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Ghosts & Hauntings

The World’s 7 Most Haunted Forests Will Make You Never Try Camping Again

by Tommy DePaoli

Growing up in New England, I was surrounded by shadowy forests that seemed to go on forever. As I got older, I began to discover bits and pieces of local lore that trickle down into campfire tales and scary bedtime stories. It seemed to me that every forest had enough history to be haunted, which led to me having a Blair Witch Project reaction any time anyone suggested camping.

Now that I’m a bit older, I can see that while these spots may have had their own merits, they didn’t have anything on the really haunted forests in the world. Here are the seven most spine-tingling, scream-inducing woods across the world that you should never, ever step foot in.

7. Old House Woods, Virginia

Let’s start this list off with something nearly every haunted forest requires: a violent history. Old House Woods in Virginia was home to many a gruesome battle during the Revolutionary War and American Civil War. As a result, people have reported the ghosts of soldiers and slaves between the trees, searching for a way out.

Adults tell local children not to venture into the woods, lest they never return. Those who were lucky enough to come back reported precipitous drops in temperature, spectral figures in military regalia, and misty women floating before disappearing completely. Apparently, these woods are privately owned, and the owner will call the police on trespassers if he sees one. Could he be protecting folks from an even darker force hidden in the forest?

6. Screaming Woods, United Kingdom

Outside of Pluckley, also known as the “most haunted village in Britain,” are the Dering Woods. Despite having a normal name, most people refer to them as the Screaming Woods due to the fact that most visitors who happen upon them are bombarded with blood-curdling, banshee-like screams that are far from simply human.

These screams are said to go all the way back to the 18th century, when a highwayman named Robert Du Bois was captured by villagers and brought to the woods to be killed with a sword. Du Bois continues to harbor a grudge against those who find him in the woods. If you’re there and hear the sound of footsteps with no discernible body attached, run back the way you came.

5. Ballyboley Forest, Northern Ireland

Based on the circular trenches and distinctive stone arrangements, Ballyboley Forest in Northern Ireland is considered to be an ancient Druid site. From 1400-1700, this forest was notorious for the disappearances of several individuals without any explanation. The freakiness has only become more pronounced with time.

Very few people are willing to enter these woods, but those that did explore them have reported billows of black smoke and disembodied screaming voices in the distance. In one particularly terrifying episode, two men thought they heard a lady howling in pain. Leaving the path to attempt to find her, they discovered a tree dripping with thick strokes of blood. As they fled from sounds that started to encroach on them, one man turned around to see human-like figures in the forest, motionless and watching in brown head coverings. Stories like these have led people to believe that Ballyboley is a gateway to the Celtic “Otherworld.”

4. Freetown State Forest, Massachusetts

Part of the Bridgewater Triangle area known for a bevy of paranormal activity, the Freetown State Forest is where most of the haunting occurrences take place. Its haunted status goes all the way back to colonial times, when settlers purchased the land from the Wampanoag Tribe. This deal was dicey at best because the Native Americans believed the forest to be sacred (housing multiple American Indian burial grounds), and some consider this exchange to have driven it to be cursed.

The curse lives on into modern times as the area became synonymous with Satanic cults and murderous rituals. One famous case involved a local pimp named Carl Drew who slaughtered women as a sacrifice for his occultist leader. In an especially sadistic show, Drew ripped out a woman’s hair and fingernails before removing her head to kick around like a ball with his followers until he ended the ritual by raping her headless corpse. These dark forces continue to haunt the forest, leading visitors to feel pushed and prodded among sounds of heavy breathing and screams.

3. Devil’s Tramping Ground, North Carolina

In horror movies, pets and other animals are often the first to recognize an otherworldly presence, but humans rarely heed their warning. In real life, things aren’t much different. Dogs are said to flee from the forest clearing known as the Devil’s Tramping Ground in North Carolina, a burnt, lifeless circle of ash where nothing ever grows.

The local legend goes that the circle of devastation is caused by the Devil, who uses this area to “tramp” and contemplate ways to destroy all of humanity. No vegetation or wildlife thrives in this circle, and scientists have taken samples to study this baffling phenomenon to no avail. Those who have tried to spend a night there either don’t last until sunrise or go mad. Stranger still, any inanimate objects placed in the circle overnight are thrown outside its limits by dawn, a result of the Devil brushing aside anything in his wake.

2. Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romania

In an area often referred to as the Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania, the Hoia Baciu Forest is notorious for unexplainable paranormal activity. Though locals have long been terrified of entering those woods, the forest became notorious in 1968 after a biologist named Alexandru Sift recorded a UFO-like object hovering overhead.

