“He wanted to be near and not near them, he saw them close, he saw them far. Suddenly they were awfully small in too large a room in too big a town and much too huge a world. In this unlocked place, they seemed at the mercy of anything that might break in from the night. Including me, Will thought, including me.” — Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury
There’s a reason why I’m starting this post with a quote from my favorite book by Ray Bradbury – every time I read it, it keeps me up at night. Yes, even knowing how it ends, it seems like every time I’m reading it for the first time. It’s the same with ghost stories and urban legends, no matter how many times you’ve heard them and no matter how many of those times you tell yourself they are not true, they still linger on the back of your mind. It’s the “what if” effect that makes them so delightfully current.
What if you had the nerve to spend Halloween visiting one of those places filled with gruesome History, mysterious events, and unexplained occurrences? Trick or treat…?
Eyam, Derbyshire (United Kingdom)
Wouldn’t it be great to escape to a nice little village, book a stay in a warm and welcoming cottage*, enjoy the crisp morning air of the countryside, sit by the fire at night… and maybe look over your shoulder once you know the story of this place. Eyam, a small village about three and a half hours from London, with a population of approximately 1000 people, is known as “the plague village”.
The story is as gruesome as much as it is heroic: infected by the plague in the mid-1600’s, the villagers decided to quarantine themselves to prevent the disease from spreading to the nearby places. Locals believe that the ghosts still roam the streets at night. Still, how awesome of a story is that?
Junee, New South West (Australia)
Small towns are bound to have more than a handful of ghost stories and haunted houses. Well, that’s part of their charm isn’t it? The Monte Cristo Homestead in Junee, NSW is one of them, and the latest incident happened in 1961 when the gardener was killed by a man obsessed with the movie “Psycho”. I know Hitchcock’s movies usually leave a mark, just not this big…
The “Australia’s Most Haunted House” offers guided ghost tours, of course. They also include dinner, accommodation. and breakfast in the deal – if you’re brave enough to stay until the next morning that is. If you prefer to stay elsewhere in Junee*, you can book the Dinner tour only, just to keep it light.
Dumas Beach, Gujarat (India)
There’s nothing as soothing as gazing at the moon’s reflection in the Ocean while you let your mind wander. But don’t let your guard down just yet at this Indian beach along the Arabian Sea. Well, to be frank, it’s hard to find a completely quiet spot in India, especially at an urban beach like this one. But this one is a tad different. Known as a Hindu cremation ground, locals believe the tormented souls roam the beach at night, which has granted this destination the title of “one of the most haunted places in India”. Catchy isn’t it?
Well, if you came all the way to the beach just to see ghosts (maintenance doesn’t seem to be this spot’s forte), you might as well stay for the night* and explore the nearest city of Surat.
PS – My husband calls it a hoax. I say he’s too scared to accept that it might be real. We both have agreed to disagree; let us know what you’re experience was like when you visit.
Victoria, British Columbia (Canada)
I always felt that a true haunted house has to look majestic as if it had a life of its own. Oh well call me romantic, but the grander the house, the spookier it is. Folks at Craigdarroch Castle don’t seem to be too keen on exploring the “haunted” part of the estate since there are no ghost tours available (at least not advertised) and the whole description of the mansion is around the architectural details of the Victorian building.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t visit with the expectation of seeing the spirit of the dead! Book a nice hotel in Victoria*, spend some quality time in the city, and then book a tour to visit the house – if you’re lucky (and patient), famous ghost Joan might pop up to say hello while you’re lost in the details of the decor. She also plays the piano once in a while, so you might even get access to your own private concert.
Fall River, Massachusetts (USA)
Before I even knew what “America” was, Fall River was a common name around the house. As with a lot of the people in the Azores, most of my family emigrated to the country’s East Coast and, alongside New Bedford, this was probably the second most common destination for them to settle. But I digress. Let’s get back to ghost stories.
For the full scary experience, step right inside the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast. Oh, and it’s also a Museum, they have ghost cams (in case you want to spot something before you book a night), video games… These guys really know how to keep the business running. In 1892, Lizzie allegedly murdered her stepmother and father with an ax in this house. The crime was never solved and she was never found guilty, thus being released after trial to live her life as a free woman until the age of 66 (when she passed away). Maybe the house is just charged with negative energy and guilt.
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