By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Dobrecezar&action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="User:Dobrecezar (page does not exist)">Dobre Cezar</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 3.0 ro, Link
In 1212 the Teutonic Knights built the first permanent fortified structure in this location; it was destroyed by the invading Mongols. The first stone structure was built by the Saxons after the ruler of Hungary granted them permission to do so.
The town of Bran grew up near the castle over the next century. The castle provided a strong defensive position against invaders from the Ottoman Empire and became the customs post between the borders of Transylvania and Wallachia.
This castle has strong ties to the fictional vampire Count Dracula and is sometimes simply referred to as “Dracula’s Castle”. However, there is no proof that Bram Stoker (the author of Dracula) even knew of the existence of Bran Castle. Writings indicate that he actually had a barren windswept outcropping in mind when he wrote of the location of Dracula’s castle.
Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), the possible inspiration for Count Dracula, may have resided in the castle briefly although there is no historical record of this. Historically proven, though, is that he did pass by this castle many times on his way through the Bran Gorge.
In 1920 the castle became the official residence for the royal family of Romania. In 1948, when the Communist government of the Soviet Union took over, the castle was seized and the royal family was removed.
In 2005, after the fall of the Communist bloc, the new Romanian government passed a law allowing the return of all illegally seized and the castle was returned to direct heir of the last Romanian Princess.
The Romanian royal family completely refurbished and furnished the castle to return it to its former glory. They now, with the Romanian government, operate the castle as a private museum.
Visitors may tour the castle on their own or go on guided tours.
Look anywhere on the internet and you find lots of claims that this castle is one of the most haunted in Romania, Europe and even the world. The truth is, though, there’s not a lot of recorded proof of that. A lot of paranormal teams want Bran Castle checked off on their list but the actual level of paranormal activity seems to be moderate at best.
It’s said to be haunted by Queen Maria – who did live in the castle – and Vlad the Impaler – of which there is no historical proof he ever set foot in the castle; although he probably passed it by in the valley below (see above).
The phantom scent of violets is the most common paranormal event reported.
Queen Maria’s apparition has been seen both in the castle and the surrounding gardens. The apparition of Vlad has also been reported but due to his negligible actual association with this castle these reports are probably wishful thinking or possibly a tulpa created by so many people believing Vlad's ghost haunts here.
There are a few reports of shadow figures; light anomalies; disembodied voices; feelings of being watched and doors opening on their own and even of possession.
Status: Famous Haunted Forest; Daytime and Nighttime Tours can be Booked
By <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/people/79653482@N00">Cristian Bortes www.eyeem.com/bortescristian</a> from Cluj-Napoca, Romania - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/bortescristian/8155377944/">Padurea Hoia</a>, CC BY 2.0, Link
The forest – located just west of the city of Cluj-Napoca – covers a total of 3 square kilometres (1.15 square miles).
It has a long history of legends relating to hauntings and the paranormal but it is also recreation area to the local population. There is a bike path through the forest as well as archery ranges and a paintball area.
This forest is considered on of the most haunted places in Romania – some would say the world – and is often called the Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania.
A large majority of the paranormal activity takes place in a certain part of the forest; a circle devoid of any vegetation. Numerous scientific tests have been done on the soil of this area and nothing has been found that would preclude normal growth. Many believe the area is frequently subject to energies that are either inter-dimensional or non-terrestrial in origin and cannot be measured by our technology.
Groups of people have been found in the gap – as it is commonly known – attempting strange rituals including opening other dimensions and/or bringing forth powerful entities from other realities.
Even many of trees of the forest fall under the label of strange. Most of them have trunks which have been twisted and bent in unusual ways which science has been unable to explain. Many believe ghosts and spirits linger in these trees.
Every year photos are taken of craft that appear otherworldly in the forest. In the 1960’s a photo of a so-called UFO is what started the investigations – and legends – into this area.
A five-year-old girl disappeared in this forest for a period of five years. When she appeared again, she hadn’t aged a single day and had no memory of where she had been nor what happened to her. A shepherd also disappeared with 200 of his sheep; thus far neither he nor his sheep have ever returned.
There are numerous accounts of meeting entities that are either extra-dimensional and/or extra-terrestrial. There just as many stories of meeting the spirits/ghost of the dead including people who claim to have had encounters with loved ones that have passed away.
Many electronic devices are reported to stop working in this forest. There are even stories of these devices ceasing to work as soon as the forest is entered. Burnt trees and branches are often found when there has been no fire.
Many believe the forest is part of another dimension where the laws of physics – as we understand them – do not apply and the lines between reality and dream and life and death do not work in the way we understand them.