Throughout history, churches have provided a place of sanctuary for the people within them. Whether fleeing danger or just looking for a place to sit in peace, churches have long been associated with safety and serenity. However, not every religious site is as peaceful as it appears. Some have become the final resting places of spirits, not all of which have peace in mind. Below, read about some of the world’s most haunted churches.
8. Most Haunted Churches – St. Olaf’s Kirke
As you would expect from most haunted churches, St Olaf’s Kirke near Cranfills Gap, Texas sits right next to the graveyard that became the final resting place of many of its parishioners. The church itself is quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Photos of the church show it all alone in the middle of a field, a solitary building just waiting for spirits to inhabit it.
The Norwegian settlers who founded the town in the 1860s built the church from hand-hewn limestone. In recent years, it hasn’t been used as often, allegedly giving spirits the opportunity to move in.
Many of the locals are adamant that there are no ghosts haunting the beloved church, but others are certain that they have witnessed things there not of this world. For example, one columnist for a local newspaper reported hearing a sound coming from the second story choir loft that sounded like someone walking with a peg leg. He ran up the stairs only to find it empty.
Other recent visitors to the church have reported hearing muffled voices when they were alone in the building. Interestingly, they claim that the voices get louder if you sing hymns while in the church.
In addition, many have reported spotting orbs of light in the church that resemble parishioners sitting in the pews.
It seems that many locals are so loyal to St Olaf’s Kirke that they stayed even beyond the grave.
7. St. Nicholas Church
The English village of Pluckley is no stranger to ghosts. According to some, the village is one of the most haunted spots in the country with at least 12 regular active spirits reported. Therefore, it stands to reason that St. Nicholas Church could also be one of England’s most haunted churches. Those who pass the church late at night have in fact reported that they regularly see lights on in the building when it is clear that there is no one inside.
In addition to the lights, there are a few corporeal ghosts said to haunt this particular church. Lady Dering, an English composer, was buried in Pluckley, and is said to wander the St. Nicholas churchyard late at night.
Visitors have also spotted a mysterious Lady in Red: an unidentified female spirit in a red dress who reportedly searches the churchyard for her lost child. The spirit of a local miller has also been spotted searching the churchyard for a lost love, and the ghost of a former monk has been seen wandering in the area.
No one has an explanation for these bizarre events, but it seems clear that something about the St. Nicholas churchyard is acting as a beacon for these wandering souls.
6. Most Haunted Churches – St. Louis Cathedral
New Orleans is a city where voodoo reigns supreme. It is only fitting that it would be home to one of the world’s haunted churches. In fact, the St. Louis Cathedral is well-known for having a few of the world’s more famous ghosts haunting its aisles.
One of the church’s well-known ghosts is Pere Dagobert, an 18th-century priest. He was a kind man, known for his generosity to the terminally ill. When a few members of his congregation revolted against the new Spanish rulers of the town and were executed, the governor left their bodies in the open to rot on the cathedral steps. Dagobert refused to let good Catholics be treated in such a way, and led a funeral procession to bury their bodies. Many believe his spirit now guards over the church.
Dagobert is not alone. The spirit of his successor, Pere Antoine, is also said to haunt the halls of the cathedral. However, it is one of Pere Antoine’s friends that is the most famous ghosts to regularly make an appearance at the St Louis Cathedral: famed voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. She often prayed there in life, and is one of many spirits who is said to visit after death.
Truly one of the most haunted places in Louisiana.
5. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
On St. Luke’s Day in 1871, John Craigmiles, head of a prominent family in Cleveland, Tennessee, took his granddaughter Nina for a carriage ride that would result in a deadly accident. Grief stricken, the family had a church built in her honor: St Luke’s Episcopal Church. The church included a mausoleum build from beautiful white marble meant to symbolize the innocence of their lost child.
However, the pure white color of the marble didn’t last long. Shortly after the mausoleum was completed, strange red streaks began to appear in the marble. Those who first saw it commented that it looked as if the marble itself was bleeding. Over the years, the marble has been examined by numerous scientists, but no one can explain why the stone has turned this disturbing shade of red.
