A haunted house is a house or other building often perceived as being inhabited by disembodied spirits of the deceased who may have been former residents or were familiar with the property. Here I take a look at five reportedly haunted buildings across the world.
THE CASTLE OF GOOD HOPE, CAPE TOWN-
South Africa’s oldest building, The Castle of Good Hope has a long history of cruelty, imprisonment and torture. There have been many reported claims that a number of ghosts and apparitions haunt the castle.
The pentagon-shaped castle was constructed on the shore so high tides would fill its moat. There was a dreaded Donker Gat (dark hole) dungeon used to hold prisoners, who would be chained to the walls and tortured. If an extra-large wave came crashing up the shore during high tide, the hole could fill with water within seconds and drown the prisoner chained below. The castle also served as an execution site for convicts, escaped slaves, and rebellious natives.
The ghost of Governor van Noodt is one of the most infamous. During his time as governor to the Cape he was known to be particularly harsh and quick to hand out cruel punishments for soldiers who disobeyed him. He once sentenced three soldiers to death and just before being hanged, the last one pronounced a curse on him.
A short while later Governor Van Noodt was found dead with a look of horror on his face. No cause of death was ever found. Today, Van Noodt has been seen walking the grounds and been heard cursing under his breath before disappearing.
Another ghost is known as the “lady in the grey hood”. A young woman called Emily Daniel saw a lady standing at her bedroom door. She at first thought it was her mother, but a second look revealed a shadowy figure wearing a long grey cloak with her face buried in her hands. The figure reached the foot of the bed and then melted away. Her sister is said to have saw a similar apparition some years later.
The same grey lady is believed to also haunt Government House which stands about a kilometer from the castle. Legend has it that there is an underground passage running between the Castle of Good Hope and Government House and has been blocked up for generations. But of course, such obstacles would not hamper the movements of a ghost.
The lady in the grey hood has also been witnessed running through the castle holding her face and crying hysterically. However, since a woman’s body was found during recent excavations her ghost hasn’t been reported.
Sometime in the 1700′s, a soldier was found hanging from the bell rope in the bell tower, which overlooks the entrance to the castle. After his death, the bell tower was sealed off however, to this day the bell has been known to strike off its own accord.
Other resident ghosts include the curly-haired specter of Lady Anne Barnard, who lived at the castle in the late 1700s and has been known to make her appearance at parties, and a phantom black hound that leaps at visitors but vanishes inches before colliding with the frightened visitor. Today the castle is an Africana museum offering daily tours.
BORLEY RECTORY, ESSEX, UNITED KINGDOM –
Borley Rectory was a pretty mansion built back in 1863 in the village of Borley, Essex, on the site of an old monastery. The reports of strange occurrences date back to the mid to late 1800′s however, the first documented evidence of paranormal activity was in the early 1900′s.
Some people say this is or was the most haunted house in England. The ghost of a sorrowful nun who strolled along the so called “Nun’s Walk” was already well known in the villagers at that time. An old story claimed that she was a wayward sister from the nearby nunnery at Bures who had fallen in love with a monk from the Borley Monastery. The two had tried to elope together but had been quickly tracked down. The monk was executed and the nun bricked up in the cellars of the monastic buildings. This nun is believed to be the one that is seen on the grounds of Borley Rectory, looking for the monk in the hope of running away together once more.
The next most significant of reports comes from Eric Smith and his wife. They reported mysterious footsteps, doorbells ringing of their own accord, and poltergeist activity which occurred on numerous occasions. It was Eric Smith and his wife who reported their experiences to the Daily Mirror newspaper, who then arranged for the paranormal investigator Harry Price to stay and investigate.
Whilst staying there (for little over a year) Price witnessed the reported poltergeist phenomena first hand. He was said to have got in touch with the spirit of past tenant Rev. Harry Bull who died there years before. After numerous attempts at exorcising the property and continued media intrusions, in 1930 Mr and Mrs Smith left the house for good.
The next residents of the house were Rev. Foyster and his wife Marianne. They both were to continue to experience all the same phenomena that Price and the Smith’s had witnessed before them. However, the poltergeist activity seemed to become more aggressive with reports of smashed glasses, broken windows, and Marianne being thrown from her bed by an unseen force. The couple were to also experience otherworldly messages on the walls, which defied any logical reason like other reports.
After 5 years of what must have been very frightening indeed, the Foysters left the house leaving Price to move in and continue his study without interference. However during his stay he and his team of researchers were left relatively disappointed as they witnessed very little compared to what had been witnessed before. A full account of what Price experienced was published in the book ‘The Most Haunted House in England’.
It is said that the house mysteriously burned down in 1939 but reports actually claim that on the 27th February 1939 the new owner of the rectory, Captain W. H. Gregson, was unpacking boxes and accidentally knocked over an oil lamp in the hallway. The fire quickly spread and the house was severely damaged. After investigating the cause of the blaze the insurance company concluded that the fire had been started deliberately.
THE QUEEN MARY HOTEL, CALIFORNIA, USA-
The Queen Mary Hotel is a former ocean liner that sailed primarily in the North Atlantic during the 1930′s to 1960′s. Since the 1970′s the liner has been run as a hotel in Long Beach, California and is said to be one of the most haunted hotels on record.
The First Class Swimming Pool is reportedly haunted by the ghosts of two women who drowned there, one in the 1930s and the other in the 1960s. The changing rooms near the pool are the source of negative feelings detected by numerous psychics.
