Have you ever been to a haunted castle? After dedicating several posts to some of the world´s most beautiful and amazing castles like these 25 astounding fairy-tale like European castles or these 25 amazing castles you should see, it’s time to focus on some of the scariest, spookiest, most haunted castles ever. With Halloween just around the corner, we took the liberty to look into castles that are guaranteed to give you nightmares. Sites of brutal witch hunts, bloody battles, murders and other horrifying events, that apparently are magnets of paranormal activity. These eerie castles have become homes to lingering restless souls, eerie apparitions, unexplainable sounds and disturbing sights. Are you scared yet? You should be because the gloomy medieval structures you’re about to see rank among the creepiest, most haunted and ghost-infested places in the world. From the notorious Frankenstein Castle in Germany (which might have inspired Marry Shelley to write her famous horror novel Frankenstein) to the feared Czech Houska Castle which is rumored to be haunted by terrifying ghosts and creatures. Staying at any of these 25 Haunted Castles is definitely not recommended. That is unless you enjoy being in the company of ghosts and other supernatural beings (we certainly don’t).
Frankenstein Castle, Germany
Overlooking the city of Darmstadt in central Germany, the Frankenstein Castle is alleged to have been an inspiration for Mary Shelley when she wrote her famous Gothic novel Frankenstein. The castle is thought to be haunted by the ghost of Arbogast, a knight who once used to live there. In 2008, the Ghost Hunters International team proved there really is some sort of paranormal activity going on at the castle.
Leap Castle, Ireland
Built by the Irish O’Bannon clan in the 13th century, the Leap Castle has a long and bloody history. There was a brutal fratricide committed in the castle´s chapel now known as the Bloody Chapel. Moreover, many people were held prisoners and executed there. The castle is rumored to be haunted by a number of spirits, including a violent supernatural entity known as the Elemental, most recognizable by the accompanying smell of rotting flesh and sulfur.
Zvikov Castle, Czech Republic
One of the most important early-Gothic castles in the Czech Republic, the Zvikov Castle is thought to be haunted by a supernatural being known as Rarasek. Weird events occur at the castle frequently, including unexplainable technical problems, unpredictable animals behavior, spontaneous extinguishing of fires, electromagnetic anomalies etc. Allegedly, those who happen to sleep in the main tower will die within a year.
Moosham Castle, Austria
Built at the end of the 12th century, the Moosham Castle has an unusually gloomy and bloody past as thousands of young women were executed there during brutal witch trials. In the 19th century, numerous dead deer and cattle were also found near the castle, which gave rise to a speculation that the castle might have also served as a werewolves´ refuge. These days, the castle is better known as the Witches Castle.
Bran Castle, Romania
One of the scariest castles in the world, the Bran Castle is alleged to have been the seat of Vlad III – a cruel Romanian ruler better known as Vlad Dracula or Vlad the Impaler. Notorious for brutal impaling his enemies, the character of Vlad III inspired Bram Stoker to write his famous Gothic horror novel Dracula. Yet, the castle has another creepy element – one of its chapels hosts a gold casket in which the Queen Marie’s heart was placed and buried.
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Larnach Castle, New Zealand
Located at the ridge of the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand, the Larnach Castle is one of the spookiest places in the country. Originally built as the residence of William Larnach, a prominent entrepreneur and politician in colonial New Zealand, the castle is said to be haunted by at least one, and possibly two ghosts: that of Kate, the daughter of the mansion’s original owner and that of Larnach’s first wife, Eliza.
Castle of Good Hope, South Africa
Built by the Dutch East India Company in the second half of the 17th century, the Castle of Good Hope is generally considered the most haunted site in South Africa. The resident ghosts reportedly include the ghost of Lady Anne Barnard who lived there, the ghost of a soldier who hanged himself in the bell tower and the ghosts of soldiers pacing the battlements. Despite its scary reputation, the castle was declared a national monument in 1936.
Chateau de Brissac, France
Built as early as in the 11th century, Chateau de Brissac is a haunted castle in west-central France. According to the legend, one of the previous residents of the castle caught his wife with another man and murdered them both. These days, the castle serves as a hotel where multiple paranormal activities such as eerie sounds, slight touches, ghostly sightings, and wailing throughout the halls are frequently reported by the guests.
Belcourt Castle, Rhode Island
Originally built as a summer cottage designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt for Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, a prominent 19th century US politician, the Belcourt Castle is now one of the most haunted places in Rhode Island. In 1956, the Tinney family of Cumberland bought this castle and one of the family members, Harold Tinney, is believed to reside in the castle even in his afterlife, roaming the castle´s grounds.
Castle Fraser, Scotland
Located in east Scotland, the Castle Fraser is famous for its legend according to which a princess was once staying at the castle when she was brutally murdered while sleeping. Her body was dragged down the stone stairs, leaving a blood trail. As hard as they tried, the occupants of the castle could not scrub out the stains so they decided to cover the steps in wood paneling, which remains today. It is said she still stalks the halls of the castle during the night.
Castle of Horst, Belgium
Situated in the Belgian municipality of Holsbeek, the Castle of Horst is a half-ruined Flemish Renaissance castle that is reportedly haunted by one of its previous owners Lord of Rode. The locals say the ghost of the lord comes back every day at midnight in a carriage pulled by six wild horses. The soul of the legendary 15th century lord cannot find rest for having murdered a priest who might have had an affair with the lord´s wife.
