A historic site or heritage site is an official location where pieces of political, military, cultural, or social history have been preserved due to their cultural heritage value. Historic sites are usually protected by law, and many have been recognized with the official national historic site status. A historic site may be any building, landscape, site or structure that is of local, regional, or national significance.
From haunted fortresses and historic military spots to grisly tales of suffering and death, we’ve collected the most chilling historic sites that are supposedly haunted.
Auschwitz was a concentration camp built by Nazi-Germany and operated in Poland during the Nazi occupation their. It was the largest German concentration camp with three different sectors, Auschwitz I, which was the main camp, Auschwitz II-Birkenau also called the extermination camp and Auschwitz III-Monowitz or the labor camp. It is estimated that 2.1-2.5 million people perished within the walls of Auschwitz as part of Nazi-Germany’s ethnic cleansing campaign in what was the darkest period of German history.
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Auschwitz is known to have profound emotional effects on tourists and visitors of the tragic site. People have been known to inexplicable burst into tears during tours of the facility and others have come to the gates and been physically and emotionally unable to enter the dreary complex. It is also said that you will never hear the sounds of birds chirping or other natural noises while at Auschwitz, just an unsettling silence. Others claim to be physically touched by unseen forces while at the camp. One women claims that she heard a disembodied voice while on a tour, but could only make out the words “Proszę” and “wyjść” or “please” and “leave”.
The USS Hornet
The USS Hornet was a flagship vessel in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was one of the most highly decorated ships of that time period. She was also a pinnacle part of the Vietnam War and had the honor of recovering the astronauts returning from the moon in the Apollo 11 and 12 space missions. This success also has a dark side as this decorated warship has seen over 300 deaths. Most of which were men struck down in battle, but others died in freak accidents like snapping cables that decapitate sailors or men accidentally being sucked into air intake pipes. The hornet, for all its success, also has the highest suicide rate of all the ships in the Navy.
The ship was retired in 1970 and was docked in Alameda, California and was opened up to the public in 1998 as a museum. It was then that many of the visiting tourists and crew aboard the ship began having paranormal experiences. Doors opening and shutting with no visible force, disappearing tools, objects moving by themselves, and the apparitions of sailors carrying about with their duties as if it was still 1944 are among the paranormal claims. Some people even claim that the ghosts on board the ship can be hostile in nature with claims that some have been pushed and grabbed by an invisible force while on board the ship.
The USS Hornet is a ship rich and history and possible rich in paranormal activity as well. Perhaps the cause for all this activity is the tragic past and abundance untimely deaths. Regardless of the cause of the haunting, the ship is notorious for its historical value as well as its ghosts. It is often called the most haunted vessel in the American Navy.
The Battle of Gettysburg was and still is the bloodiest three days in American History. It is considered the turning point of the war. The battle raged for days before the Confederates finally retreated back into the south. Because of this retreat it was considered a huge Union win and a devastating Confederate loss. This win set the stage for Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which made ending slavery a goal of the war.
The Confederate loss in the north and Lincoln making the war a moral issue all but ensured that the English would not enter the war on the side of the Confederates thus ensuring a Union victory. (NOTE: The English had abolished slavery 20 years earlier and a loss on Union soil for the Confederates did not bode well for an eventual Confederate victory in the Civil War). At the end of the battle, though, everyone involved realized that there was no victor as nearly 50,000 Americans lost their lives.
The grounds on which this battle took place has been turned into a National Park. The park seems to be teeming with paranormal activity. Strange audible occurrences are common. For example, some claim that on a quiet day you can hear faint sounds of cannons, gunshots, and shouting, as if the battle is still happening. These sounds are often associated with the smell of sulfur. This is interesting because sulfur was used to make gunpowder in the Civil War era. There are also tales of seeing actually apparitions of soldiers. A park ranger frequently tells one such example:
Early one morning I was making a routine patrol of the park when I suddenly felt a strange cold sensation. I turned to face the open field behind me and saw a man on horseback trotting through the field. Wondering why someone would be at the park so early, I approached the man, as I got closer I realized that the horseman’s attire was that of a confederate soldier.
Unit 731 Experimentation Camp
It has been referred to as the Asian Auschwitz and its walls saw the brutal deaths of around 10,000 men, women, and children. The site was built by the Imperial Japanese Government in Harbin, Manchuria, China and was used by them to perform medical experiments on living test subjects (mostly of Chinese descent). Vivisections would occur on humans without the use of anesthesia. Doctors at the camp would sever the limbs of live victims to study blood loss, and then the limbs were often reattached but on the wrong side of the body. Prisoners there were also purposely infected with plague, cholera, smallpox, botulism, and other horrific diseases to study the effects. People were also subjected to extreme temperatures to see how long it took a human to die of frostbite. Other horrors also occurred at the facility that are too gruesome to discuss here.
After the war some parts of the complex were lost to time, but other parts still remain standing. A total of 150 building remain but only one of these is open to the public. There are also many open areas on the site that were used to test bombs at close range on living subjects. People were only recently allowed to visit the site and since it’s opening as a “learning center” for future generations of China a lot of paranormal activity has been reported.
Many report mysterious lights in the courtyard. Others claim to see ghostly figures wondering around the buildings. The most infamous ghost of the site, though, is the figure of a man that strolls the area around frostbite building. Some claim that when visiting the site that they are overwhelmed with paranormal activity and they claim that there must be thousands of ghosts who are permanent residents of this horrific location.
Chickamauga, Chattanooga Tennessee
The Battle of Chickamauga was one of the most important battles in the Civil War. It was a confederate victory and is considered by historians to be the most significant Union loss of the war. The battle also saw the second highest casualties of the war, behind Gettysburg. In the aftermath of the battle 34, 624 Americans were killed and another 24,430 were wounded. In a twist of ironic foreshadowing the river that the battle is named for was named by the Cherokee Native Americans before the battle took place and can be loosely translated to mean “river of death”. But perhaps the Cherokee had their own reasons for calling it river of death.
The Chickamauga battleground is claimed to be the home of many paranormal entities. Some claim that one of these ghosts dates back to a time before the civil war. It is said during the battle that many of the soldiers claimed to see a six-foot humanoid on the battlefield. It is said that the figure would drag off the dead bodies and wounded, and some claim to have seen it eat the dead. The creatures most striking feature was its piercing green eyes. Sightings of Old Green Eyes as locals affectionately call him still continue to this day. Other apparitions are said to haunt the ground as well. A mysterious lady in a white dress is often seen wondering the battlefield; perhaps looking for a lost loved one. The most interesting of all these sightings, though, are those of whole cavalries.
David Lester is a Civil War buff that takes part in the yearly reenactments of the battle. He claims that about five years ago, he and several of his friends went to say hello to some fellow confederate soldiers that were camped nearby. Lester found their unwillingness to break character charming and admired their dedication to the reenactment. Lester and his friends returned to their campsite several hours later and turned in for the night. The next morning when they got up, the campsite they had visited the previous night was gone. So were the confederate soldiers they spent hours with. There wasn’t even a sign of a fire or stakes in the ground where the tents would have been.
Article author: Jonathan Kaulay