International Spooks: World’s Most Haunted Cemeteries

A little while ago, we took a look at the Top 10 Most Haunted U.S. Cemeteries. But let’s venture out a bit further and take a tour to see what the world has to offer when it comes to creepy, haunted cemeteries.

Rookwood Cemetery – Australia

Known more commonly and officially as Rookwood Necropolis, is it the world’s largest operating cemetery from the Victorian era, established in 1868. It has specific areas dedicated to those who died during the Vietnam War, World War I, and a shrine for victims of the Holocaust. There is also a designated spot for stillborn and aborted babies and those who died at infants. The first official burial was in 1867 though (before establishing cemetery trusts), a fourteen-month-old toddler by the name of Catherine McMullen. It’s been argued that while it’s not documented, there was a prior burial on the ground, an eighteen-year-old named John Whalan buried only two days before Catherine.

With over one million burials, it’s no surprise that it could be a hub for paranormal activity. While no specific hauntings have been reported, you’ll likely find some evidence of the dead still roaming the burial site. Notable burials include the infamous Davenport Brothers (famous spiritualist) as some believe their presence attracts the deceased, Lilian Fowler (Australia’s first female mayor), Abe Saffron (Businessman of Sydney and ‘underworld’ figure), and many others. Have you been to this breathtaking cemetery?

Greyfriars Kirkyard – Scotland

Located in Old Town, Edinburgh, this cemetery is much older and has a much darker history than most, a major reason it made this list. Burials on the land have been taking place since the 16th century as it was founded in 1562. Aside from body snatchers and grave robbers, it attracts ghost hunters and television producers from all over, as many are attracted to its dark aesthetic.

According to The Daily Beast, The MacKenzie Poltergeist is known to be the most aggressive and most active entity in the cemetery. During his life, he was ruthless as he was a persecutor of the Scottish Covenanters (a Presbyterian movement that occurred during the 17th century). According to legend, in 1999, his ghost was set free by a homeless man who was looking for a place to sleep, breaking into the Black Mausoleum. Eerie enough, this event was apparently predicted by Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson. In his 1878 book “Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes,” he writes: “When a man’s soul is certainly in hell, his body will scarce lie quiet in a tomb however costly; some time or other the door must open, and the reprobate come forth in the abhorred garments of the grave.”

During nighttime investigations and visits, many leave with scratches, bruises, burns, and sometimes even broken bones. These occurrences are attributed to the deceased prisoners of the connected Covenanters’ Prison near MacKenzie’s mausoleum. There have been over four hundred documented attacks and one local psychic was killed by the MacKenzie Poltergeist. If you plan to visit, tread lightly…and bring a first-aid kit.

Highgate Cemetery – England

Established in 1839, this London cemetery has over 170,000 people buried there, the first being Elizabeth Jackson on the 26th of May. It opened as part of a plan to provide many, large cemeteries known today as the “Magnificant Seven” on the outskirts of central London and was designed by architect Stephen Geary.

It’s been associated with many occult stories, including the “Highgate Vampire,” a popular media story revolving around strange occurrences and supernatural activity in the 1970s. Many claimed to have spotted a strange creature lingering over graves and people would often find tombs that were broken into with bodies turning up in odd locations. One resident supposedly found the head of a beheaded body on his steering wheel one morning…This sparked interest and two so-called magicians, Farrant and Manchester, each claimed that they would be the first to find and kill the vampire. A vampire hunt in Manchester then took place on a Friday the 13th, as a mob of ‘vampire hunters’ swarmed the cemetery, jumping fences and walls in search of the supernatural beast, leaving a trail of beheaded and steaked corpses in their wake. As you can probably assume, the vampire and source of the activity was never found.

Aoyama Cemetery – Japan

Established in 1874, Ayoma is a blossoming, metropolitan Cemetery located in Tokyo, Japan and is home to over 100,000 graves. It once was a Shinto-only burial ground in 1872 but opened to the public two years later and has housed many famous deceased individuals over the years, including Komura Jutaro (a diplomat from the Meiji period) and Okuno Toshimichi (a samurai and one of the founders of modern Japan). You can also visit the grave of Hachiko, a loyal dog who is famously known for waiting in the same spot for days on end for his owner to return, until he passed away. His owner, Ueno Hidesaburo is also buried here next to his canine companion.

