Halloween is celebrated all around the world. Contrary to popular belief, Halloween actually began in Ireland not the USA. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The night before was known as All Hallows’ Eve which later became Halloween. If you are thinking about celebrating Halloween this year why not visit one of the 13 most scary destinations to celebrate halloween around the world for a real spooky experience.
The 13 scariest destinations to celebrate halloween around the world:
1 The Island of Dolls, Mexico
I don’t know about you but dolls terrify me. So when I found out about Mexico’s island of dolls I did my research with my hands covering my eyes. Just picture an island covered with hundreds of hanging decomposing and decapitated dolls and you get the picture.
The legend goes that over fifty years ago, Don Julian Santana left his wife and child and moved onto an island on Teshuilo Lake in the Xochimilco canals. According to Don Julian Santana he witnessed a young girl drowning in the lake. Now most others, including his relatives, say Don Julian Santana merely imagined the drowned girl. Whatever the truth is, Don Julian Santana devoted his life to this lost soul in a very bizarre way by collecting hundreds of dolls and hanging them up all over the island. Where the story gets really interesting is when they discovered Don Julian Santana drowned in almost the same spot he claimed the young girl died.
2. Leap Castle, Ireland
How about spending some time at the most haunted castle in the world? Leap Castle in County Offaly, Ireland is visited by thousands of people each year who to try to meet some of the castle’s spookier inhabitants, some of which are the “It” creature. “It” is a creature which is small, about the size of a sheep and has a decaying face. It is believed that when “It” appears, it is accompanied by the smell of sulphur and the smell of a decaying corpse. How terrifying is that?
There has been quite a few other sightings of ghosts here. The Red Lady has been seen carrying in a dagger in her hand and raising it in a menacing manner, as if wanting to stab someone. Then there is the two young girls who have been seen and heard playing in Leap Castle. They are often seen by castle visitors playing in the hall and running up and down the stairs.
Whoever you see I am quite sure it will be a memorable experience.
3. Pluckley Village, England
Pluckley Village in Kent, England has been described as the most haunted village in England. There are meant to be 12 to 16 ghosts wandering around the place, some of which include a screaming man who may have worked at the village brickworks and fallen to his death, a schoolmaster found hanging by children and a highwayman said to have been killed with a sword and pinned to a tree.
My favourite tale though is of the old woman who used to sit on a bridge, smoking her pipe, drinking gin and selling watercress she had collected nearby. This old woman is supposed to have burnt to death when, saturated in gin, she accidentally set herself alight on the bridge where she sat each day. They always said drinking too much gin could kill you!
I couldn’t think of a better place in England to spend a dark cold October night celebrating Halloween.
4. Hunedoara or Corvin Castle, Romania
This castle in Romania has a bloody history. In the yard, near a 15th-century chapel, there is a well 30 meters deep. According to the legend, this fountain was dug by 3 Turkish prisoners to whom freedom was promised if they reached water. After 15 years of digging they finally completed the well, but their captors did not keep their promise. It is said that the inscription on a wall of the well means “you have water, but not soul”. Experts, however, have translated the inscription as “he who wrote this inscription is Hasan, who lives as a slave of the giaours, in the fortress near the church”.
Vlad the Impaler was also a prisoner at Corvin Castle. Held in the cell below ground, he had to endure harsh conditions and eat rats in order to survive. Some even go as far as to claim that, during this time, he lost his mind and became Dracula, the terrible bloodthirsty ruler. No wonder there are sightings of ghosts in this place!
5. Aokigahara, Japan
So it turns out that two of my favourite places on Earth, San Francisco and Japan hold the unwanted titles of being the most popular places to commit suicide. The Aokigahara Forest in Japan is where lots of businessmen go to take their own lives. When the financial crash happened a lot of businessmen were put under huge strain and unfortunately, the pressure got to them.
Japanese spiritualists believe that the suicides committed in the forest have permeated Aokigahara’s trees, creating paranormal activity and preventing many who enter from escaping the forest’s depths. I have a forest near where I live and I love visiting it for walks but there is no way you would get me in there at night, nevermind a forest that is meant to have ghosts!
6. Stanley Hotel, USA
This hotel in Colorado, USA is the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s novel “The Shining”. Now if you have read the book or watched Stanley Kubrick’s film you will know that this is a hotel that you really wouldn’t want to stay the night in. Amazingly you can as it is still in business. In fact you can book to sleep in their most haunted room 217 (book early as it is very popular). This is the room Stephen King slept in hence why it is so popular.
Guests have said that they have seen people in the hallways and then hiding, and that children could be heard running and playing on the floors above them and cupboard doors being unlocked and opened in their rooms. I would love to stay here, only in the hope that some of Stephen King’s magic rubs on me.
7. Sedlec Ossuary: Kutna Hora, Czech Republic
The church of bones or Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel located beneath a cemetery church in Sedlec the Czech Republic. The chapel is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. Many of the bones are from people who died during the black death in the 14th century. If the thought of spending Halloween night with the bones of 70,000 people around you gets you excited then this is the place for you!
