World’s Most Haunted Cities

These notoriously frightful cities are beset with ghastly, ghostly close encounters.

1. Madrid, SpainGhosts haunt all walks of life in this capital city, appearing in museums, like the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, whose central building was formerly a hospital, and even the imposing Linares Palace, once wracked by family scandal. Join one of many ghost tours and you’ll discover an urban trove of paranormal haunts.

2. Glasgow, ScotlandGlasgow is home to the sprawling Southern Necropolis (“City of the Dead”), the resting place of approximately a quarter of a million souls and maybe even one child-eating vampire with iron teeth.

3. Baguio, PhilippinesYou cannot stay at Baguio’s now abandoned Diplomat Hotel, but who would want to when its purported residents are the noisy spirits of nuns and priests said to have been beheaded here during World War II?

4. Drammen, NorwayIn folklore, Nøkken is a shapeshifter who lures his prey to a watery death with beautiful music. Alongside Drammen’s Ypsilon bridge stands a tribute to the Nøkken: Two round River Harp sound sculptures tempt you toward the water.

5. Bahla, OmanThis desert oasis on the Arabian Peninsula is said to be home to djinns, or genies, who live in the palm groves and empty stone houses in the city center. Legend has it that one of these spirits built a city wall in one night. Tread carefully; they can also bring misfortune.

6. Zanzibar City, TanzaniaA  legendary shape-shifter called Popobawa haunts this East African island city and the surrounding countryside. The one-eyed creature is said to resemble a bat. Some believe he acts like a poltergeist, creating mischief, but others report more menacing attacks on entire households.

7. Canberra, AustraliaMeet the former Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley at the Hotel Kurrajong. He is a dapper gray-suited ghost pointing from the hotel’s room 214, where he suffered a fatal heart attack in 1951, toward the Old Parliament House, another of Canberra’s haunted spots.

8. San Antonio, TexasWho can forget the Alamo, especially given the hundreds of fatalities at the gory 1836 battle for Texas independence? Groundskeepers and visitors alike say they’ve encountered the spirits of soldiers led by Jim Bowie and William Travis that still haunt the former Mexican mission.

9. Salem, MassachusettsIn 1692, Massachusetts was gripped by hysteria: Witches are among us! Now Salem embraces the paranormal—if not the curse of Giles Corey, a victim of the witch trials who is still blamed for tragedies in “Witch City.” More than 20 Salemites were executed for witchcraft that fateful year.

10. Sighișoara, RomaniaThe Transylvania birthplace of the man who inspired Dracula has embraced its bloody connection to Prince Vlad III. A torture museum regales visitors with the horrific tools of “Vlad the Impaler’s” trade, and only the bravest will set out after dark to climb the long, creaky covered stairway to the medieval city’s Holy Trinity Church.

This list originally appeared in the National Geographic book The World’s Best Cities.

Do you have a haunted city to add to the list? Share your thoughts with the Intelligent Travel community below.

Comments

  1. عماني اماراتي
    Uae
    July 9, 2015, 4:58 pm

    عقبال المركز الاول

  2. Ahmed AlKalbani
    Oman
    July 8, 2015, 5:17 pm

    That was long time ago. Not anymore

  3. عبدالله العوضي
    الشارقة / الإمارات العربية المتحدة
    April 19, 2015, 4:15 am

    انا زرت بهلا وعندي اصدقاء فيها ولما زرتها بل مدينة تعج بالحياة والزراعة والمناطق الجبلية الجميلة جدآ. . لم ألاحظ أي شيء مريب

  4. عماني
    MCT - Oman
    April 11, 2015, 1:08 pm

    رجاءا بلا خزعبلات بلا كلام فاضي
    صحيح ان بهلاء مكان جميل واهله طيبين وحبوبين
    ولكن تبقى مدينه تشتهر بالسحر الى يومنا هذا و اكيد ما بتكون
    هذي الاماكن مكشوفه لعامة الشعب ولكنها موجوده بالسر
    فاللي ما يعرف لا يتكلم
    سلمتم

