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World's most haunted cities

Published October 31st, 2014

Boo! It’s Halloween today and revellers around the world will be donning some spooky, or just kooky, costumes to scare the bejesus out of commuters and children – always a fun thing to do, and not just at Halloween (search YouTube for some classic examples). But some places around the world don’t just get their ghost on every October 31. Some cities have a spectre in residence all year round, or if they’re really lucky, a group of ghouls clanking chains, moaning and doing otherworldly things. If you want to want to go somewhere to witness things that go bump in the night, here’s the world’s most haunted cities. Happy Halloween!

 

Edinburgh Castle.
Scare-o-meter: 10

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

With a rep as the most haunted city in Europe, there’s more than a few skeletons rattling around old Edinburgh town. Edinburgh Castle alone is home to a paranormal piper and a headless drummer, making one helluva ghoulish band, and there’s even a dog ghost haunting the canine cemetery grounds. Then there’s the infamous South Bridge vaults – underground arches where the city’s poor lived in slum conditions and now haunt the dank, dark chambers, and the ghostly activity of plague victims who were sealed up in Mary King’s Close. Keep the Ghostbusters on speed dial.

 

New Orleans cemetery.
Voodoo rating: off the scale

 

New Orleans, USA

There’s vampires aplenty in the Deep South and New Orleans appears to be its ectoplasm epicentre as the most haunted city in the US. Spook yourself silly in the French Quarter where all the voodoo and vampire lore culminates in a ghostly gumbo. If you can’t bring yourself to stay in a haunted hotel (try Hotel Monteleone, Hotel Provincial or the Bourbon Orleans Hotel), make sure you see the LaLaurie House. Also the former home of Nicolas Cage (unrelated but still creepy), this haunted mansion clanks with the chains of slaves said to have been tortured in Chez LaLaurie.

 

King Tut's tomb.
Likelihood of a mummy's curse: imminent

 

Luxor, Egypt

Phantom pharaohs have been sighted walking like (mummified) Egyptians around the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. When archaeologists and looters cracked open the royal tombs, they are said to have unleashed the curse of the pharaohs - much, much more than just dust and sand. Pharoahs in full regalia ride in ghostly chariots in the black of night in the Valley of the Kings, vengeful spirits mourn their desecrated vaults and dead Egyptologists have also been known to wander these eerie deserts. Thankfully flesh-eating scarab beetles are not real. Right?

 

Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague.
Creepy factor: monstrous

 

Prague, Czech Republic

Is it the Gothic architecture, the cobblestone streets or the centuries of violent history that makes Prague one of the most haunted haunts in Eastern Europe (and not just by tourists)? This most supernatural city has headless singing spectres over Charles Bridge and vengeful ghosts and bickering spirits in and around Prague Castle, just to mention a few. Prague’s paranormal hotspot is undoubtedly the Old Jewish Cemetery where around 100,000 people are estimated to be buried, but only 12,000 headstones are on show.

 

An abandoned house in Singapore.
Mood: Feeling superstitious

 

Singapore

Beneath the fastidious cleanliness of Singapore is a city state with a past. A deep dark secret past. Asian cultures are full of superstitions and there’s a few places you’ll need your lucky talismans here. Take the Old Changi Hospital, and the former leprosy quarantine station and later WWII camp of Saint John’s Island where the screams of POWs have been heard, for starters. And it’s not just buildings and the unlucky number 4 to watch out for – Malay vampires, known as pontianaks or banana tree banshees, lurk in rubber trees too!

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.