With millennia of rich history, it’s no surprise that Europe comprises some seriously haunted places. These are generally locations where violent crime, great suffering, or traumatic death has occurred.
Ancient Ram Inn in Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England, was built in 1145 over ancient pagan burial grounds. Now a bed-and-breakfast, tales from its past are rife with evil spirits, child sacrifices, and devil worship. The current owner has found two children’s skeletons and broken daggers on the premises. Guests report being touched by unseen hands or pulled out of bed, hearing disembodied voices and screams, and seeing the apparitions of two monks, a high priestess, a young murdered girl named Rosie, and a shepherd and his dog. The ghost of a 16th century accused witch who had taken refuge in a room before being burned at the stake is also said to haunt the inn. Some guests have been so terrified, they jumped out the window to get away!
The 11th century Chateau de Brissac in Maine-et-Loire, France, was rebuilt in the 15th century by Pierre de Brézé, Chief Minister to King Charles VII. De Brézé’s son Jacques, inherited the castle. One night in 1477, Jacques found his wife, Charlotte, in bed with another man. Jacques stabbed Charlotte and her lover some 100 times with his sword. He went to prison; Charlotte still roams the premises wearing a green dress and known as ‘La Dame Verte’ (‘the Green Lady’). Her moans and cries are often heard echoing throughout the castle. Her frightening apparition is most often seen in the tower room of the chapel. Her face has gaping holes where her eyes and nose should be, and she is sometimes seen trying to pull a sword from her body.
With a history of imprisonment, bloody battles, torture, and entombment of plague victims, Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the world. Visitors report seeing shadowy figures and strange lights, and experiencing sudden drops in temperature, unexplained mists, and feelings of being watched. Known ghosts include an old man in an apron, a now headless drummer boy who was killed after warning the Scots of an English attack in 1296, and a 17th century piper who lost his life in tunnels below the castle. In 1537 the Lady of Glamis, Janet Douglas, was accused of using witchcraft in an attempt to murder King James V of Scotland. Like hundreds of others, she was burned at the stake on the esplanade below the castle. Her screams and weeping can be heard today, and she is sometimes seen writhing in the flames or searching the grounds for her son.
Poveglia Island in the Venice, Italy lagoon was deserted by the 14th century, when it was used as a quarantine colony for victims of Bubonic plague. By the mid-17th century, over 160,000 bodies had been thrown into mass graves or incinerated in bonfires. 50% of the island’s soil today is thought to be human ash. In 1922 the island’s buildings were converted for use as a mental asylum. Rumours of ill treatment and inhumane experiments were not proved, but in the 1930’s a doctor (who may have been driven mad by guilt or ghosts) committed suicide by throwing himself from the bell tower. It is said he survived the fall, but was suffocated by a ghostly mist that rose from the ground. The asylum closed in 1968. The Italian government recently sold a 99 year lease of the abandoned, overgrown island to an Italian businessman for the bargain price of about $621,000 U.S. He doesn’t yet know what he will do with the haunted island, but wants it to have some form of public use.