Would you visit a chateau said to be haunted by a woman with holes in place of her eyes?
If you don’t fancy testing your nerve, you could always read about it instead, in a fascinating book called Haunted Places by historian Robert Grenville.
It charts 150 of the world’s most spine-chilling places including abandoned hospitals, graveyards and castles.
Other spooky locations include a Canadian hotel that is said to be visited by a bride who died on her wedding day and the famous Island of the Dolls in Mexico City, where people leave toys dangling from trees.
Some say they’ve heard the dolls talking to each other.
Scroll down and prepare to be spooked by a selection of the creepy images from the tome…
The entrance to Precious Blood Cemetery in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. In 1955, Tropical Storm Diane broke a nearby dam, causing a flood that washed 50 coffins from their graves and their corpses were left behind in the town as the waters subsided. Today, the site is renowned for its apparitions, floating orbs and strange noises, according to Mr Grenville
Some years ago in the Xochimilco neighbourhood of Mexico City, Don Julian Santana Barrera found a young girl half-drowned in mysterious circumstances, but he was unable to save her life. He later found a doll floating in the water that he assumed belonged to the dead girl. To appease the dead girl’s spirit, Barrera hung the doll in one of the trees. He hung more and more dolls in the trees, but began to feel that the dolls themselves were possessed by the spirits of young girls. In 2001, Barrera was found drowned in the same spot as the girl had been found some 50 years before. Since then the island has become notorious, attracting tourists who have brought their own dolls to hang in the trees. Some who have visited the island claim that they have heard the dolls talking to each other, and seen their heads moving
The catacombs of Paris, pictured, hold the remains of countless millions of the dead, shovelled into the former quarries under the streets of the French capital when the old cemeteries could no longer cope. Access is now only permitted by tour, and many visitors have reported ghostly sightings, unexplained noises and temperature changes while visiting the limestone tunnels
Built in 1793, Slater Mill, pictured, in Rhode Island was the first water-powered textile mill in America. In the early years of the mill, small children were used to clean or repair the machines while they were in operation, which could lead to injuries or death. Now an industrial museum, visitors have reported hearing the death cries and screams of these young children. Other buildings on the Slater Mill site are also said to be haunted, including some malevolent spirits who have been known to scratch visitors, an unknown male and female presence, and a little girl called ‘Becca’, who answers visitors’ questions by divining rod
One of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries established to accommodate the rising numbers of Victorian London’s dead, Highgate, pictured, saw tens of thousands buried in its 17 acres over approximately a century from the time it opened in 1839. It was effectively abandoned after World War II, and sightings began to increase as it became more unkempt, culminating in the ‘Highgate Vampire’ scare, which saw journalists and camera crews trying to spot the undead. In the 1980s, a group of volunteers began to restore the cemetery, and sightings became less frequent. However, many visitors claim to have seen the ‘Mad Old Woman’ who searches feverishly for the children she supposedly murdered. Another common sighting is the ‘Shrouded Ghoul’, who floats staring at the sky, but disappears if approached
Originally intended as a place to reform young boys before they became criminals, the Ohio State Reformatory building was converted to a prison in the early 20th century before closing in 1990. Although no executions were held at the site, a number of inmates were unlawfully killed. Various movies have been filmed here, including The Shawshank Redemption. Helen, a warden’s wife in the 1950s, accidentally shot herself with her husband’s gun, and her spirit is said to haunt the old warden’s office. Visitors to the cell blocks have reported feeling strong forces pushing them, while the figure of a young man has been sighted running away from anyone entering the basement
The chapel on the island of Poveglia in the Venetian lagoon was once part of an asylum built in the early 20th century, and later abandoned. The doctor in charge is supposed to have thrown himself off the bell tower after being tortured by the island’s many ghosts. The island was used in the 18th century as a quarantine station for ships arriving in Venice. Hundreds if not thousands died on the island of plague and other diseases, and many thousands more bodies of Venetian victims were buried there. In one plague outbreak alone in 1576, about 50,000 people – one-third of the city’s population – died, and there were 21 other attacks of the plague, including one in 1630 to 1631 that killed 46,000. The island has a reputation for being full of restless souls, its soil more human remains than earth. The doctor who jumped is said to have survived thanks to a ghostly mist that rose from the ground, only for it to choke him to death
Built in 1889, the Sterling Opera House in Derby, Connecticut, is no longer in use but has been the scene of several supernatural encounters, including doors closing by themselves and lights switching on and off. A ghost is said to often sit in one of the seats in the lower right of the photograph
