Haunting and haunted locations for photography - Dreamstime

We're getting closer to that spooky night of the year when they say the dead walk the earth and all sort of supernatural, spine-chilling phenomena occur. Most of you will probably grab their cameras. Experienced photostockers will always try to shoot the best of the worst or scariest circumstances so if you're not really afraid of poltergeist activity, demons, witches, zombies and other creatures you may sight on Halloween, we'll show you some spectacular haunting places you can use for terrifying looking photos. We'll also show you some really haunted places where you can test your nerves, courage and if you get the chance to, cameras.

We'll start with the haunting, mysterious looking places which will definitely haunt your retina once you've seen them, although not necessarily certified as haunted for real. They're absolutely perfect for horror, sinister, macabre settings.

If you're ever travelling to Detroit, make sure you add Michigan Central Station to your must see list. The station was built in 1913 but due to a series of planning and design mistakes, it hasn't been used since 1988. The building was used in movies and videos and it was listed as 'Priority Cultural Site'. The future of the building remains uncertain unfortunately but until a decision is made, photographers can really take advantage of the abandoned buildings to capture some ominous, nightmarish scenes.

We've all heard of ghost towns but no real ghosts have ever been seen in most of these towns. You can however feel a haunting past that has just happened and if you close your eyes, you can almost see long gone people going about their lives in places where there's nothing but ruin now. These places may be charming if not for the goose bumps you'll occasionally experience, as if some ghostly creature simply touched you for a second.

© Sepavo
Many of you probably did not know this, but there is an island called the Ghost Island. No ghosts there...yet, just some abandoned collapsed buildings and plenty of ruins on an oddly shaped, battleship-like island in the Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. It served as coal mining facility but the closure of Japanese mines in the 1960s affected the Hashima Island as well and it has been deserted since 1974. Today it is visited only by ruin enthusiasts and tourists for only 160 days per year. It is said harsh weather makes landing impossible for the rest of the year while there are still great concerns regarding the safety of these dilapidated buildings.

One very special ghost location for eerie shootings is undoubtedly the Beelitz-Heilst├Ątten sanatorium, later military hospital. Dating back to 1898, the sanatorium served as military hospital during the World War I and all throughout the Soviet occupation period. It is said that even Adolf Hitler recuperated here from a battle wound. Completely abandoned in the 2000s, the complex now houses mostly rooms and facilities you can use for your perfectly nightmarish shots. The buildings have already been used in movies and videos so they're safe and ghostfree, so far at least.

Kolmanskop is another ghost town, definitely more charming than other ghost towns and I'll tell you why. It is located in the Namibia desert and it used to be a diamond-field. Unfortunately you won't find diamonds there anymore, not since 1954 at least and you may encounter ghosts of the German miners who settled here. But the bright part is that there's a lot of sun and light. It is a good destination for photographers though you'll need a permit to enter this area.

A truly hauntingly beautiful location is The Valley of the Mills in Sorento, Italy. The valley is said to have originated some 35,000 years ago following a volcanic eruption. Nothing unusual so far but around the 900s, a mill was built here which was abandoned at the end of the 19th century. The abandoned mill is spectacular from above and you can also visit the actual ruins by going down stone ramps. Beware, apart from possible ghost sighting, there's lots of humidity here which is favourable to micro-flora and is reportedly responsible for the appearance of the ferns that are lushly covering the ruins.

It may not look scary in the beginning but we can assure you this shipwreck has all the features of a haunted galore lurking in Homebush Bay, close to the Sydney shore, Australia. There are plenty of shipwrecks in this area as Australians seem to like to protect their shipwrecks under the State of NSW Heritage Act from 1977 and the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976. The most prominent shipwreck is probably the SS Ayrfield , now a floating mangrove forest, decommissioned around 1972.

The former headquarters of the Bulgarian communist party is another abandoned ghost location which unfortunately has been vandalised and devastated in the last years. Built on a historical peak, where Bulgarian rebels fought the Turks, the Buzludzha Monument was meant to commemorate important events in the history of the Bulgarian Communist Party. It is currently in an advanced state of disrepair which can only add some sinister, ghoulish charm to your pictures.

And now it's time to move on to haunted places, where you'll need more than just your cameras and lights for the shooting. Consider a minimum arsenal of garlic, holy water and silver bullet weapons when going to these places. Not recommended to the faint-hearted.

