It’s the spookiest time of the year: even regions that don’t traditionally celebrate Halloween are all about scares. To mark the occasion, we’ve rounded up the eeriest buildings and places in the area. Or should we say most haunted? Who knows...
1. Pidhirtsi Castle, Ukraine
The building, beautiful even in its run-down state, stands near Lviv, Ukraine, and was built in the 17th century by the Hetman of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, based on the plans of Italian Andrea dell’Aqua. The lavishly decorated palace was furnished with extremely valuable works of art and furniture, but sadly, almost none of this remains. So, what’s the attraction of this building? The “Woman in White” has been the main sensation for those looking for some scare. Legend has it that Duke Zhevuski had his wife Maria sealed in the castle’s stone wall in revenge for her supposed infidelity. Other narratives say it was because she failed to produce an heir. Rumor has it that her ghost always wanders the same side because her husband bound her body there forever.
2. St. George’s Church, Czech Republic
Originally built in 1352, St. George’s Church (east of Prague) has quite a history. The building has been almost completely destroyed by fire several times over the centuries and the roof partially collapsed during a funeral service in 1968. After this, the congregation became convinced that the church was haunted and refused to set foot inside. The abandoned building has fallen prey to thieves and vandals. But in 2012, an art student at the University of West Bohemia had an idea to lure visitors back to the church: he installed a collection of 30 ghost sculptures. The statues sit with their heads bowed in the pews; since then, hundreds of tourists have flocked here to take photos.
3. Cișmigiu Hotel, Romania
Although in Romania, everyone goes to Vlad Țepeș’ Bran castle to get the creeps, many other places are notorious for their paranormal activity. The Cișmigiu Hotel was built in the early 1900s, but after falling into disrepair in the 1970s, it was renovated and used as a dormitory. According to the legend, in the early 1990s, a student girl tried to get into her room at night in the dark, but instead fell down an elevator shaft, screaming for help, but as no one heard her, she died. Ever since, people have been reporting hearing her screams, even though the dormitory has been closed, the building has been renovated and turned into a hotel, and the elevator shaft has been rebuilt.
4. Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
The Hill of Crosses is a Catholic pilgrimage site located 11.5 km northeast of Šiauliai in Lithuania. More than 100,000 crosses have been erected on this small hill, many of which date back to the mid-19th century. It is assumed that the locals placed crucifixes, rosaries, photographs, and statues of religious icons here after seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus. Although it is considered a sacred place, several ghost sightings have been reported over the years.
5. Moosham Castle, Austria
The history of Moosham Castle in Unternberg is gruesome even without the ghosts: thousands of people were tried and sentenced to death here during the witch trials of the 17th century. It is said that those executed by order of the Archbishop of Unterberg were as young as 10. Paranormal investigators claimed to have seen the ghost of a man sitting in the dining room on several occasions. Locals call him Anton, and he was allegedly the caretaker of the building during the trials.
Cover photo: Instagram