Few travelers are looking at graveyards as attractions when planning their trips to new cities and countries. And that's quite understandable because what most people are looking for in vacations is relaxation, joyful experiences, and space where they can forget about their problems for a while.
Of course, not all travelers are like this. Even knowing this, you might want to ask 'whatever the type of the person, how can a graveyard be an attraction for someone?' There are two ways to answer this questions. First of all, there are graveyards like Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno (Genoa, Italy), Almudena Cemetery (Madrid, Spain) and The Lychakiv Cemetery (Lviv, Ukraine) which sometimes look more like museums than graveyards. Secondly, all people are different and some of them can easily replace lying on a tropical beach with ghost hunting, or what's much rarer, even mix it.
We will take a look at both haunted places which are disturbed by paranormal phenomena and the ghosts of deceased ones that still can't make their transitions between our world and the next one, as well as a beautiful and silent cemeteries which were turned into heritage sites and museums where you can contemplate the fleeting nature of life and start cherishing every moment we have.
But it's not for the faint of heart, so take it into consideration before you dive into this world of grim attractions.
25 Around the World: Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh, Scotland
During the daytime, Greyfriars Kirkyard is a silent and tranquil place which has no signs of paranormal activity. Everything changes in the night when the graveyard starts to reveal the hints of its dark past. There are three things which make this place spooky:
- The story related to the University of Edinburgh in the early 1800s, which sparked the scandal linked with body snatchers and forced people to put caskets in iron cages
- The spirit of George MacKenzie who started haunting the cemetery after being released in 1999 when a homeless man broke into his tomb
- The Covenanters’ Prison which is connected to the graveyard by a stone gateway. There were about 1200 participants of a failed anti-government revolution imprisoned there in 1679. Only 257 were able to come out of this place. The spirits of other people are still remain locked in this place.
It is remarkable that this cemetery is located not far away from Elephant House Cafe, where J.K. Rowling wrote the first lines of Harry Potter. That makes Greyfriars Kirkyard an excellent place for both wizarding fans and ghost hunters.
24 United States: St. Louis Cemetery #1, New Orleans
The title says St. Louis Cemetery #1, not by accident. Actually, there are three St. Louis Cemeteries in New Orleans, but only the one with the first number is considered haunted. It's the oldest of the three cemeteries and it was built to replace St. Peter Cemetery which burned in 1788. There are more than 100,000 people buried on the territory of the graveyard. Considering that it's only a small piece of land, no wonder that someone had an unfinished business. The #1 famous spot at St. Louise Cemetery is Marie Laveau tomb, who was a voodoo priestess. People believe that if they mark three "X" on her tomb, she will grant them a wish.
23 Around the World: La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
If you ever plan to visit La Recoleta cemetery, be prepared that you'll need a day to see it and you won't be able to make it without the map. There are more than 6,500 tombs which pay homage to different architectural styles. Considering the size of this cemetery I've decided to turn your attention to the most notable graves:
- Eva 'Evita' Pero's grave, who was Argentina's spiritual leader and first lady. The government hid Eva's body for 20 years before it was buried at La Recoleta Cemetery. Now it rests in the crypt which looks more like a fortified bunker 5 meters underground so that no one can disturb her anymore.
- David Allen, who is believed to haunt this cemetery. He was a former grave worker who wanted to have a fancy grave with a statue of himself after he leaves our world. After committing suicide in 1960 he is believed to disturb the visitors of the cemetery.
- Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, who was the country's seventh president. You can easily recognize his final resting place by an obelisk with a condor on top.
22 United States: Bachelor's Grove Cemetery, Chicagoland
This cemetery was labeled with 'paranormal' tag in 1950's because of seven spirits who were walking around the area. Forty years later someone took a picture of a ghost in 1991, which appeared in Chicago Sun-Times. Other people have also reported seeing faces appearing on the tombstones and in the mist and mysterious lights nature of which can not be explained.
