If you love encounters of the spine-tingling kind, you're part of a small but passionate group of travelers. "Paranormal Travel" nuts regularly participate in online forums, and there's even a small cottage industry that specializes in highlighting spooky destinations. If this interests you, head to where the ghosts galivant. Here are the spookiest places on earth.
Chateau de Brissac, Brissac-Quince, France
This towering building is where Charlotte de Breze lost her life. Legend says that Charlotte, the illegitimate daughter of King Charles VII, was murdered after her extramarital affair came to light. Guests claim to have seen a "Green Lady," wandering the halls.
Castle of Good Hope, Capetown, South Africa.
This place has some standard ghosts — a man who reportedly walks the ramparts, and a crying woman who disappeared in a later excavation. But it also has a supernatural canine that jumps up on guests as they walk the halls. Down, Fido!
Poveglia Island, Venice, Italy
A hop, skip, and a jump from Venice lies the lovely island of Poveglia. It was a quarantine zone for people suffering from the plague. Also, the island served an insane asylum in the early 20th century. Ghost hunters claim the island is a hotbed of paranormal activity.
Tower of London, England.
Medieval England was not a fun, cuddly place, especially under the rule of power-hungry kings. The Tower of London is home to the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, and other royals who got in the way of their more powerful husbands or uncles.
St Augustine Lighthouse, St Augustine, Florida
The St Augustine Lighthouse became infamous during the Civil War because southern soldiers removed the light to disrupt Union shipping —leading to tragedy. Despite history, visitors report seeing a friendly ghost.
Island of the Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico.
The icky factor is pretty high at the Island of Dolls. In the 1950s, Julian, the island's caretaker, sensed a young girl who had drowned was also present on the island. He tried to calm her spirit with hundreds of dolls and hung them from the trees to make her happy. Was he driven mad when he couldn't save her? Julian drowned, in the same very same spot as the girl. Today, inhabitants of the island say several ghosts haunt the dolls.
Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada.
This sumptuous hotel, set against the Canadian Rockies' dramatic backdrop, claims a few friendly spirits and a few cranky ones. One kindly ghost is a former bellhop helps guests with their luggage. And visitors have reported seeing a ghostly bride dancing alone in the ballrooms.
Burg Wolfsegg, Wolfsegg, Germany
This 800-year-old castle in Wolfsegg, Germany, is haunted by a "White Woman" who scares off anyone who tries to pass. The "White Woman" is Klara von Helfenstein; her husband murdered her in a fit of jealous rage.
Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England
This gorgeous country home is the quintessential rural English estate, but it has a dark past. The mysterious "Brown Lady," who is the spirit of Lady Dorothy Walpole, was one of the ghosts captured on film in the December 1936 edition of Country Life.
These are, of course, just the tip of the mysterious iceberg. Haunted spot lists abound, ranging from the quirky to the macabre. One thing's for sure: there's a possessed place to investigate in every corner of the globe.
Whether your travel interests include the spiritual, or you prefer the majesty of the natural world and socializing with people on this side of eternity — I'd love to hear more about places that make your heart race a little faster.