© Flynt
We'll start with a classic Scottish castle. Scotland is quite famous for its haunted castles and you'll have plenty of hauntings to see if you go there but we've chosen the Edinburgh castle as recommended location. People speak of a headless drummer, a lady accused of witchcraft and burnt at stake, a ghost dog and many others dreadful noisy spirits to be roaming the castle halls. There have been several paranormal investigations in this place and witnesses testified to shadowy figures, strange physical sensations, creepy apparitions, all of which make the Edinburgh castle the perfect haunted place to visit and shoot of course. Brace yourselves!

You've all heard that Dracula comes from Transylvania. But this picturesque Romanian region has more dark secrets than just vampires. Many castles in Transylvania are said to be the place of poltergeist activity and one of them is the beautiful Hunyad or Corvinesti Castle. An old acquaintance - Vlad the Impaler - served some time in prison here.

A famous Indonesian attraction, the Lawang Sewu building reminds everyone of the nation's colonial past. But the building has also an infamous reputation for being the home to many despondent ghosts who died bad deaths. During the 1940s, it seems the Japanese troops interrogated and killed prisoners here. There are also gruesome tales of headless ghouls wandering the corridors and of a young Dutch lady who killed herself in the building.

La Candelaria is a historic neighborhood in Bogota, Colombia and it is also the place where ghosts and ghouls are said to roam. Many of the historic colonial houses were the site of frightening stories and are now supposedly haunted. Casa del Bandido for instance belonged to a doctor executed by firing squad for stabbing a man to death. People say the stabbed victim's screams were still heard at night and saw him wandering about the house for many years after his death. Scarryy!

This castle looks charming and beautiful indeed but wait for the night. The Dragsholm Castle in Denmark is actually the home of a famous ghost, the 7th Earl of Bothwell, James Hepburn, also known for marrying a pretty famous lady - Mary, Queen of Scots . This gentleman spent his last living years here and apparently has not left the premises as he can still be seen riding a carriage through the courtyard. Watch out!

© Euclem
One more paranormal activity hot spot, the Versailles Palace. We've all heard of Marie Antoinette, the famous or infamous French queen beheaded during the French revolution. Marie has been spotted in the garden surrounding the castle since the beginning of the 20th century if we are to believe the rumours. And it seems she is not alone. People in strange uniforms were seen to walk the corridors. Not sure if you need special equipment to catch these ghosts on camera but you'll have a wonderful time visiting the palace and maybe get occasional goose bumps should you meet a lady or a gentleman from the past.

A well-known haunted location is the now abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary in the United States. Ghost sightings were reported starting with the 1940s and even Al Capone, the notorious American gangster who served time in this penitentiary, said that he saw ghosts. There is an annual Halloween event currently run in the Eastern State Penitentiary, 'The terror behind the walls' you can attend.

The list can go on but we'll leave you to uncover the dark secrets behind the walls of other haunted locations.

And if you must know, we do have some brave, fearless photographers who visited and took pictures of many of these famous haunted places - see collection here. But there are many other unexplored yet so pick your favorite haunted location and go for it.

Happy Halloween and safe shooting!

Photo credits: Agung Angkawijaya, Dennis Jacobsen, Euclem, Flynt, Javarman, Jheric1983, Kre_geg, Michel Boersma, Monodon, Rechitan Sorin, Rosario Manzo, Sean Pavone, Tortoiseshell, Zrfphoto.

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February 12, 2015


Hashima Island
is so scary for me

January 08, 2014


Thank you for your kind advice for hunting location.
It would help me for my photography.
Thanks again,

December 09, 2013


Very interesting! I never felt anything but a sense of wonder and history when I visited Versailles. A night visit might be more spooky...

November 29, 2013


Great article! Like :-)

November 27, 2013


The haunted house! Very interesting article, a novel idea and suggestion. Thanks for sharing!

November 15, 2013


Another scary place in Washington DC:

Exorcist Stairs in Georgetown

November 08, 2013


Tangie, nice article and thanks for featuring my windmill photo on your blog.

November 05, 2013



October 31, 2013


Great article with some ideas for photography! I took this photo many years ago not knowing it is considered the most haunted lighthouse in the USA. It is Point Lookout lighthouse in Maryland where the Potomac River meets the Chesapeake Bay. Paranormal investigations have been done here.

Point Lookout Lighthouse

October 31, 2013


An interesting text. And beautiful photographs published.

October 30, 2013


Hi Carmen, thanks for featuring my photos on your blog. The LawangSewu is so scary even for the locals like me. I don't even dare to walk in on the night. Even so, many has attended a "special scary night tour", where one can visit an underground dungeon for turtoring prisoner. And yes, many saw apparition as per your description.. :D

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