8. Vodnjan mummies: Vodnjan, Croatia
In the quiet village of Vodnjan lies the parish church of St Blaise. It is a church that has had scientists excited for a while as it is the resting place of six mummified saints, one dating back to the 12th century. The big mystery is that there is no evidence of any embalming treatments on the mummies, the saints seem to have been preserved naturally. This nature-defying spectacle makes for a rather creepy sight. The desiccated, almost wooden-looking bodies lie in gold-rimmed coffins and one of them – St Nicolosa – is considered to be the best preserved mummy in Europe. Where would you rather sleep if you had the chance, with all the bones in the Czech Republic or with these mummies in Croatia?
9. The “Zombies” of Haiti
You can’t have a good Halloween without having some zombies thrown in. For many people, both in Haiti and elsewhere, zombies are very real. They are not a joke; they are something to be taken seriously. Belief in magic and witchcraft is widespread throughout Haiti, the Caribbean, and Africa often in the form of religions such as voodoo and santeria. Haitian zombies were said to be people brought back from the dead through magical means by voodoo priests called bokors or houngan.
In the voodoo religion, which is said to be practiced or believed by 80 to 90 percent of Haitians, it is said that there are two ways a person can die, either by natural means such as sickness, or by unnatural means such as murder. Those who died unnatural deaths were said to have souls that were particularly vulnerable to the witchcraft of voodoo sorcerers, who would entrap the souls in bottles or earthenware jars called zombi astral and use them to control the undead body, which was referred to as the zombi cadavre.
I don’t know what is more frightening, the myth of the zombie or the fact that a lot of people around the world believe they exist.
10. Kisiljevo, Serbia
This small village of 800 people in Serbia has one of my favourite myths on this list. In 1725, a resident of the village named Petar Plogojowitz passed away, and in the next eight days, nine deaths occurred. The nine who died had said on their deathbeds that they had been throttled—by Plogojowitz’s corpse!
Priests descended on the village to investigate, and roughly 40 days after Plogojowitz had died, they exhumed his grave. Strangely, his beard and nails still seemed to be growing, and there were signs of new skin. When a stake was plunged into his body, it was reported that fresh blood spurted from his ears and mouth, a horrible scream arose, and his skin turned black. At that point, the murders ceased. This is one of the earliest “Vampire” stories ever recorded.
11. The Screaming Tunnel, Ontario, Canada
Tunnels always give me the creeps, I suppose it stems from all the films and tv shows I have seen where bad things always seem to happen to people in tunnels. Then I read about the Screaming Tunnel in Canada and my fear factor went to another level.
The Screaming Tunnel is a small limestone tunnel, running underneath what once was the Grand Trunk Railway lines located in the northwest corner of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. The local legend is about a young girl who escaped a nearby burning house covered in flames. She ran into the tunnel screaming and subsequently died, hence the name the screaming tunnel.
People say if you stand in the middle of the tunnel at night and strike a match, the spirit of the girl will become so frightened she’ll penetrate the void between our world and the dead with her screams.
A gust a wind will then blow through the tunnel and extinguish the flame. This is what draws droves of thrill-seekers to the Screaming Tunnel every year. Would you go?
12. Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, Victoria, Australia
Located in the beautiful town of Beechworth, just a few hours from Melbourne is the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum one of the most popular spots for ghost hunters in Australia. It opened in 1867 and closed in 1995 making it the 2nd oldest asylum in Victoria. During it’s opening at least 3,000 people died within its walls and we know where there are lots of deaths there are normally legends around them.
One of the ghosts often seen at Beechworth is that of Matron Sharpe, her apparition has been seen in several different parts of the hospital. Matron Sharpe’s ghost has been seen in the former dormitory area, which is now part of Latrobe University’s computer rooms. Witnesses have seen her walking down the granite staircase and into one of the classrooms. Matron Sharpe was apparently very compassionate toward the patients, which is uncharacteristic of the era. You see, not all ghosts are up to mischief. If the idea of spending Halloween in a former lunatic asylum fills you with glee, this is your perfect place.
13. Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh, Scotland
This ancient street in Scotland’s capital dates back to the 16th century where most of its inhabitants died of the plague. It’s most famous resident ghost is of Annie, a ghostly 12 year old who scared the living daylights out of a Japanese psychic in 1992. This lady had been unimpressed by the ghost tour she was on until she arrived at one of the many small rooms. There she was suddenly struck by an overwhelming feeling of sickness, hunger and cold and, when she tried to leave felt the ghastly tug of a ghostly hand on her leg. Imagine that happening to you!
I hope you enjoyed our list. Remember they are all just legends. What I find interesting is the fact that in all corners of the globe, no matter the religion or culture there always seems to be ghost stories. Do you have a local ghost legend you would like to share with us? Leave a comment below. Thanks and enjoy your Halloween.