If you’re looking to get away this Halloween, you might think of New Orleans, renowned for its associations with voodoo or black magic, or Salem in Massachusetts as the home of the most infamous witch trials in US history. There is no shortage of places across the globe to give you a case of the Halloween shivers.
Stanley Hotel, Colorado, USA
This hotel is the inspiration for The Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s novel The Shining. It may not boast a psychic boy or promise Jack Nicholson rampaging through the corridors, but staff are convinced the hotel is haunted. Various rooms have their own resident ghost, and room 214, where King stayed when he conceived his terrifying tale, has a full library of the author’s work to add to the atmosphere.
Bell Witch Cave, Tennessee, USA
The Bell Witch is said to have inspired the movie The Blair Witch Project. The story dates back to the 19th century when John Bell and his family claimed to have been tormented by their neighbour Kate Batts. Her influence is still felt today and you can visit the Bell Witch Caves, where cold spots and mysterious blackouts are accompanied by a failure of electronic equipment, a sense of being watched and a feeling of paralysis for many visitors.
Oudewater Witches Weighhouse, Utrecht, The Netherlands
If you’re worried about what your travels are doing to you, you might want to visit the Museum de Waag, better known as the Heksenwaag (Witches Weighhouse). This was traditionally where merchants weighed their goods, but it was also used to publicly weigh people accused of witchcraft. Witches were believed to weigh very little – hence their ability to fly on broomsticks – and the museum will still allow people to take the traditional test and provide a certificate as proof.
The Catacombs, Paris, France
The 3000km network of tunnels runs under most of the city; during the Revolution as public burial pits were overflowing, the bones of six million people were transferred to the catacombs. The site of all those bones is not for the faint of heart, but it is a truly unique experience. It provides a chance to see the bones of renowned figures from the French Revolution such as Marat and Robespierre packed in alongside fellow citizens in an unnerving, but certainly egalitarian manner.
Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
There have been reports of everything from screams and mysterious footsteps to a range of ghostly apparitions throughout the castle. The building has a bloody history and so it’s no surprise that so many legends are associated with it. Some ghosts have sad stories, such as ill-treated soldiers, but that’s not all. Lady Anne Barnard who lived in the castle in 1797, simply wants to join any parties that take place. With so many tourists visiting the castle each year to experience the spooky goings on for themselves, she won’t be short of social engagements.
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