1. Forbidden City, Beijing, China
The Forbidden City is a must-see on every trip to Beijing and was formerly the Chinese royal residence. However, you may not be aware of it; the tourist hotspot has a reputation among believers in the paranormal. The palace had its share of killings over its 600-year run as a residence for the monarch, from jealous concubines poisoning one other to official executions. The court opened to the public in the 1940s, and countless stories of unexplained occurrences have existed since then. A white-clad lady (like in all good ghost stories) is said to wander the grounds while weeping.
2. Gunnuhver, Iceland
Gunnuhver, the largest geothermal mud pool in Iceland, has a history that will convince you the nation is otherworldly. Gunna, a female region resident from about 1300, gave the region its name. Her starved death prompted her ghost to return and brutally kill her old landlord and his wife. When the townsfolk enlisted the help of a priest to deal with the spirit, he tossed Gunna into a pool of hot mud to kill him. There have been no other mysterious killings since then, although some tourists swear they have seen Gunna’s spectral figure floating through the pools’ swirling mist.
3. The Fairmont Banff Springs, a Canadian Iconic Resort
This chateau-style hotel was constructed in Banff National Park, Canada, in 1888 to promote tourism and sell railway tickets. Once inside, though, things take a very Gothic turn that has little to do with the building’s exterior. Several ghostly occurrences, including the spirit of a bride who purportedly died after falling down the hotel’s stone staircase on her wedding day, have been recorded in the Calgary Herald. Sam, the bellman, who functioned at the hotel until 1975 and said he would return to haunt it, is another but less terrible spirit. It is said that his ghost works the night shift, where he assists travelers with their luggage before vanishing.
4. Catacombs in Paris, France
In the spring of 1780, heavy rain flooded and uncovered the overcrowded Les Innocents cemetery, causing a wash of decaying bodies to roll onto the land next door. According to Smithsonian Magazine, this gruesome occurrence kicked off a 12-year initiative to relocate dead from Paris’s cemeteries into the city’s disused limestone quarries, eventually stuffing the subterranean passageways with approximately 6 million bodies. About a mile of the underground maze is now available to the public for excursions, and it features both artistic bone displays and passages.
5. Belize City; Xunantunich
Xunantunich is a Mayan ruin located in the heart of Belize’s rainforests, within a mile from the border with Guatemala. After being destroyed by an earthquake, explorers discovered the old civilization again in the 1890s. Xunantunich has been a primary archaeological site, a relatively unknown tourist destination, and a center for paranormal activity ever since. One ghostly woman, described as having black hair and bright red eyes, is claimed to haunt the old city. One of the initial study teams noticed her in 1893, and she has been sighted frequently near El Castillo (the tallest building on the site) ever since. Some believe the fabled “Stone Lady” was a human sacrifice whose ritualized death occurred atop the El Castillo pyramid. However, no one knows for sure.
Read More: 6 Places to Visit in 2023