Supposedly, the creepily curved trees grew normally for decades, until a supernatural presence warped them. Those brave enough to enter the forest have reported rashes, nausea, vomiting, migraines, and intense, debilitating anxiety while roaming the forest, especially the constant sensation that they were being watched. The most disturbing but repeated theory is that Hoia-Baciu is home to an interdimensional portal, which causes people to disappear and have no concept of how much time has passed.

1. Aokigahara Forest, Japan

The well-known “Suicide Forest” borders Mt. Fuji in Japan and has a depressingly accurate nickname. Since the 1950s, an estimated 500 people have journeyed to Aokigahara to end their lives, and the forest continues to beckon people to die. Those who have visited the forest as tourists have come across rotting bodies swaying from tree branches and skulls and bones littering the ground.

Due to the sheer amount of tragic death, the forest has become something of a purgatory, filled with ghosts known as yurei who howl with suffering for their lives that were ended too soon. Some say that the trees themselves are filled with a malevolent energy that wants to keep you in the forest, possibly explaining why so many choose to commit suicide there. Indeed, even those who have just gone to check it out have admitted feeling a sense of permanence, like they were bound to the forest for the rest of their lives.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Reality show to be filmed in medieval “haunted castle” in Wales

British celebrities will take part in a reality show at the medieval castle of Grich in the city-county of Conwy (Wales), which, according to legend, is full of ghosts. It is reported by The Sun.

According to data from open sources, the castle was built in 1283-1289 by order of Edward I of England. For four years one and a half thousand people erected the fortress and walls. The castle is surrounded by a stone wall with round towers and loopholes. 

According to local residents, the ghost of the previous owner, Countess Dandonald, who died in 1924, wanders around the castle. According to legend, the woman’s spirit is angry because her husband took the valuables out of here. 

About ten years ago, a mysterious silhouette appeared in the photo, which was noticed on the first floor of the castle in the former banquet hall. In addition, it is rumored that objects are moving mysteriously in the castle. Also, fans of everything mystical believe that there you can meet the ghosts of gamekeepers and a maid who died after falling from a horse.

The creators of the reality survival show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! Became interested in the legends of the ancient castle, in which celebrities perform creepy tasks. 

The producers are delighted with Greich Castle. It is planned to spend almost 1 million pounds and six weeks to prepare the location for filming.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Loftus Hall is the most famous haunted house

Almost any house built 150 years ago is tempting to think of ghosts. Of course, if it was not restored beyond recognition. But a special pleasure is to visit, or at least look at photographs of a house in which ghosts are definitely found. Well, exactly: in the opinion of its owners and those who live nearby.

Loftus Hall is one of those. Even if, in the opinion of the locals, ghosts were not found in it, they would be worth inventing again – this is how the atmosphere of this gloomy house located on the windswept and washed by waves of the Hook Peninsula in the Irish County of Wexford has to do this.

But, before we tell you what is so paranormal in this Loftus Hall, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with real historical events related to the house. Moreover, they are worthy of attention without any devilry.

Photo # 2 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

We can say that the history of the house began in 1135, when the Norman knight, Raymond Le Gros, landed on the peninsula. To assimilate faster, the knight renamed himself the more familiar to the Irish ear by the name Redmond.

The castle, built by the knight, stood for two centuries, until in 1350 the descendants of Redmond built a new house in its place. It is interesting that they were building right during the Black Death – a plague pandemic that arrived in Ireland by ship from Bristol a year earlier. The new house, Redmond Hall, was named.

Photo # 3 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photo: Shutterstock

Three centuries later, in 1650, the house became the site of one of the fiercest sieges of the Irish Uprising. The owner of the house, 68-year-old Alexander Redmond, with his two sons, a couple of local activists and a tailor who happened to be in the house at an unfortunate time, barricaded himself and bravely repulsed the attack of almost 90 British for several days. 

In all fairness, most of these Englishmen have crawled into neighboring villages, indulging in robbery and violence, instead of laying siege to an impregnable home.

The attack was repulsed with the help of the Irish forces arrived in time, which attacked the British under the cover of a thick fog, which in time fell on the Hoek Peninsula.

According to local chronicles, Alexander repelled several more attacks. When the British nevertheless conquered Ireland in general, and Redmond Hall in particular, Cromwell even let Alexander die in peace in his own house – for his courage.

Photo # 4 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

Well, after the death of Redmond, his relatives were evicted from the house and soon the house was sold to a family of Englishmen named Loftus, who live nearby. 

Subsequently, the Redmond repeatedly tried to sue Loftus Hall back, but to no avail. But as compensation, they were given land in the neighborhood.

The Loftuses moved rapidly up the court stairs. If in the 18th century the head of the family was called Baron Loftus of Loftus Hall, then already in 1800 the title of Marquis of Eli was created especially for the Loftus.

