Photo by Edmund Lowe Photography
This remote village is home to less than 800 inhabitants, and one spooky vampire story. Yes, some vampire legends are actually true. In 1725, a resident named Petar Plogojowitz passed away, and in the next eight days, nine deaths occurred. The nine who died had said on their deathbeds that they had been throttled—by Plogojowitz's corpse. Priests and officials flocked to Kisiljevo to investigate, and roughly 40 days after Plogojowitz had expired, they exhumed his grave. Strangely, his beard and nails still seemed to be growing, and there were signs of new skin. When a stake was plunged into his body, it was reported that fresh blood spurted from his ears and mouth, a horrible scream arose, and his skin turned black. At that point, the murders ceased.
Forbidden City, China
Photo by chungking/Shutterstock
You may be familiar with America's infamous ghost towns, but the beautiful, sprawling Forbidden City in Beijing—made up of 980 buildings on 180 acres—is one of China's best-known landmarks. From the 15th century through the early 20th century, the Chinese emperor lived there but now it's rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of concubines. In 1421, Emperor Yongle ordered nearly 3,000 ladies-in-waiting associated with his harem, all of whom lived in the Forbidden City, to be slaughtered, because he thought that a beloved concubine had been poisoned. He spared some of his favorites in the harem, but on the day of his funeral, 16 courtesans were hung with nooses of white silk. Today, in the Forbidden City, a lady with black hair has been seen running from a ghostly soldier; sounds of screaming, weeping, and sword-fighting have been heard; and specters of dead bodies, pools of blood, and pieces of white silk have been glimpsed. The Forbidden City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is open to the public, although it closes before nightfall.
Glamis Castle, Scotland
Photo by Alessandro Colle
This castle was first built in the 14th century, and it's where the Queen Mother—the late mother to Queen Elizabeth II—grew up. It's also said to be populated by a bevy of ghosts including the Grey Lady, or the Lady of Glamis, otherwise known as Lady Janet Douglas. Accused of murdering her husband by poisoning him and of using witchcraft to take down King James V of Scotland, the Grey Lady was burned at the stake in 1537 in Edinburgh. Her ghost is said to run up the stairs in the clock tower, leaving a trail of ash in her wake. A woman with no tongue has been seen roaming the park around the castle, and the ghost of an 18th-century boy servant, who had been terribly mistreated, is said to haunt a seat near the door of the queen's bedroom. The most famous ghost is Earl Beardie, or the Earl of Crawford. This noble visited the castle in the 15th century, and one night, he got drunk and demanded that someone play cards with him. If no one would, the Earl declared, he would play the devil himself. A mysterious hooded man dressed in black showed up at Glamis and offered to play. By the next morning, the Earl had vanished, and visitors to the castle have reported hearing swearing, loud voices, dice, and clinking glasses.
Cumae Archaeological Park, Italy
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If the most haunted places in America don't give you the chills, this ancient city will. Located on the southwestern coast of Italy and settled in the 8th century BC, Cumae was the first Greek colony on the Italian mainland. It is best known for being the seat of the Cumaean sibyl, or prophetess. In the Aeneid, Aeneas went to see the sibyl before he entered the underworld; a passage to hell is located nearby. Cumae has been the site of much bloodshed: In the 1st century, several brutal battles in the Gothic Wars took place there, and during World War II German soldiers used a part of it as a bunker and gun emplacement. Modern-day visitors can traverse the dark, womb-like tunnels and try their luck at consulting the sibyl for guidance.
Monte Cristo homestead, Australia
Photo by Lario Tus
Said to be Australia's most haunted house, this isolated residence was built on a hillside in New South Wales in 1884 by farmer Christopher Crawley. After he died in 1920, his wife, Elizabeth, became a Bible-immersed recluse, leaving the house only twice before she passed away. Her ghost is thought to walk the rooms, and visitors report feeling an ice-cold chill when she shows up, sometimes holding a silver cross. She has quite a bit of company, including these spirits: a maid who had once plunged to her death from a balcony in the house, a stable boy who was burned to death by his master, and a mentally disabled man who was chained in the caretaker's cottage for 40 years. Naturally, the latter ghost makes his presence felt by clanking his chains. Still a skeptic? These chilling ghost stories will make you believe.
See more supernatural places!
Besides these spots, the book National Geographic Guide to the World's Supernatural Places features more than 240 other spine-chilling destinations around the globe, with chapters devoted to "Vampire Haunts" and "Witchcraft and the Dark Arts."