Haunted House Online Guide Helps You Get Scared This Halloween

haunted house
Trauma Towers at Blackpool, England. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Looking for a haunted house this Halloween season? The online guide Hauntworld will help you find the best one.

Hosted by Hauntworld Magazine, a trade journal for those running haunted houses, it lists creepy attractions in every state in the U.S. and many in Canada too. Most listings just have promotional material from the businesses themselves, while some have garnered numerous reviews and comments, making it as sort of TripAdvisor for scary attractions.

In my old stomping grounds of Tucson, Arizona, there’s Nightfall, which earned nine out of ten skulls. For even bigger scares, check out their Most Extreme and Shocking list. The number one place goes to the Erebus 4 Story Haunted Attraction in Pontiac, Michigan. HauntWorld says “Erebus is by far the most unique haunted house in America because they have monsters, animations, and props that touch the customers some even swallow customers whole. Erebus is a multi-story haunted house with special fx you’ll see no where in the World but at Erebus near Detroit Michigan.”

If you want to get scared on vacation, the international section will help you out. If haunted houses aren’t your thing, the site also lists hay rides, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, ghost tours, and zombie events.

There’s even a section for supposedly real haunted houses.

We are showing you how to eat, drink and be scary this Halloween season. Read more about Halloween on AOL:
7 Creepy Museum Treasures That Will Give You the Halloween Shivers
Disney Halloween: The Scariest Place on Earth
Historic Haunted Houses

Photo Of The Day: Day Of The Dead

photo of the day - Paris skulls
Hope you all had a happy Halloween, and came up with some creative travel costumes (my family and I went as Matryoshkas, or Russian nesting dolls). Now that the calendar has flipped over into November, it’s a time to honor our beloved who have passed on All Saints’ Day, or as it is known in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos. Skeletons and skulls are a pretty common theme in Day of the Dead decor and art, as demonstrated by our own Pam Mandel’s Halloween costume, continuing on the scary feel of Halloween. The skulls in today’s Photo of the Day aren’t Mexican, they’re French, from the Paris catacombs, which contain the bones of millions of Parisians. The remains are made extra spooky with the company of a devil, of the stuffed toy Tasmanian sort, though I suspect he was an addition by Australian photographer BaboMike.

If you can’t make it to Mexico this year, Denver has some Day of the Dead events too.

We like being scared year-round, so add your spookiest shots to the Gadling Flickr pool for an upcoming Photo of the Day.

[Photo credit: Flickr user BaboMike]

Torture Museums Look At The Dark Side Of History

Torture Museum
Ah, the Good Old Days, when everyone lived in a perpetual Renaissance Festival quaffing ale and shouting “Huzzah!” It must have been wonderful.

Not!

People died young, the cities were filled with rats and open sewers, and God help you if you ever got arrested. You’d be taken to a torture chamber in order to “confess” while being subjected to various imaginative torture devices, like the rack shown here in a photo courtesy Jan Mehlich. It’s from the torture exhibit in the Lubuska Land Museum in Zielona Góra, Poland. A victim would be tied to it and stretched until his limbs popped out of their sockets. The spikes on the cylinder would add an extra level of agony. This museum stands out among torture museums in that many of its objects were used in the local area.

Germany was a pretty rough place back in the Bad Old Days, and this has spawned several good torture museums in the country. The biggest is the Medieval Crime Museum in Rothenburg, with 2,000 square meters of displays on torture, execution and medieval law. Nuremberg has a preserved torture chamber underneath city hall.

Italy was a rough place too, and you can find out more at the Criminal Museum in Rome, the Museo della Tortura housed in the Devil’s Tower in San Gimignano and the Museum of Criminal Anthropology in Turin. The latter museum is interesting because it reflects the 19th century belief that a person’s physical features, especially the shape of the skull, could show criminal proclivities. Hundreds of skulls, brains and death masks from executed criminals are on display, as well as the weapons they used in their crimes and the instruments of their demise.

%Gallery-155223%Many torture museums are found inside castles. The Tower of London has some nasty instruments on display, as does Gravensteen in Ghent, Belgium. Like Poland’s Land Museum, most of the items are locally sourced in a kind of Slow Torture Movement. Check out my post on Muider Castle, which offers a peek at a medieval dungeon that’s an easy day trip from Amsterdam.

If you’re in Amsterdam and don’t feel like a day trip, check out the cheesy yet interesting Torture Museum. Also in The Netherlands is the Prison Gate Museum in The Hague, which may be the world’s oldest torture museum, having opened in 1882. It offers glimpses of such fearsome places as the Jailer’s Quarters, the Interrogation Room and the Judge Chambers. One interesting detail they tell you on the tour is that imprisonment was not considered a punishment, just a way to take a criminal out of circulation until the trial. To really punish an evildoer, they had to be tortured, publicly humiliated, or executed.