Actually, the 4th Marquess of Ely gave the modern look to Loftus Hall. A major renovation was undertaken by the Marquis in the second half of the 19th century: he very much hoped that Queen Victoria would come to visit. After all, the Marquis’s mother was her maid of honor!

Photo # 5 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

The Queen never came. But the 4th Marquis of Ely became the owner of a luxurious house with such unprecedented conveniences as flush toilets at that time. And, alas, the owner of huge debts. Soon the house had to be sold and its wanderings began among different owners.

In 1917, the house was sold to the monastery order of the Sisters of Providence. In 1983, the house was converted into a hotel. Well, in the early 2000s, it was acquired by the Quickly family. In 2020, it became known that the house was again put up for sale. Moreover, Quickly emphasize that they will not choose a new owner, but “the house will choose him.” And that’s why…

The story of how the devil sailed to Loftus Hall and what happened after his visit dates back to the 19th century. It sounds like this.

On a cold rainy night, a dark-robed rider rode up to Loftus Hall on a dark horse. He said that his ship was caught in a storm and had to dock in a nearby bay. The Loftuses were away, the family of their distant relatives, the Tottenham, lived in the house. They sheltered the rider and offered him shelter and bread.

Photo # 6 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photoloftushall.ie

Tottenham’s daughter, young Anna, immediately fell in love with a mysterious stranger. A couple of days later, in the evening, everyone sat down to play cards. During the game, Anna dropped the map and, bending down to pick it up, saw that the stranger had cloven hooves instead of legs.

The stranger realized that he had been discovered. He immediately soared up, surrounded by devilish flames – and, as expected, made a huge hole in the roof.

It would seem that the devil is expelled, you can live on. But Anna, after the disappearance of the stranger, became not herself. She went crazy by leaps and bounds. The family, frightened by this development of affairs, locked the girl in her favorite sewing room.

There Anna sat, almost motionless, clasping her knees with her hands and soon died. 

According to another version of the legend, before her death, she managed to give birth to a child – that is, the devil did not lose time during two days in the house. 

Anna was not buried in an ordinary coffin: they could not straighten her and buried her in a sitting position, in which she spent the last months of her life.

Since then, according to numerous testimonies of guests and owners of the house, ghosts of a girl have been walking around the house. And the house itself has become a place of attraction for lovers of everything paranormal and creepy – excursions, especially popular on Halloween, are regularly conducted in Loftus Hall.

If you consider yourself a mystic, but do not have the opportunity to visit Loftus Hall yet, we recommend watching the gothic horror film The Lodgers 2017. It is filmed entirely in the luxe and eerie interiors of Loftus Hall, and has received excellent critical reviews. Here’s the trailer:

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Ghosts & Hauntings

The ghost of the Haycock Manor Hotel: a beautiful legend about a frequent visitor to an ancient building

For decades, the Haycock Manor Hotel, located in the small English village of Wansford, has attracted tourists by claiming to be the home of the ghost of Queen Mary Stuart.

Mary of Scotland, aka Mary Stuart, according to legend, visited the Haycock Hotel on the way to Fotheringay Castle, where she was executed. Why, in this case, she chose a hotel in a small village as her last refuge , and not a stone castle, is anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, visitors to the hotel claimed to have seen the ghost of Queen Mary, the Mirror writes.

The last resting place of Mary Stuart

Because of her intrigues against Queen Elizabeth I of England, Mary Stuart was put on trial and sentenced to death, which took place at Fotheringay Castle. On the way to the castle, Mary of Scotch stopped at the Haycock Hotel.

Mary Stuart

Despite the fact that the woman spent only one night in the hotel, this is the place she, for some reason, decided to choose as her last home. At least that’s what those who encountered her ghost say.

Manifestations of supernatural powers

Many of the hotel guests, who ventured to spend the night in the last refuge of Mary Stuart, complained about strange things that happened to them.

Some guests claimed to have seen a ghost, which they identified as Mary of Scotland. Why they were so sure that the ghost was exactly Mary Stuart is not clear, because the history of England has a large number of women rulers, and it is simply impossible to remember them all.

Other hotel guests recall seeing an obscure ghostly cloud-like figure in the oldest part of the hotel. They also shared that they often encountered the feeling that there is someone else in the room – someone who cannot be seen, but can be felt.

Hotel Haycock

Guests also reported that they heard quiet voices and footsteps, although there was no one else in the rooms.

Despite the fact that such stories can scare ordinary people, they are not of interest to real seekers of the paranormal, since they can easily be explained by the dilapidated state of the building.

haycock hotel

Haycock Manor is currently closed for renovation, which means that if the phenomena of supernatural forces could be explained by the state of the hotel, then after the renovation they should disappear.

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