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14 of the World’s Most Haunted Bodies of Water

All bodies of water have a primal lure, their beauty matched only by their haunting mystery. But these bodies of water are actually haunted...or so the legends go.

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Babinda Boulders or Devil's Pool is an icon tourist attraction of the Cairns area

Devil’s Pool, Australia

Devil’s Pool is a natural pool created by surrounding boulders and a waterfall that feeds it, and as beautiful as it is, people say it’s cursed. According to legend, Oolana, an Aboriginal woman, drowned herself in the pool after being separated from her true love. Still searching for him today, she lures young men to their death in the green waters. Sixteen young men have died there in the past 50 years, reports News.com.au.

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a large cypress tree stands at the edge of the Manchac Swamp, just north of New Orleans, Louisiana - sepia tone
Pattie Steib/Shutterstock

Manchac Swamp

According to local legend, Julia Brown, a practicing voodoo priestess, used to sit on her front porch near the Machac Swamp and sing, “One day I’m gonna die, and I’m gonna take all of you with me,” reports MentalFloss.com. That curse turned out to be true: On the day of Brown’s funeral in 1915, a category 4 hurricane tore through the area, causing hundreds of drowning deaths. These days, people say that Brown can be heard cackling on the shores of the swamp. Spooky, right? Just wait till you see the scariest things ghost hunters have seen on the job.

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Lower Yellowstone Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from Artist Point Yellowstone Park Wyoming USA
Stan Jones/Shutterstock

Lower Yellowstone Falls, Wyoming

In 1870, a group of Native Americans stole pack horses from a group of five militiamen and their guide during the night near the area that’s now known as Lower Yellowstone Falls in Wyoming. When they woke up, the men gave chase and caught up with the Native Americans as they were attempting to cross the treacherous falls. During the fighting, the Native Americans’ makeshift raft sank and they were swept over the falls and drowned. Today, some who stand on the platform at the falls swear they hear the death chant of the brave Native American warriors and the river water is said to turn red on occasion.

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Truk Lagoon Wreck

Truk Lagoon, Micronesia

If it’s shipwrecks that make your spine tingle, then look no further than Truk Lagoon in Micronesia. That’s where the wreckage of 40 Japanese ships and 25 American aircrafts that went down in the waters lay. They went down during Operation Hailstone, the ill-fated WWII battle. The underwater scene is described as a massive “ship graveyard.” Photos of the wreckage are absolutely chilling and a haunting reminder of all the lives that were lost in that one battle, alone. The pictures are almost as haunting as these creepy photos that will give you goosebumps.

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The Saco River adjoining the two towns of Biddeford and Saco in Maine
Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

Saco River, Maine

Sure the Saco River is a great place for vacationers to go tubing, but you may not want to after you find out about its rumored curse. As the legend goes, around 1675, a group of drunken English sailors crossed paths with the chief of the Saco tribe and his family. The sailors callously threw the baby in the river to see if he could swim; sadly, the baby died a few days later. To enact revenge, the chief put a curse on the Saco River that three white people would drown in it each year. Whether or not the body count has held up, the murder of the child actually happened and likely led to further bloodshed in the years following. These ghost stories from the most haunted places in the world will send chills up your spine.

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Beautiful waterfall in Bride's Pool, New Territories, Hong Kong, Long Exposure
Mei Yi/Shutterstock

Bride’s Pool, Hong Kong

The Bride’s Pool, a natural pool created by boulders with an adjoining waterfall in Hong Kong, is said to have gotten its name because a bride fell into the water and drowned on the way to her wedding. If that’s not chilling enough, “today, some people report seeing a woman dressed in a red cheongsam [a traditional Asian wedding dress] brushing her hair near the majestic waters,” reports Time Out Hong Kong.

