5 Spine-Chilling Stories About Shanghai's Haunted Locations

By Michaela Fulton 2018-12-20 23:26:08

Hair-raising encounters await the brave

With Halloween fast approaching, we asked Ghost Tour guide, Daniel Newman, to tell us the five most haunted places in Shanghai:

Yan'an elevated highway


Yan'an Elevated Highway

Have you ever wondered why there are dragons on one of the pillars of the Yan'an elevated highway? The story behind this intriguing feature is one, with many believing that these pillars are actually meant to bring good luck.

The story

Construction of the highway began in the 1990s, with Shanghai's engineering experts drilling holes into the ground in order to insert pillars that would hold up the elevated highway. Part-way through this process, the engineers hit something hard beneath the surface that stopped them from proceeding any further. None of the engineers could understand what was blocking the drill, when the rest of the ground had been soft.

Eventually, a monk from a nearby temple came forward and explained that they could no longer continue as they had been attempting to drill through an enormous dragon's tail! The monk decided that he would help the engineers through communicating with the dragon, burning incense, and reading ancient scriptures in an attempt to appease the creature below.

When he returned to the construction site, he informed constructors that they would have to adorn the pillar with nine golden dragons in order to receive the dragon's blessing to continue with their work and wait for an auspicious date. Following these instructions, the dragon supposedly moved it's tail and allowed construction to begin once more.

The story doesn't end there though. As the story goes, the monk dropped dead soon after solving the problem. The reason for this? Locals claim that it was because he had told people of the dragon that lived below the ground – information which he never should have shared. 

Find it: Yan'an Dong Lu, near Nanbeigaojia Lu

The Paramount

The Paramount


Mystical creatures aside, there are also a number of locations that supposedly house resident ghost of Shanghai's past – The Paramount included. Now, refurbished and restored to it's former art deco glory, you can visit the venue as it stands now; a fancy bar in which you can dance the night away. But will your dance partner be part of some paranormal activity?

The story

During the 1930s, The Paramount was one of the coolest places to go in Shanghai, reflecting. It was an imposing art deco style building and a leading attraction around the area of Jing'an Temple where many rich or well-connected would go to dance the night away, including the likes of Charlie Chaplin! However, it was not always considered one of the safest places.

After a number of years, The Paramount changed and became a dance hall where people could pay to rent hostesses to dance with them. One of the dancers, Chen Manli, was considered to be one of the most glamorous girls there, but her story did not end happily. In 1941, according to legend, Chen Manli refused to dance with a Japanese officer. He was furious at having lost face and, in response to his offence, a man was sent in to shoot the girl. She died instantly on the dancefloor.

Some locals claim that, when the venue is quiet, you can see the ghost of this girl dancing slowly by herself. Will she reach out her hand to you for a dance?

Find it: 218 Yuyuan Lu, near Huashan Lu

Jing'an Park

Jing'an Park


If you visit Jing'An Park today, you'll find that there is nothing there to be remotely scared of. Surrounded by greenery, this is one of those locations in Shanghai that allow you to escape from the concrete around, even if only for a second. But did you know that those flowers you see before you could be fertilized by the remains of the dead?

The story

While many people, foreigners especially, were keen to have their bodies cremated and sent home in an urn, this location served as a cemetary that catered to those who preferred a traditional burial. Until 1955, there were a lot of gravestones in the area, documenting the lives of those who lay beneath. Believed to be valuable, many of the gravestones in the cemetary were stolen, leaving the bodies below the ground unmarked.

Around 1955, the bodies were exhumed and sent to the suburbs instead. But who's to say that all of the bodies were recovered? Whilst the cemetary no longer remains, you can walk through Jing'An Park for a quiet stroll. Will you be brave enough to hunt for the bones and spirits that may remain?

Find it: 1649 Nanjing Xi Lu, Changshu Lu

Qiu Mansion

Qiu Mansion


In 2010, this colonial building was scheduled to be knocked down in order to expand the width of the road. Builders were sent to commence demolition, but strange things started to happen on the very first day. They left the site with what looked like strange cuts on their wrists and ankles that they couldn't explain. On inspection, a doctor asked them: "what animal bit you?" The next day, the perplexed builders went back to work. However, one soon attempted an attack on his boss claiming that the "lizards made [him] do it." No animals had been seen at the site.

The story

This story was first reported by CNN, explaining that the building had once been a grand estate owned by two brothers from Shandong. When they moved to Shanghai in 1915, they discovered a warehouse full of paint that had been abandoned by a German expat who fled Shanghai during WWI. The price of paint was skyrocketing at the time of their discovery, and they became millionaires over night.

They spent their money on exotic animals, filling this mansion with tigers, peacocks, pigeons and more. But, after a number of years, the brothers disappeared, leaving the animals behind who ultimately passed on. But do their spirits still remain?

The remaining Qiu mansion still stands; never demolished, but moved to allow more room for a road expansion and high-rise buildings. But are the animal spirits appeased? We'll leave you to find out.

Find it: Weihai Lu, near Shimen Yi Lu

The Normandie

The Normandie


The Normandie is a protected historic apartment building, designed by the Hungarian-Slovak architect László Hudec and has also been the residence of many celebrities in the past. But did you know that this building is often referred to by locals as "The Diving Board"?

The story

By the 1930s, many of the city's rich and famous had abandoned the bullding, but in 1968 a Shanghainese movie star, Shangguan Yunzhu, was still resident in a corner apartment of the seventh floor. As much as she was first adored, by the late 60s her films were later denounced and her popularity quickly declined.

Unfortunately, Shangguan Yunzhu became one of many who threw themselves off the roof of the building. but while her apartment remains empty, old neighbors still claim that they could smell the scent of her favorite perfume drifting through the hallway from her door on the seventh floor. 

Find it: 1842-1858 Hauihai Lu, near Wukang Lu


To hear these and many more ghost stories, book a Shanghai Ghost Tour with Daniel Newman and his colleagues at Newman Tours. They offer tours led by native English speakers in and around Shanghai, Beijing, and Xi'an.

These include Forbidden City Tours, Bund Tours, Ghost Tours, Hutong Tours, Gangster Tours, Great Wall Excursions, French Concession Tours, Terracotta Warrior Excursions, and many more. 


To book with Newman Tours:

Mobile/WeChat: +86 138-1777-0229

Email: info@newmantours.com

Website: www.newmantours.com


Looking for more fun-filled activities for Halloween? Click here to check out some creative DIY projects.