For centuries, there have been hundreds of houses around the world, declared haunted by popular hearsay. Most haunted houses stories are largely myths and urban legends that have attained a cult following over the years. But here are some real life haunted house stories that may just scare the hell out of you.

1. Philadelphia State Hospital

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Social historian and journalist, Albert Deutsch, wrote in his 1948 book The Shame of States: “I was reminded of the pictures of the Nazi concentration camps. I entered a building swarming with naked humans herded like cattle and treated with less concern, pervaded by a fetid odor so heavy, so nauseating, that the stench seemed to have almost a physical existence of its own”. Situated on Byberry Road, Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia State Hospital attained notoriety because of alleged patient maltreatment. The mental asylum opened in 1907 but its population swelled quickly and in 1960 had more than 7,000 inmates. It was closed and abandoned in 1990 due to the terrible conditions. The building was torn down in 2006 when the building allegedly became a haven for arsonists, vandal, criminals, and urban explorers.

2. Leap Castle

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Located in Ireland, the castle was built by the O’Bannons in late 1400s. The O’Bannons were ruled by the O’Carrolls and the later decided to take over Leap Castle. After the death of Mulrooney O’Carroll, there was a rivalry to gain control of the castle. One of the O’Carroll brothers, also a priest, was murdered by his brother in the castle’s chapel, in front of his whole family. Since then, the building came to be known as Bloody Chapel. It also housed many prisoners who were later executed.

3. Riddle House

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It resembles a handsome Victorian beach house, but was originally built as a funeral parlor. Once the parlor was shut down, the house was dismantled and moved to Yesteryear Village in South Florida. Karl Riddle was the owner of the house in the 1920s. One of his employees, named Joseph, had hung himself in the house’s attic. Once the rope and beam were removed, haunted houses stories started doing the rounds. It scared other employees and they soon quit.

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4. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

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The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh, was a high school which was converted to a prison in 1975 by the Khmer Rouge. Prisoners were tortured and murdered there. Many prisoners were soldiers and senior government officials from Lon Nol’s regime. But Khmer Rouge leaders soon realized they were only killing Lon Nol members, while others were left out. They planted their men among the inmates, tricking them to reveal names of their family and associates, who were then hunted down and killed. The building was converted to a museum after the Khmer Rouge was ousted from power in 1979.

5. Villisca Axe Murder House

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It looks like a cute Victorian house from the outside. But what happened inside on the night of 9 June 1912, is one of the most spine chilling haunted houses stories ever. Six Moore family members and two guests, including six children, were hacked to death. While the murders remain unsolved, rumors float that the killer haunts the house and children can be heard crying and screaming.

6. Shaniwarwada Fort

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Besides its sheer architectural brilliance, the Shaniwarwada Fort at Pune is famous for several spooky events and supernatural activities, especially on a full moon night. According to a popular legend, a young prince was brutally murdered in the fort and his spirit supposedly haunts the place after nightfall. Screams can be heard and many locals camp on the fort’s ground to hear that. The fort becomes deserted after sundown.

7. Lalaurie Mansion

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Among the stories of haunted houses, The Lalaurie Mansion in French Quarters, New Orleans, is perhaps one of the most famous. The building was owned by Louis and Delphine Lalaurie. The couple lived in the building in 1834 when the authorities discovered a torture chamber inside their home that had dozens of rotting bodies and skeletons. The Lalauries managed to escape and were never seen again.

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8. Dragsholm Slot

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This one is located at Zealand, Denmark, and was originally built in 1215. Later in the 16th and 17th century, some parts of the building were converted to keep prisoners of ecclesiastical and noble rank. The castle was rebuilt in the Baroque style, sometime in 1694. There have been a number of unnatural deaths in the castle, which is believed to house at least three ghosts: a white lady, a grey lady, and the spirit of the 4th Earl of Bothwell, James Hepburn.