Spooky sites: 5 haunted destinations to visit this Halloween


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Spooky sites: 5 haunted destinations to visit this Halloween

While trick-or-treating might be enough to excite the children, you may find yourself craving more frightful fun this Halloween. Goosebumps, gore and ghosts galore await you at these unearthly haunts found across Europe and North America.

Marie Laveau's tomb is a popular site for Halloween tourists. Photo credit: Flickr, uploaded by user: Shawn Harquail.

New Orleans, USA

Down south in Louisiana, in New Orleans, you'll find frights and terrors that'll make you sleep with both eyes open. The forty-five cemeteries in New Orleansi, nicknamed the 'Cities of the Dead'ii, are home to the graves of prominent war heroes from the War of 1812 as well as the city's infamous voodoo queen Marie Laveau. Take a walk on the wicked side by going on one of the many night walking tours on offer where you're sure to become spellbound with the haunted history of the city.

On your wild ghost chase, make a stop at Marie Laveau's grave in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and leave an offering like many before you or seek shelter in Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar where you might make the acquaintance of Jean Lafitteiii, an undead pirate. The sinking city is the Voodoo capital of the USA, so while you're there why not visit the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum and learn how the belief system has affected the history and culture of New Orleans?

Last but not least, the Krewe of Boo! is the ultimate Halloween extravaganza for party poltergeists! Floating through the French Quarter, kicking off at 6.30pm on the 30th of October, this parade promises festivity, fun and floats full of frights.

Bran, Romania

Journey to Bran Castle in Romania to see the famous castle that inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula in all its glory. Here, in Transylvania, the formidable 'Count Dracula' - Vlad the Impaler - set about his unusually cruel and blood-filled agenda, where he would impale his enemies in their thousandsiv.

Get lost amongst the shadows of the ever-winding spiral staircases and the cavernous chambers of the castle in which Vlad hatched his terrible plans. If you're still looking for a Halloween costume, the markets surrounding the castle have tons of vampire gear, from vampire masks to daggers and crucifix stakes.

Xochimilco, Mexico

On the Island of the Dolls (Isla de las Muńecas), strange things are afoot. It is renowned for its eerie residents that hang from the trees and line the groundv. The inhabitants - mutilated dolls of all shapes and sizes - were put there by the island's former caretaker Don Juliana Santana Barrera in an effort to ward off evil spiritsvi. The 1500 dolls are a scary spectacle in their own right with many eyeless, decapitated, limbless dolls adorning the trees of the islandsv. The island can be visited by boat, but visitors beware - nothing will prepare you for the whispers of the dolls as you draw near!

Salem, USA

In magical Massachusetts, you can get your fill of witchcraft and sorcery in the historic town of Salem. Reputed for the Salem Witch Trials in 1692, the town has a wide range of tours and supernatural sites for those who want to go on a witch hunt. Check out the Witch Trial Memorial, the Old Burying Point Cemetery, the Witch Museum and the Witch Dungeonvii and find out for yourself if witches really exist.

If you want to get away from the well-trodden tourist path, explore the witch culture by visiting some of the local haunts; here, you'll find true witch believers making for an experience even spookier than those that can be found on the beaten track.

The bones of six million Parisians line the walls of the Catacombs.

Paris, France

Tunnels lined with mementos of death, the Catacombs in Paris are not for the faint-hearted. This historic ossuary received the remains from all the overcrowded cemeteries in Paris until 1859, essentially making it an underground city of the dead. The temperature in the underground tunnels is a cool 14 degrees, but it will be the bones of the six million Parisians which lie in these darkened passageways that will make you shiver. Pause for thought at the entrance where the sign overhead reads "Halt, this is the realm of Death" before descending twenty metres into the spine-chilling underworldviii.


iFrommer's, New Orleans - Cemeteries, viewed 25 August 2014,
http://www.frommers.com/destinations/new-orleans/717234#sthash.S88PavWF.dpbs

iiNew Orleans Official Guide, New Orleans Cemeteries, viewed 25 August 2014,
http://www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/attractions/cemeteries.html

iiiMoore, J. 2012, 'America's 10 most haunted cities', USA Today, viewed 25 August 2014,
http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2012/10/24/americas-10-most-haunted-cities/1655281/

iv'Vlad III', Encyclopędia Britannica Online, viewed 25 August 2014,
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/631524/Vlad-III

vHootsen, J-A. 2013, 'Welcome to the Island of the Dolls, the Creepiest Place in Mexico', Vocativ, viewed 25 August 2014,
http://www.vocativ.com/culture/photos/welcome-island-dolls-creepiest-place-mexico/#!bJxGAX

viIsla de las Munecas, Isla de las Munecas - The Island of the Dolls, viewed 25 August 2014,
http://www.isladelasmunecas.com/

viiSalem, Museums & Attractions, viewed 25 August 2014,
http://www.salem.org/advertisers/find/museums-attractions

viiiLes Catacombes, A timeless journey, viewed 25 August 2014,
http://www.catacombes.paris.fr/en/catacombs/more-2000-years-history