  5. Yaqoub Al Harrasi
    Taimsa/ Nizwa / Oman
    April 11, 2015, 9:37 am

    This slur and uncivilized and who believe this nonsense are living in the distant past ,need to educate , I have more than twenty work colleague of Bahla They are smart ,nice and friendly and deny these trivialities that he inherited some of his parents, but did not studied well and the city of Bahla ancient city there are Bahla Fort historical of the oldest castles in the Sultanate , pottery factories and houses archaeological . If there was a magic understand those who Sharm us with their creations since the pre-Christmas

  6. Aso0om Al balushi
    Oman
    April 11, 2015, 3:30 am

    Bahla very beautiful area and its people known for their generosity and kindness always high morals .. I love bahla

  7. Nedoooo93
    Oman
    April 11, 2015, 2:54 am

    In the past bahla have more ghost .but know i dont think-.-

  8. محمود الشبلي
    April 10, 2015, 7:24 am

    I’m from Oman and the name of this village and the village of Bahla safe deposit pretty impressive had nothing to say of these ancient myths

  9. Mryoom
    Oman ' Muscat
    April 9, 2015, 11:36 am

    I am from Oman and from my strong knowledge about my country l think this Statistic is true in the far past !! but now no thing like that .
    who has this wrong opinion please come to Bahla and see with yourself .Then you will Convinced completley that the real life in Bahla now is completley different comparing with the statistic above and maybe with rate 70% you will built a house in it ^_^ . Really its wonderfull place .
    My friend is from Bahla and I believe He is a big and cute jennies with his Ethics and personality .

  10. منهد اليحيائي
    April 8, 2015, 12:06 pm

    U can visit bahla at night
    And see what happens to you

  11. Amour
    Zanzibar
    April 8, 2015, 12:32 am

    Zanzibar is wonderful city.

  12. Sameer yaseen
    India -Kerala
    April 8, 2015, 12:18 am

    Why not India

  13. khalid
    oman
    April 7, 2015, 7:45 pm

    زرت بهلاء وما وجدت فيها سحر ووجدت جمال القلوب مع كرم اهلها وأن كان هناك سحر فهو الجمال وطهارة المكان ..

    للتواصل بي بي ..
    55FCAA8D

  14. ali
    oman
    April 7, 2015, 5:47 pm

    no comments
    Bahla the first

  15. عبدالملك الهنائي
    Bahla
    April 7, 2015, 5:15 pm

    عاشت بهلاء يا فخر العرب

  16. Athari
    Muscat
    April 7, 2015, 4:38 pm

    I am from bahla but never saw somthing not normal everything is ok :)

  17. Bahlaa shape shifter iii the third
    Bahla
    April 7, 2015, 4:29 pm

    Don’t be fooled you jerks, bahla is our place.
    I’ve experienced the life with humans. *Disgusting*
    We shape shifters warn you from coming to our hang out. And are not scared of german groups coming to our area. Be warned that anything that happens from now on will be just a justification to all you humans that interfere with our life.

  18. الهامس
    uae
    April 7, 2015, 3:56 pm

    هذه قصص كنا نسمع عنها عن بهلا انا زرت بهلا ولي أصدقاء فيها ولم الحظ قط أي شي من هذا القبيل رغم أنني تطفلت وسألت أصدقائي من أهل بهلا قالولي هذا الكلام زمان وعبر واليوم كل شيء امن

  19. MeErBaLuCh
    Muscat
    April 7, 2015, 3:40 pm

    So who is the lord of the ring now?

  20. SAMI ALHARTHI
    Muscat
    April 7, 2015, 1:53 pm

    Oneday in the mid of the night i was driving to my home city and i have to cross through Bahla, i was fright and the dark was covering the road when i saw a donky without a head in the mid of the road.
    I shoked and drive fast but the donky was after me like the wind my car started shaking and the donky was behind me, than i saw him in front of my car with a man on his back.
    I speed up and hit the donky and the man and speed up to my home city.
    That was unforget night.

