“There is certainly a world beyond our normal consciousness from which neither space nor time divides us, but only the barrier of our sense-perceptions…. this threshold is not immovable.” ~William F. Barrett, On the Threshold of the Unseen, 1918.
They say the past is dead and buried. But when events unfold that are so brutal and violent it can be difficult to leave them behind, even when those involved have long passed from this world. From the streets that Jack the Ripper roamed to mental asylums with dark histories of abuse and torture, here are 10 terrifying locations where the dead haunt the living, and no peace can be found until justice is served.
1. Eastern State Penitentiary
It’s no wonder that a prison famous for it’s harsh and inhumane treatment of inmates has seen some significant paranormal activity. Eastern State Penitentiary was the first prison to adapt solitary confinement as a punishment for prisoners. Prisoners who misbehaved would be completely cut-off from everyone else. Eventually, prisoners were driven insane from the isolation, which led to Eastern State abandoning its solitary confinement. Paranormal sightings were reported regularly when the prison was open, but since its closure in 1971, paranormal activity has only risen. Visitors often claim to see shadow figures and hear whispers and diabolical laughter in certain cells.
2. Dead Children’s Playground
Maple Hill Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama, and gets its name from the after-dark frolicking of the spirits of children. There is a small playground at the edge of the cemetery, and in the silence of night you can hear the creaking of swings and the giggles of young children. One story suggests that the children buried in the cemetery rise from their graves each night to play. Another story cites a string of child abductions in the 1960’s, stating that the bodies of the murdered children were discarded in and around the area of the playground, and their souls have never left. Regardless of what you believe, there is nothing more chilling than the sound of dead children laughing in the darkness.
3. Hampton Lillibridge House
Hampton Lillibridge House is known as the most haunted house in Savannah, Georgia. The hauntings seemingly began as soon as the house was built, when it was discovered that there was an ancient crypt beneath the foundation. There were multiple deaths associated with the house, including an entire family who were poisoned by their slaves. Another man staying in the house was later found hanged in the bedroom. One visitor even felt compelled to hurl himself down and empty chimney shaft, and only resisted by falling to the ground.
4. The Ostrich Inn
The Ostrich Inn in Berkshire, England is now a quaint pub, but its original owner had very different intentions. When wealthy guests would stay at the Inn, the owner would plot to murder and rob them. His method of killing was extremely gruesome. When guests fell asleep, their bed would tip over and drop them through a trap door. On the other side was a cauldron of boiling water, where the guests would boil alive. A reported 60+ people were killed this way, and needless to say, some of their spirits never left.
5. The House Of Death
The Hosue of Death is aptly named, and is probably most popular for having been called home by Mark Twain for a time. People have reported seeing his ghost, though I assume his is much friendlier than some others. The house was also the site of the murder of a six-year-old girl at the hands of her adopted father. Her father struck her in the head for “staring at him,” and she later died from her injuries. In the 60’s poet Jan Bryant Bartell lived in the house and experienced her own paranormal encounters. She summoned a medium, who vocalized multiple spirits residing in the house. Bartell moved out, but killed herself only a few years later.
6. Byberry Mental Asylum
The Philadelphia State Hospital is one of the most notorious mental hospitals in America, known to grossly neglect and mistreat their patients. The hospital was overcrowded and understaffed, and many of the staff members took advantage of the mentally handicapped. One patient was even found dismembered and spread around the property of the building. Her teeth were found in the possession of another patient, who was playing with them. After the hospital was closed in 1990, many paranormal investigators have found serious ghostly activity on the premises and in the tunnels underneath the buildings.
7. Banff Springs Hotel
The Banff Springs Hotel is a luxurious tourist destination for wealthy travelers. The hotel was built over 125 years ago, so it stands to reason that there is a fair bit of history ingrained in the walls. The breathtaking views and stunning architecture is somewhat undercut by the fact that the Banff Springs Hotel is known as one of the most haunted hotels in Canada. A bride who tragically burned to death wanders the halls in the evening. Guests and workers alike complained about ghostly presences in room 873. All that stands now is an empty space between rooms 872 and 874, which is said to be the location of an entire family’s murder. In an effort to cover up the horrific tale it was decided the room would be was sealed off entirely, but strange cries are heard at night and bloody handprints are often seen covering the wall where the hotel door once was.
8. Queen Mary Hotel
The Queen Mary was an ocean liner that was active in the Atlantic from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. It has now been converted into a hotel in Long Beach, California, but has not left its past in the behind. Multiple drowning took place aboard the ship, and the spirits of those lost have been seen wandering the halls of the ship. Ghostly children have been seen running the halls, particularly in the pool area and have even been accidentally photographed by some visitors.
9. Letchworth Village
Letchwood Village stands as a pillar of the medical industry, as it is the location of the development of the Polio vaccine. Unfortunately, there were some unwilling subjects that were guinea pigs for this and other scientific experiments. Letchworth was relatively open about its experiments, using mentally handicapped children and adults to test their medical breakthroughs. Since its closure in 1996, visitors have claimed to hear children giggling and furniture moving on its own. It stands to reason that these ghosts may have a rational reason to lash out.
10. Hanbury Street
Jack the Ripper was one of the first and most notorious serial killers in history, and one of his victims was found on the property of 29 Hanbury Street. Annie Chapman’s head was nearly cut clean-off, and her uterus was barbarically cut from her body. On the anniversary of her death, it is said that her spirit returns to this place. At exactly 6 AM on September 8th, the moment of her dying breath, a cold breeze blows through the entire property.
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