Researching the paranormal in Istanbul via the Internet for our trip has proven to be no easy task. There is most definitely a shortage of links about haunted places there.
However, I’ve found a few.
The first thing I found was a story about a UFO caught on tape by a night guard in the Kumburgaz/Yeni Kent Compound. The article included footage. It also spoke of being able to make out the silhouettes of two “entities.” (Although, I’m not sure you can really see that in the footage included in the post.)
I’m also not sure where the Kumburgaz/Yeni Kent Compound is in respect to where we’re staying. I have a feeling the compound is not open to the public, but I will ask around. I’ll also be keeping my eyes to the skies on the off chance any UFOs are also visiting Istanbul when we are.
I got really excited when I came across this link in my Google search…until I read the article. The photo that preceded it had named the ghost in the Hagia Sophia “Carsten.” Turns out it was the photographer’s son and he was making a little fun of the blurred image he’d captured. However, the once church, turned mosque, now museum has a bloody history. Thousands of Byzantines died there, slaughtered by the invading Ottoman’s who turned Constantinople (as it was known at the time) into the capital of the Ottoman empire. There very well might be some ghosts there…
This author is definitely a kindred spirit. She went in search of haunted places in Istanbul and noted the “distinct lack of places in and around Istanbul that boast of spectral spookiness.” So it’s not just me.
(She also noted “in many countries, haunted buildings are considered an asset as they are almost always guaranteed to draw curiosity seekers. In the US and Europe, inns and hotels that claim to be populated by a ghost or two do a brisk business.” Reading that, I knew she was a fellow jaunter!)
At any rate, she managed to dig up a few stories. One that piqued my interest was about how the harem in the Topkapi Palace was rumored to be haunted when renovations in the 1940s uncovered a lot of bones. Though she also noted: “Even though the palace’s high-tech security systems have not revealed any ghostly presences wandering the rooms, the rumors still persist.”
She also referenced the Yusuf Ziya Pa?a Mansion, or haunted mansion, which was talked about in the fourth link I found. “Residents on the streets surrounding the mansion deny actually hearing any noises, or seeing any spirits appearing at the mansion, but they all insist it is haunted and that bad luck befalls anyone daring to live there.” It’s on the shores of the Bosphorous, near the second bridge. I’ll be looking for it.
I came across an interesting review comment on Virtual Tourist for something to see in Istanbul: the Bosphorous. The description was super brief, only a couple of words really, but it told to keep an eye out for the abandoned “haunted house” of Istanbul. I’m pretty sure they were describing the Yusuf Ziya Para Mansion talked about in the third link, above, that I had found. The cool thing is, even though they were short on words, they included a picture of a big, red house. That gives me some idea of what I’m looking for.
Gallipoli is near Istanbul. Near enough to make a day trip to see it, but it sounds like a full day. I’m really key on making the trek to see it, though. It sounds amazing. The author of this article conceded he didn’t actually see any ghosts while visiting Gallipoli, nor did he learn of any ghost stories really. However, they sensed…something. Here’s how he poetically described his experience:
There was a bit of a joke about ghosts. We didn’t talk much apart from that. But we both admitted the feeling was there…..
But a bright, white half-moon rose in a clear sky — the night passed — and there were no ghosts . . . only the sigh of the breeze through the coastal scrub, the muffled sounds of night birds and the discomfort of a rough bed on a stony beach. There was no one there, just us. But we didn’t feel alone. That night, I felt more “Australian” than I have ever felt before, or since.
From what I gather, Gallipoli is to Australians much like Normandy is to Americans. That’s what makes it all the more intriguing to me.
The photo came from Art Explosion 500,000.