  21. Fatma
    Oman
    April 7, 2015, 1:30 pm

    الله حيهم البهلاويين

  22. Ahmed
    oman - Bahla
    April 7, 2015, 1:22 pm

    Bahla my life 3>

  23. سالم الهنائي
    bahla
    April 7, 2015, 1:13 pm

    Bahla actually the charm and the ghosts of my grandfather was treated people with magic so he travels from Bahla to anywhere in the world in seconds, and here Bahla it’s more cities where there is a ghost go to the opening and you’ll see the Ghost countless Bahla should top the list, but they do not know a lot about my that the magic grandparents and parents Aychen on charm

  24. Hilal
    Nizwa
    April 7, 2015, 1:12 pm

    I thought the stories are serious jouralism until I read about Bala Bala, our neighbour city and Zanzibar where I was born, I realised these stories are here say. It is true that Bahla is notorious for witchcraft but the truth is far fro it. When we were small in zanzibar there was a lot of talk of wanga or witches whoonce we were coming back from watching television at night it dead dark we hardly could see our own hand. We saw something awaiting us under a huge mango tree. We thought mwanga or a witch was standing in the path under the tree. We run away and called a witch hunter with a stingray tail and hit the witch who turned out to be a dry palm leaf of a coconut left in the middle of the path by our mischievous older step son of my father.

  25. rose
    Oman
    April 7, 2015, 12:16 pm

    Honestly we used to hear such stories about Bahla 20 years ago

  26. Tara Albusaidi
    Oman
    April 7, 2015, 11:37 am

    Yes Bahla should be the first haunted place. I am living in Bahla. Actually my uncle’s house was haunted by jinns. They didn’t do any thing harmful but my uncle’s family was afraid because they saw strange things everyday. Also, my aunt has jinn controlling her body. They are sent by black magic when she was a child. Nowadays, they are less but still you should be careful.

  27. from Oman
    muscat
    April 7, 2015, 11:07 am

    Its true about bahla ..but now adays rarely heard about ginnies
    But ginnies live with human .bahla is known with weired stories.
    my self i got scared from those stories

  28. Hamood
    Muscat
    April 7, 2015, 10:52 am

    Very strange about this study. A writer labeled and scalped these cities based on WHAT???.

    I believe this: Not everything what is written is true. Just prediction, yes just prediction and to sell the story.

  29. Saif Al kindi
    Oman
    April 7, 2015, 10:28 am

    What has been written about Bahla is totally wrong. It type of superstitions. No jinns can be seen by humans. But they can hear humans. They are unseen spirits just like air or electricity. We can feel their reactions but can not see them or touch them.

    Based on the great holy Quran, it says that the prophet Mohammed (pbuh) has been inspired by (Jibril) Gebrael : ( 1. Say (O Muhammad ): “It has been revealed to me that a group (from three to ten in number) of jinns listened (to this Qur’an). They said: ‘Verily! We have heard a wonderful Recital (this Qur’an)!

    2. ‘It guides to the Right Path, and we have believed therein, and we shall never join (in worship) anything with our Lord (Allah).

  30. Khalid altamimi
    Oman
    April 7, 2015, 10:25 am

    Please people stop these myths,, its all full of crab i know many people from bahla.
    Its a very nice place i have friends from there and friendly people.
    If you wanna say things about hunted town you have to witness by your self first.
    Have a nice day

  31. yaqoob
    April 7, 2015, 10:24 am

    Bahla is a World heritage city

  32. yaqoob
    April 7, 2015, 10:23 am

    Bahla or Bula is a World Heritage City. Google it World heritage sites. Amazing place to visit culture and nature

  33. Bushra
    Bahla
    April 7, 2015, 9:03 am

    I’m from Bahla, my old grandmother said that all what do people saying about Bahla of that it’s full of sihr (black magic) it is just a scandal. I’m living in the center of Bahla and wandering with my friends in the old villages which are full of old buildings made of clay and never feel afraid, not because we’re familiar of sihr! ,but because there’s no such a black magic in bahla, only a concerted of minds, huge motivated, strong determination and a smart creation to build such this wonderful city. You have poor information about my city. There must be a scientific studies for it. We will show that for those people who said this fable.

  34. abdulaziz alhashemi
    oman
    April 7, 2015, 8:54 am

    Yeh, this is true but it is very nice place in oman

  35. Said Altuirshi
    oman
    April 7, 2015, 7:41 am

    It is old information about Baja in Oman. It is so traditional city and beautiful area for vecation.

