It’s Friday again, which means it’s time for more ghostly fun! This week I want to share some of my favorite haunts, places so chilling you can’t help but question the existence of the paranormal. Some you may have heard of, others maybe not. But in the end they may have any doubt you have fluttering right out the window. So sit back and enjoy these creepy places as we count down to the release of my haunted romance So Fell the Sparrow!
Poveglia Island – Venetian Lagoon, Northern Italy
Considered one of the most haunted locations in all of Europe, Poveglia Island has a dark, morbid history. Legend has it that it was used during the three times the Black Death plagued Europe to house and bury those who were infected, isolating them from the healthy. It is reported that over 160,000 people died on Poveglia’s shores over it’s long history, their ashes supposedly accounting for 50% of the soil. In 1922, a building was erected on the island that was used, supposedly, as a mental hospital. One of the doctors who worked there is reported to have tortured and butchered patients, only to commit suicide by jumping from the bell tower. Even creepier still, it’s said that he survived the fall and was strangled by a strange mist that came up out of the ground.
Today, the island is off limits to tourists and many residents of Venice refuse to acknowledge Poveglia’s dark past. But considering the ruins left behind and the frightening eye-witness accounts of strange happenings there by those who gain access, most are convinced that Poveglia is as haunted as they come. To see more fascinating images of Poveglia, check out the video below. Poveglia was also featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures, yielding some of their most powerful evidence to date. Click here to watch a clip.
Winchester Mystery House – San Jose, California
Famed as a home built because of ghosts, The Winchester House in Northern California was home to Sarah Winchester, widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester. After the death of her husband, Sarah reportedly met with a medium who conducted a seance, whereby Sarah’s husband spoke through the medium and instructed Sarah to move out west and build a home that should never be finished. Up until her death, Sarah had construction crews continuously working on the house day and night.
From a Discovery Channel account, “She believed her only chance of a normal life was to build a house, and keep building it. If the house was never finished, no ghost could settle into it. The house contains many features that were utilized to trap or confuse spirits. There are doors that are small or lead nowhere and windows that look into other parts of the house. The mansion may be huge but there are only two mirrors in the whole place. This is because Sarah believed that ghosts were afraid of their own reflection.”
It is said that the spirits influenced the design of the home, including spider web motifs and the number 13, which occurs throughout the home in unique ways. The sink drain cover has thirteen holes, a 12-candle chandelier was altered to have 13 candles, a spider web-patterned stained glass window contains 13 colored stones, etc.
Today, the home is open to tourists and has been investigated by countless paranormal teams. It is still considered one of the most haunted locations in California, giving credence to Sarah’s belief that the dead souls of those killed by her husband’s rifles were haunting her.
For more information on The Winchester Mystery House, check out the video below.
Pennhurst State School and Hospital – Spring City, Pennsylvania
“Insane asylums” are some of the eeriest places to visit, and Pennhurst is no exception. This famed institution has a cruel and horrific history plagued by scandal, abuse, and neglect. Opened in 1908 as the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic, Pennhurst was almost immediately overcrowded and under pressure to admit even more patients including orphans, criminals, and immigrants.
In 1968, a five part documentary was aired that exposed the horrific happenings at Pennhurst. Eventually there was a Supreme Court case against the hospital which resulted in its closure in 1987.
It is common for those who visit Pennhurst to sense it’s dark history and bear witness to the horrors that befell those who were detained there. Paranormal teams have captured shadow figures, class-A EVPs, moving objects and doors, and been pushed or touched by unseen forces. Among the EVP recordings are voices saying “go away”, “I’ll kill you”, “we’re upset”, and “why’d you come here?”
For more information on Pennhurst and to see the paranormal occurrences first hand, check out the video below.
Tunnels of Old Town Sacramento – Sacramento, California
Beneath the capital city of California lies a dirty, grimy underground. The tunnels of Old Town Sacramento are actually the original streets of the city, which were built over after flooding wiped out much of the area. All manner of sinful nightlife is reported to have occurred in the tunnels before they were closed to the public, including drug abuse, prostitution, satanic rituals, and murder.
Today, the tunnels are once again open to the public for tours. Visitors and paranormal teams have reported dozens of strange sightings and occurrences down in the tunnels, including shadow figures, strange noises and foul smells, voices, and mist-like anomalies.
When you have a place like these tunnels, abandoned for many years without public access, they can become a hotbed of paranormal activity. And combined with the dark, menacing energy that plagues the underground tunnels of Sacramento, it makes for one incredibly spooky haunting.
Watch the clips below to see what it’s like being inside the dark underbelly of Sacramento!
Lizzie Borden House – Fall River, Massachusetts
Probably one of the most infamous murder mysteries in all of American history, the Borden house murders remain unsolved to this day. Andrew Borden and his wife were both discovered brutally murdered with a hatchet on a fateful August morning in 1892, their thirty year old daughter Lizzie becoming the prime suspect. However, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of all charges and the crime was never punished.
Ever since the murders, the house has held a dark reputation. It is now a bed and breakfast, with visitors claiming to witness unexplained phenomena. Strange voices, weeping; apparitions. Lights flicker on and off and video equipment fails to function. There is little doubt that the violence that cloaks the house has had an effect on those who come to stay, with some visitors packing up and leaving without even staying a full night.
To learn more, check out the video below.
That’s it for this week! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of the spookiest haunts in the world, places that will turn any visitor into a believer. Check back again next week for more fun as we countdown to November 21st, release day for So Fell the Sparrow!
For an extended preview of So Fell the Sparrow, check out the prequel short story Gypsy of Spirits on Amazon!
Until next time, over and out!