10 Buildings That May Keep You Up At Night

Scary buildings, eerie structures, and architecture that is just plain creepy

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you have to agree: some buildings possess an eerie atmosphere. Maybe their history is filled with death and tragedy. Or, maybe these buildings just look creepy. The buildings listed here are among the world's spookiest. BOO!

The Ennis House by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Ennis House by Frank Lloyd Wright. Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News / Getty Images (cropped)

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Ennis House is one of Hollywood's favorite spooky places. It's where Vincent Price held his creepy dinner party in the 1959 film House on Haunted Hill. The Ennis House also appeared in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and in eerie TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twin Peaks. What makes the Ennis House so spooky? Maybe it's the pre-Columbian look of the textured concrete block. Or, maybe it's the years of weathering that put the the house on the National Trust's "Most Endangered" list.

Gargoyles on Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
Gargoyles on Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo (c) John Harper / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Just about any medieval Gothic cathedral can seem spooky, but a lavish cathedral like Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris can truly make you tremble. It's supposed to, with all those snarling gargoyles perched on rooftops and ledges.

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Graceland Mansion in Tennessee

Presley family memorial at Graceland, Elvis Presley's home
Presley family memorial near the Elvis Presley burial grounds at Graceland in Tennessee. Photo © Mario Tama/Gettty Images
Ever since the sudden death of rock 'n roll idol Elvis Presley, Elvis sightings have been reported all over the world. Some people say Elvis didn't really die. Others claim they've seen his ghost. Either way, the best place to catch a glimpse is Graceland Mansion near Memphis, Tennessee. The Colonial Revival house was Elvis Presley's home from 1957 until he died in 1977, and his body lies in the family plot there. Elvis was originally buried in a different cemetery, but was moved to Graceland after someone tried to steal his corpse.
Breakers Mansion is a Renaissance Revival mansion in Newport, Rhode Island
Breakers Mansion is a Renaissance Revival mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. Breakers Mansion Photo © Flickr Member Ben Newton

The big Gilded Age mansions in Newport, Rhode Island are popular tourist destinations, and ghost stories have become a part of the promotional hype. Of all the Newport mansions, the brooding Breakers Mansion has the most compelling tale. Believers claim that the ghost of former owner Cornelius Vanderbilt wanders the lavish rooms. Or, maybe it's the spirit of architect Richard Morris Hunt, who was born on Halloween.

Stairs at Boldt Castle in upstate NY lead to long, echoey corridors
Stairs at Boldt Castle in upstate NY lead to long, echoey corridors. Photo by Kevin Spreekmeester/First Light Collection/Getty Images
Bolt Castle is both romantic and haunting. Gilded Age multi-millionaire George Boldt ordered the castle built as a testimonial of his love for his wife, Louise. But Louise died, and the grand stone estate was abandoned for many years. Bolt Castle is restored now, but you can still hear the lovers' footsteps in the long, echoing corridors.
Amityville Horror House
Amityville Horror House. Amityville Horror House Photo © Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Cream-colored siding and traditional shutters make this Dutch Colonial Revival home appear cheery and comfortable. Don't be fooled. This house has a horrific history that includes grisly murders and claims of paranormal activity. The story became famous in Jay Anson's best-selling novel, The Amityville Horror:

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Original movie (DVD) with James Brolin and Margot Kidder
  • Movie remake DVD Special Edition
Statue of man about to knife another man begging for his life
Statue at Hradcany Castle, Prague. Photo by Tim Graham / Hulton Archive / Getty Images (cropped)

Welcome to Prague? The castle that appears so foreboding in the Tom Cruise film, Mission Impossible has towered over the river Vltava for a thousand years. It's a part of the Hradcany royal complex where Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo facades create startling juxtapositions. Moreover, the Archbishop's Palace is in Prague, home to Franz Kafka, the famous author of surreal, disturbing stories.

Neotraditional Home in Celebration, Florida
Neotraditional Home in Celebration, Florida. Photo © Jackie Craven

Homes in the planned community Celebration, Florida are mostly neotraditional styles like Colonial Revival, Victorian, or Craftsman. They are attractive and, from a distance, they appear convincing. But look closely and you'll see details that will send a chill down your spine. Notice the dormer on this neotraditional house. Why, it's not a real dormer at all! The window is painted black—as creepy as Hitchcock's Bates Motel. One has to wonder who lives here?

Lenin's body on view at Lenin's Mausoleum in Moscow, Russia
Lenin's body on view at Lenin's Mausoleum in Moscow, Russia. Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Hulton Archive Collection/Getty Images (cropped)

Stark and inhuman, Russian constructivist architecture can seem scary enough. But go inside this red granite mausoleum and you get to see the corpse of Lenin. He looks a little waxy inside his glass case, but they say that Lenin's hands are faintly blue and horribly life-like.

The Berlin Holocaust Memorial in Germany
The Berlin Holocaust Memorial in Germany. Berlin Holocaust Memorial Photo © iStockPhoto.com/Nadine Lind

"Chilling" is the word visitors use to describe Peter Eisenman's Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Berlin Holocaust Memorial. Even if you did not know the horrific history that inspired the structuralist memorial, you would sense it as you wandered the labyrinth of pathways between massive tomb-shaped stone slabs.