It is believed that teenagers who were organizing parties and vandalizing tombs in the 1950s disturbed the spirits which made Bachelor's Grove Cemetery one of the most haunted locations in the country. Two-headed ghost, blue wandering lights, the yellow man and a big black dog are just some of the ghosts that you can expect to see there at night.
21 Around the World: Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney, Australia
Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney, Australia has become a final resting place to more than a million people. The more people are buried in one place, the more the chances that some of them have undone business and things which strongly tie them to this world.
In the case with the Rookwood Cemetery, all the attention of ghost hunters was drawn to the grave of famous spiritualists, the notorious Davenport Brothers. Some say that they are intermediating between the two world and attracting ghosts to the necropolis.
20 United States: Boot Hill Graveyard, Tombstone, Arizona
As you see from the tombstone this is quite an unusual place, because it's a graveyard of western heroes. It's home to Seth Bullock, Calamity Jane, and Wild Bill Hickok among others. Nevertheless, a lot of people questioned the authenticity of the graveyard asking if there's really anyone buried there or is it just a setup cemetery with fake headstones? Boot Hill is authentic and it was established in 1879 as the first city cemetery in Tombstone.
It is considered haunted by some, because of a photo was taken at Boot Hill where you can see a man in a cowboy hat rising from the ground.
19 Around the World: Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France
This cemetery is for those who are tired of seeing ghosts of ordinary people and want to catch the phantoms of famous people instead.
It was originally established by Napoleon and after Molière was buried there it started to brand itself as a 'cemetery for the stars'. Now you can try to spot the ghosts of Marcel Proust or Jim Morrison there.
But the crypt which really makes this cemetery mystical belongs to Allan Kardek who is considered the father of Spiritism. He wrote famous The Spirits’ Book which suggests the new theory of destiny and life.
18 United States: Union Cemetery in Easton, Connecticut
Union Cemetery in Easton dates back to 1600s. Another name for this place is 'White Lady Cemetery' because of the spirit which reportedly haunts it. Numerous drivers have reported hitting a white lady with a car when she appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the road, while others tell stories of seeing a pair of red eyes looking at them from bushes or behind the trees.
This graveyard was even investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, famous paranormal experts. Because of the persistence with which White Lady is haunting Union Cemetery visitors for 70 years, it's considered one of the most haunted graveyards in the United States.
17 Around the World: Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague, Czech Republic
Putting a cemetery over the old cemetery is a good recipe for having a haunted place. This is exactly what happened with the old Jewish Cemetery in Prague. The oldest grave on the cemetery dates back to 1439.
Burials were prohibited in the area because the cemetery was located inside the city and continuing to bury people there posed serious health risks to the living. The dirty neighborhood where graveyard stood was cleaned and reconstructed and the part of the cemetery was displaced for a new road. I don't think the spirits of the buried ones liked it.
16 United States: Western Burial Ground, Maryland
This graveyard in Baltimore has become a final resting place of Edgar Allan Poe, a famous horror writer. If it isn't enough to give you the chills, there are stories related to this graveyard which will scare the hell out of you, because it's known for its unusually big track record of live burials. Many people claim that they've heard the screams of ghosts who seek to bring revenge for their premature burials.
There's also a story of a screaming skull which belonged to the minister. To stop the disturbance, this skull was encased in a concrete block that now stands on the minster's grave. But people say that you can still hear the muffled screaming during the darkest nights.
15 Around the World: Highgate Cemetery, London, England
Dueling magicians and vampire hunters made the London's creepiest cemetery even more famous than it was in the second half of the 20th century.
People believed that vampires haunted the Highgate Cemetery and it served the reason for the appearance of numerous vampire hunters who did a lot of things on the graveyard but didn't find a single vampire. The apogee of the story was the duel between two magicians who competed to be the first to kill the vampire. The duel never happened and one magician ended up in jail. Can you imagine it happening in the second half of the 20th century? Sound more like a plot of the 18th-century novel to me.