A ‘Green Lady’ is said to have haunted Château de Brissac in Angers, France, pictured left, since her murder in the 15th century. It is said Charlotte de Brézé was caught cheating with her lover by her husband, Jacques. In a fit of rage, Jacques killed the pair of them. Charlotte is now seen dressed in her favourite green dress, but her face is that of a corpse, with holes in place of her eyes. Pictured right is a cell in the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadephia, where each prisoner was to be kept in solitary confinement so that they could reflect upon their crime and truly repent. Famous former inmates include Al Capone and ‘Slick’ Willie Sutton. Although the Eastern State spawned many imitators, eventually the solitary confinement system fell out of favour and so the building was converted to a more conventional-style prison, until it was closed and abandoned in 1971. One tour guide has described how he was gripped by a negative energy in one cell as contorted faces appeared on the wall opposite him. Others report seeing figures and hearing footsteps, wails and screams
Dating back to the 14th century, Château de Fougeret in Queaux, France, pictured, has become known for its supernatural occupants since new owners took over the building after it had stood empty for many years. Visitors who have stayed overnight with the family report seeing figures and hearing voices ordering them to leave. The family themselves have had many encounters with the supernatural, including hearing and smelling people eating, and seeing strange figures at the window when they leave. A small girl named ‘Alice’, supposedly a child who died in 1924, sings nursery rhymes. Another figure that has been sighted and even allegedly photographed is ‘Felix’, a man who died in 1898. The owners also claim that an unknown spirit, possibly with a dog, plays with their own pet dog. The building regularly hosts ghost hunters
The inspiration for the character of Mrs Rochester in Charlotte Brönte’s Jane Eyre, according to legend, is a mad woman was kept locked in this room at Norton Conyers in North Yorkshire during the 18th century. The spirit of ‘Mad Mary’ is supposedly still in residence
The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie Borden was the daughter of Andrew, a property developer who had remarried after her mother’s death. On 4 August 1892, Andrew and his second wife were killed. Lizzie was a prime suspect, but was acquitted by a jury. It is thought by some that the spirits of Andrew and Abby, the two victims, remain in the house to this day
Originally built by the French on the mouth of the Niagara River in the 18th century, Old Fort Niagara was later captured by the British and, later still, the Americans. Two French officers stationed at the fort competed for the attentions of a Native American woman. During a party, both being very drunk, they fought a duel and one killed the other. Realising he would be executed for murder, the victor cut off the head to make it look like a Native American attack before dropping the headless body down a well to hide it. According to legend, several weeks later noises were heard from the well, and the figure of a headless officer emerged. The next day the well was searched and the body found – and the murderer was subsequently tried and hanged for his crime. It is said that the figure climbs from the well every full moon at midnight to search for his head
A Benedictine abbey that dominates the surrounding countryside, Mont St Michel in Normandy, pictured, was the location of a bloody battle between the French garrison and an English army in 1434. The ghost of the French commander, Louis d’Estouteville, is reputed to guard the island to this day. Mont St Michel has seen several sieges and battles over the years, but it was also used as a prison by French monarchs, gaining it the nickname of the ‘Bastille of the Seas’, with political opponents kept in grim conditions. Later, opponents of the French Revolution were also kept there
During the 17th century, the plague struck Mary King’s Close below the City Chambers, which was inhabited by some of Edinburgh’s poorest. It was later partly closed off, with victims’ bodies allegedly still in place. In 1992, a Japanese psychic touring the close encountered ‘Annie’, a young girl supposedly left behind to die by her family, who tugged at her leg. Annie’s room has since become a much-visited attraction
The current building of the Banff Springs Hotel in Canada dates from the 1920s and has had many celebrity visitors, including Marilyn Monroe, who had a honeymoon there. A long-serving Scottish bellman called Sam MacAuley is supposed to have haunted the hotel since his death in the 1970s. One of the most famous ghostly residents is known as ‘The Bride’. In the 1920s, a bride is supposed to have tripped on a staircase in her wedding dress, and fallen to her death, possibly also setting light to herself on a lit torch as she fell. She is said to appear on the staircase or in the hotel ballroom, waiting for her first dance
Although St Augustine is the oldest city in America, the lighthouse is relatively modern, and was built in 1824. One of its keepers, Mr Andreu, was painting the tower when he fell to his death. Another keeper, Peter Rasmussen, was a regular cigar smoker, and his cigars can still reportedly be smelt by visitors today. In the late 1800s, Hezekiah Pity was hired to renovate the lighthouse. According to some guests the laughter of his two girls, who drowned in the bay while he was working, can still be heard
A ‘Black Monk’ has been observed during services in the parish church at Binham Priory in Norfolk, which stands on the site of the old monastery. An old tunnel nearby is thought to be haunted by Jimmy Griggs, a fiddler who entered the tunnel with his dog. Only the dog re-emerged, but Jimmy’s fiddle can still sometimes be heard
All images are taken from the book Haunted Places by Robert Grenville, published by Amber Books Ltd and available from bookshops and online booksellers now (RRP £19.99)