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World’s 4 Scariest Haunted Museums

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Hurry for the pumpkin-shaped Reese’s and fishnets! Cue up your favorite Simpsons Treehouse of Horror! The annual feast of sugar rushes and fondling over awkward/sexy costumes is nigh! Or in this next guy’s case, neigh! Always remember to cup the hooves.

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Halloween’s got something for everyone. There’s the best parties this side of New Year’s Eve. Candy for days (and candy on sale for weeks afterward). But what about those of us that want more than just a facsimile of fright?

If you’re happy with the status quo of partial nudity and pre-diabetic sugar consumption, then all I ask is for an open mind while you read (and maybe take it easy on your pancreas). If you’re hankering for something scarier from Halloween, then go to a museum. Because there you could meet an honest-to-garsh ghost.

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4. Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met. Conceived by American ex-pats in Paris hoping to culturize and artify the Yankee homeland. One of the most iconic museums in the world. The facade. The gift shop. A blue Egyptian hippopotamus named William. It really has everything.

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[FACT: Three of William’s legs had to be restored because they were broken by the ancient Egyptians to keep hiphopanonymouses from attacking Senbi II on his way to the afterlife. While I’ve never been that scared of anything, I’m not going to hedge any bets on ghost hippos.]

But any museum whose #firstpieceever was a sarcophagus has to have something supernatural creeping about. A collection with over two million pieces on rotation surely has at least one exhibit that brings all the ghosts to the yard. If you agree with that logic, then let me introduce the esteemed Drs. Pete and Stew. Manhattan’s very own Ghost Doctors. Dr. Pete and Dr. Stew (they didn’t go to years of paranormal medical school to be called ‘Mr.’, thank you very much) guided sanctioned after-hours tours throughout The Met. Their goal is for you to leave the museum having peed a little, and with the knowledge and experience to conduct your very own medically sound specter hunt. That is, if you happen to know where to get EVP monitors, dowsing rods, and the like. 

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Visitors on the Ghost Doctor tour aren’t the only ones to experience extrasensory phenomenon at The Met. Patrons often report photographing orbs and possible apparitions within and outside the museum. Not to mention that there’s a young girl known to haunt a particular hallway in the Luce Center for the Study of American Art. She’s often described as running down the halls, giggling, and talking. Legend has it that she’s the daughter of a former employee, and returns today, decades after a premature death, to do her favorite thing in the whole wide world: nerd out with art.

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Even…paranormal.

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3. Ham House
Though not as famed as other museums on this list, Ham House embraces its spooky reputation closely. Verily, the British National Trust, which has operated Ham House since 1949, sees the spectral tenants as something tickety-boo.

Ghost tours of the premises occur multiple times a month. The family version is less than half the price of the late-night adult version, but do you really want to be a Scrooge toward an ectoplasmic encounter? Spring the 22 quid for the adult tour and you’re guaranteed some ethereal funny business.

Ham House was owned by a single family for 300 years. Many of the experiences here are limited to sounds and smells. Visitors may detect the rosy perfume or hear the rustling of silk of Duchess Elizabeth, who died in her bed chamber after a lengthy illness. She’s said to sneak up on visitors who stare in the mirror in her bedroom for too long. The Duke may pay you a visit by wafting smoke from his pipe in your face while he sits down for an evening drink. Various footsteps and other creaky-scary sounds abound. But two other hauntings are much more interesting.

Visitors have long complained about a dog running about the house. A terrifying King Charles spaniel on the loose, scurrying and barking down the haunted halls.

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You’ve been warned.

Unbelievers may scoff. Plenty of explanations for something like this. But reports of the poltergeist dog go back decades. Only recently, though, a dog’s skeleton was uncovered from the garden. Buried years ago. A King Charles spaniel. Between that and the creaking wheelchair that famously jerks toward visitors, it’s pretty easy to see why Britain reports the most hauntings of any country in the world.

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2. Louvre Museum
You’re probably thinking, “Of course, the Louvre. How fancy of you to include THE MOST OBVIOUS MUSEUM IN THE WORLD.” Well… yeah. Still, the Louvre is more than just another Instagram worthy place you can’t bring your selfie stick.

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You don’t want a high-def picture of the Mona Lisa, anyway.

