Hello, it is I, resident scaredy-cat and absolute ghost believer here to help you ridiculous people who actually LOOK for ghostly encounters to scare the hell out of yourselves, because Halloween and such. Luckily I did not have to visit these damned places myself as the folks at booking.com went and rounded up the most haunted islands in the world.
Let’s start with the only one of these godforsaken places that I’ve actually been to. On Mexico’s Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), admittedly less spooky and more celebratory than Halloween but still all about the dead thing. At 1 am in the morning because the bus out there broke down and all the other punters had already moved on.
May I just say a big HELL NOPE. Which of course means a big HELL YES to those of you who don’t jump 10 feet in the air every time a work colleague comes to say hi at my desk in full daylight.
It’s literally an island along the famous Xochimilco canal with a bunch of dolls hanging in trees that you jump on a small boat to get to. That sounds fine, right? WRONG.
The place is eerie as. The legend goes it’s a memorial started for a young girl who was found drowned there in ‘mysterious circumstances’. Locals even reckon the dolls open their eyes and shake their tiny dirty limbs from time to time. “Reality” dictates that the story was actually just made up by the island’s caretaker at the time. I don’t know, all still felt very wrong at 1 am.
Mexico City though? Absolute gem. There are actual Inca ruins in the middle of the city! Like, what? I recommend staying closer to the city centre then either hiring a personal driver or jumping on a chartered bus out to Xochimilco. There are also plenty of tours running to the Island Of The Dolls itself from the city.
This little island of the east coast of mainland Australia is packed full of some large spookiness. Oh sure it looks all cute and pretty now, but it was a settlement for some pretty darn violent crims back in the 19th century, and they allegedly hung around to haunt the place.
In the mid-ish 1800s the island became a very beautiful but allegedly quite brutal jail for the worst of the convicts. They had to deal with torture, lashings, super hard labour without enough food. Just read the tombstones around the place, they paint a pretty sad picture.
As long ago as 1939 it was reported that local convicts had made buddies with a few wandering spirits, as you do. To directly quote The Western Star paper that ran the story:
“Soldiers in the colourful uniforms of old and Empire-gowned and crinolined ladies are said to have revisited their old homes, and the clanking of the chain gangs is held to re-echo at times.”
Just imagine how many more ghosts are there now since 1939!! But also it’s actually a really beautiful place, you can’t really blame a few disgruntled spirits for wanting to kick around to enjoy what they didn’t get to in life.
Poveglia Island, Venice
Yeahhhh, I saw the ghost tour ads for this bad boy when I was in Venice and it was a HARD pass from me, because I’m a normal person who does not want to be possessed. But it’s the only way to get there, for you weirdos.
Let’s just start with the fun fact that it’s estimated a full HALF of the island’s soil is HUMAN ASH. Let THAT horrifying sentence sink in. Do you know how many dead people have to be in one place to take over the earth?! No neither do I, but it’s got to be a buttload. Not creepy enough? How about the fact that ACTUAL HUMAN BONES still wash up on the shore.
The island kicked off its cheery story in the days of the Roman Empire then again in medieval times as a quarantine station for bubonic plague suffers. Which is the kind of thing that always give me the creeps and deeply depresses me, because just imagine being one of those people? Apparently, people got super paranoid and started shipping anyone with even the sniffles, so a lot of people sent off to isolation didn’t actually have the plague.
Needless to say, it got pretty overcrowded, calling for mass graves or body burnings. THE HUMAN ASH.
Kick it forward to the 1920s and now we have a mental asylum, which is basically the starting point for all the scariest horror films. Particularly as reports of widespread abuse and sickening experiments were rife. In particular, the ‘doctor’ who loved him some lobotomies with no anesthesia and other cray stuff no-one knows the details of, but apparently, they caused an awful lot of screaming. Reports have it that the ghosts of his patients finished him off int he same spot he tortured them.
They reckon you can still catch the screaming today. And then there are reports of people being pushed, scratched and watched but unexplained forces over there.
Seriously the stories are endless and insane. I have the absolute heebie-jeebies just from reading about them. Seriously my boss just started playing some video on his computer and the sound made me jump about 10 feet in the air.
We’ve all know this one, famous for the notorious criminals like Mr Al Capone who used to be locked up there. While there were no executions, it was a place that prisoners never left. At least not sane or, for a handful of hopeful escapees, alive.
Guards and prisoners claimed supernatural experienced right up until it closed in the 1960s. Visitors since then claim unexplained clanging sounds, screams, crying, footsteps, moaning, whispering, phantom fingers on necks, ghostly harmonicas, and so much more all through the prison, but D-block is reportedly the most haunted. People also reckon they’ve heard banjo sounds coming from the showers, right where Capone used to practice.
Basically, this place is haunted as. Like SO haunted it’s believed to be a portal to another, ghostly dimension. If you want to get amongst it get yourself on a guided tour of the prison, the history even without ghosts is super fascinating. If you’re a total psycho you can even go on a night tour and say goodbye to ever sleeping again.
Here’s another place I will absolutely never go. I actually just don’t have enough space to talk about all the ghosty business that happens here.
The most haunted spot? The gardens, of all places, Ventnor Botanics Gardens. Besides the fact that I just read it referred to as ‘Britain’s hottest garden’ which is such an English thing to do I cannot stop giggling, the place itself used to be the OId Royal National Hospital. So it all makes more sense now. The hospital itself was thought to be haunted by the thousands of people who died there from tuberculosis, and when the place was demolished it seems they just strolled on into the gardens.
Another spooky spot is the St Catherine’s Lighthouse, a place where all 3 lighthouse keepers were killed in a bombing during World War II. These days there’s been ghostly encounters of everything from phantom animals to disappearing items and unexplained footsteps.
Honestly, it goes on, from haunted trains to pubs haunted by the ghost of murderous grandfathers who got lynched there and a whole bunch of sad war stories. They have a bunch of special Halloween ghost tours to freak you right out.