Ghost stories from the most hunted mansions, castles and estates around the world.
Akershus Fortress, Norway
Known as “the most haunted place in Norway,” Akerhus Fortress began construction in the late 1290s by King Jaakon V. The large fortress located by the Oslo Harbor was built after an attack on Earl Alv Erlingsson of Sarpsborg in 1287, when the royal family had decided that the city’s existing defenses were weak. Covering 67 buildings (approximately the size of fourteen football fields), the fortress was used for many battles, the first being in 1308. It was also an instrumental battle fortress and port of entry into the city during the Northern Seven Years’ War. In total, Akershus has survived Swedish attack a total of eight times, winning each time. During World War II, it was occupied by the Nazi Party, where it was used as a prisoner and execution ground. Today, the chapel and large dining halls are used for royal functions. However, locals admit that the fortress has many chilling ghost stories. With dozens of dungeons underground, the rumors of ghostly soldiers have fascinated the Norwegians over the years. Other sightings including a ghost dog called named Malcanisen (The Vicious Dog) which is said to guard the entrance of the fortress. Also, a no-face lady named Mantelgeisten is often spotted going in and out of different chambers.
Amityville Horror House, Long Island
Arguably one of the most famous addresses in pop culture, 112 Ocean Ave., Amityville, Long Island has a history that has fascinated the world through numerous novels and 13 motion pictures. Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his parents Ronald Sr. and Louise, and his four siblings: Dawn, Allison, Marc, and John Matthew, with a .35 caliber gun as they slept on November 13, 1974 inside the Dutch-colonial mansion. He claimed that “voices told him to do it”. DeFeo was later charged with six counts of second degree murder. After 13 months, a newlywed couple by the name of George and Kathleen Lutz purchased the house for a “bargain price” of $80,000. Aware of the DeFeo murders, the couple could not resist moving their three young children (all from Kathleen’s previous marriage) into the antique home that features classic gambrel roofing, five bedrooms, a swimming pool, and a boathouse.
The Lutz family spent a total of 28-haunted days in their Long Island home. During their stay, many unexplainable things happened to them. George claimed to have woken up every morning at 3:15 AM, approximately the time the DeFeo’s were murdered. He was also said to begin to emulate Ronald DeFeo Jr. in appearance and behavior, going as far as drinking at his favorite bar The Witches’ Brew, located nearby. Kathy had nightmares consistently and said that an unexplainable dark force would sensually touch her at night. The house was also plagued by mosquitos and had strange odors like excrement in some areas. The crucifix hanging in the living room was said to regularly move upside down by itself. After strange sightings of Colonial-dressed ghosts and discovering the Red Room in the basement (the tiny room was not in the house’s blueprints), the Lutz’s decided to bless the house one more time. As they made their way through their home chanting prayers, they heard a chorus of voices screaming, “Will you stop!” Leaving their possessions behind, the Lutz evacuated 112 Ocean Ave. immediately after.
Burg Wolfsegg, Wolfsegg, Germany
Ulrich von Laaber and his wife Klara von Helfenstein built the Burg Wofsegg Castle 800 years ago. Ulrich, a knight of noble birth, was always away for business or military missions. This led Klara to look for other companionship, finding it local businessman Georg Moller, in whom she began an affair. When Ulrich had learned of his wife’s transgressions, he quickly hired two young farmers to murder Klara. After learning of the death of his lover, Georg was said to have walked into the forest, never to be seen again. Strange things continued around the palace grounds, as soon after, Ulrich and his sons unexplainably disappeared as well. Today, many come to the castle as it is a popular tourist spot right outside the nearby city of Nuremberg. Visitors claim that Klara has taken the form of a poltergeist, and is known around the area as the Woman in White, who moves objects violently around the palace. 100 yards into the woods is a strange cave christened by locals as The Hole. Strange odors and a sound of breaking is said to come out of it. For hundreds of years, the villagers of Wofsegg continuously warn tourist that they go too near it, they will never be seen again. Years later, a crew of investigators went into The Hole and found tunnels with hundreds of bones scattered around the ground—some fresh and some hundreds of years old.
Château de Brissac, Brissac-Quincé, France
Located at the commune of Brissac-Quincé, Château de Brissac is France’s tallest castle. Originally built by the Counts of Anjou, it was later owned by King Henry IV of France. He later gifted to Charles II of Cossé to thank him for his loyalty. Along with the sprawling structure, Henry bestowed his friend the title Duke of Brissac, in which his family still carries today. The chateau’s resident ghost is said to be Charlotte de Brézé, the illegitimate daughter of Charles II with Agnes Sorrel. In 1462, Charlotte was trapped in an arranged marriage with nobleman called Jacque de Bréze. Although peaceful with one another, the couple were indifferent and never shared the same bed. On May 31, 1477, a servant awoke Jacques claiming that Charlotte was with her lover Pierre de Lavergne. Jacque left his chambers and murdered the lovers in a jealous rage. Shortly after, the nobleman moved out of the chateau, claiming that he continues to hear his wife and her lover moaning in the early hours of the morning. Charlotte can also be seen roaming the halls in the green dress she was said to have been murdered in. Locals have given her the name “La Dame Verte” (or Green Lady). It is said that her face has many holes, a reflection of how Jacques had murdered her. Rumor has it that the royals who stay at the chateau today are accustomed with Charlotte’s cries, and hardly mind it. Guests, on the other hand, are still pretty frightened.
