If you think of dancing princesses and singing birds when you think of castles, think again. Many haunted castles around the world have a much more sinister history.
#1: Castle Fraser, Scotland
Located in East Scotland, Castle Fraser is known for its wonderful architecture, beautiful gardens, fertile farmland, and… a terrifying murder.
According to local legend, a beautiful princess once stayed at Castle Fraser. Instead of getting a dress made for her by small creatures or meeting a handsome highlands lord, the young princess was brutally murdered in her sleep. Her body was then dragged down the castle’s stone stairs and into the woods beyond.
The castle’s other occupants tried in vain to scrub her blood from the stairs, but they couldn’t. Instead, they covered the stone stairs with wood paneling, which is still present today.
Some say you can still hear the princess screaming as she haunts the castle halls at night. Haunted castle? We think so.
#2: Moosham Castle, Austria
While the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts may be some of the most famous witch trials in the world, the witch trials in Austria at Moosham Castle may be the bloodiest.
Thousands of young women were accused of witchcraft and brought to Moosham Castle centuries ago. They were tortured and killed in the dungeon. Unsurprisingly, the now considered haunted castle hasn’t quite escaped this bloody history and visitors report hearing chilling screams and seeing frenzied ghosts throughout its halls.
#3: Himeji Castle, Japan
Hijemi Castle is well-known for being one of the best-preserved examples of Japanese castle architecture in the entire country. It’s also supposedly haunted by a ghost named Okiku, who crawls out of the well each night and shrieks, so, visit during the daytime, we guess.
People report experiencing a number of unexplained and creepy occurrences at Hijemi Castle, from items disappearing and reappearing to cold chills when they walk through certain areas. If you’re not looking to encounter Okiku, take our advice and view this architectural marvel and possibly haunted castle from afar.
#4: Ballygally Castle, Ireland
Ballygally Castle is known as the most haunted castle in Northern Ireland. We think it says a lot about the number of hauntings in your country when you have to make such distinctions.
Ballygally Castle is home to a number of ghosts, the most famous being Madam Nixon. She died at Ballygally in the 18th century and decided to remain for all eternity. Madam Nixon was apparently somewhat of a fashionista and sightings of her report that she’s wearing a beautiful silk dress.
#5: Bran Castle, Romania
In a creepy and hard-to-reach part of the Carpathian Mountains lies Bran Castle, the infamous home of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Vlad Dracula. The inspiration for Bran Stokers’ Gothic horror novel, Dracula, Vlad the Impaler’s reign of terror over Transylvania has become the stuff of legends.
Historians aren’t sure whether Vlad III actually killed people in Bran Castle, but nevertheless, the site has been solidified as one of the most haunted places and certainly the most haunted castle in the world. Regardless of whether or not Vlad the Impaler actually tortured and killed hundreds here, the spooky castle boasts a number of other creepy features, including a golden casket that holds the heart of Romania’s Queen Marie. The countryside surrounding the castle is supposedly haunted, too, with undead souls haunting local villagers at night.