In Lima, Peru, you can visit the underground prison and torture chambers of the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition Museum is a sobering look at what happens when a single religion gets to dominate society.

As you can see, most of these museums display the horrors of the past. One museum that doesn’t shy away from more recent crimes against humanity is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which shows what the Khmer Rouge did to systematically destroy Cambodian society. Gadling blogger Jessica Marati said it’s “one of the most maddening, saddening, and intense places you’ll ever visit in your life.” When visiting torture museums, it’s good to remember that these barbarous practices are still used by many governments today.

5 terrifying haunted houses in New York

haunted houses in new yorkWhat’s Halloween without a good old-fashioned haunted house? While that may be true, there is nothing old-fashioned about these terrifying haunted houses in New York.

Blackout Haunted House
54 W. 39th St. (between 5th and 6th)

Just based on the fact that you are required to go in solo is scary enough. Some things to expect as you make your way through this dark house of horrors include sexual and violent situations, physical contact, fog, complete darkness, crawling, water, and more. You must be 18 to enter and tickets are $30-$55.

Blood Manor
163 Varrick St. at Charlton St.

This haunted attraction is comprised of horror-themed rooms, dark hallways, and terrifying labyrinths and takes about 20-25 minutes to complete. According to Time Out New York, some things you will encounter include creatures, serial killers, twisted sideshow acts, and gruesome scenarios, like a blood drenched slaughter house with hanging pig carcasses. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult and tickets are $28.50-$50.

Nightmare: Fairy Tales
Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center, 107 Suffolk St. (between Rivington and Delancey)

The focus of this haunted attraction is taking the most gruesome scenarios from original children’s fairy tales (not the the one’s that evolved into bedtime stories for kids, but the one’s that were first created to keep children from acting out). Make your way through a dark, scary forest in this interactive experience as you become one of the characters in the story and live out a real life nightmare. While Nightmare: Fairy Tales is definitely scary, it is more disturbing and creepy than your usual haunted house. Children under 10 will not be admitted and children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets range from $30-$100.

Trapped in Purgatory
2 Locations: Wizard of Gore is located at 2449 Veterans Rd. W., Staten Island. Hotel 666 is located at 5050 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island

You can choose the storyline behind your terrifying experience with this haunted attraction. Hotel 666 is based on a woman and her daughter who once stayed at a haunted hotel, never to be seen again, while Wizard of Gore will send you through a disturbing corn maze. Small children should go before 6PM when visitors are allowed to enter without the actors around. After 6PM, general admission is $18, or $30 if you want to do both attractions.

Nightmare Z-Day
1157 Commerce Ave., at Gleason Ave., Bronx

Experience the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. Prepare to scream while you are chased around this haunted house by the undead who seem hungry for some flesh. No children under 10 will be admitted, and children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. General admission is $15, while students will pay $10. For $30, you can buy a VIP ticket and jump to the front of the line.

Alabama celebrates its haunted past with an entire month of events

alabama hosts scary events throughout octoberThroughout October, the state of Alabama in the United States will celebrate its haunted past with a variety of events, including ghost walks, story-telling festivals, and a moonlit tour of Old Cahawba, a historic ghost town.

Here are some of the scheduled events:

7th Annual “Historic Haunts Walk”
Athens, Alabama (Oct 4, 12, 14, 19)

This spooky walk will begin at the Houston Library and includes stories about paranormal activity at twelve local structures. For instance, hear about the girl who fell to her death at Athens University and is still said to wander the halls. Each walk lasts about 90 minutes, with tickets costing $5. For more information, contact Limestone County Tourism at 1-256-232-5411 or Jeanette@visitathensal.com.

Storytellin’ Campfire Talk: Spooks in the Valley
Fort Payne, Alabama (Oct 22)

This free event takes place at the large pavilion in DeSoto State Park. Sit around a campfire and listen to ghostly tales and scary stories. For more information, call 1-256-782-5697.

Ghost Walk & Fall Festival
Thomasville, Alabama (Oct 23)

The Thomasville Arts Council will be acting out some of renowned storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham‘s famous scary stories. There will also be haunted tours, street dancing, a motorcycle poker ride, a car show, and a haunted house. For more information, call the Thomasville Chamber of Commerce at 1-334-636-1542.

To view the complete list of scary events for the month of October, click here.