3rd: Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle kept their reputation of being one of the most haunted castles in Scotland for years. Edinburgh is also the most haunted city from Europe. The Castle is said to be the home of many haunted characters like a ghost piper, a decapitated drummer and a phantom dog. In 2001, the presumed haunted rooms of the castle were the object of a scientific survey. The team had night-vision equipment, digital cameras, thermal images and 240 volunteers. Almost half of them said that they saw and felt ghost phenomena, like sudden drops in temperature and sightings of presences that were tugging in their clothes.
Dr. Richard Wiseman, a psychologist from Hertfordshire University from the southeast England conducted the experiments, using 240 volunteers as a 10-day study. The volunteers were paired in groups of 10, placed in humid chambers, cellars and vaults. The experiment benefited from a high-tech equipment with geo-magnetic sensors, thermal images, temperature probes, digital cameras and night vision equipment.
The volunteers were chosen by the lack of knowledge that they had regarding the haunted stories of the castle, in order to not affect the results. Although they did not know which chambers were presumably haunted, the volunteers reported the highest range of paranormal activities in the rooms that were known to be haunted.
South Bridge vaults
Among the most interesting experiments that were conducted overnight, was the one involving a young woman closed in the South Bridge vaults by herself. In the room it was placed a video camera in order for her to record the things she would feel, hear or see. It didn’t take long for her to hear a breathing noise from a corner of the room which was getting louder. She also said that she saw a sort of flash in the corner but she couldn’t look back. The experience left her in tears.
The only evidence were photos of some sort of dense spots of light or a strange fogging. Other two photos showed an unexplainable green dollop. Dr. Richard tried to explain to himself what could be the causes. He took physical measurements to measure the air temperature, the air movement and the magnetic fields because it was damper and colder in some rooms. Whatever the explanation is, the rooms that are haunted have something unexplainable yet to their account, as the distribution of the volunteer’s feedback would have been expected to be more random.
2nd: Aokigahara, Japan
Aokigahara (青木ヶ原?) is the Suicide Forest of Japan, also known as the Sea of Trees. The forest is located northwest from Mount Fuji and it is 35 square-kilometer wide. It’s a tourist destination with rocky and ice caverns but I wouldn’t recommend you going there. The forest is so dense that silences all the sounds from outside except the natural sounds made in the forest. The history of the forest has to do with the Japanese mythology of demons that is popular for its widespread rage of suicides.
Although in the main trail of Aokigahara there is a sign in Japanese that advices suicidal tourists to think about their families or contact a suicide prevention association in case they get lost in the forest. In 2010 the number of suicides was estimated at 57. Because of the dense nature of the forest it is very easy to get lost in it and never find the main trails again. The consistency of the forest is of volcanic rock that is hard to penetrate with simple hand tools like shovels.
Mark your trails
Tourists and hikers started to use plastic tape to mark their trails in order to avoid getting lost, there for the first kilometer is filled with tape and garbage left behind by tourists.
If you want to get to other tourist attractions like the Ice Cave or the Wind Cave you have to get by the rubbish that is left over in the first kilometer of the forest. The next part is in a better condition, lacking of almost any sign of human presence. The history of the Japanese forest estimates that until 1988 there were about 100 suicides made every year of the lost people who entered the forest. In 2002, the record was 78 people dead but 2003 topped it with 105 deaths.
Local government wanted to modulate Aokigahara’s association with the suicides, so they stopped making public the numbers of the suicides. But people didn’t stop from going in the forest and killing themselves, with 108 deaths in 2004 and 200 attempts and 54 completed suicides in 2010. There are annual body searches done by police, volunteers and journalists.
The forest is presumably haunted by the angry sprits of the dead, called the Yūrei. It is said that the spirits scream at night and their bodies move. Since 2011 the suicides made in the forest are made over drug abuse or hanging. March is the month when the suicides increase, marking the ending of the fiscal year in Japan.
1st: The Island of Dolls, New Mexico
In Mexico City there is a district called Xochimilco which has a wide-ranging system of artificial islands. One of the most popular among them belonged to Julian Santana Barrera. One day he discovered in a near island, a floating dead body of a girl and since then he started collecting thrown away dolls to hang them from the island’s trees in order to cast away the evil spirits. After Julian died, in 2001, the dolls remained on the island which can be visited by a boat trip.
The island is called “Isla de las Munecas” and it wasn’t supposed to be a tourist attraction due to its sad story. The island is located south from Mexico City, between the canals of Xochimilco. “Isla de las Munecas” is an island dedicated to the soul of the poor young girl who died too early in bizarre conditions. It is said that the lost drowned girl now possesses the uncanny looking dolls.
Although the district is fully populated, this island is the home of hundreds of disturbing dolls. The dolls have altered limbs, they are beheaded and their white eyes disturbingly decorates the trees. If you come to think of it, a bunch of hanging dolls don’t sound that bad, but even if you see them in daylight you will find them threatening.
Witnesses who have been on the island and close to the dolls claim that they heard them whispering to each other or that the dolls sometimes move their arms, their heads and open their eyes. Some even say that while they were on the boat, they felt like the dolls were luring them to the island. Obviously the tourists and other witnesses are overreacting when it comes to the fact that the island is possessed. Nonetheless, the island is very frightening and the creepy dolls help build that image.