Visit Karl Marx grave and try to find the ghost of a woman with long grey hair if the story about vampires hasn't impressed you.
14 Unites States: Howard Street Cemetery, Salem, Massachusetts
It would be strange to write a list of mysterious graveyards without mentioning Salem, the town famous for being a home of witches and witchers. Just like most of the other cemeteries on the list during the day, it doesn't have a vile aura that it acquires at night.
Giles Corey was executed for practicing witchcraft during the Witch Trials in 1692 because he refused to stand trial. Before his final breath, he cursed the land of Salem and since that time he is reportedly haunting the graveyard.
13 Around the World: La Noria Cemetery, Chile
Chile’s the Atacama Desert is one of driest places in the world, so it's quite understandable, why people left their communities in the search for a better place to live. What they also left behind is an old, half-destroyed graveyard. Those who visited this place say that not only the graveyard but the whole La Noria town is haunted because before becoming abandoned those who lived there faced really hard times.
Since abandonment La Noria suffered from looting which you can see both in the town and on the graveyard, so entering this cemetery is not for the faint of heart because human bones just lie all around there. All in all La Noria Cemetery is a harsh and remote place which an average thrill-seeker should stay away from.
12 United States: Cemetery Hill, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is strongly associated with ghosts and to make this image even stronger we will take a look at the Cemetery Hill. Pennsylvania hosted one of the roughest fights during the times of American Civil War. Cemetery Hill was a place where a fierce summer battle took place. Not many people survived this battle and piles of bodies were laying on the battleground waiting to be buried.
After this battle the Cemetery Hill became haunted. A lot of people say that they can still feel the atmosphere of despair on the Cemetery Hill, while others reported seeing ghosts which warned them to leave
11 Around the World: South Park Cemetery, Kolkata, India
There are Indian people, who believe that it's the most haunted cemetery in India. It was built for the Englishmen of the East India Company in 1767 and it has become a resting place for soldiers, traders, civil servants, treasure seekers, children and women who weren't able to withstand the challenges of life in the foreign tropical country.
Today the cemetery is a heritage site and no longer in use, There are over 1600 tombs there and many people have felt dizzy, breathless or sick after visiting this place. Some have captured weird things with their cameras and sworn never to visit this place again.
10 United States: Resurrection Cemetery, Illinois
This photo was not chosen by accident. It was selected because this Catholic cemetery, located in Chicago is known for hosting a spirit of a little girl who appears to visitors and vanishes once they approach her.
Other stories tell about a ghost of a young woman who behaves just like the girl. She appears out of nowhere and vanishes when men approach her. The stories tell that a young woman was killed attempting to hitchhike near the cemetery decades ago and now her spirit performs this, again and again, remaining in a loop.
9 Around the World: Mount Jerome Cemetery and Crematorium, Dublin, Ireland
Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin is full of Gothic monuments. Everything from tombstones to chapels is created in this architectural style. As time went by, the tombstones and crypts became damaged giving a cemetery a gloomy feel.
Few people have seen ghosts here, but the combination of Gothic architecture, Irish weather, and worn-out tombs make it a mysterious place. James Joyce and J. M. Synge wrote about Mount Jerome. Let's recollect these lines from Synge's The Oaks of Glencree:
"There'll come a season when you'll stretch
black boards to cover me.
Then in Mount Jerome I will lie, poor wretch,
with worms eternally"
8 United States: Hollywood Forever, California
This Hollywood cemetery is where several famous Hollywood stars found their final resting place. But it is also known as a haunted place and here are the reasons why:
- The Psalms Mausoleum is believed to be haunted by a ghost of Clifton Webb. People report hearing eerie sounds and cold drafts there.
- Virginia Rappe is seeking justice for her unsolved murder and you can feel the cold spots near her grave.
- The grave of Rudolph Valentino is said to be visited by a person covered in black who leaves red roses on the grave and leaves.