Once upon a medieval time, the Louvre was a fortress taking the brunt of many horrific battles. Then the French government occupied the Louvre for a spell, holding court there for a few generations. Scandal, perversities, and bloodshed of all unchecked sorts washed throughout these halls in manifold and unknowable ways. Move forward a few centuries and the museum we know and love today grew up like a lovely weed among scores of federal administrative buildings. It’s not impossible to imagine a middling Showtime drama from it all (or at least an art history heavy French version of The Office).

Speaking of middling dramas, with The Da Vinci Code in its rearview, it seems the Louvre would be keen on remaining low key about even the slightest supernatural hanky panky. Just kidding. They love the publicity. A placard in the Donjon section warns straight up there will be ghosts!

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Maybe they’re fun ghosts.

The Donjon sits at the base of an ancient fortress key in many of the decisive and deadly battles mentioned above. And don’t forget that the Donjon was originally a dungeon with a moat. That makes it a Grade AAAGGGHHHHH dungeon, folks. If you go to a dungeon surrounded by a moat, you’re gonna have a bad time. 

The spirits, as the placard says, are a part of the museum itself and should be respected. What the placard doesn’t tell you is how these spectral beings are wont to fart in your general direction if disrespected. So have fun, conceal those selfie sticks, and mind your manners, lest you leave smelling like old cheese.

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1. San Francisco Art Institute
We’re happy as gremlins eating after midnight to rep the haunted art scene in Sartle’s hometown San Francisco. SFAI has had some of the best artists and performers trounce through its hallowed halls. Like Courtney Love and Jerry Garcia of Cherry Garcia fame.

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Pictured: The fruits of higher education.

Ice cream aside, SFAI is famous for at least one other reason: its dangerously haunted bell tower. We’re way beyond creaking wheelchairs and orbs in photographs. This place is so haunted that the school keeps the epicenter of ghostly activity cordoned off from human contact.

It all started, as everything bad in our modern world, with the 1940s. Imagine Bill Morehouse. Ace SFAI student. Needing a way to pay for school in the days before student loans, he takes the job of night watchman for the school’s bell tower. Lives there to boot (that is, to save an extra dollar). One night, there’s a rapping at the street level door. Awakened from his slumber, he stares at the portrait of his lost lover Lenore (just kidding) and goes back to sleep. Some greater, resounding knocks at the door result in the door creaking open. Footsteps trudge upstairs. Morehouse grabs for his night watchman’s utility belt, ready to assail this intruder. Sounds cease outside his third story bedroom. The door opens. No body across the threshold. But the footsteps continue. Around his room, out to the observation deck (which is a kick ass option for dorm rooms everywhere), and then out to the street again. Morehouse would witness further events during his occupancy in the bell tower, but nothing quite of this magnitude.

In fact, the ghostly business died down for a while. Periodically, a teacher would report all the tools in the sculpture studio turning on at once, or lights coming on and off, both without any human involvement. Some would say they heard faint voices and laughter echoing from upstairs, where no one was. But things were chill other than that. Nothing life threatening. Then the school decided to renovate the bell tower in the late 1960s and everything went to hell.

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HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO SAY WE BELIEVE YOU.

Disembodied shrieks. Sounds of demolition while no one was working. Chairs thrown to splinters in otherwise empty rooms. Construction workers complained of many eerie events like these. Then came the objects pushed from great heights onto workers’ heads. Three such times this happened and would have been fatal, save the cat-like reflexes of construction workers in those days. The construction company quit the job for workers’ safety. Ever since, the bell tower has been used for storage. Closed for “seismic concerns.”

The school actually allowed psychics in to perform seances on the bell tower. Certainly can’t have ghosts trying to decapitate students without some thorough due process. One seance revealed the disturbances were caused by the souls of artists who never received the acclaim they deserved in life. That’s cute and everything, but seems like a pretty obvious con. Next! Another psychic claimed to have seen a graveyard at the base of the bell tower. While this sounds a little hokey, research revealed that a graveyard did once exist near the bell tower. Likely, after the 1906 earthquake, the graveyard was covered up and built over. Which means the bodies could still be down there.

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Sweet dreams!


By Clayton Schuster

Clayton Schuster

Sr. Contributor