4 Haunted Yet Lavish Abodes Around The World

Take a step inside these opulent and expansive properties—but beware, as these reportedly haunted abodes are not for the faint of heart. 

Haunted abodes are all around the world, though they’re not all decrepit and claustrophobic. Some add grandeur and sophistication to the creepiness. For instance, many lavish mansions and castles tend to carry their fair share of supernatural tales. This is especially true when they have a long and storied history. 

If you’re a believer, you’ll either want to visit these spooky sites out of curiosity or avoid them altogether. As for non-believers, reports surrounding these spots will, at the very least, make for interesting stories. Read on to learn more about these abodes with supernatural inhabitants: 

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Kellie’s Castle (Batu Gajah, Malaysia)

Malaysians consider Kellie’s Castle to be one of the most haunted places in the country, as per Business Insider. One can imagine why, given the things the grand structure had witnessed over the years. William Kellie Smith, a Scottish civil engineer, started the construction of the castle in 1915. He reportedly built it to accommodate the needs of his growing family. 

The facade of Kellie’s Castle
The facade of Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah, Malaysia/Photo by Graystravels via Wikimedia Commons

Smith took inspiration from Scottish, Moorish, and Tamilvanan Indian architecture, as per the New Straits Times. This explains the castle’s unique appearance compared to other abodes in Malaysia. Sadly, construction of the grand home came to an end when Smith died of pneumonia in 1926. Smith’s family moved back to Scotland, deserting the castle and leaving it at the mercy of the elements of its surrounding jungle. 

William Kellie Smith
William Kellie Smith/Photo from the Ipoh City Tourism Board website

The New Straits Times reported that many visitors have seen Smith’s ghost haunting the castle’s second floor, as well as the specter of his six-year-old daughter, Helen. According to Business Insider, there are also rumors that the Japanese army executed prisoners in the isolated spot during the war, adding more ghostly presences within the castle.

The stairs leading up to Kellie’s Castle
The stairs leading up to Kellie’s Castle/Photo by Nsaadah via Wikimedia Commons

Winchester Mystery House (California, United States)

The Winchester Mystery House is so infamous that the U.S. Commerce Department officially sanctioned it as haunted, as per Time

Outside the Winchester Mystery House
Outside the Winchester Mystery House/Photo from the Winchester Mystery House website

Sarah Winchester, the wife of rifle magnate William Wirt Winchester, built the house in 1884 to ward off evil spirits. The house’s official website posited that Sarah may have been fearful of ghosts of those who died from her husband’s rifles. The widow was deeply affected by her husband’s death in 1881 and her daughter Annie’s death in 1866, according to CNBC; this may also be why she decided to pursue the unconventional construction project.

Sarah Winchester
Sarah Winchester/Photo from the Winchester Mystery House website

Sarah insisted on renovating the house for 38 years. Yes, you read that right, the home was under construction for more than three decades, up until Sarah’s death in 1922. The mansion in San Jose, California measures 24,000 square feet, has 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 160 rooms, 52 skylights, 47 stairways and fireplaces, 17 chimneys, 13 bathrooms, and six kitchens. 

A staircase in the home at night
A staircase in the home at night/Photo from the Winchester Mystery House website

The home’s interiors are strange and unsettling, to say the least. It’s a labyrinth of secret passageways, winding hallways, stairs that lead to nowhere, doors that open to walls, and closed-off rooms, as per CNBC. These eclectic and strange areas might’ve served to “confuse” the spirits that haunted Sarah. 

The home’s “Oriental Bedroom” at night
The home’s “Oriental Bedroom” at night/Photo from the Winchester Mystery House website

What’s more, people say that she held nightly séances to ask for advice from her deceased husband and other ghosts when it came to the project’s construction. With such activities, it makes sense that the home is the place for lost spirits of all kinds. 

Raynham Hall (Norfolk, England)

On September 19, 1936, photographers from Country Life magazine captured photos of Raynham Hall’s “Brown Lady”—a ghostly woman that reportedly haunts the home. To this day, people consider it to be one of the most striking examples of early spirit photography, and one look at the eerie image is enough to understand why. 

The 1936 Country Life photograph of Raynham Hall’s “Brown Lady”
The 1936 Country Life photograph of Raynham Hall’s “Brown Lady”/Photo by Captain Hubert C. Provand via Wikimedia Commons

Many people consider Raynham Hall to be one of the most beautiful English country homes of its time, as per Architectural Digest. Architect Sir Roger Townshend began its construction in 1619, and it remains the earliest example of the Palladian style in Norfolk, as per the estate’s official website

An aerial view of Raynham Hall
An aerial view of Raynham Hall/Photo by John Fielding via Wikimedia Commons

However, the home gained international fame due to its resident ghost, the “Brown Lady.” People believe the spirit to be that of Dorothy Walpole—the sister of Britain’s first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole. Dorothy married Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, who owned Raynham Hall in the 18th century. Rumors say that Charles locked Dorothy in a room after discovering her affair with a man named Lord Wharton. Stuck in an unhappy marriage, Dorothy remained in Raynham Hall until her mysterious death at the age of 40. 

A portrait of Dorothy Walpole
A portrait of Dorothy Walpole by an unknown artist (c. 1805)/Photo via Wikimedia Commons

In 2006, The Independent reported that Alan Murdie—a barrister and supernatural researcher—debunked the famous “Brown Lady” photo, stating that it was a result of light leaking onto the photographic plate. Still, eye-witness accounts of visitors and even a descendant of Dorothy Walpole confirm that her ghost roams the historic home.  

Inside one of Raynham’s areas
Inside one of Raynham’s areas/Photo from the Raynham Estate website

Himeji Castle (Himeji, Japan)

Whether or not one is a fan of horror, they’ve likely heard of the famous Japanese horror film, Ring [Ringu in Japanese]. The film revolves around a cursed tape whose footage kills its viewers, with videos of a girl named Sadako crawling out of a well.

Sadako in 1998’s Ring movie
Sadako in 1998’s Ring movie/Photo from IMDb

As it turns out, the ghoulish figure of a girl climbing out of a well takes inspiration from an actual historical occurrence in Japan’s majestic Himeji Castle. Akamatsu Norimura, a famous samurai, ordered its construction in 1333. The Japanese nicknamed the old structure “White Heron Castle,” and its inimitable architecture cemented its place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The castle was the site of many occurrences. This includes the death of a servant named Okiku that supposedly took place centuries ago.

A look at Himeji Castle’s facade
A look at Himeji Castle’s facade/Photo by 663highland via Wikimedia Commons

There are different versions of the story surrounding Okiku’s death. Most of them have to do with people of higher station in the castle blaming Okiku for something she didn’t do, like breaking a priceless plate or poisoning her master’s food. 

An artistic depiction of the servant Oikiku’s spirit
An artistic depiction of the servant Oikiku’s spirit/Photo by Matthew Meyer from the Yokai website

In nearly every version, someone pushes the servant into a well (or she falls down trying to escape persecution), and her weeping spirit takes revenge on those who’ve done her wrong. Some may speculate the veracity of this story, but the infamous well remains on the Himeji Castle grounds to this day. Thankfully, the well is closed off, so visitors don’t have to worry about a ghostly woman crawling out. 

Oikiku’s well in Himeji Castle
Oikiku’s well in Himeji Castle/Photo by そらみみ via Wikimedia Commons

Banner photo by 663highland via Wikimedia Commons.

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