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White Rock Lake in Dallas, TX. April 23, 2014
Harmony Gerber/Shutterstock

White Rock Lake, Texas

They say Dallas’s White Rock Lake is haunted by a young woman wearing a soaking-wet evening dress. “Apparently, the girl tells people she was involved in a boating accident and needs to get to an address on Gaston Avenue. When she gets into a car’s back seat, she disappears,” the Dallas News reports. These encounters have been reported off and on since 1964, although no one knows who the woman is or whether a woman in an evening dress actually drowned there. Don’t miss these strange urban legends that turned out to be true.

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Loch ness
Botond Horvath/Shutterstock

Loch Ness, Scotland

There are some who believe with all their heart that a lake near Inverness in Scotland is haunted by a mythical being, aka the Loch Ness Monster. “There are over 300,000 visitors each year and only one to two bona fide sightings,” Gary Campbell, president of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club tells the Travel Channel. But those odds continue to inspire visitors who always carry their cameras just in case “Nessie” decides to make an appearance.

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Kennedy Falls, a remote waterfall on the North Branch of West Virginia's Blackwater River, tumbles over mineral-stained rocks on a rainy autumn day.
Kenneth Keifer/Shutterstock

Blackwater River, Florida

Like the Saco River, Blackwater River is also a popular tubing spot with a dark past. A woman with long black hair smelling of rotting flesh haunts the water and will attempt to drag you to your death if you can’t escape her clutches. No matter what is causing people to drown in the river, it would be wise to be careful when taking a dip.

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Waves Lap Around Rocks of Lake Superior's Wisconsin Shoreline During a Vibrant Sunset
Sam Wagner/Shutterstock

Lake Superior, Wisconsin

In 1985, more than a decade after the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sunk 500 feet to the bottom of Lake Superior—all 29 men on board were lost—it was spotted sailing on the surface of Lake Superior by a commercial crew. There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation involving mist and a lighthouse, according to CNN, but there are those who believe that the Edmund Fitzgerald will continue to sail on as a ghost ship in the choppy, icy waters of the lake that took it. Find out about 8 more ghost ship mysteries that can’t be explained.

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View of Changi Beach Park in Singapore

Changi Beach, Singapore

During Japan’s occupation of Singapore during World War II in 1942 tens of thousands of Chinese men who were suspected of having anti-Japenese sentiments, were forced into the waters of Changi Beach and machine-gunned en masse. It’s said that the ghosts of these executed men remain trapped on the shores, crying and screaming as they suffer the same deadly fate over and over again.

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Stormy Oregon coast, Falcon Cove, Manzanita, Oregon

Manzanita Beach, Oregon

It is said that in the 16th-century Spanish sailors were shipwrecked off the Oregon Coast. As shared by Coastal Living, they hiked up nearby Neahkahnie Mountain to hide their gold, burying it underneath a murdered African slave to serve as a warning. “Some people say that more than one person was killed by the sailors and that their ghosts still haunt the trails,” reported the magazine. Adding to the mystery, piles of stones show up on the beach every morning—and no one has ever seen them being built.

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Lifeboat on Beach in the morning, Cape May, NJ
Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

Higbee Beach, New Jersey

Along the New Jersey Shoreline, the sweet seaside town of Cape May harbors a horrible secret: Its own Higbee Beach is haunted by the ghost of Thomas Higbee, the proprietor of a hotel that once stood on the beach but was demolished in 1940. It could also be haunted by his father or the loyal slave who watched over the Higbees’ graves in the late 19th-century. People report seeing a man dressed in 19th-century clothing, floating along the shore, and hearing his laughter echoing over the waves. Want to spy a ghost of your own? Check into any of these haunted hotels.

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Tropical Shipwreck

The Bermuda Triangle

No discussion of haunted water would be complete without including the Atlantic Ocean’s Bermuda Triangle (bounded by Bermuda, Miami, and Puerto Rico). Countless airplanes and ships have dared to enter the 500,000-square-mile perimeter in perfectly good weather and not the slightest hint of engine malfunction—only to disappear forever. Not for nothing, it’s also known as the “Devil’s Triangle.” Want more thrills and chills? Read on for the spookiest urban legend from every state.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York–based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest and in a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction, and her first full-length manuscript, "The Trust Game," was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.