  36. Khalfan Al Sa7er
    Bahla, Oman
    April 7, 2015, 7:22 am

    Bahla should be no.1
    Warning : if you come to Bahla please pray before coming because you will see things you don’t like.

  37. majeed alomairi
    Bahla Oman
    April 7, 2015, 7:17 am

    I am living in Bahla/ Oman my father and mother were saying many stories scary once. In the mean time i never witness any thing at all.

  38. Yusra
    Oman bahla
    April 7, 2015, 7:00 am

    What wrote in up about bahal is so shortcut acutely compare in reality

  39. oman
    oman
    April 7, 2015, 6:59 am

    Bahla baby

  40. djinn
    Oman
    April 7, 2015, 6:50 am

    This is a biased article.. Bahla should top the list. It is by far the scariest and most haunted city in the world. Djinn even have their own market there where the buy and sell humans under a well known tree. Those humans that arr sold are turned into slaves

  41. Saud
    Oman
    April 7, 2015, 6:38 am

    Regarding to Bahla-Oman this city used to haunted long time back. And the story about that wall which was built in one night is undoutable. Many surprising and scary stories had happend in the past. I can confirm from my experience that this city is completely safe even if it was hauntd ,it really worth a visit. It has many beautiful sights seeing and lots of historic sites.

  42. saeed
    bahla
    April 7, 2015, 6:30 am

    We are not the only creatures on the earth. God created ginnies before human.they live with us but we cant see them .sometimes we can see their shadows. Ghosts do not exist. Ginnies Sometims take the shape of dead people .some of them are good but most of them harmful. They like dark dirty places .

  43. Omani
    Oman
    April 7, 2015, 6:16 am

    As my knowledge zanzibar was ruled by oman empire so number 5 and 6 are related in someway.

  44. Waleed
    Oman
    April 7, 2015, 6:06 am

    I am from Oman and what you said about No 5 is WRONG!!!

  45. majid abdullah
    Oman
    April 7, 2015, 5:34 am

    oh my god
    iam surprise about Bahla,Oman
    it comes in 5th town in the list. But I can say that was in the past. Nowdays we don’t hear about these genies.

  46. شبح بهلاوي
    Bahla- oman
    April 7, 2015, 5:32 am

    I am from Bahla, every thing is ok nowadays.
    No much Jennies they are cute and live far away
    ^_^

  47. .مسلم
    April 7, 2015, 4:35 am
  48. mohammed
    bahla, oman
    April 7, 2015, 4:22 am

    Unfortunately, all ur information about bahla is wrong. Acually, iam from bahla and since I was kid till nowadays I didn’t notice any dijinns in whole my life. and if u r in doubt, u r welcome to visit me.
    Plz; when u write about something u have to make sure that all ur information are right and documented.

  49. Khalid Altamimi
    oman
    April 7, 2015, 4:06 am

    Hello…

    I am from Bahla. Number 5 in the list ^_^. I want ensure you what written about my city doesn’t true at all.

  50. sulaiman
    April 7, 2015, 2:53 am

    Bahla is the first place it has haunted in the world. It has so many historical places I would like to visit this place by national geographic as soon as possible to talk pictures and videos of this place.
    Thanks

  51. sulaiman
    Muscat
    April 7, 2015, 2:51 am

    Balance is the first place it has haunted in the world. It has so many historical places I would like the national geographic to visit this place as soon as possible to talk pictures and film as you can and show it in T.V

    Thanks

  52. Nathan
    Middlesbrough
    April 3, 2015, 2:27 pm

    York is by far one of the most haunted cities in the world. Just walking through the city at night puts a chill up your spine. Lots of reminders of a Very grim history.

  53. Dave
    Manchester
    March 4, 2015, 9:24 pm

    York is the most haunted city in the world with a total of 504 recorded hauntings according to the Ghost Research Foundation International.

  54. Geeky Explorer
    Barcelona, Spain
    November 4, 2014, 11:34 am

    I was surprised not to find Edinburgh on the list. Always thought it was known to be more haunted than Glasgow and one of the places with most ghost stories in the world.

    http://www.geekyexplorer.com