Most Haunted Countries for Thrill-Seeking Expats
One of the thrills of expat living is the chance to discover new places, cultures, and histories. What better time to delve into this perk of moving internationally than Halloween?
All countries have their legends, dark pasts, and spooky spots. To narrow it down, we’ve looked at the most haunted countries from different continents. Here are our picks for five of the best countries for expats seeking a thrill.
In a country where nearly everything will kill you, thrill-seeking expats don’t need to look far. Just the idea of giant insects and spiders, some of the world’s most poisonous snakes, and fire tornadoes can haunt you in your bed. But there are plenty of haunted sites across this massive country.
There are many Aboriginal legends that tell of dangerous locations across the country. Many are linked to natural phenomenon and historical events.
One famous haunted spot is in Babina, Queensland. A natural pool set amongst dark boulders, it’s a beautiful location but has a bad reputation. This place is called the Devil’s Pool. The story says an Aboriginal woman cursed it and drowned herself there after her lover was taken away. 17 people are said to have drowned in the pool since 1959, either slipping on the rocks or getting caught in the fast-flowing currents.
There are also haunted houses, cattle ranches, and even towns. New South Wales’ Monte Cristo Homestead is said to be haunted by its former owners. Tragic events have been reported, including a stable boy burned to death to a baby thrown down the stairs by supernatural forces. Port Arthur, a World Heritage town in Tasmania, has a very brutal history. The ghosts are still there to mark it. Visitors have reported over 2,000 sightings of ghostly figures over the last twenty years.
The United Kingdom has a very rich and haunted past, but we’ve picked one country for it’s particularly haunted history.
Where there are castles and old buildings, surely there must be ghosts. Scotland has both in plenty. They’re intertwined with the romantic beauty of the country and, more often than not, the dark aspects of its past.
Take Edinburgh: part of what makes it so beautiful is its old historical buildings and winding alleyways. But those very alleyways have housed some dark stories. Burke and Hare are some of the most infamous figures; these men sold corpses for dissection at anatomy lectures. They found it more economical to make fresh corpses than dig them up from graves like all other upstanding citizens. Other spooky spots in this city include the Vaults, Greyfriars Kirkyard, and the spookiest street in Scotland: Mary’s Close.
The ghost of William Wallace is said to haunt Ardrossan Castle. Cawdor Castle, with links to Shakespeare’s bloody play Macbeth, has its own mysterious paranormal activity. Aberdeen’s Tolbooth is said to be haunted by the prisoners and enslaved children. Ghosts lurk in the outdoors too – the site of the bloody massacre at Culloden is in one of the most beautiful areas in the Scottish Highlands. When the mist rolls up and the clouds sit low on the mountains, you’ll get a chill down your spine.
And don’t forget the standing stones that can be found all over the country, from lowland Scotland right up to the Orkney and Shetland islands. Who used these stones? And what did they use them for?
Halloween also has some roots in Gaelic tradition. Although it’s mainly Irish, the ancient festival Samhain takes place at this time of year and marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the darker side of the year.
The USA is famous for Halloween, and for its haunted buildings. There are ranges of old manors, estates, and farms that scatter the entire huge country. Prisons and sanatoriums have a reputation for being haunted by those who didn’t enjoy their stay.
Alcatraz is one of the most famous of these. Visitors have reported screaming and crying as they tour the high-security hallways. In Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania the ghosts of prisoners still linger. During its days as a working prison, the guards would put sacks over the prisoners’ heads and keep them in isolation; if you walk through the building today you may find yourself accompanied by figures with sacks tied over their heads.
Then there’s Kentucky’s Waverly Hills Sanatorium, built during the era of tuberculosis. Figures have been seen wandering the old building’s eerie halls: a pale-faced child peeking around corners, a woman bleeding from her feet and hands, and other mysterious human shapes lurking in the hallways.
Native American tribes also have their own haunted spots, some of which have very dark histories. Several burial grounds are said to be haunted, especially those that have been disturbed by modern buildings and infrastructure. There’s also the terrifying wendigo – a man-eating spirit that lurks the forests of the Great Lakes and Atlantic Coast.
Don’t forget the USA has a huge number of UFO and alien events as well. Most famous is Area 51. Although reported UFO sightings have been on the decline, there have been hundreds over the years.
The Day of the Dead – Día de Muertos – is one of the best-known Mexican festivals. It also provides us with some of the most iconic images we use for Halloween today. This festival is a celebration of the dead, about remembering the lives of passed loved ones. For any expats in the USA, Canada, or Mexico itself, this is the perfect chance to get a new perspective on Halloween.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the country’s history is its ancient civilizations. The Aztec are known for their bloodthirsty gods, which led to some rather bloodthirsty behaviour. Ancient temples that were the site of human sacrifice can be found across the country.
In Mexico City itself, ruins can be found. The Templo Mayor Ruins are the crumbled remains of an Aztec temple that was the main places of worship when the city was called Tenochtitlan. The last Aztec emperor made his stand against the invading Spanish here. As you can imagine, it was the site of some very brutal treatment of humans. Even before this, of course, it was the site of ritual sacrifice.
There are also haunted sites from more recent history in the city itself. Aunt Toña’s house is a well-known example, haunted by the old lady Toña herself who was mistreated by locals. There’s also the abandoned La Posada Del Sol Hotel, and the prison Palacio De Lecumberri. Walk the hallways if you dare, but your travel insurance may not cover it.
If you’re living abroad in Asia, there’s no shortage of hauntings and horror. Many of the countries in this continent have creepy characters lurking their mythologies. Japan, with its penchant for horror, is especially good at promoting them.
One to avoid is the Kamaitachi, or “sickle weasel.” Travelling in groups of three, the first weasel will knock you over, the second will cut off your legs, and the third will stitch the wound. All this before you know what’s happened. The Joro-Gumo is a giant spider who takes the form of a beautiful woman, allowing her to get close enough to eat men. There’s the Gashadokuro, a giant animated skeleton made from the bones of those who have starved to death. Look out for the Katakiarauwa, evil ghosts of soul-stealing baby pigs.
If you’re looking for real events and locations, there are plenty of those as well. Some of them are especially tragic. Aokigahara is a forest at the bottom of Mt Fuji; said to be haunted, it’s also a popular spot today for suicide. If you’re interested in places that are significant for national and global history, you could pay your respects at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. People visiting there often hear voices crying out for help at dawn.
If you’re looking for somewhere haunted to stay, why not book yourself in at Akasaka Mansion? You could visit Tokyo’s Doryodo Ruins, a place in a wood where a university student’s body was dumped. While in Tokyo, there’s the Himuro Mansion where the brutal murder of the Himuro family took place. You could also try wandering down the tight confines of the Old Chusetsu Tunnel in Fukuoka, or risk the vengeful spirit of Okiku at her well in Himeji Castle.
If you’re not already living in Japan, it’s just a short visit from many Asian and Australasian countries. Combined with everything else the country has to offer, it’s the ideal spot for a Halloween break.
Thinking about heading overseas? Let us take some of the stress and horror out of organising your move. We have moving resources and guides to help out, and you can also get in touch with us for help planning your move.