Malacañang Palace, Manila, Philippines
The magnificent structure of the Philippines’ very own Malacañang Palace has always been a hub of ghostly speculations. Back in 2016, an employee by the name Beldad Gantalao told SunStar.com that she had seen a headless priest walking about Kalayaan Hall. Built in 1750, the palace had survived the ups and downs of Philippine history, first acting as the home for the Spanish leaders during colonization. Later taken by the Americans, it was given to the locals to house Filipino Presidents, starting with President Manuel Quezon. Over the years, many alleged sightings of past deceased presidents such as Quezon, Manuel Roxas and Ramon Magsaysay are said to haunt the palace halls. Used as a base by the Japanese army during the Second World War, it is rumored that many souls of children and soldiers reside in at Malacañang as well. As part of Philippine folklore, it is also believed that a large kapre (a cigar-smoking giant) haunts the large balate tress near the palace’s entrance.
Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana
Built in Louisiana in 1796 by General David Bradford, the historic Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana is said to be the home of over 12 ghosts. Located atop a hill, facing over 600-acres of land (known as “Laurel Grove”), the Creole cottage-style mansion is often considered one of America’s most haunted homes. The legends around it has even led to ghost tours, which often bring hives of tourists to Louisiana every year. The traditional home is expansive in size, featuring 22 rooms on two floors, six brick chimneys, French Baccarat crystal chandeliers, two parlors (one for men and one for women), a formal dining room, game room, and huge lanais. Outside the house is a large pond with a small island in the middle. At the center is a gazebo that can easily accessed by a man-made bridge.
General Bradford had lived in the house till his death 1808, passing the land off to his wife. When his wife became too weary to manage the planation’s operations, their daughter Sara Mathilda and her husband, Clark Woodruff inherited it. What the Bradford’s didn’t know is that the house was built atop ancient Tunica Indian burial grounds. Although it is speculated that many more murders happened in Myrtles Plantation, only 10 has been officially recorded. One of the most famous is that of lawyer William Drew Winter, who was shot in the house by an unknown assailant. Winter was said to have crawled up the stairs, before finally dying on the 17th step. Another famous legend revolves around Chloe, a slave owned by Woodruff. Chloe was said to have been forced to becoming Woodruff’s mistress. Her resistance against the man resulted to the severing of one of her ears, which caused her to wear a turban to hide her deformation. To exact revenge, she baked a poisonous cake and served it the family. It is believed that Sara and her two daughters died from poisoning after eating the cake. The other slaves were infuriated with Chloe’s actions and they hung her on a tree before throwing her into the Mississippi River. Many believe she still haunts the plantation wearing her signature, green turban.
Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England
The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall is one of England’s most famous ghosts. In 1936. London-based photographer Captain Hubert C. Provard and his assistant Indre Shire were at the Norfolk estate photographing the main stairway for Country Life magazine. When their photograph was developed, the image of a woman in a dated brown brocade dress stood along the staircase. Rumors of the hauntings at Raynham dates back to 1835, when Lucia C. Stone first sighted the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole during a Christmas celebration hosted by Lord Charles Townshend.
Lady Walpole, was the second wife of Charles Townshend. After learning of her infidelity with Lord Wharton, Townsend locked her in her room as a form of punishment. There she remained till her death in 1726 from smallpox. Many claim that Lady Walpole now walks through the halls wearing her brown dress. She is said to have empty eye-sockets and a glowing face. Over the last two hundred years, much of the mansion’s staff has resigned after claiming that they were haunted by its ghostly mistress. Despite many horror stories, the house still remains to be majestic in design. Many calling it, “one of the most splendid houses of Norfolk.”
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California
When firearm magnate William Wirt Winchester died from tuberculosis in 1881, his widow Sarah inherited $20.5 million (or approximately $520 million in today’s dollars, adjusted to inflation) and a 50% ownership stake of their company, Winchester Riffles. When her infant daughter soon died after, Sarah sought the help of a medium who said that she needed to build a mansion to home the spirits who had lost their lives from the guns they produced. Mrs. Winchester then packed her things and moved up west, acquiring a large chunk of land in San Jose, California to begin building her mansion. Constructed without a building plan or architect, Sara obsessively oversaw construction of the odd mansion until her death in 1922. In it, she built nonsensical rooms such as doors and staircases that led nowhere. By the time Sara had departed the land of the living, production on Winchester mansion stopped. Today it is a tourist attraction with roughly 161 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms, over 10,000 panels of glass, 17 chimneys, two basements, three elevators, and lush gardens that sprawl over 162 acres of land.
By Chino R. Hernandez