Haunted Pilgrimages to Make This Fall
October 19, 2021
By Kayla Kurin

Some see October as the time to pull out chunky sweater collections and sip on hot cider while walking through crunching piles of leaves. Others see it as the season to hunt the paranormal. If you happen to fall into the latter group, here are five haunted pilgrimages for your next autumnal ghost sighting.

Edinburgh Vaults: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

It’s no secret that the grey cobbled streets of Edinburgh have seen their fair share of terror, and the vaults tucked under the Royal Mile are no exception. Now accessible only by tour, in the 19th century, the vaults were used as a slum and marketplace, with sinister activities lurking in the damp, dark corners. Body snatchers—bandits who would steal dead (and sometimes not-so-dead) bodies to sell to medical professionals—often stored and sold bodies in the vaults.

By the late 1800s, residents left the vaults for fresher air and they lay abandoned for over 100 years until they were excavated for research purposes.

Recent visitors to the vaults report they are anything but empty. From a deceased body snatcher who yells at visitors to leave to a small boy who tugs on people’s clothes, the colorful stories of the ghosts in the vault leave much to be discovered—and feared.

Xunantunich Mayan Ruins: Cayo, Belize

One of the most common ghost sightings in Latin America is at this ancient Mayan site in Belize. Numerous visitors have encountered run-ins with a female figure with bright red eyes. The ghost appears in front of a cavern and then disappears inside. So far, no one’s been able to follow her in.

Unlike the Edinburgh vaults, there haven’t been reports of this ghost harming visitors, but certainly an eerie vision to behold in this historical place.

Lome Bazaar: Lome, Togo

If Knockturn Alley were a real place, it’d be at the Lome Bazaar in Togo. Dead bats, human skulls, tiger heads and more can be found in the market stalls in the world’s biggest voodoo market. While voodoo may conjure images of dark magic, it is actually a complex (and benign) religion. Many practitioners pilgrimage from all over Africa to buy supplies at the market. Even if most are coming to purchase healing elixirs and treatment, all the bones and dead animal parts certainly give the place a creepy, haunted feel.

Hashima Island: Hashima, Japan

Also known as “Ghost Island”, Hashima used to be a densely populated coal town. However, after hitting hardship during WWII and then again with the decline of coal energy, the island was abandoned.

Now a UNESCO world heritage site, visitors can take a boat out to the small island and wander around crumbling architecture. Many buildings were left fully furnished and seeing abandoned crumbling apartments and schoolhouses filled with empty and abandoned tables, chairs, beds and other relics of a life once lived gives the place a ghostly feel.

Hashima Island has a darker past, too. During the 1930s, many prisoners of war were sent to the island to work under harsh conditions. It’s estimated that over 1000 people died in just a decade from malnutrition and exhaustion. On a tour of the island, you’ll certainly feel like the only living beings wandering around a ghost town, and with such a gruesome past don’t be surprised if you happen across a paranormal figure.

Bhangra Fort: Rajasthan, India

Another abandoned spot that was once a bustling metropolis, Bhangra lives on through the tourists who make pilgrimage to this haunted place. Not only is the fort haunted, but locals believe it is cursed.

There are two potential stories to the origins of this haunted place.

The first is that a holy man was living at Bhangra when the king decided to build the fort. The holy man agreed to let him build as long as no structure in the fort was taller than his house. The king’s grandson ignored this request, and soon after the town faced destruction.

The second story is a fascinating tale of love and sorcery. A local sorcerer fell in love with a beautiful princess who lived in the fort, but she did not love him back. When she was shopping in the market he replaced her perfume with a love potion. The princess discovered the trick and threw the potion at a boulder. The boulder then dislodged and killed the sorcerer but not before he could curse the city. The fort was soon after destroyed and everyone, including the princess, was killed.

Because locals believe the place to be haunted, visitors can only visit during daylight hours to avoid any unfortunate run-ins.

Catherine McIntosh’s Grave: Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada

When you find Catherine’s grave, it feels like something out of a horror film. The lone grave of an eight-year-old child on the side of the highway has led to a number of paranormal experiences for local residents and visitors. Ghost enthusiasts who’ve made the journey to her grave have reported growling noises, touching and the apparition of a child. Catherine was originally buried in a family cemetery, but it’s thought her grave was moved to this creepy spot over a land border dispute. If you do visit this grave, be sure not to touch any of the toys visitors have left or face the consequences.

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