Friday 31 Oct, 2014

Spooky Places Around the World to Visit

Hallowe’en may come only once a year, but EF has discovered great ways to keep the eerie fun going all year long! Check out these scary spots with history that might just make your hair stand on end!

1) Witches galore in Salem, Massachusetts

SalemMassachusetts is known as the Bay State but it should be known as the Boo State! The city of Salem, less than an hour from Boston, is world famous for its witchy past, including the infamous Witch Trials of 1692, where 24 people were accused of witchcraft and persecuted. The city has a mesmerizing feel that transports you back in time to the days where belief in the supernatural reigned.

The first stop on your list? The Salem Witch Museum, where life-sized stage sets and figures come alive to highlight the changing social views of witches, the terrible phenomenon of witch hunting, what truth there is behind the stereotypes and modern-day witchcraft.

From there, make your way to the Witch House, a landmark in Salem where the most famous witch hunt in American history took place. The best way to end your spooky day is to take a stroll with the Salem Witch Walk where you will be led by true Salem witches to learn about spells, potions and more. Double, double toil and trouble!

2) Trapped in Alcatraz, San Francisco

AlcatrazA remote island? Check. Criminals? Check. A federal prison that became infamous? Check. San Francisco’s Alcatraz, a.k.a. “The Rock,” has been portrayed in many different movies as an unyielding and brutal prison and fascinates many to this day. This isolated penal colony dates back to the late 1850’s, where it once held military inmates and then federal prisoners.

In fact, many notorious convicts have passed through its gates—Al “Scarface” Capone and the Birdman of Alcatraz among them, but they’re just a few people you may hear about if you go on a night tour of Alcatraz, when the jail is at its most eerie.

Roam the cells where inmates lived in near darkness—just watch out for the ghosts of these villains that are said to haunt the prison!

3) Ghostly gladiators in the Colosseum, Rome

ColosseumWhile Rome may not have been built in a day, your level of fear will certainly rise quickly! The Roman Colosseum was constructed in 70 CE to showcase battles between man and beast. Nearly 5,000 animals and thousands of fighters fell in the name of “entertainment” for up to 80,000 spectators at a time.

Visitors to the site have claimed to see ghostly figures walking up and down the Colosseum’s staircase and sitting in various seats throughout the stadium—there have even been those who claim to hear the cheers of ghostly crowds!

In the vaults below, spectral activity is off the charts—visitors have felt cold spots, have been pushed, touched or whispered to, and have heard crying and animals growling. Beware—you’re in for a scare!

4) Dracula’s home: Bran Castle, Romania

As one of the most popular supernatural figures ever, Dracula’s legend looms large over the Romanian landmark of Bran Castle—commonly featured in films as the original vampire’s home.

And just like Bram Stoker’s famous vampire novel, the legend of the bloodsucking count still holds a lot of mystery.

When in Transylvania, the infamous city of the unholy, explore the area where Dracula lived and ruled. There are several tours that give you a classic look into the mystery of the original Nosferatu and will send shivers down your spine!

5) Scary stations in the London Underground, England

London UndergroundLondon boasts the oldest underground railway in the world. Dating back to 1863, it has also seen its share of ghost sightings!

The stations of Bethnal Green, Farringdon, and Bank are just some of the stations well known for poltergeist sightings. The unique stories behind them range from World War II bombings, a sister driven mad from her brother’s hanging, a 13-year-old girl who was murdered and a mysterious man in white overalls.

Want to experience the chills up close and personal?Take a London ghost tour that visits some of these spooky station spots.


edinburghcastle_kimk6) Spirited away at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

One of the top 10 haunted places in the world according to TIME Magazine, Edinburgh Castle has 900 years of history behind it and boasts many ghosts, with interesting stories behind their hauntings.

Wander around the wrong corner of this Scottish landmark and you might encounter a phantom piper, a ghostly dog that wanders the dog cemetery (!) and a headless drummer who only appears when the castle is about to be attacked.

When touring the castle, don’t be surprised if you experience a sudden drop in temperature or feel something unseen tugging at your clothes; it’s just another day at Edinburgh Castle!

7) Les fantômes de Québec City, Québec

The Great Canadian North is home to many ghosts and Québec City has an abundance of ghouls. Head on a haunted walk (at night, if you dare!) and feel ghost stories come alive in the old town.

Tales of notorious criminals, gruesome events that took place in colonial Québec and the legends and superstitions that surround certain areas such as the Old Harbour will astound even the most hardened skeptic!

8) Get locked up in Ottawa, Ontario

Believe it or not, Ottawa was once considered the most dangerous town in North America, notorious for gang violence and the Ottawa Jail (formerly the Carleton County Gaol).

As early as 1862, the jail was once considered the most modern maximum-security facility in Canada, housing men, women and even children as prisoners. Punishment was severe. Inmates were fed only once a day (starvation was common in this prison), solitary confinement was barbaric and capital punishment reigned supreme.

Many who have died here are said to still haunt the halls. For the truly brave, the jail is now an operating hostel where it has been said that ghostly visits are common. Can you make it through the night?

Where would you like to visit most from this list? What is the scariest place you have visited?

Photo credits

Salem – Robert Lindsell via flickr
Alcatraz – Jeff via flickr
Colosseum – George Rex via flickr
Bran Castle – Laura Bernhardt via flickr
London Underground – Gary Winfield via flickr
Edinburgh Castle – Kim K. via flickr
Québec City – abdallahh via flickr
Ottawa – Dean Joncas via flickr