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Haunted Beijing: the City’s Spookiest Sites

By Ashley Johnson , Add your comment Newsletter

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Do you believe in Ghosts?  Believer or not, Beijing has some spooky places that are thought to be haunted and taunted by the remnants of the past.  In a city with a vicious past, it’s no wonder that daunting ghouls of events from ancient regimes are still prowling hutongs, holy grounds, grave yards and imperial land.  While some of these stories remain mythological with no proof to back the assumed historical events that left these ghosts behind, others have been studied and documented and have a very real, bone-chilling, fear factor attached. Next time you walk through old villages like Houhai and you get shivers down your spine, you may not be alone. Here are some of Beijing’s spookiest places to visit, or not. 

Chaonei Church. Chaonei Church.
Chaonei Church. Photo:

Chaonei Church  朝内81View In Map                                              
Spiritual or Ghostly? At times, churches can be very beautiful pieces of architecture that spark a spiritual movement from within and other times, they are spooky chambers that appear to be lurking grounds for ghosts. Chaonei was intended to be the former as it was initially being built by a British priest but once he mysteriously disappeared, it lost its spiritual luster and has long been known as a haunted church in Beijing. During the first Sino-Japanese War, fought between the Qing Dynasty and Meiji Japan, this church became the residence of a National Party officer. The wife of this officer took her own life in the church after being abandoned by her husband. At night, a shrilling scream is said to be heard in the corridors of the Chaonei Church that never was. Is this the ghost of the priest or the haunting of the crazed wife? No one knows but everyone that passes by this church, which sits abandoned in the midst of modern high-rises, gets an eerie sensation.
Add: 81 Chaoyangmennei (On the north side of the road, opposite Simin Primary School), Chaoyang district
地址: 北京市朝内81号 朝阳门桥往西路北四民小学对面教堂

 The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City 故宫
What haunts and taunts one of Beijing’s most popular attractions?  With six centuries of history, it is no wonder these walls, which served as the Imperial Palace to both the Ming and Qing Dynasty’s, has many daunting secrets. In a time when execution for betrayal or disobedience was a frequent and normal occurrence, anyone who went against the imperial rule was subject to death.  However, death wasn’t ordered by the Emperor. Also housed in the palace were hundreds of concubines, guards, servants and an army and murder was often times committed by a jealous concubine or envious guard or servant who would take another’s life to be closer to the Emperor; thus many deaths occurred with these walls and the marks of the violent past still exist today.
It was only in the late 1940’s that the Imperial Palace underwent a makeover in order to house the museum and become a tourist site. Guards were put in place at this time to protect the ancient grounds and it was these very protectors that began to witness strange occurrences inside the gates of the Forbidden City. Guards confessed to witnessing odd animals running quickly about the grounds, but only late at night. Others have observed crying women in the concubine quarters of the palace and one young man even confessed to seeing a crying woman, dressed in white, walking about the grounds and when he spoke to her from behind, she never heard him or turned around. Some people even say, that the Forbidden City’s haunted activities at night is the very reason why it never stays open to the public late at night.

General Yuan's Tomb
General Yuan's Tomb, Photo:

General Yuan's Tomb 袁崇焕祠墓View In Map
General Yuan Chonghuan is famous for his military command during the Ming Dynasty where he almost single-handedly fought off the Manchu army in the 1630’s. Despite the general’s loyal efforts to protect the land and the Imperial family, devious plots were planted in the emperor’s ear, making him suspicious of Yuan and thus his life came to a tragic end when the emperor condemned him to death by a thousand cuts. Yuan is said to have stated before execution that his soul will always guard Liaodong Peninsula. Tortured and severed into pieces, the people of Beijing were so upset with him for his accused disloyalty that they allegedly rushed to buy and eat his remains. His head however was salvaged by a faithful troop of Yuan’s, who buried it at Guanchu Men and his family has guarded it ever since. Whether he is seeking revenge or simply holding to his word and guarding the territory, the general is said to have been seen wondering around the area at night.

Add: 52 Donghuashi Xiejie, Chongwen District, Beijing
地址: 北京崇文区东花市斜街52号

Songpo Library
Songpo Library 

Songpo Library  松坡图书馆    View In Map                                         
General Wu Sangui is said to have betrayed the Ming Dynasty by allowing the Manchu army through the Great Wall, for a position in the Qing Dynasty and the love of his life, Chen Yuanyuan. Soon after, Wu became uninterested in Chen and this heartbreak caused her to take her life by hanging in their home. It is said that the girl still haunts this library in the Shihu Hutong, where Wu once resided.
Add: 7 Shihu Hutong, Xicheng District, Beijing
地址: 北京市西城区石虎胡同7号

Dongmianhua Hutong
Dongmianhua Hutong

Dongmianhua Hutong东棉花胡同  View In Map
An army of ghosts are believed to reside in this hutong due to the ruthless execution of soldiers, believed to be ordered by Qin Liangyu, a female general in the Ming Dynasty. The terror doesn’t stop with the blood stained barracks however. Later, this area was purchased by a writer/editor who mysteriously died after offending a National Party politician. Carrying a horrifying stigma that won’t die, this house remains empty after the last occupant allegedly burned himself after killing a young girl.
Add: 1 Dongmianhua Hutong (South to Jiaodaokou), Dongcheng District, Beijing
地址: 北京市东棉花胡同1号,东城区交道口往 

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Keywords: most haunted sites Beijing Haunted houses Beijing haunted sites Beijing Beijing ghost stories

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