Other haunted areas of the ship include the Queen’s Salon, said to be frequented by the ghost of a young woman in a white dress. The First Class Suites has reports of a man in a 1930s suit while the Forward Storage Room has reports of children playing. The most disturbed area of the hotel is cabin B340 and it is no longer rented out.
Bosun’s Locker is the site where the Queen Mary once sliced through her escort ship while swerving to try and evade the Nazis. Because of wartime sailing orders, the Queen Mary was not permitted to stop for survivors, so over 300 men drowned. Pounding on the walls can still be heard in that area of the ship.
The kitchen is another haunted area. During World War II, a cook was murdered by troops aboard the ship who didn’t like his cooking. He was stuffed into an oven and burned to death, and his screams can still be heard.
About 50 people have died on the Queen Mary, and the ship’s Morgue is believed to be haunted as well. Among them was 18-year-old John Pedder, a crewman who was crushed by door #13 during a watertight drill and is sometimes spotted wearing the blue coveralls in which he died in. Another was William Stark, who drank poison that the ship’s captain was keeping in an old gin bottle.
This historic ocean liner is now permanently docked, but the ghostly activity continues and the hotel offers haunted history tours.
THE OLD VICARAGE, BORGVATTNET SWEDEN-
Borgvattnet is a small village in Jämtland County, Northern Sweden. It’s renowned for having one of the most haunted houses in Sweden, The Old Vicarage, which was built in 1876.
The first ghost ever documented at the vicarage came in 1927, when the chaplain Nils Hedlund resided there. He reported many strange happenings including one particular encounter with something paranormal. He was on his way up to the attic to gather his laundry when he witnessed his laundry being torn down from the line by an unseen force.
Rudolf Tangden, a priest who lived at the vicarage during the 1930′s, saw an old woman dressed in grey appear in one of the rooms and as he followed her as she walked away, she vanished in front of his eyes. In the 1940′s Tangden’s successor, Otto Lindgren, and his wife said they had several paranormal experiences including unexplained sounds and moving objects.
On one occasion a woman who was staying in the guestroom was awoken in the middle of the night to see three old women sitting staring at her. She quickly turned on the light and they were still looking at her, however they now appeared blurry. In a similar incident a woman named Inga Flodin spent the night in the vicarage in which during the night she woke up and felt like someone was watching her. Against a wall there is a sofa whit three women who appeared to be crying. The sofa wasn´t there in when Inga went to bed, and not when she woke up.
In 1945 the chaplain, Erick Lindgren moved into the vicarage, and he began a journal recounting many of his own experiences in the house. When deciding to take a book and sit down in the rocking chair he would be thrown out of the rocking chair by an unseen force.
One couple on their way down the stairs were grabbed by an invisible force that tried to drag them down the stairs and out on to the yard. The couple never took another step into the vicarage and slept in a tent on the lawn.
Many people have accounted been woken up by a cold hand being placed on their forehead and others have reported unexplained sounds within the vicarage.
One story is that a maid that worked in the vicarage had become pregnant and in pure desperation unexplained killed the child and buried it next to the house.
The current building is serving as a restaurant/cafe, as well a guest house. If you dare to stay the entire night you’ll receive an overnight-stay-certificate to prove it!
MONTE CRISTO, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA-
Monte Cristo, meaning ‘Mount of Christ’, is the historic, elegant Victorian homestead in Junee, New South Wales and regarded as the most haunted location in Australia. It was built in 1884 by Christopher William Crawley.
Its reputation is believed to stem from the amount of tragic events that have occurred there since it was built. The Crawley family owned and resided in the property and during this time the family laid witness to many deaths. They included the tragic death of a young child who was accidently dropped down the stairs by a maid. The distraught maid claimed that the baby had been pushed out of her arms by an unseen force, which was never proven but today, young children become very agitated and unruly near or around the staircase. Another maid to the family is believed to have fallen from the balcony in which the blood stained steps can be seen to this day, even though they have been bleached. A stable boy apparently burned to death on the property. There was also a mentally ill man named Harold (the son of a caretaker) who was chained up in the caretaker’s cottage for 40 years. He was found curled up next to the body of his dead mother, and sent to a mental institute where he died shortly after.
Christopher Crawley died at Monte Cristo on December 14th, 1910 at the age of 69 when a carbuncle on his neck became infected from rubbing against a starched collar. His wife, Elizabeth, spent the remaining 23 years of her life in mourning. She converted the upstairs box room into a chapel and immersed herself in the Bible, reportedly only leaving the house on two occasions. On August 12th, 1933, she died at the age of 92 from a ruptured appendix. In 1948, the last of the Crawley family left Monte Cristo.
The most dominant ghost that haunts the ground, according to psychics is Mrs. Crawley herself, which isn’t at all surprising since she was known to rule Monte Cristo with an iron fist. It is said that she is frequently seen in the chapel room, dressed in black and carrying a large silver cross. Her ghost has been known to order people out of the Dining Room and her presence is felt when a room suddenly becomes icy cold.
Footsteps have been heard walking through empty rooms, along the hall and down the stairs which is strange in itself but, what is even stranger is that the steps sound as though the person is walking on hard wood or lino floors even though the entire house is now carpeted.
The most recent death at Monte Cristo occurred in 1961 when caretaker Jackie Simpson was murdered by a local youth. After watching the movie Psycho several times, the boy made his way up to the grounds of the homestead with a rifle and shot the caretaker dead in his cottage. It is believed that he then scrawled the words “DIE JACK HA HA” on the wooden door, a macabre inscription that can still be seen to this day.