What's the story?
CENTURIES old, with 1,430 rooms including an opera house, Drottningholm Palace is also haunted, according to Queen Silvia of Sweden.
In a new documentary, the 73-year-old claims the UNESCO world heritage site has its fair share of ghosts – a claim backed by her husband’s sister Princess Christina.
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“There are small friends... ghosts,” she tells pSVT, the Swedish public broadcaster. “They’re all very friendly, but you sometimes feel that you’re not completely alone. It’s really exciting. But you don’t get scared.”
The Queen resides in the beautiful palace with King Carl XVI Gustaf, whom she married 40 years ago. She is the country’s longest serving queen.
“There is much energy in this house,” adds Princess Christina. “It would be strange if it didn’t take the form of guises. There are stories about ghosts in all old houses. They have been filled with people over the centuries. The energies remain.”
Bold amateur ghost hunters can try to encounter the building’s spectres for themselves as the palace is open to the public all year round, apart from the southern wing, which is reserved for the royals. And presumably their spooky pals.
Who else is haunted?
DROTTNINGHOLM Palace is not the only famous building in the world to be haunted. Indeed, US President-elect Donald Trump should beware as the White House is reputedly one of the most haunted buildings in the US.
The official residence of every American president since 1800, it appears to be haunted by the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated in Washington DC in 1865.
Those who have apparently seen the spectre include Britain’s very own Winston Churchill. Fearless in politics, he got spooked when the ghost materialised by the fireplace when he was staying in the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House. The story goes he refused to stay any longer and had to be moved to another suite.
Others who have reportedly seen the ghostly figure include Presidents Herbert Hoover, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, as well as First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Jackie Kennedy and presidential kids Maureen Reagan and Susan Ford.
Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands apparently had a disturbed night when she slept in the Rose Room and was wakened by a knock at the door. On opening it she was shocked to see Lincoln’s ghost standing in the hall. He was probably equally surprised to see her as he might have been expecting the ghost of president Andrew Jackson, who normally haunts the Rose Room and can occasionally be heard swearing profusely.
Other spectres spotted in the White House include Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Tyler and First Ladies Abigail Adams and Dolley Madison.
Have any ghosts been filmed?
ANOTHER candidate for most haunted building in the US is the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, which has featured on various TV shows about the paranormal. One of these, called Ghost Hunters, managed to film a creature on thermal imaging cameras that appeared to be walking down the hall. The figure was only about 3ft tall but fits sightings of a ghost of a young boy. Others have heard yells in empty rooms, the sound of footsteps, and have seen fleeting shadows as well as full apparitions.
It would be no surprise if uneasy souls still haunted the building as it was used as a TB hospital in the early 20th century and over 60,000 people are thought to have died there amid reports of questionable experimental procedures and mistreatment.
In Philadelphia, the Eastern State Penitentiary, built in 1829, achieved notoriety through the introduction of solitary confinement. Many prisoners went mad as a result of the harsh approach and the Pennsylvania System, as it was known, was finally scrapped in 1913. The place continued to operate as a prison, however, housing the likes of Al Capone.
Since it was abandoned in 1971, the ghosts have apparently taken over with reports of the paranormal, including evil cackling in cellblock 12, ghostly faces in cellblock four, shadowy figures in cellblock six and a shadowy figure in the guard tower, all accompanied by distant voices, disembodied footsteps and the noise of cell doors banging.
Any more ghouls?
FURTHER north, in Canada, the famous Banff Springs Hotel, built over 100 years ago by the Canadian Pacific railway, is one of the most haunted in the country.
Ghostly apparitions include a bride who broke her neck when she panicked after her dress caught fire and fell down the stairs. She has been seen dancing in the ballroom with the flames still leaping up the back of her gown.
The ghosts of a family murdered in room 873 are often seen in the hall outside the room even though the door has long been blocked up. A former bellboy, Sam Macauley, also apparently still likes to help guests to their rooms, opening locked doors and switching on lights. Unlike a real bellboy, he vanishes when anyone tries to tip him.
The Halifax Citadel in Canada can also lay claim to being one of the most haunted buildings in the country. Almost 300-years-old, this star-shaped fort has featured ghost sightings which include soldiers, a man in a red cloak and a small girl who likes to follow groups of visitors.