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Haunted Beijing: The Forbidden City

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Do you believe in Ghosts? Believe 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 long history, 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.

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, 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 committed by a jealous concubine or envious guard or servant who would take over 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.

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