Halloween: Of the UAE’s most ‘haunted’ places and ghosts laid to rest

Halloween: Of the UAE’s most ‘haunted’ places and ghosts laid to rest

From a ‘ghost village’ to a ‘haunted villa’, these places have been called the spookiest corners of the UAE


Mazhar Farooqui

Published: Fri 28 Oct 2022, 10:14 PM

Last updated: Sat 29 Oct 2022, 2:51 PM

We look at the lore behind the top allegedly ‘haunted’ locations in the country to get you into the spooktacular spirit. Scroll down if you dare.

Al Jazirah Al Hamra

Riddled with stories of the morbid and mysterious, this ‘ghost village’ in the south of Ras Al Khaimah is believed to be the spookiest place in the country. And not without reason. The hitherto bustling pearl trading hub remained frozen in time after it was abandoned in the 70s amid rumours that it was haunted by spirits. A few years back, Khaleej Times spent a night at the village hoping to capture a rare sighting on camera.

They survived the experience to talk about it.

In 2020, Al Jazirah Al Hamra was fully restored. The place is now a UNESCO heritage site. Visitors can safely explore the place without worrying about things that go bump in the night.

Chinese-Pagoda-inspired villa

For years, this intriguing Chinese-Pagoda-inspired villa on Dubai’s Al Wasl Road served as a navigation landmark for ships, but it also evoked fear among residents, particularly children.

Photo: Rahul Gajjar

So much so that so they used to pelt stones at the house, thinking it was haunted and inhabited by giant snakes. “We got several smashed windows,” recalls Rany Doleh, whose father Zakaria Doleh, 95, built the quaint five-storey pagoda-style villa in the mid-sixties after chancing upon a picture of a pagoda in a travel brochure.

Rany said it took a while before people realised that their fears were unfounded.

New Year’s Eve parties hosted by the Dolehs for seven consecutive years also helped. Just about anyone could attend and enjoy the evening with unlimited shawarmas, pizzas and Dixi Cola.

Hotel that spooked a hero pilot

In April 2007, crew members of Air India were spooked out a hotel in Sharjah’s Abu Shagara neighbourhood. They claimed it was haunted.

Among the terrified crew was Captain Devi Sharan, billed as Captain Courage for showing remarkable composure while commanding a hijacked flight in 1999. The hero pilot was able to put up a brave front before the terrorists but not before the spirits. He wrote to Air India about “feeling a presence in his room… like an apparition” and asked them to move the crew elsewhere. The hotel has since changed name and is now under another management.

Al Madam Ghost Town

The term “ghost town” is used so often it’s hard to believe there’s really one out there. But the Al Madam Ghost Town in Sharjah is the real deal.

About 60 kilometres from Dubai, this half-buried town sticks out in the middle of the wilderness with not a soul in sight.

Nobody knows why the town with two rows of home and an elegant mosque was abandoned barely years after it was built.

Folklore has it that the residents were driven away by a djinn. Doors left ajar, personal items lying scattered are among other indicators that the inhabitants left the place in a hurry. Of late, there’s been a huge interest in the mysterious ghost town with travellers stopping by at the village to take pictures before it is completely swallowed by sand.

Photo by M. Sajjad


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