7 Around the World: Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, Genoa, Italy
Agree or disagree, but Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno in Genoa, Italy is the most beautiful and sophisticated cemetery in the world. Italians are famous for their excellent sense of style and they were able to apply it even to cemetery architecture.
If there weren't so many breathtaking sculptures of mourning people, or sculptures expressing the feeling of desolation and loneliness from losing a loved one, you would probably think that it's a prestigious museum. The sculptures and statues are done in such a masterful way that they will definitely leave you speechless.
If there's a place which transfers mourners' feelings in the most sophisticated and ingenious manner it's the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno.
6 Unites States: Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia
We've already mentioned Pennsylvania as one of the cities in the United States which is strongly associated with ghosts. Now, let's take a look at Savannah, Georgia which is also incredibly proud of its ghosts.
The place where you can see them is the Bonaventure Cemetery and the most famous ghost of this cemetery is believed to belong to Gracie Watson, a little girl who died of pneumonia when she was just six years old. The statue on her grave sometimes sheds bloody tears and her ghost can sometimes be spotted playing between the tombstones.
5 Around the World: Almudena Cemetery, Madrid, Spain
Almudena Cemetery is the largest graveyard in Madrid and one one of the largest cemeteries in Western Europe and the world. It has more than 5 million graves and has become a tourist attraction not so long ago.
The most impressive architecture that you can see in the cemetery is the chapel and the imposing entrance. Surprisingly it isn't known for being a haunted place, but it's size and some of the tombs and statue located on its territory can easily draw the attention of thrill-seekers and travelers who prefer unusual attractions.
4 United States: Silver Cliff Cemetery, Colorado
Silver Cliff Cemetery in Colorado is believed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in the United States. But you shouldn't expect to see any ghosts here, because this cemetery is famous for mysterious Silver Cliff Lights.
These lights look like bright white spheres or blue lantern lights and they appear over the cemetery gates at night and flow all through the burial grounds bouncing around the tombstones. The nature of these lights haven't been studied and they are considered paranormal by the locals.
3 Around the World: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland
More than 1.5 million people are buried in Glasnevin Cemetery. This graveyard is famous for hosting a ghost of a dog, which was willingly starved to death by loyally sitting near the tomb of its master. Many visitors say that they still see the ghostly dog-like creature near Captain John McNeill Boyd grave.
One remarkable thing about Glasnevin Cemetery is that it celebrates Halloween with a festival where you can take a Gravedigger tour. They also have a museum and offer a Storytelling Supper to their visitors.
Cemeteries can sometimes be entertaining.
2 United States: Stull Cemetery, Missouri
Ghost stories related to this place have been told for hundreds of years. Some even think of it as about gates of hell. An abandoned local church which stands near the graveyard is considered to be the most haunted place in the area. People report feeling grabbed by invisible hands when entering the church and even Pope refused to fly over this 'demonic' land.
According to legends, this was always an evil place and church was erected here to fill it with holy energy. However, after the church was closed, dark magic practitioners started to gather and the energy became even more polluted than before.
1 Around the World: The Lychakiv Cemetery, Lviv, Ukraine
Lviv is known as one of the most beautiful cities in Ukraine and Lychakivs’ke Cemetery is considered to be one of its attractions. It was established in 1786 by Austro-Hungarian authorities, and since that time more than 400,000 people were laid to rest there.
One can easily notice how the cemetery endured different epochs while looking at a modest grave of a departed communist located not far away from a majestic Gothic crypt. There are many spectacular monuments which you can find at Lychakivs’ke. Sacrifice, grief, and strength can are the three main themes which dominate their spirit.
No matter the paranormal stories related to many of the cemeteries listed in the article, first and foremost these places make us think about our mortality, cherish our lives and live each moment that we're going through consciously and joyfully. This exact moment that you're reading these lines and all subsequent moments bestowed to you and me by the Universe.