Some cities have charm, great history, and attractions. Others have a bunch of haunted houses, cemeteries, and legends of ghosts, vampires, and gruesome murders.
These notoriously frightful cities are beset with ghastly, ghostly close encounters:
- Prague, Czech Republic – Prague is known for its headless Templar Knight, who is often spotted trotting down the cobbled streets at night gripping his head in one hand. To release the knight from this ghastly doom, a living bystander must grab his sword and stab him in the heart – a feat that, unsurprisingly, has not yet been accomplished. To the north of the city lies Houska Castle, where Nazi officers supposedly conducted occult experiments during the war; in its grounds lies a building that was allegedly constructed to cover a hole full of demons.
- Dublin, Ireland – Dublin is another old city in which mysteries and spooky places abound. Not only is Connolly Station allegedly haunted by a poltergeist, but Dublin has the famous Hellfire Club as well. Originally designed as a hunting lodge for the rich, rumors of black masses and animal sacrifices soon spread. The skeleton of a dwarf was also discovered in a shallow grave just outside the club. Kavanagh’s Pub (aka Gravedigger’s), just next to Glasnevin Cemetery, is visited by the ghost of an old gentleman in tweed, who takes his drinks at the bar and then vanishes. He is said to be a former gravedigger. In the crypt of St. Michan’s Church, bodies have been preserved for over 800 years. Coffins are stacked all over the place, and the limbs of the dead stand in weird angles. Visitors often report whispers, voices, and cold hands grabbing them.
- Rome, Italy – Rome has many ghost stories, and it’s no wonder why. The whole city sits on catacombs, and many gruesome things have taken place there, like the execution of Beatrice Cenci. Beatrice was 22 years old when she was imprisoned in Castel Sant’Angelo for killing her abusive husband and later executed. It is said that her ghost walks Sant’Angelo Bridge every year on September 11, with her head under her arm. There are many scary places in Rome to visit, but none of them are creepier than the Museum and Crypt of the Capuchins. The skeletons of more than 400 monks decorate this crypt. Chandeliers are made out of leg and arm bones, and skulls are embedded in the walls. A sign there reads: “What you are we once were; what we are you will become.”
- York, UK – In 2002 the ancient city of York was named the most haunted metropolis in Europe. A wraith that used to haunt the Golden Fleece pub allegedly followed an American visitor home to tug at her hair every night. York is still home to such colourful spooks as Mad Alice, a rather unsympathetically nicknamed young woman who was executed in 1825 for “dangerous insanity”, and the Grey Lady, a medieval nun who had an affair with a handsome young local chap and was bricked up alive in a room that now forms part of the structure of the Theatre Royal. Sit in the dress circle, it is said, and she will tickle your neck.
- Sighișoara, Romania – The Transylvania birthplace of the man who inspired Dracula has embraced its bloody connection to Prince Vlad III. A torture museum regales visitors with the horrific tools of “Vlad the Impaler’s” trade, and only the bravest will set out after dark to climb the long, creaky covered stairway to the medieval city’s Holy Trinity Church.