wing, which holds the Electors’ ancestral portrait gallery. On the ground floor is the castle church, and the entire structure is surrounded by a magnificent garden.
The gate tower still sports a heavy wooden door with a small “gate” cut into it for pedestrians. There is a large iron ring over the door that serves as a knocker. The story goes that when the castle was inhabited, a contest was announced: Whoever could bite through the iron ring would “win” the castle and everything inside it. A witch tried her luck, but even her magic couldn’t prevent her from breaking her teeth on the iron ring. She left a mark, though, which can still be seen on the ring today.
Visitors to the castle have reported hearing wails coming from within the walls and seeing hooded figures floating around. There is also a legend that says the castle was built close to an area of Celtic religious importance and that angry spirits caused the lightning that destroyed it in the 18th century.
2 Old Upper Thomson Road
A stretch of the beautiful Old Upper Thomson Road in Singapore was used for the Singapore Grand Prix between 1961 and 1973. The road is lined with magnificent trees, and there is a stretch of grass between the lanes. Unfortunately, during its stint as a Grand Prix circuit, seven drivers navigating the “Devil’s Bend” and “Murder Mile” lost their lives in accidents that occurred during the races. As a result, the Singapore Grand Prix was canceled in 1974 and only resumed in 2008. There have been other accidents on this road, including a crash around ten years ago in which two students lost their lives.
And then there is the notorious ghost story that makes some drivers avoid the Old Upper Thomson Road altogether. It is said that a taxi driver was traveling along the road when he saw a woman dressed in white flagging him down. He checked the clock on his dashboard as he stopped next to her. It was midnight. As the woman got into his car, she said two words: “Mandai cemetery.”
The taxi driver felt uneasy but drove the 10 minutes it took to get to the cemetery, conversing with the woman while doing so. When he dropped her off, she paid him and told him to keep the change. He checked the amount, thanked her, and drove home.
When he got home however, he took the money the woman gave him out of his pocket only to realize they had turned into hell notes.
1 Larnach Castle
Larnach Castle is perched on the ridge of the Otago Peninsula in Dunedin, New Zealand. It is, in fact, a mock castle built by a politician, William Larnach, in the late 19th century. It was privately owned by the Barker family before being opened as a tourist attraction. The garden surrounding the building has been rated a “Garden of International Significance” and is one of only five gardens in the country to receive this rating.
Margaret and Barry Barker were newlyweds when they bought the massive house. However, they soon found that all was not as it seemed. While the home was obviously stunning, Margaret soon began to feel like she was being watched. Some of their guests started reporting that they had seen apparitions inside the house.
In 1994, a play titled Castle of Lies, which centered around the Larnach family, premiered inside the grand ballroom. Guests had hardly found their seats when a strong wind caused the smoke from the fireplaces to send soot up in the air. Shortly afterward, hail crashed down on the roof, and the drapes went flying. The play continued, and just as Larnach killed himself, a flash of lightning lit up the room.