While Ayoma is known for its abundance of cherry blossoms, its also a famous ghost spot, for when the sun sets, the vibe turns creepy and spooky. You’ve likely heard of the urban legend where a taxi driver picks up a lost young girl from a cemetery then turns around to find the backseat empty (there are many..MANY versions of this story) or where a cemetery is sometimes the destination. Well, there is a reason that people and taxi drivers and won’t visit at night and that story is the reason as Ayoma plays a role in the legend. Bus drivers even hesitate to pass by due to the reports of their ‘STOP’ light going off when they’re near the cemetery, but when no one is on board.
People have also witnessed shadows floating around the cemetery at night. There’s often two of different sizes, leading people to believe that these are the spirits of a parent and child that are not yet at rest. These entities have actually been known to cause accidents due to their sudden appearances out of nowhere. Feel free to visit this beautiful cemetery! Just be mindful at night…

Glasnevin Cemetery – Ireland

Located in Dublin, Ireland, Glasnevin Cemetery is anything but small with over a total of 1.5 million people buried since 1832. It contains a museum (opened in 2010), a crematorium (since 1982), mausoleums, and an area for stillborn babies in consecrated ground, known as the Angels Plot. The cemetery was featured in a 2014 documentary about the history and operation called ‘One Million Dubliners‘ and in literary works by Glasnevin historian and author, Shane MacThomais before his death in March of 2014.
With a cemetery so large, you are bound to capture or spot something strange lurking around. One is the entity of a dog (much like the story with Ayoma Cemetery) who remained loyal after his owner’s death as he refused to leave his grave until he eventually and tragically starved to death. Many still see him around the tombstone.
During the spookiest time of year on Halloween, people take advantage of the cemetery with a cemetery festival that includes a Storytelling Supper and a Gravedigger tour.

Sidenote: Also located in Dublin is the Saint Michan’s Church. Below are vaults with coffins piled on top of each other (yes, with bodies inside). Of course, some don’t withstand the weight and collapse, leaving exposed and decayed limbs that you can….touch as they hang outside their coffins, while other coffins are open, revealing 800-year-old mummified bodies…I can’t even picture that…nor do I want to… You can read more about it HERE.

South Park Street Cemetery – India

Located in Kolkata, India, South Park Street takes on a Gothic and an Indo-Saracenic style, making it truly unique. It was one of the earliest cemeteries in the world to not be accompanied by a church and was likely the largest Christian cemetery outside of Europe in the 1800s. It opened in 1767 to relieve stress on the old burial ground in the city. The cemetery was utilized until about 1830 then in 1840, it was extended and reopened, now a vast burial site protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Visitors often experience feelings of unexplained dizziness while others capture strange things in their photos. Many feel a general creepiness and breathlessness when touring but that doesn’t come as a surprise as South Park Street is known for its macabre and spooky environment.

Pére Lachaise Cemetery – France

Being the most famous French cemetery, it is also the largest in France with a range of 300,000 to 1,000,000 people buried here. Well-known politicians, writers, painters, and musicians reside here, including Balzac (a writer from the 19th century), Alphonse Bertillon (a criminologist 1853-1914), Georges Bizet (composer 1838-1875), and Edith Piaf (singer 1915-1963). It was established in 1804 and contains a chapel, a columbarium, a crematorium, and many beautiful crypts and monuments. The cemetery has been featured in numerous literary works, video games, and films due to its popularity. Today, it gets 3.5 million visitors every year, making it the most visited necropolis in the entire world!

If you wish to see and experience paranormal activity, this is a top location to visit as it’s one of the most haunted places in all of France. Jim Morrison (an American singer, songwriter, and poet) is often seen wandering around his grave. Adolphe Thiers (former prime minister in the 19th century) is known for tugging on the clothes of visitors if you walk too close to where he is buried. Others report spotting shadowy and translucent figures lingering in the burial ground, as well as spectral lights and orbs.

Cemeteries are and always have been remarkable and intriguing places to visit not only for their melancholy beauty but they’re also great places to capture proof of anything paranormal! If you find yourself visiting any of the places above, comment your experience(s) down below! But as usual, tread lightly and please be respectful!

Disclaimer: The information above is a combination of prior knowledge and research. No works were plagiarized, only referenced as a source of information. While anyone is welcome to comment, I attempt to make this a positive and friendly community where we can share our experiences. Any derogatory or negative comment(s) will be deleted. As always, reader discretion is advised.

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