Halloween is upon us and whether you like it for proper trick-or-treating or to indulge in candy you bought all on your own, it is a favorite holiday for many. And with the nights getting longer and darker, it is also perfect opportunity to tell scary stories and watch horror movies.
Of course, we Travelettes still like to connect all the great Halloween traditions with our favorite past time – traveling. Travelette Nikki started it with her trip to the Californian ghost town Bodie and today I will get you spooked/inspired with 10 of the scariest places in the world. If you want to become a ghostbuster or just get a good creep on, look no further, but take your passport and go to…
1. The Tower of London
Starting in our very own city of the month, London, you don’t need to venture far to find a great spooky place. While I know quite a bit of English history, I didn’t actually know that the Tower of London is considered the most famously haunted place in the UK. But considering how many people died here, it actually shouldn’t come as a surprise. Thomas Becket was one of its first ghosts, followed by Arbella Stuart, and, of course, the headless body of Anne Boleyn. Then you have the Bloody Tower where the two princes Edward V and his brother Richard lived and mysteriously vanished as well as the White Tower inhabited by the ghost of the White Lady. So if you are in London for Halloween why not head over for a Twilight Tower tour to be creeped out by former royalty?
By the way, almost anywhere in Britain you might get lucky when looking for a ghost as it is considered the most haunted country in the world.
2. New Orleans
I love New Orleans. The city is vibrant, sultry, full of history and offers the greatest food. However, it is also incredibly spooky once the sun goes down. With its history comes a trail of vampire and ghost stories, providing the perfect backdrop for a tarot card reading and a good shiver. It is said that Ramon, the godfathers of vampires from New Orleans, still roams the French Quarter today – and unfortunately, not all of them are as enticing as Anne Rice would like us to believe.
And if vampires are not enough to get you spooked, New Orleans also offers prowling werewolfs, a cursing voodoo queen, and several ghosts. Especially scary to me are the haunting spirits of Madame LaLaurie’s victims. She was a serial killer from the 1800s who was known for torturing her slaves in the attic.
Get all the gruesome details during a New Orleans Ghost Tour.
3. Bermuda Triangle
If you prefer a bit of sunshine during the misty month of October why not head into the blue? Head towards the Bermuda Triangle to get properly freaked while working on your tan. Fact is that no more planes and ships have disappeared here than anywhere else, but then again, already Christopher Columbus was confronted with a meteor and odd compass readings right here. With more and more strange occurrences adding up over time, it is not hard to believe that aliens, sea monsters or time warps are in charge. So board a yacht, grab a Halloween themed cocktail and play the Jaws theme song for a thrilling voyage through the Devil’s Triangle.
4. Chuuk Lagoon
And while we are on the waters, who would mind a dashing pirate or its ghost? I know I wouldn’t if Pirates of the Carribean is anything to go by.
If you are keen too, head over to the Chuuk Lagoon in Micronesia and go for a dive. Formerly a Japanese Navy Base during World War II it was attacked by the Americans who sunk over 60 ships, making it the biggest underwater wreck graveyard. Now after 70 years it has become a popular wreck dive destination and every such site comes with its ghosts. Whether you will find a Jack Sparrow or not, you will need strong nerves as not only artifacts from the ships can be found but bones and skulls of the deceased. Perfect Halloween destination for any diving enthusiast.
If Halloween was a region it would be Transylvania where a legend like no other was given life: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the Transylvanian Count. He is not to be mixed up with Vlad the Impaler, sometimes known as Vlad Dracul, who was a gruesome ruler but no vampire (I think one could even debate if he was more gruesome than other rulers of his time).
Though Stoker never visited Romania, he liked the description of the still existing Bran Castle so much that he made it home for his Count Dracula. You can still visit this castle today and to me it is the ultimate Halloween destination: no visitors allowed after sunset and one can only wonder why…
6. New York City
Another Halloween classic is New York City’s annual Village Halloween Parade, a spectacle not to be missed if you are in town. While more entertaining than scary, it is a true Halloween institution. And if you want to see something really scary, well, there is always people walking around on the morning after.
7. Isla de las Munecas
I don’t care for horror movies at all, but Chuckie has to be one of the worst for me. How creepy is that doll? Visiting the Island of the Dolls would be a complete no no for me, but if you enjoy Chuckie & Co this might be the place for you this Halloween.
Just south of Mexico City lies the Isla de las Munecas and legend has it that a little girl once drowned on its shores. Don Julian Santana Barrera, the island’s caretaker, found her and a little later fished her doll out of the water as well. To honor the girl’s spirit he hung the girl in one of the trees, but soon possessed himself, many more followed. After his death, the island became a tourist attraction in 2001 – you can visit the hundreds of dolls (moving and whispering, of course!) and even leave a doll yourself.
Believe it or not, I have never deleted a picture from my computer that quickly.
In Paris, you will find grand architecture, history and literature making it the city of love, but it can also be quite a dark place. Perfect for a little Halloween rendezvous. Start with a classic and pay the gargoyles at Notre Dame a visit, they are not quite as cheerful as Disney would have us believe. From there move to the Catacombs which house the remains of six million Parisians in a narrow underground maze below the city. And if you aren’t scared enough and made your way out of the maze, pay a visit to the ghosts of Oscar Wilde, Colette, and Moliere at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
9. Baan Dam Black Temple
Care to go to hell before having a little pad thai lunch? Look no further than Chiang Rai where you will find Baan Dam also called the Black Temple. While the famous White Temple is often referred to as heaven it doesn’t come as a surprise that its dark little sister would be considered hell. Mind you, what many call a temple is actually just the home of Thai artist Thawan Duchanee and his collection. Oh, a museum you might yawn and start to look for an early lunch, but fear not – this ain’t your average museum and while it doesn’t come with ghosts there is plenty scary to be found. Snakeskin table runner anyone? A dark Viking hall like building houses an entire elephant skeleton and various animal remains: bones, skins, and taxidermies – all artfully arranged and maybe not quite hellish (all animals apparently died of natural causes), but definitely creepy enough.
Since at least watching The Mummy you would know that Egypt is full of scary tombs, curses and ghost stories. And not only grave robbers and excavation members were struck with courses, but even simple tourists are not safe from being haunted. At the Great Pyramids, a man dressed in 1920s garb and his three children allegedly looking for his deceased wife is regularly seen and the Khufu Pyramid houses, of course, the ghost of Khufu wearing traditional Egyptian armor. But scariest of them all is the chariot that drives by at midnight in the Valley of the Kings.
Of course, you could also just stay home and watch a marathon of scary Egypt movies (The Pyramid, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, The Awakening) for an easier frightful time.
Where would you like to travel to for a frightfully good time this Halloween? Any great haunted places in your hometown?