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As long as humans have existed, people have told tales of ghostly hauntings. It seems like it's just part of human nature to believe in ghosts. Most of the time, you'll hear about rumors of haunted houses or haunted hotels. Sometimes, you'll hear about haunted hospitals where spooks are around every corner.
Though we often associate them with indoors locations, they are not just an "inside-only" phenomenon. Many stories circulate about haunted woods, lakes, and cemeteries too. If you think about it, those tales might be even scarier simply because you can't just run out of a forest the way you can leave a house.
Hiking and haunting might just be a better pair than you think. If you're looking for thrills or just want to brave the woods while possibly getting chased by a ghost, give these haunted hiking trails a whirl.
Spruce Railroad Trail - Olympic National Park, Washington
Olympic National Park is a magnet for people who love beautiful waterfalls and fascinating glimpses at unperturbed nature scenes. As placid as this place is, it's also home to one of the most haunted hiking trails in the world: Spruce Railroad Trail.
This 8-mile long trail may look beautiful and overlook a nice lake, but don't be fooled. It's haunted and quite possibly cursed.
Rumor has it that after a woman known as Hallie Latham Illingworth was killed by her husband here, a strange vibe has taken over the trail. To this day, hikers claim to see a woman wandering around near the lake, only to vanish in front of their eyes.
Cars don't fare much better than hikers on this road. Over the years, there have been multiple reports of cars that end up plunging into the lake, driver and all, never to be seen again.
Gold Mine Trail - Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Maryland
If you love digging for gold, then you might feel interested in going to the Gold Mine Trail. This is one of the few haunted hiking trails to bring you inside a cave where miners once worked to haul goods out of the Earth, as well as a number of other nice little spots on the way.
This is a pretty haunted trail, with multiple ghosts. One unearthly denizen is a woman wearing a white dress who appears near the 2-mile mark. Because this are is also the site of a Civil War battle, it's also not that surprising to hear that people have spotted people who are dressed in both Union and Confederate gear.
These are pretty "standard fare" hauntings. The mine, on the other hand, has something quite unusual. Visitors have reported hearing strange knocks and felt strange chills. In the old days, these reports were chalked up to "tommyknockers," strange creatures that haunted the mines.
Bloody Lane Trail - Antietam National Park, Maryland
With a name like Bloody Lane Trail, it's safe to say that this is one of the most haunted hiking trails in America. This 1.5-mile hiking trail was at the heart of one of the bloodiest, most death-filled battles on American soil. Legend has it that bodies were stacked up to peoples' waists and that the trail was permanently stained red.
To this day, people smell gunpowder, hear shouts, and see strange balls of light bouncing along the trails. During both night hikes and day hikes, people have seen Civil War soldiers that they thought were reenactors vanish before their eyes.
Considering all the sadness here, it's unsurprising that it's considered to be an extremely haunted trail by any nation's standards.
Chibichiri Cave - Okinawa, Japan
If you're looking for haunted hiking trails in Asia, look no further than Chibichiri Cave. This cave has a past as tragic as they come. Shortly as World War II ended, soldiers in the Japanese army were instructed to hide and kill themselves to avoid American capture.
Around 180 soldiers and civilians fled to Chibichiri. Of those, 84 died in the cave by suicides involving poison, stabbings, and gunshots. The cave itself is only 100 feet deep. However, trails exist around the cave as well.
To this day, people who visit the cave and take a short hike inside feel a strange feeling of dread. Some hear whispers in their ear, and others claim to feel someone tugging at their clothes.
Making this even scarier are the memorials to those who died at Chibichiri. Artists added skulls and strange figures to the cave as a way of showing the painful last moments of the Okinawa locals.
Clark Hospital - Angeles City, Philippines
Clark Hospital has a lot of haunted hiking trails around it—even if you're legally not allowed to traverse them. Like Chibichiri, this location is one marked by tragedy that occurred during World War II.
This hospital was erected as a place for American soldiers to heal after injuries they sustained during the war. Unfortunately, the cures they had were pretty brutal and later on, the Japanese captured the region and turned Clark Hospital into an execution chamber.
If you're looking for serious terror, this is the place to go. Everything from spectral screams to shadow people have been reported here. American and Japanese soldiers sporting gruesome injuries have been seen.
One thing you might want to know before you go is that these ghosts have a tendency to get violent. People have been attacked by invisible forces on the grounds here, as well as warned by ghosts to leave and never come back.
The Hollywood Sign - Griffith Park, California
Right around the world-famous Hollywood sign lies one of the most haunted hiking trails in the world. The trail near Griffith Park is where the aspiring starlet Peggy Entwhistle commit suicide after feeling like her career was going nowhere.
Feeling hopeless about life in general, Peggy killed herself at the Hollywood sign. Ironically, she was about to be offered a role in a movie about a woman who commits suicide—and it may have been that very dramatic irony that made her a quasi-celebrity in death.
These days, a lot of Hollywood hopefuls leave presents for her spirit in hopes that she'll bless them with the fame she never had in life.
Hoia Baciu - Cluj, Romania
Considering that Romania is home to Dracula's castle, it's safe to say that there has to be at least one or two haunted hiking trails that would put most people into a state of terror. Hoia Baciu is filled with them, which means any trail in this forest is a haunted hike.
No one knows why this forest is so cursed, but there's something really wrong about it. Strange lights flicker without any source. Invisible hands grab people and tear clothing. People often hear the sound of voices calling their name or crying for help.
Everything from UFO sightings to random equipment malfunctions have been reported here. Locals stay away from Hoia Baciu at all costs. We somehow understand why; some even say that the curses can follow you home.
Screaming Woods - Pluckley, Britain
Another area where haunted hiking trails are a dime a dozen are the Screaming Woods of Britain. Right near a town with only 1,000 people calling it home, the Screaming Woods got their name because of the bizarre shrieks that come from the forest.
The screams are allegedly the sounds of a man being attacked, however, there are well over a dozen different ghost stories that involve this strange region. Some say that what you're hearing are the remnants of a long-gone battle that evaded history books. Others claim that it's the sounds of a woman being raped.
At times, you can even see misty figures and shadows flitting from tree to tree. Locals are willing to give a tour if you ask for one, but make no mistake about it—this place is creepy no matter how many people join you for the hike.
Camp Lulu - Brownsville, Texas
Camp Lulu is one of the most haunted hiking trails in Texas, and it's easy to see why. This abandoned girls' camp has been the location of a number of tragedies involving camper deaths. One of the counselors murdered a camper here—and rumor has it that local gangs used this area as a killing field at one point.
Since then, hikers have heard children playing and seen leftover toys move by themselves. Spooky? Absolutely.
Wychwood Forest - Wychwood, Britain
Considering how many ghost stories come from Britain, it's not surprising that they have a few forests that allegedly have haunted hiking trails. Though a number of legends involve Wychwood Forest, few are as well known as the ghost of Amy Rosbart.
According to the legend, the ghost of this witch confronted her husband in the woods as he went on a hunt. She told him that he would die in 10 days. In a panic, he told others what the ghost said... and then passed away in 10 days, proving the premonition right.
Going here means that you will see a lot of strange lights, and maybe a shadow person or two. Some also claim to have the feeling of being watched while walking through the area.