Five haunted attractions for Halloween: options around the world

Halloween is the one day a year we seek fear rather than try to avoid it. We invite the prospect of ghosts, witches and vampires, and even if we concede that they aren’t real, it’s fine to suspend disbelief for a day. To heighten the sensation, consider wrapping your next trip in the Halloween spirit. There are plenty of destinations around the world that will help the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end.

1. Melbourne’s Haunted Bookshop
Ghost-hunter and historian Drew Sinton is waiting for you at The Haunted Bookshop in Melbourne, Australia. If you’re not afraid of the written word, this starting point won’t scare you, but along the way, you’ll hit a number of spots where ghosts have been sighted. Old Melbourne Goal (jail, that is) was home to 135 hangings. One of them, Ned Kelly, is said to have resulted in a ghost that won’t leave the site of his demise. While you’re there, walk the road to the gallows. If this isn’t enough for you, look for nutty ghosts on the Beechworth Ghost Tour at what was once the Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum.

2. Under the Royal Mile
Beneath Edinburgh‘s Royal Mile, you’ll find a warren of hidden “closes” where people once lived, worked … and perished. Mary King’s Close, once abandoned and forgotten, is now open via the Supernatural History Tour. Explore one of Scotland’s most haunted locations, get the scoop on urban myths and hear about sightings that occurred as recently as 2003. A few claim to have felt ghosts brush past on this tour. Will you be one of them?

3. Follow New France’s Great Master
Old Montreal‘s cobblestone streets set the scene for any supernatural encounter. The sun goes down; the wind blows off the river. You don’t know what’s gust and what’s ghost! History is the breeding ground of the other-worldly, and the Great Master will take you through the century’s that have contributed to what is now the “New France Ghost Hunt.”

4. The Darker Side of Luxury
No, you won’t have to worry about peasant uprisings, but if you’re looking for paranormal trouble, you can find it at a handful of Fairmont hotels. At the Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa (where I suffered through a business trip from hell a decade ago), keep an eye open for Victoria, a now deceased member of one of the founding families of the Sonoma Valley. A former steward, now dead, of course, hangs out in the silver room at the Fairmont Royal York, and a hotel maid who fell to her death in 1908 has yet to leave the Fairmont Empress.

5. The Ghastly Side of Downtown Orlando
I’m sure there’s something going on at Disneyworld, but skip it in favor of downtown Orlando (my favorite part of Florida). On the Orlando Ghost Tours, you’ll get two hours to pick up the basics of parapsychology and poke around in locations confirmed to be haunted. You’ll even get to use specialized equipment to conduct your own paranormal investigation. Who you gonna call? After this, probably yourself.

Sleep with a ghost this Halloween

Most people steer clear of anything rumored “haunted,” but some curious supernaturalists seek these places out. Bedandbreakfast.com has a list of over 100 haunted inns in the United States, as well as a long list of Halloween specials for paranormal enthusiasts.

Visitors to the Honeybee Inn B&B in Horicon, Wisconsin (pictured) may feel the presence of a former resident named Coton and his female companions. The rocking chair where he died is said to rock on its own, and the owners have reported sightings of a female spirit.

The Black Horse Inn in Warrenton, Virginia is home to four spirits: a Civil War nurse who laughs in the ears of male guests, a dancing gentleman whose tapping steps can be heard throughout the night at the top of the stairs, a gentle ghost who simply likes to sit in one room, leaving impressions in the bedspread, and a Christmas poltergeist, who enjoys knocking over the Christmas tree each year.

Emerson Inn by the Sea in Rockport, Massachusetts is said to be haunted by Ralph Waldo Emerson himself, who turns on and off the lights and appears to guests as a shadowy figure. Emerson was a former guest of this inn — perhaps it was such an inspiring place that he keeps returning.

These are just some of the dozens of ghost stories available at Bedandbreakfast.com. Find a haunted inn near you when you visit this page, and let us know if you see or hear anything spooky!

Haunted Hotels to Get Your Halloween Freak On At

Are you into the supernatural, the kind of person who chases ghosts and spirits? If so, well … I don’t really know what to say except why?!?! That stuff totally freak me out. But to each their own.

And if you are a ghost-lover, you probably love Halloween too. But this Halloween, instead of doing some un-scary like going to a costume party or doing a pub-crawl, why not spend a night in a haunted hotel? I bet the rates are cheap because people in their right mind wouldn’t consider it (I kid, I kid … ) Here’s a list of hotels where the guests or employees never left, including:

  • The Admiral Fell Inn in Baltimore: Once a hospice, the night nurse is purportedly still on shift.
  • The Driskill Hotel in Austin: A senators daughter came crashing to her death her and is still supposedly playing with her ball in the hallways.
  • The Hawthorne Hotel in Salem: This hotel is home to a sad — but unidentified — young woman in suite 612.
  • The Hotel Galvez in Galveston: A young widow, who committed suicide after learning that her husbands ship had sunk, still keeps watch on the fifth floor.
  • Blennerhassett Hotel, Parkersville Parkersburg, West Virginia: Cigar smoke of an unknown source wafts through the halls here. Many believe it belongs to the hotels founder.

Want to find out where the other haunted hotels are? Read the full article.

Haitian Voodoo Pilgrimage

VoodooHere is one that may not tickle the fancy of all on this particular Sunday morning and could have possibly been a topic on the recently past Friday the 13th, but I discovered the news yesterday and found the time to explore it more and pass it on to interested arm-chair traveling minds today. So…

CBS News recently ran a piece on the annual Voodoo pilgrimage made by Haitians to an area called Souvenance complete with a small photo gallery of people with their eyes rolled back, women dressed in white and some even smeared with the blood of a freshly sacrificed chicken or animal. While the article is short it packs in enough to give you goose-pimples and provide some insight on this West African ritual. The Souvenance area sits 90-miles north of the capital city, Port-au-Prince and the ceremonies which take place for five days began last Sunday on Easter. Voodoo is one of three constitutionally recognized religions in the country and although the event seems to have passed it is practiced like any other on a regular basis.

After reading the brief summary of the event I went in search of some other sites with more information. Haiti Surf has additional Voodoo ceremony photos as well as more general pics relating to the country. Below the gallery one can learn of black magic, the ancient traditions and beef up your voodoo vocabulary with words such as houngan or mambo – meaning priest or priestess. We Haitians also includes a couple of pictures from the pilgrimage back in 2004 along with other news worthy events taking place at the time.