You probably know about famous haunted locations such as Salem, MA, as well as the Robinson Rose House. Here are some lesser-known haunted structures around the world.

A chandelier covered in cobwebs, a common sight at any haunted house.
A chandelier covered in cobwebs, a common sight at any haunted house.
Picture by Toa Heftiba.

Halloween is a time for candy corn, scary movies, and haunted houses. Many of us have heard of so-called real haunted houses such as the Saint Augustine Light House in Florida and the Seven Gables House in Salem, Massachusetts. However, there are many haunted buildings across the United States and the world that deserve more coverage.

The Pfister Hotel—Milwaukee, United States

A city hotel under cover of darkness.
A city hotel under cover of darkness.
Photo by Marten Bjork.

This urban hotel is believed to be haunted by its founder, Charles Pfister. It is considered one of the most haunted places in the United States. Despite this, it receives less discussion than the other haunted locations on the east coast. One possible reason for less coverage could be to keep tourists away when major league baseball teams stay in this hotel.

Professional athletes are the source of many of the stories surrounding the Pfister Hotel in general. One player for the LS Dodgers reported hearing knocking on the walls of the hallway and his door. He also claimed to have been woken up in the middle of the night by banging behind his headboard. Another player talked about hearing disembodied voices from all around his room the night before his game. Many others have also said they saw the ghostly figure of an older man, believed to be Charles Pfister himself, walking the halls at night.

Ghost hunting shows and similar publicity tend not to be attracted to the Pfister Hotel. The entire building is still open for booking by anyone that can afford the luxurious accommodations. Aside from the stories spread about the things that happen in the light of the moon, the hotel staff and owners seem to do what they can to continue attracting guests.

Poveglia Island—Venice, Italy

Light fades over a gondola in Venice, echoing the darker nearby Poveglia Island nearby.
Light fades over a gondola in Venice, echoing the darker nearby Poveglia Island nearby.
Picture by Marko Blazevic.

Outside of the United States, Poveglia Island haunts Italy. The island has been used for many things over the centuries. However, it is best known for being the place where potential carriers of the plague and countless corpses accumulated during the Black Death in the 1300s. During later epidemics of affliction, the island was used several more times for the same purpose. Eventually, it became the source of the term “quarantine.In the 20th century, the island became home to a mental asylum. Locals described the island as an “island of ghosts.” Bones continue to litter the entire island today.

Countless people have reported hearing screams from the island, day or night, as well as an ever-present feeling of dread while on the island. When in the ruins of the asylum, the few visitors who have dared to enter reported seeing or hearing the souls of those that resided there shuffling around the halls. Shadows flash across the walls without a visible source. The screams are heard most clearly in the asylum.

The Italian government marks Poveglia Island as a restricted area, citing sanitation reasons as “even the ground is rotten.” Locals in Venice often refuse to offer private passage to the island. They simply understand that Poveglia Island is not a place where anyone should go. Despite this, illegal thrill-seekers still find their way to the island.

Tak Tak School—Ping Shan, Hong Kong

A dilapidated and abandoned school exactly like Tat Tak School.
A dilapidated and abandoned school, exactly like Tak Tak School.
Picture by Jorge Fernández Salas.

In Hong Kong, Tak Tak School is surrounded by graveyards on all sides. It is regarded as one of the most haunted places in the region. Many local urban legends in the nearby towns talk about the school. Although not much is known about the school’s history, it is often believed that the mass grave built on the premises houses those that refused to be evicted by the British Empire in 1941.

The main ghost associated with the school itself is the spirit of a woman in a red dress that walks the halls at night. Legend has it that this is the ghost of a former teacher who hung herself in the girl’s restroom. There are also accounts of the “Red Lady” possessing female students.

As one would expect from these happenings and the location, the school is closed. The occasional thrill-seeker does find their way there, and when they do, they report a “creepy vibe.” There is also the occasional story of a ghostly undertaker patrolling the grounds, but these are far less common and began far more recently than the “Red Lady.”


Hauntings permeate much of the world we live in, regardless of whether we believe in them. Instances such as Poveglia Island demonstrate that some hauntings result from a long line of horrible events — or a single tragedy such as Tak Tak School. Unlike all three of these places, most haunted sites have less to do with real tragedy and more to do with commercialization of the strange happenings that go on around them. Regardless, there is no time like Spooky Season to explore such places at one’s own risk.