This remote village is home to less than 800 inhabitants – and one spooky vampire story. In 1725, a resident named Petar Plogojowitz passed away, and in the next eight days, nine deaths occurred. The nine who died had said on their deathbeds that they had been throttled – by Plogojowitz’s corpse. Priests and officials flocked to Kisiljevo to investigate, and roughly 40 days after Plogojowitz had expired, they exhumed his grave. Strangely, his beard and nails still seemed to be growing, and there were signs of new skin. When a stake was plunged into his body, it was reported that fresh blood spurted from his ears and mouth, a horrible scream arose, and his skin turned black. At that point, the murders ceased. Some call Plogojowitz “the first vampire,” which may be more chilling than any other true ghost stories.
Monte Cristo homestead, Australia
Said to be Australia’s most haunted house, this isolated residence was built on a hillside in New South Wales in 1884 by farmer Christopher Crawley. After he died in 1920, his wife, Elizabeth, became a Bible-immersed recluse, leaving the house only twice before she passed away. Her ghost is thought to walk the rooms, and visitors report feeling an ice-cold chill when she shows up, sometimes holding a silver cross. She has quite a bit of company, including these spirits: a maid who had plunged to her death from a balcony in the house, a stable boy who was burned to death by his master, and a mentally disabled man who was chained in the caretaker’s cottage for 40 years. Naturally, the latter ghost makes his presence felt by clanking his chains.
Forbidden City, China
The beautiful, sprawling Forbidden City in Beijing – made up of 980 buildings on 73 hectares – is one of China’s best-known landmarks. Many true ghost stories have also come from within its walls. From the 15th century through the early 20th century, the Chinese emperor lived there, but now it’s rumoured to be haunted by the ghosts of concubines. In 1421, Emperor Yongle ordered nearly 3,000 ladies-in-waiting associated with his harem, all of whom lived in the Forbidden City, to be slaughtered, because he thought that a beloved concubine had been poisoned. He spared some of his favourites in the harem, but on the day of his funeral, 16 courtesans were hung with nooses of white silk. Today, in the Forbidden City, a lady with black hair has been seen running from a ghostly soldier; sounds of screaming, weeping and sword-fighting have been heard; and spectres of dead bodies, pools of blood and pieces of white silk have been glimpsed. The Forbidden City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is open to the public, although it closes before nightfall.