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.
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Historic Haunted Houses
The body of a vampire has been excavated in Bulgaria, the Sofia Globe reports.
Archaeologists excavating at the historic site of Perperikon uncovered the grave of a man weighed down with a ploughshare over his chest. This was a common folk practice to keep a body from rising from its grave as a vampire. The individual was a man aged about 35-40 and he was carrying coins dated to the 13th and 14th century.
The discovery is part of ongoing excavations at Perperikon, an important city in eastern Bulgaria that was occupied from at least 5000 BC through the Middle Ages.
Last year archaeologists found several vampire graves in another part of the country. And these aren’t the first to have been discovered. Usually they have iron stakes or nails through their hearts. Only one other has been found with the ploughshare treatment.
Last week we brought you the story that archaeologists had discovered two vampire graves in Bulgaria. Now one of those skeletons, complete with an iron spike through his chest, is going on display at the National History Museum in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.
The medieval skeleton will be revealed to the public this Saturday. No word yet on how long it will be on view.
Museum head Prof. Bozhidar Dimitrov has tentatively identified the skeleton as a man named Krivich, who was both a pirate and the mayor of the town of Sozopol where he was buried. When the Genoese besieged the town in the 14th century, Krivich bungled the defense. The town was sacked.
When Krivich died, he was punished for his failings in life by being staked through the chest. According to folk belief at the time, this kept him from becoming a vampire or ascending to heaven.
Even if you don’t get a chance to see the dead vampire, the museum is well worth a look. Bulgaria has a rich heritage stretching back to earliest times. I visited the museum when I was excavating a Bronze Age village in Bulgaria and found the collection truly impressive.
In addition to many prehistoric artifacts, there are golden treasures from the Thracian period, fine art from the glory days of the medieval Bulgarian Empire and more modern displays showing the struggle to become independent from the Ottoman Empire.
Besides history, Bulgaria offers beautiful trails in the Balkan Mountains, beaches along the Black Sea and very cool people. It’s a country worth visiting.
[Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons]
Bulgarian archaeologists have discovered two vampire graves in the city of Sozopol on the Black Sea. The burials, which are about 700 years old, were each held down with a massive iron stake through the chest. One vampire was buried in the apse of a church – a spot usually reserved for aristocrats – and showed evidence of multiple stab wounds.
Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of the Bulgarian National Museum of History, says more than a hundred vampire graves have been found in Bulgaria. He says that most suspected vampires were aristocrats or clergy. Interestingly, none were women.
One possible explanation for the vampire myth comes from anthropologist Paul Barber in his book “Vampires, Burial, and Death.” He posits the vampire legend started because people didn’t know how bodies decomposed. Rigor mortis is only temporary. After a few days the muscles ease up and expanding gases in the body will actually shift it within the coffin. Blood seeps out of the mouth and the face and belly get a flushed and puffy look. So. . .a guy dies, they bury him, and shortly thereafter several more people die. The villagers decide the first guy is a vampire, and when they open up his grave they find he’s moved, looks fat and flush with life, and has bloody teeth. When you drive a stake through a body filled with corpse gas it lets out a shriek.
There are several good vampire attractions in Europe, such as Dracula’s Castle in Romania, the Vampire Museum in Paris and Highgate Cemetery in London, scene of a wave of vampire sightings in the 1970s.
Vampires have long captured the imagination. Vampire stories were popular in the nineteenth century and some of the best early horror films are vampire tales. “Nosferatu” (1922), a still of which is shown here in the Wikimedia Commons image, sticks close to the Bram Stoker novel. A different take can be found in the film “Vampyr” (1932). Both monsters are spooky, kick-ass killers, not the angsty pretty-boy teens of today’s vampire craze. As Bart Simpson once said, “Girls ruin everything, even vampires!”
Baltimore’s most famous literary landmark may close next year due to budget cuts.
The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum hasn’t received money from the city for two years. Since that time it’s managed to limp along on private contributions, but they aren’t enough to keep it afloat. Now the curator says if something isn’t done, the museum will probably close in June 2012.
Although the museum gets around 5,000 visitors a year, the money they spend doesn’t cover its $85,000 annual operating budget.
Poe lived in the house from 1832 to 1835 and wrote several stories there, including Ms. Found in a Bottle and Berenice–A Tale.
The Edgar Allen Poe Society of Baltimore gives a more detailed description of the problem and has started an online petition that already has more than 6,000 signatories, including mine. I’d be proud to have your name next to mine on the list.
The Poe house has been in danger before. Back in 1941 the Society saved the house from demolition, and now some local businesses and artists are raising money to keep the museum going. Perhaps readers will rally once again to save a piece of horror history.
[Photo courtesy Midnightdreary]