by Mary Wimmer
Skip the games at your local pumpkin patch and go for the thrills and chills of any of these spine-tingling destinations. Even if you don’t glimpse a ghost, you’ll come home with a fascinating history lesson – and more than a few scary stories.Top Six Spookiest Travel Destinations in the World
Like moths to a flame, paranormal enthusiasts flock to the state of Massachusetts every year to visit the coastal city of Salem, near Boston. Famed for its witch trials of 1692, during which several locals were executed for practicing witchcraft, a visit to the Witch House is a must for fright-seekers. It’s the former home of Judge Jonathan Corwin and is the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the witch trials.
Then there’s the home of the infamous Lizzie Borden, who hacked her parents to death with an axe, in Fall River, MA. There's also the Bridgewater Triangle, which is believed to be the site of prolific paranormal phenomena, from poltergeists to UFOs.
Italy has been inspiring gothic literature for hundreds of years, with numerous horror writers setting some of their most famous works here. Head south toward the heel of Italy’s “boot” to see why. The country’s antique ports and ruined castles are eerie in all of the right ways. Visit the city of Otranto and its famous Cathedral that houses the truly ghastly spectacle of some 800 human skulls – victims of a 15th century massacre by invading Ottoman forces.
Then visit the city’s baroque Castle, whose gloomy architecture launched the entire gothic fiction genre as the setting of Horace Walpole's 18th century novel The Castle of Otranto.
It may be a lively metropolis by day, but when the sun sets there are few better cities to get your spook on than Buenos Aires. After all, it’s the city whose most famous attraction is a cemetery. The Recoleta Cemetery is the burial site of Eva (Evita) Peron and the eternal home to no less than 26 past Argentine presidents. Fittingly, ghost stories abound – but none perhaps more ghastly than the tale of the “Girl Who Died Twice.”
Visit the tomb of Rufina Cambaceres as you dwell on the story of how she died: accidentally buried alive after falling into a coma...Then visit the downtown Obelisk, said to be haunted by the spirit of a worker who plunged to his death while working on its construction.
It may be the city of love, but just below its romantic streets lies a subterranean city of the dead. Opened in the 18th century, the Paris Catacombs is one of the largest graveyards on record, a tunnel network of more than 3000 km that houses the skeletal remains of six million people in a maze of dark passageways. There are even a few skeletons that aren’t meant to be there, like that of one Philibert Aspairt, whose body was found in 1804 – almost a decade after he disappeared in the Catacombs.
A visit to the Montmartre Cemetery and the Vampire Museum will round out your French fright fest.
Any city as steeped in history as London will be home to ghosts and ghouls galore. Especially when history has been less than kind: this city has survived crazed kings, the Black Plague and the Great Fire, to name just a few historical horrors. Visit London's most notorious prison and execution site in days of yore, the Tower of London. Young princes Edward V and Richard of York, as well as Arabella Stuart and the famously decapitated Anne Boleyn are just a few of the apparitions you may encounter.
Take a Jack the Ripper tour and roam the streets the killeronce stalked, before you visit the city’s other haunted attractions like the London Dungeon and Hampton Court Palace. For the bravest among us seeking a truly spooky Halloween, the U.K. capital does not disappoint.
No list of spooky stops is complete without mentioning Transylvania. Long established in popular imagination as a place where vampires, werewolves and the souls of the dead haunt malevolent forests, this city’s scary reputation lives up every bit to the hype. Take a tour of Bran Castle to see Bram Stoker’s inspiration for Dracula. While the castle may not be as frightening without Vlad the Impaler on site in the flesh, both the brutal medieval history of the area and the folklore of the surrounding countryside are enough to give you the chills.
Then take a stroll through Hoia Forest, a popular spot for ghost-hunters thanks to the apparitions, disappearances, and other strange goings-ons through the centuries. And if you’re feeling especially brave, consider a midnight stroll right through to the “Devil’s Heart,” a mysterious clearing at the very centre of the forest. Who knows what could be waiting for you there…
Get set for a hair-raising and heart-racing Halloween holiday. Beat the crowds to the spine-tingling destination of your choice when you plan early and book with CAA Travel!
Just speak to your CAA Travel Professional to get the inside scoop on the best destinations to fit your travel needs and budget, as well as insurance plans and more. Call CAA Travel at 613-820-1890 or 1-800-267-8713, or visit your nearest CAA Travel Store.