The countries of Europe have a long rich history of paranormal manifestations that have drawn the darkly-curious for generations. From the murder sites of Jack the Ripper to the haunted underground city of Mary Kings Close, there are hundreds of sites to explore and stories to chill the blood.
Join us for a quick journey through some of the most interesting haunted sites in all of Europe!
Tower of London, London, England
One of the most popular tourist sites in London, tourists from around the world come to this ancient fortress to see the Crown Jewels of the English monarchy. The Tower has hundreds of stories to tell, from the traitor's gate to the ravens that act as an omen for the monarchy. Some of the stories will send a shiver of fear down your back. Many ghosts are supposed to haunt the Tower, but there are two favorites.
When Richard III took over England, he had stewardship of his two nephews. Both were still children, but both had claims to the throne of England. One day they both went missing and, while their bodies were never found, it's generally assumed that Richard III had them killed to secure his hold on the monarchy. Their spirits supposedly haunt the room they went missing from, and some believe their bones rest in the walls of the Tower.
The other famous ghost is that of Queen Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII's second wife. Due to her inability to conceive a male heir and because of political infighting with her former ally Thomas Cromwell, she was sentenced to die by execution. The sentence was carried out in the courtyard and she was decapitated. Since then, people have claimed to have seen her spirit wandering the grounds looking for her head.
Houska Castle, Blatce, Czech Republic
There are many questions surrounding the construction and purpose of Houska Castle. It's deep in the middle of nowhere, far away from any trade routes or defensible positions. There's a chapel inside the grounds with paintings of angels and demons on the walls. And it was supposedly built on top of a bottomless pit. According to local legend, that pit is known as the Gate to Hell.
Houska Castle has an interesting history of inhabitants, including a black magician and alchemist who conducted his sinister experiments within the castle walls. In addition, the castle came under military occupation doing the Nazi invasion. There were rumors that the Nazi's occult studies found a home in the castle and that they conducted horrible experiments on their prisoners.
Today Houska Castle remains a big tourist spot in the Czech Republic. Lovers of ghoulish tales flock to the site in hopes to see one of the winged beasts that supposedly soars through the night sky.
Moosham Castle, Unternberg, Austria
One of the most tragic tales of European history is the prosecution of millions of people for the crime of witchcraft. Countless women went to the torture chamber and the execution block at the word of zealots and patriarchal religious figures. One of the most notorious sites is Moosham Castle in Unternberg, Austria, known as the Witch Castle.
The Castle was the center of the Salzburg Witch Trails, which took place toward the end of the 17th century. 139 people were killed by dismemberment, burning, hanging, and decapitation on this site. Unique to this witch hunt was the fact that the majority of the victims were men.
An aura of palpable menace remains at the site. People say that the spirits of the executed can be heard screaming in pain through the castle halls.
Čachtice Castle, Čachtice, Slovakia
The mountain castle outside Cachtice in Slovakia was the prison of the notorious Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who died within the walls.
Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed, a Hungarian noblewoman, was put on trial for the murder of hundreds of young women from 1585-1609. 300 witnesses, including survivors and servants who worked for her, testified to her atrocities and she was caught surrounded by dead and dying young women and babies. Though the most famous detail of her crimes was added well after her trial and is considered unreliable, it is said that she murdered the girls in order to bathe in their blood. Bathory believed that such treatments would keep her beauty ageless, so hundred were sacrificed for her vanity.
There is some belief that the entirety of the accusations made against her were false, and that disgracing her was more about attacking her powerful family. There have been some doubts on the witness accounts and the number of her victims fluctuate regularly. But it is hard to dispute that she did something terrible and that perhaps a shade of her evil lingers in the place she died in.
The Catacombs of Paris, Paris, France
The City of Lights is one of the most beautiful and entrancing places in the entire world and many people - this author included - get swept up in the romance of the city. But there's a Hades-like underside to the city. Beneath the feet of millions of Parisians there exists an ossuary where the bones of 6 million people lay in rest. This grim place of endless winding tunnels has become known as the Empire of the Dead!
The Paris Catacombs was first opened in the 18th century, when the nearby cemetery of Les Innocents had become overflowing and dangerous. The catacombs were carefully laid out through a series of tunnels and old mine shafts that had been around since Paris's birth.
The place filled and remained mostly forgotten until it became a popular salon and tour location in the late 19th century. Since then, all kinds of scary stories have come forth from the depths. People have gone in and never come out, there have been numerous sightings of spirits, and psychics have detected both benevolent and malevolent energy in the ossuary.
So next time you visit Paris, be sure to visit this unique attraction!
Botanical Gardens, Lucca, Italy
Located in a small tucked-away corner of the Lucca city wall, the botanical gardens are a great way to take in the bucolic splendor of the region.
According to local myth, it is also the place where a young woman sold her soul to the devil.
A noblewoman named Lucida Mansi lived in the early 17th century. She was supposedly a great beauty and vain enough to fill an entire room of her home with large mirrors so she could look at herself from a hundred different angles. So great was her vanity that she met the devil at the botanical gardens and offer up her soul in exchange for everlasting beauty.
The legend says that she soon began attracting scores of suitors, but she was already married. So to free herself, she had her husband murdered and she began dalliances with many young men. To save herself from scandal, she often murdered her lovers, usually by pushing them into pits filled with sharp knives.
Eventually the devil came to claim his due, but It's said that you can see her reflection in the pond's water. In addition, people have reported seeing her riding in the Devil's flaming coach through the garden.
Have we missed any favorite haunted spots? Let us know in the comments. And please share this with other travel enthusiasts and lovers of scary stories.