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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Banner photo by 663highland via Wikimedia Commons.