We begin our frightful tour with the tale of ‘The White Witch of Jamaica’, Annie Palmer who is said to haunt Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay. According to the legend she had a notorious reputation as the mistress of house, practicing black magic, torture and voodoo. She was known as ‘The White Witch’ because she enchanted 3 suitors into marrying her and then bumped them off one at a time – Annie also took a series of slaves as lovers then poisoned them once she grew tired of them. The circumstances surrounding her death remain a mystery, some believe she was killed in a show down with a powerful voodoo priest, others say she was murdered by one of her slave lovers. There have been ghostly goings at Rose Hall since then with accounts of people hearing whispers, footsteps and wailing voices – even mysterious blood stains appearing on the floors and the face of Annie Palmer in mirrors. There are regular tours of Rose Hall showcasing it’s most odious resident, even a night candle-light tour for bravest ghost hunters.
Places host to a chilling myth of La Llorona, ‘The Weeping Woman‘. The tale goes that a beautiful women called Maria drowned her own children in order to be with the man who she loves. He then rejects her, which leads her to drown herself in a river in Mexico City out of despair. It is said that Maria is challenged at the gates of heaven to the whereabouts of her children, and that she is unable to enter until she has found them. Banished from the afterlife she forced to search for her drown children in vain, it is said that she will kidnap and drowned children who resemble her own. Mexican parents still warn their children not to stray too close to the water or La Llorona will be waiting for them.
Poveglia in The Venetian Lagoon, Italy is known as the most haunted island in the world, and it’s story sounds like something straight out of a horror movie script. The island has had a long gruesome history it has played host to many bloody battles such as Napoleonic war, plague colonies, and most recently an insane asylum.
Due to Venice’s strict sanitation laws when the black death struck in 14 century, all citizens from nobility to the poor who displayed plague symptoms were sent to be ‘quarantined’ at Poveglia. This in reality was more like a death sentence as the island quickly became overrun with the dead and dying. Mass unmarked graves litter the island overflowing with charred remains – according to local lore the part of the island used for growing food held the most bodies (*shudders). Just when you thought that was enough creepy for one place, Poveglia’s insane asylum built in 1922, was ran by a maverick doctor who was rumored to perform strange and barbaric experiments on his patients. Eventually the doctor himself was driven mad, haunted by the spirits of plague victims, and threw himself from the island bell tower of the asylum. The islands dark history has led to it being completely abandoned since 1960s, even the local fishermen give it a wide birth, for fear that they will catch human bones in their nets. In April this year Poveglia was sold at auction, bought by Italian businessman Luigi Brugnaro who plans to re-develop the island. We won’t be booking in anytime soon that’s for sure!
Malta is next on our list with the ancient ruins of Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni and it’s hidden secrets. At over 5,000 years old the subterranean structure is the world’s oldest prehistoric temple. Discovered in 1902 the hypogeum has uncovered many curious objects including over 33,000 human remains found in the sprawling chambers, the deemed victims of Pagen human sacrifice. Most notable of these finds were a collection of elongated skulls, missing the Fossa median, the joint that runs along the top of the skull. This has lead to people claiming that this was the discovery of an alien race due to the nature of the strange remains. Fueling the mystery in 1985 while the skulls were on display in the Archaeological Museum in Valletta, they all disappeared without a trace and have never been recovered. Many people have reported supernatural disturbances in the Hypogeum, in 1940s a group of 30 school children vanished whilst visiting on a school trip. Locals have been said to still hear their screams echoing from underneath the city – the exact location of the suspected collapse has never been found.
Forget Transylvania as being the home of vampires, according to Greek superstition it’s the picturesque island of Santorini. Better known as Vrykolakas to the locals, the story goes that Santorini and the surrounding islands were used as exile for suspected vampire corpses. They were rowed across the sea and it is believed that they are unable to cross water once transformed. Unlike the Hollywood stereotypes these vampires aren’t known for drinking the blood of their victims, nor will garlic or sunlight defeat them. More sinister the Vrykolakas would sit on the chest of their pray and crush the life out of them as they slept. The Vrykolakas are said to torment locals by knocking on their doors at night and calling their names, if they didn’t respond at first knock they would move on. If the door was answered the resident is said to die shortly after and join the ranks of the Vrykolakas. Some Santorini locals are still fearful of vampires now, and won’t answer the door until they hear a second knock.