Predjama Castle, Slovenia
Known for its hidden passageways and unique position as it was built within a cave, the Predjama Castle has a violent history. In the 15th century, the castle was a seat of the knight Erazem, a feared robber baron. After a long besieging by the Habsburgs´ army, Erazem was killed in this castle. Since then, the castle is believed to be haunted. In 2008, it was even investigated for paranormal activity by the Ghost Hunters International.
Dragsholm Castle, Denmark
One of the scariest places in Denmark, the Dragsholm Castle has been reportedly haunted by a number of ghosts. One of them is the White Lady that is supposed to be the ghost of a girl who fell in love with a local commoner. The girl’s father found out about the lovers and imprisoned the girl in her room. In early 20th century, shocked construction workers found a small recess in one of the castle´s walls which contained a small skeleton wearing a white dress.
Wolfsegg Castle, Germany
Located in the German state of Bavaria, the Wolfsegg Castle is thought to host ghosts for more than 500 years. In the 16th century, the owner of the castle hired two farmers to kill his wife after discovering she was having an affair. Soon after, the man and his sons suddenly died. Since then, the castle has been allegedly haunted by the White Woman. To make things even scarier, numerous animal skeletons of unknown origin were discovered in a nearby cave.
Castle of Bardi, Italy
Also known as Landi Castle, the Castle of Bardi is thought to be haunted by the ghost of Moroello, an army captain who killed himself after his lover Soleste committed a suicide, thinking that Moroello had died in a battle. Nowadays, this old medieval castle serves as a museum dedicated to local folklore and customs but the ghost of Moroello is still believed to reside at the castle, roaming the grounds and searching for his love.
Houska Castle, Czech Republic
Located just outside Prague, the Houska Castle is one of the most haunted and mysterious sites in Europe. As the castle lacks any fortifications, it was not built to repel any attacks or as a seat of a ruler. The legend has it the castle was built over a large hole that was supposed to be the gateway to hell from which horrifying half-human and half-animal creatures came out. By building the castle over the hole, locals were able to keep the demons trapped inside.
Arundel Castle, England
Arundel Castle is a restored and remodeled medieval castle in Arundel, West Sussex, England, originally built in the 11th century. The castle is considered to be haunted by numerous ghosts but it is the ghost of the first Earl of Arundel whose apparitions are reported most often. Other spirits residing at the castle are those of a young woman who jumped to her death and a Blue Man who has been often seen in the library.
Rocky Hill Castle, Alabama
Built as a plantation house between Town Creek and Courtland, Alabama, the Rocky Hill Castle was surrounded by numerous ghost stories and folklore legends. Before it was demolished in 1960s, the castle was purported to be haunted by the spirit of a Lady in Blue, ghosts of Civil War soldiers, and the ghosts of tortured slaves. Prior to its destruction, it was also alleged that knocking and banging of unknown origin often occurred in the house.
Ballygally Castle, Northern Ireland
Built in 1625, the Ballygally Castle is one of the most haunted places in Northern Ireland. Now serving as a hotel, the castle is reputed to host a number of ghosts, the most active of which is the former resident, Madam Nixon, who has been allegedly haunting the castle since her death in the 18th century. She roams the passages at night dressed in a silk dress. Her fleeting appearances have recently been confined to a room in a corner turret.
Himeji Castle, Japan
One of the greatest examples of Japanese castle architecture, the Himeji Castle in the Hyogo Prefecture has been a site of some eerie events and unexplainable occurrences. In fact, it is the castle´s well that has allegedly witnessed the most haunting as it is thought to host the ghost of Okiku, a mythical character from ancient Japanese legends. The ghost is supposed to rise from the well at night and count to nine before shrieking and returning to the well.
Akershus Castle, Norway
Built in the 13th century to protect Norway´s capital Oslo, the Akershus Castle is regarded as the scariest place in the country. In more recent history, the castle served as a prison here many prisoners died and it was also where the Nazis executed masses of people during the WWII. With such a bleak history, it comes as no surprise that the castle is believed to be haunted by numerous ghosts, even including the ghost of a dog who was supposed to guard the castle gate.
Charleville Castle, Ireland
A Gothic-style castle located in Ireland, the Charleville Castle is one the most haunted castles in the country. Alleged to be haunted by the third Earl of Charleville’s daughter Harriet, the castle was featured in several paranormal reality TV series such as Scariest Places on Earth, Most Haunted, and Ghost Hunters International. Harriet is believed to have haunted the place since 1861 when she died after falling from the staircase at the age of eight.
Franklin Castle, Ohio
Located in Cleveland, Ohio, the Franklin Castle has a particularly gloomy reputation, ranking among the most haunted places in the US. The castle features many hidden passages and rooms, including a trap door that lead to a tunnel that goes nowhere, and, more infamously, a room in which dozens of human baby skeletons were found. Surrounded by several other tragic stories, the castle is thought to be haunted by children ghosts.
Erasmus Castle, South Africa
Also known as “Die Spookhuis” or “The Haunted House”, the Erasmus Castle is a large mansion famous for frequent ghost sightings and supernatural encounters. These days, the castle is open for public tours and cultural gatherings, which is why so many people have witnessed various paranormal activities at the castle such as lit windows in the uninhabited parts of the building, unexplainable human sounds etc.
Beaumaris Castle, Wales
One of the world´s greatest examples of symmetrical concentric planning, the Beaumaris Castle is a haunted medieval castle in north Wales. Built in 1330, the castle is said to be home to strange echoes of chanting which have been caught on audio recording equipment by visitors to the small chapel area. The feeling of being watched has also been felt in the long dark corridors and an over-all sense of creepy loneliness can be felt there.