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These Deserted Yet Beautiful Mansions Have a Spooky Past

 There are few things as creepy and eerie as abandoned old buildings. The bigger and older an abandoned home is, the scarier it always looks. Deserted mansions, especially, are the creepiest of them all. From the outside, their beautiful edifices, sometimes enveloped with tree branches and leaves, look to be the setting of a horror film. We can only imagine what secrets and stories hide inside these creepy buildings.
Around the world, there are plenty of abandoned mansions. Some of them have a spooky past while some simply look sinister yet fascinating. Today, we will take a look at a few such eerily beautiful deserted mansions and learn about the interesting stories behind them.

1. Chaonei No. 81, China

Abandoned Mansions, Chaonei No. 81, China
Known as Chaonei No. 81, or the Chaonei Church, this structure is located in the Chaoyangmen neighborhood of the Dongcheng District in Beijing, China, and is often described as “Beijing’s most celebrated haunted building”. The Baroque-style house was built in the early 20th century and has been abandoned since 1949.
While there are no historical records about the mansion and its purpose, it is believed that after the Communists defeated the Nationalists in the civil war in 1949, a high-ranking Nationalist official who owned the property abandoned his wife and left for Taiwan. The woman was so devastated that she hung herself from the rafters of the three-story mansion. Over the decades, the old mansion has become famous and the locals believe that the spirit of the woman still haunts the now-decaying place.

2. Halcyon Hall at the Bennett School for Girls, New York

Abandoned Mansions, Halcyon Hall at the Bennett School for Girls
Once the site of higher education for New York women, the Halcyon Hall is now known as an eerie mansion. The building was built in 1893 with the intention of being a luxury hotel, having five stories with 200 rooms, a basement, and a sub-basement. However, the hotel wasn’t successful and went bankrupt. In 1907, the property was purchased and converted into a school by May Bennett, a famous educator. Unfortunately, after an unsuccessful run, the school, too, closed down and filed for bankruptcy after the wave of co-ed education.
The deserted building has changed many hands and has faced many threats of being torn down. However, the structure continues to stand tall as of today. Amazingly, the mansion hasn’t completely crumbled even though it needs massive repairs. 

3. Villa de Vecchi, Italy

Abandoned Mansions, Villa de Vecchi
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
This beautiful yet eerie mansion from Italy appears to be the setting of a classic horror movie. Located near Lake Como, Italy, the Villa de Vecchi is known by many nicknames - the Red House, Ghost Mansion, and Casa Delle Streghe (The House of Witches) – and has a tragic past. It was built in the 19th century by architect Alessandro Sidoli as a summer family home for Count Felix De Vecchi. Unfortunately, the family could only enjoy a few years there. 
In 1862, De Vecchi came home to discover that his wife had been murdered and his daughter was missing. After searching for his daughter without any success for more than a year, the nobleman committed suicide and the mansion passed on to his brother. The count’s brother lived there until WWII and the building has been abandoned since the 1960s. Interestingly, an avalanche in 2002 destroyed all the houses in the area but the Villa de Vecchi remained unharmed. Rumor has it that an old smashed piano still stands inside the mansion and its music often wafts outside and floats down to the countryside.

4. Bannerman Castle — Pollepel Island, New York

Abandoned Mansions, Bannerman Castle
Perched on a small island in New York's Hudson River, Bannerman's Castle was built by Francis Bannerman VI as an armory for his huge collection of weapons. The Scottish-born arms dealer also owned the island and built the mansion in 1900 in the style of the Baronial castles he had seen during trips to Scotland. The building was elaborately designed and included an arsenal, storerooms, and even a summer house with docks, turrets, and a moat. The mansion was a great advertisement for Bannerman's business which thrived through the early 1900s.
In 1920, two years after Bannerman's death, 200 tons of ammunition exploded inside the mansion, damaging its edifice badly. Despite this, however, Bannerman’s family continued living on the island until about 1930 but the castle was neglected. In 1969, the mansion was ravaged by another fire which reduced it to ruins. It was only during the 1990s that the Bannerman Castle Trust began stabilizing the mansion and subsequently opened the island and its famous structure up for tours.

5. Lennox Castle, England

Abandoned Mansions, Lennox Castle
The Lennox Castle in Scotland was built in 1812 for John Kincaid Lennox. The mansion was home to the prominent Scottish family for a long time before it was converted into an asylum for the mentally ill in the 1930s. The story goes that sometime in the middle of the 20th century, fights and riots among the patients became common. One particularly serious fight in 1956 led to the staff running away and the patients being locked up inside.
Eventually, they greatly damaged the ward. The hospital was vacated by the 1980s and was officially retired in 2002. The abandoned mansion is now being taken care of by nature but there are talks of converting the building into flats.

6. Lui Family Mansion, Taiwan

Abandoned Mansions, Lui Family Mansion
The Minxiong Ghost House (aka the Lui family mansion), is one of the most famous haunted locations in Taiwan. Situated in the Taiwanese countryside, the mansion, built in 1929, has been abandoned since the 1950s when the family living there suddenly left. There are plenty of rumors and lore about the family and their reasons for fleeing the mansion.
The most popular theory is that the family's maid was having an affair with her employer, Liu Rong-yu. When their secret affair became public, the woman killed herself by jumping down a well. Apparently, her spirit then came back to haunt the Lui family every night which forced them to flee the place.
The property was occupied by members of the Kuomintang of China (KMT) later but was abandoned soon after. The building was constructed in a classic baroque style and must have been quite beautiful back in the day. Today, most of the redbrick structure has been taken over by nature.

7. Château Miranda, Belgium

Abandoned Mansions, Château Miranda,
Also known as Château de Noisy, Château Miranda was built for the Liedekerke-Beaufort family in 1866 who had relocated there following the French Revolution. In its heyday, the glorious mansion served the family as a summer residence and was adorned with beautifully landscaped gardens. The mansion was built with many towers, and conical roofs, and had approximately 500 windows. 
Château Miranda stayed in the family until World War II when it was taken over by Belgium’s National Railway Company as a ‘holiday camp’ for children who suffered from ill-health. During this time, the castle was named Home de Noisy or Château de Noisy. The mansion housed sick and orphaned children until 1980, after which it was abandoned. The beautiful old castle was in a serious state of disrepair and also suffered heavily from vandalism. It was finally demolished in 2017.
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