Each year, thousands of tourists flock to these sites, site-seeing and learning interesting facts, completely unaware that these popular attractions have long histories of paranormal activity. The list below includes some little-known haunted places on earth that just so happen to be popular tourist attractions.
The tallest building in France and a symbol of hope and pride is also the most popular place for suicides. After a Brazilian teen jumped to her death in 2009, a spokesperson for the tower stated that extra security measures have reduced the yearly suicide count to four, which, nonetheless, is four too many. This phenomenon has led many paranormal investigators, as well as tourists, to flock to the site. Even still, most tourists don’t have suicide on their minds, and Parisians would rather let their tower be known for its beauty than a suicide hotspot.
The bridge with the highest number of suicides in the world is no other than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It has been rumored that the official death toll was stopped, as suicide rates grew close to 1,000, to deter fame seekers from trying to be the 1,000th person. Unofficially, since the bridge opened on May 27th, 1937, suicide jumps have taken more than 1,300 victims, according to Time. Eric Steele’s documentary The Bridge, shows several jumps caught on tape. Eerily, there have been witness reports of screams and ghost-like apparitions on the bridge during shrouded nights. A ghost ship, the Tennessee, is another common sight, passing under the Golden Gate Bridge on foggy evenings. An incident was reported in November 1942 when the crew of USS Kennison passed by the ghost ship under the bridge — the ship had a wake, its decks were deserted, but no signals were registered by the ship’s radar before it disappeared.
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New York City’s most iconic landmark has claimed many lives. Fourteen deaths were construction-related, according to The Associated Press, and many suicides from the building’s 86th-floor observation deck are supposedly the source for ghostly sightings. A famous woman dressed in 1940s attire has been seen in the woman’s bathroom or observatory area before her apparition is seen jumping to her death. Other tourists claim to have captured spirit-like anomalies in their photographs on the observatory level. The plane crash of 1945 on the 79th floor of the building, an incident that killed 14 people, is also another source for these hauntings that continues today.
An engineering marvel at the time of its construction, the Hoover Dam saw 112 deaths associated with falling objects, trapped bodies inside the dam, and other incidences, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. Pneumonia also claimed the lives of many workers. Supposedly, the most haunted location of the dam is near the canyon wall, across from the escalator, which takes you inside the dam. Sounds of crying and faded shadows of men wearing construction attire have been seen, but tourists have not captured an image of reported ghosts.
Regardless of whether reports of the French Quarter’s ghostly sightings are attempts at recreating fascinating stories or adding more mystery to the area, it’s impossible to deny New Orleans’ rich 200 year history of Voodoo curses, tragic murders, Civil War tales, and old graveyards. It is said that the French Quarter is haunted by the world famous Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau, who placed a curse on the city. Her spirit has been seen lurking inside St. Louis Cemetery, wearing a red and white seven-knotted turban and mumbling a New Orleans Santeria Curse to trespassers. Every year, locals and tourists flock to her tomb, in hopes of being blessed with supernatural powers. There are many other well-known haunted attractions in New Orleans, like the legendary Laularie House.
Under Emperor Titus, the Coliseum was used to stage bloody fights, which claimed the lives of many gladiators and prisoners. Thousands of victims of religious persecution experienced horrific deaths in the jaws of lions. Even animals were massacred in large amounts, as the Romans were known to consume thousands of animals. The sandy vaults beneath the Coliseum where gladiators awaited their death have long been known to be haunted. Tour guides and visitors experience a number of paranormal activities, such as feeling suddenly cold, hearing whispers or sounds of swords clashing, and even hearing distressed roars of lions and elephants. Silhouettes of roman soldiers are common apparitions, according to guards who secure the Coliseum premises on a daily basis.
In 1973, the first MGM Grand was the largest hotel in the world. On November 21, 1980, one of the worst building fires the U.S. has ever experienced broke out in the casino because of faulty wiring. At that time, no smoke detectors were installed, which would have reduced the number of 87 casualties claimed by the fire. The hotel was reconstructed and sold to Bally’s in 1985. Since then, there have been reports of ghost-sightings (assumed to be of those who died in the MGM Grand fire) in the stairwells and hallways of the hotel.
Sixteen-Hundred Pennsylvania Avenue, the most famous address in America, is also a popular place where the ghosts of past presidents have been sighted. Andrew Jackson, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and the most famous ghost of Abraham Lincoln have been regular visitors of the White House. By far the most frequently reported sighting over the years is Abe Lincoln, who was shot in April 1865. His ghost made numerous appearances during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt; First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, and Winston Churchill all came into paranormal encounters with Lincoln’s ghost.
Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle has some 900 years of tragic history, the source of much paranormal activity today. As a military fortress, the castle has experienced many surprise attacks, executions, mass body burnings, and even instances of witchcraft. Recently, in 2001 the castle became the site of one of the largest paranormal investigations in history — more than 200 people scoured its chambers and secret passages for signs of ghosts. According to Time, 51% of the participants reported paranormal encounters (shadowy figures, drops in temperature, and physical touches) in rumored haunted areas.
Historically known as the prison for the crown of England, mass executions, tortures, and murders have occurred on this land. Every year, tourists and locals claim to see ghosts appearing by tower windows. The ghost of Lady Jane Grey, who was beheaded, has been seen by night guards on the same date of her death, February 12th. Others report seeing Henry VI’s wife, Ann Boleyn, who was also beheaded in 1536. Ann is seen frequently, sometimes carrying her own head. Gruesome executions live on today, as the ghosts of Henry VI, Thomas Beckett, and Sir Walter Raleigh have been seen to re-enact executions, only to disappear once again.