By Mitchell Gilburne for Architectural Digest.
If you must tether your immortal soul to the realm of the living, you might as well do so someplace fabulous.
Château de Brissac, Brissac-Quincé, France
The tallest building in the Loire Valley, Château de Brissac is perhaps best known as the site of the grisly murder of Charlotte of France. Legend has it that Charlotte, the illegitimate daughter of King Charles VII, was killed by her husband after he discovered her adulterous behavior. The Green Lady, named for the color of the dress in which she met her end, is said to haunt the castle's tower.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Nestled at the head of Edinburgh's Old Town, this 12th-century fortress was, for many years, an active military base. If its stone walls could talk, they would tell grim tales, including that of a piper who entered the castle's tunnels never to be seen--or heard from--again. To this day, visitors report music echoing through the fort's empty chambers.
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California
Following the death of her husband, rifle magnate William Wirt Winchester, Sarah Winchester commissioned a Victorian labyrinth designed to repel the vengeful spirits of the lives taken by her husband's guns. The sprawling Queen Anne-style mansion--comprising four stories, 160 rooms, 10,000 window panes, and 47 stairways--is appointed with curious elements, such as staircases leading directly into the ceiling and windows that open onto secret passages.
Poveglia Island, Venice, Italy
A short gondola ride from the romantic canals of Venice, Poveglia Island holds the decaying remains of an early-20th-century insane asylum. Originally a quarantine zone for those suffering from the bubonic plague, Poveglia reportedly played host to brutal medical experiments. The asylum closed when a doctor flung himself from the institution's highest tower.
Bhangarh Fort, India
Less than 200 miles outside of Delhi, the lush ruins of Bhangarh Fort make for a curious juxtaposition against the desert landscape of Rajasthan. To this day the oasis remains largely uninhabited due to an alleged curse cast by a disgruntled sorcerer after his advances were rebuffed by a local princess.
See more: The Spookiest Celebrity Haunted Houses
Hay House, Macon, Georgia
Sometimes called the Palace of the South, the mid-19th-century Johnston-Felton-Hay House was commissioned by businessman William Butler Johnston. Inspired by Johnston's travels, the property was constructed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style and boasted contemporary amenities, unique at the time, such as hot and cold running water, central heat, and a speaker tube. Visitors to the house, which is now open to the public, have reported lingering spirits on the third floor.
Ennis House, Los Feliz, California
Built from 27,000 perforated concrete blocks, Ennis House is the largest and last remaining of Frank Lloyd Wright's "textile block" homes. Its idiosyncratic aesthetic has attracted filmmakers for decades, most notably inspiring environments in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) and the 1959 film House on Haunted Hill. Though no actual hauntings have been reported, observers are quick to note how the home's warm courtyards and airy hallways take on a silent, mausoleum-like quality after the sun sets.
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Calgary, Alberta
A stalwart of Canada's historic railway hotels, the Fairmont Banff Springs has been associated with the paranormal since its construction in 1888. One notable tale includes an unfortunate bride-to-be who immolated herself when descending the candlelit stairs in full wedding attire. The Ghost Bride of the Fairmont Banff Springs, as she has since been dubbed, can supposedly still be found in the hotel's ballroom eternally waiting for her first dance.
Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England
Completed in 1637, Raynham Hall is considered one of the most splendid English country homes of its time. The estate has garnered an infamous reputation thanks to the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. Believed to be the spirit of the adulterous Lady Dorothy Walpole, the Brown Lady caused an uproar when a photograph purporting to have captured her essence was published in the December 1936 edition of Country Life magazine.
St. Augustine Lighthouse, St. Augustine, Florida
The St. Augustine lighthouse--the first in Florida--earned a dark place in Civil War history when its light was removed to disrupt Union shipping. Visitors report encounters with the friendly spirit of Union artillery-officer-cum-lightkeeper William A. Harn.
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
This neo-Georgian mountain hideaway is best known as the inspiration for Stephen King's The Shining. Its staff claims it is only visited by "happy ghosts" and that nearly every room has a unique ghost story, like that of the maid from Room 217 who is known to pack away guests' clothing when they aren't looking.
The Queen Mary, Long Beach, California
After sailing the Atlantic for more than 30 years, the RMS Queen Mary dropped a permanent anchor in Long Beach, California in 1967. The decommissioned ocean liner, resplendent with gilded Art Deco finishings, is still accepting reservations--just don't expect to get too far. With more than 50 deaths recorded aboard the ship during her charter as a luxury liner, tales abound of the Queen Mary's haunting.
Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton-under-Edge, England
England's Ancient Ram Inn boasts more spirits than an average pub's liquor rack. Built on the site of what is believed to have been a 12th-century pagan burial ground, the inn reports hauntings by at least 20 otherworldly visitors. With ghostly children, a high priestess, and even an incubus (Google is your friend, but don't say you weren't warned) wandering the halls, guests have reportedly leapt from the windows in a frenzy to escape.
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