Haunted house stories are quite popular. Who wouldn’t want to curl up to a hair-raising story to spice up the night a little! What makes the stories you are about to read even more interesting is the fact that these are based on real-life accounts. So without further ado, here are haunted house stories behind the most popular historical places around the world.
5 Haunted House Stories Behind Popular Tourist Destinations
1. Borley Rectory
According to reports, the entity haunting the Borley Rectory is the spirit of a murdered nun. Her origin story dates back to the time the site was used as a monastery. A monk at the monastery was said to be carrying on an affair with a nun from the nearby convent. When their scandalous relationship was uncovered, the monk was sent to the gallows while the nun was walled up alive inside the rectory’s brick walls.
It was told that Reverend Bull was amazed by the ghost nun story that he decided to set up his home there. From then on, his own family would become witness to various apparitions of the ghostly nun. Bull’s own daughters even saw the sorrowful ghost lurking in the grounds themselves.
After the death of Reverend Bull, the house was occupied by Rev. Eric Smith and his wife. The couple invited acclaimed medium Harry Price to investigate the alleged ghost sighting. Price managed to contact more than just the nun during his session. Turned out, there was a great deal of paranormal activity going on in the Borley Rectory, and some of these spirits were malevolent.
The grim discovery drove Smith and his wife to move out of the rectory. It was soon inherited by Rev. Lionel Foyster. Foyster had a beautiful wide named Marianne who became an object of desire for whatever was haunting the Borley Rectory. Unsettled by the haunting, the family also moved out shortly after.
As soon as the last family moved out, Harry Price decided to return and live in the house. He discovered a number of disturbing new clues: the skeletal remains of a woman as well as a prophecy that the house would be burnt to the ground soon. While the prophecy never did play out as expected, a fire did occur in the Borley Rectory just 11 months after Price made contact with the spirit.
Coincidence? You decide.
2. Edinburgh Castle
Today, people flock to explore the castle, taking advantage of its gorgeous backdrop, to learn more about its rich 900-year history. But that is not all that is luring all the tourists to Edinburgh Castle. The site has become a well-known hot spot for paranormal activity, with ghost hunters from around the world heading there in hopes of capturing proof of residual spirits.
It can be difficult to wrap the haunted house stories involving the Edinburgh Castle in one paragraph due to the vast history of the location itself, but a few highlights include the following:
- A ghost drummer is believed to alert occupants once the castle is under siege. Some think this spirit is that of a headless boy.
- The dungeons used to be the site of torture and death, so it is no surprise that there is a high level of activity reported there. One spirit is of a prisoner attempting to escape only to fall to his own death when the barrow he rode on was emptied on the cliff side.
- Visitors have reported numerous ghostly happenings such as sudden drops in temperature, cold spots, disemboweled voices, and full-body apparitions.
To prove the claims of paranormal activity, Dr. Richard Wiseman decided to conduct an investigation. He housed several volunteers in haunted and non-haunted areas of the castle. Interestingly enough, 51 percent of the participants placed in the haunted areas reported paranormal experiences, while only 35 percent of those in non-haunted areas did so.
3.The Crescent Hotel
Looking to take advantage of the hype, Crescent Hotel owner Norman Baker turned the place into a wellness center and resort. He went as far as accepting cancer patients despite having no medical background himself. Baker was eventually exposed and sent to four years in prison. To this day, the hotel remains open and is run under new management. There is no exact record as to how many patients lost their lives thanks to Baker’s corruption and negligence.
Way before Baker decided to deceive his customers, stories about hauntings have already been circulating around The Crescent. One of the most famous ghosts is that of a stonemason named Michael. The worker met his unfortunate death after plunging from the roof and landing on the spot currently occupied by Room 218. To this day, the restless spirit continues to haunt the room by making his presence known to guests.
As expected, a majority of the hotel’s horrific tales come from Baker’s false “cure for cancer” campaigns. There are claims that Baker has gone as far as murdering his victims so no one would know that they were not getting cured. Although none of these alleged “murders” were documented, stories about a patient named Theodora haunting the halls of The Crescent have been passed around to this day.
The SyFy reality show Ghost Hunters paid a visit to The Crescent to investigate the claims of paranormal activity. As they were exploring the morgue, the team managed to capture an image of a man with the use of their thermal camera.
9.The Biltmore Estate
After her husband George died in 1914, Edith Vanderbilt claimed that she still saw him around the house. Servants have gone on to say that while they did see Edith talking to an imaginary figure several times, the ghost of George never did manifest directly to them.
When the estate opened its doors to tourists, stories of the paranormal intensified. Guests have reported seeing a headless orange cat on the grounds, unexplained noises near the swimming pool, and even the voices of George and Edith conversing with each other. It is also popular belief that anyone who spends their time at Biltmore could end up as a prisoner of the haunted manor forever.
10. The Winchester Mystery House
After William died, Sarah inherited a total of $20 million. She also received partial ownership of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, giving her a $1,000 income per day (that is equivalent to around $23,000/day in present time).
But the money alone was not enough to keep Sarah happy. She used the mass inheritance to build a lavish mansion, which took around 38 years to construct. It was said that Sarah requested constant improvements, paying the workers to work day and night to add another feature only to demolish it soon after. The most baffling parts of the Winchester Mansions are wooden staircases and doorways that lead to nowhere, leading many to believe that Sarah was trying to deceive supernatural entities that were haunting her home.
Speculations that the estate was haunted began circulating even before the property was built. Sarah had been meeting with a renowned psychic medium in Boston who warned her that she was being haunted by the ghosts of all those killed by her late husband’s rifles. He then advised that she build a home to “confuse” all the spirits and stop them from getting to her. After hearing the grim news, Sarah developed a penchant for the occult and began to fixate on the number 13, which later started a tradition wherein a large bell is rung 13 times every Friday the 13th.
To this day, the Winchester House has been an object of fascination for paranormal enthusiasts. Reports of strange footsteps, creaking floorboards, and even full-body apparitions are quite common in the property. An interesting discovery was also made in The Winchester House back in October 2016, when the 161st room was opened to the public. It contained an attic space with a pump organ, sewing machine, couch, and other household items. Experts say that Sarah boarded the area after the 1906 earthquake.