Many of the locals have a simple explanation for the chilling occurrence. They believe that the stains on the marble are a sign that young Nina’s ghost is present in the St. Luke’s mausoleum.
The bleeding marble is often considered one of the scariest things ever seen in churches.
4. Most Haunted Churches – St. Andrew’s on the Red
This church, the oldest stone church in Western Canada, claims its title as one of the most haunted churches in the world. Plague victims were sent to the church to rest and hopefully recover from their terrible illness. Unfortunately, the majority of them lived their final days behind the church’s walls.
Today, visitors to the church frequently report hearing the anguished cries of the suffering victims who met their painful and tragic ends there.
In addition to the plague victims, St. Andrew’s on the Red has plenty of other spirits to keep visitors on edge. On the grounds, many have spotted a woman in a long white dress and a man dressed all in black lurking in the shadows.
Others have spotted a pair of glowing, disembodied red eyes that have popped out suddenly, startling anyone unfortunate enough to come face-to-face with them. Some visitors have even reported a ghost car at the church’s main entrance.
One of the most terrifying stories about visits to this particular church come from the days after people leave. Many visitors report that after they spend time at St. Andrew’s on the Red, they suffer from terrifying nightmares for several nights following their visits.
3. Oradour Church
Oradour Church, in Oradour-sur-Glane, France, is one of the most haunted churches in France. The gruesome tale that landed this holy site on our list begins in June of 1944 at the height of World War II. The citizens of this small town were terrified when Nazi forces began to invade their borders. The soldiers rounded up the 600 citizens and quickly separated them into two groups. The women and children were ushered inside the Oradour Church while the men were kept outside. Those inside were forced to listen in horror to the gunshots that killed the men outside.
Not long after, things went from bad to worse when they began to smell smoke. They quickly realized that the Nazi soldiers had set the church on fire and locked them inside. All 600 citizens of the town perished in the carnage. It was one of the most brutal massacres in recent history.
Today, many who visit the ruins claim that the ghosts of the victims still linger. They report hearing the screams of the women and children trapped inside the burning building or even hearing the crackling of the flames that took their lives.
2. Most Haunted Churches – St. Mary the Virgin
What could make the parishioners of a small church in Clophill, Bedfordshire abandon their place of worship in droves? The history of St. Mary the Virgin Church in England is one of the most bizarre and dark stories that any church has ever had to tell.
It all started when rumors began to circulate shortly after the church opened that it had been built facing the wrong way, not properly oriented toward Jerusalem. Many abandoned the church at this point, but some continued to worship there. Soon after, more rumors emerged that it had been built on a leper colony.
In 1963, newspapers began reporting that the graves of six women had been dug up by local Satanists who had used them to perform a black mass at St. Mary the Virgin, even leaving a skeleton behind in the church. Later that year, a young student admitted to killing a cockerel and sprinkling its blood in the church.
Other black magic has been reported in the church, and its parishioners are now all but nonexistent. Now, the church is primarily of interest to paranormal investigators who are investigating the church for demonic activity.
1. Egg Hill Church
Like many good urban legends, this tale of one of the most haunted churches in the US takes place in a small rural community. At the Egg Hill Church in Potter Township, Pennsylvania, legend has it that many years ago, the congregation gathered for an evening service on Halloween night. Little did they know, their beloved minister was plotting something sinister.
During the service, each congregant stood to take communion. After they returned to their seats, one by one they began gasping and crying in pain as the minister calmly looked on. Too late, they realized that the communion wine had been laden with poison. When the gasps ended and the entire congregation was still, the minister dragged each body from the church, permanently staining the floors with the blood still dripping from their lips. He buried them outside before tying a noose and hanging himself.
According to the locals, anyone passing by the church late at night can still hear the dying screams of the congregants echoing through the air. If you’re really unlucky, you might catch a glimpse of the murderous minister stalking the grounds of the haunted churchyard.
Whether this legendary 19th century tale really did happen is open for debate, but many locals swear on dark misty nights they’ve seen the crooked grin of the church’s old minister, as he stands in the shadows, presiding over his dead congregation. One of the creepiest church ghost sightings ever documented.