It is once again that time of year when we coat ourselves in face paint and fake blood, whilst going out of the way to scare ourselves silly. Combining travel and Halloween is more than possible with these destinations – some are haunted, some are haunting, but all are guaranteed to make you think beyond the land of the living …
1. Hoia Baciu Forest, Romania
This twilight zone is named after a shepherd who entered the forest along with his flock and was never seen again. It could be said that these woods are the Eastern European version of Area 51, there have supposedly been sightings of UFOs and ghosts. The trees also appear to have an otherworldly presence, they have morphed into strange shapes and bear charred branches even though no fire has been reported…
2. Belchite Viejo, Spain
Belchite became a focal battle site as the Spanish Civil War reached its bitter end and as a consequence was left in rubble. The abandoned town still stands today as a monument to those who lost their lives during the concluding years of the conflict. A stones throw away is the ‘new’ Belchite, built in such close proximity to its namesake that those inhabitants who were forced to abandon their old town can still see their former home, creating an air of haunted melancholy.
3. Dragsholm Slot, Denmark
The castle of Dragsholm was built in the 12th century on the Danish island of Zealand, and its heyday played host to noble families and royalty but is nowadays a family-run hotel. The fortress is reputed to be the stomping ground of several ghosts, including the Grey Lady, the White Lady and the Earl of Bothwell. The latter was imprisoned in Dragsholm for five whole years and was allegedly driven to insanity by his incarceration. Ghostbusters poured over the castle and discovered areas that had extraordinarily high levels of electrical activity, let’s hope the guests know what’s in store for them!
4. Ostrich Inn, England
The outwardly innocuous Ostrich Inn harbours a grisly history that is sure to put punters off of their beers. There are whispers that over sixty gruesome murders were committed here in this quiet corner of Buckinghamshire. Many years ago the former freeholders used to bait tired travelers with the offer of a hearty dinner and a comfortable nights sleep, but it turns out that a sleepover at the Inn was far from comfortable. The bed was positioned above a trapdoor, and was built in such a way that the poor soul who chose to lie down would actually drop through the trapdoor directly into a steaming vat of boiling hot water. It’s a grisly tale, and one that is sure to set you on edge as soon as you walk through the door.
5. Poveglia, Italy
This island in the Venetian Lagoon was once used to isolate victims of the bubonic plague, with many thousands of people seeing out their last days here. In fact, the incinerators burned so many bodies that some say half of the soil consists of human remains. Poveglia has the dubious title of being home to one of the largest known mass graves on earth, with fisherman hesitant to cast their nets for fear of catching something untoward. The islands reputation for hauntings stem from the murderous pastime of a doctor who worked in the island’s psychiatric hospital. There are frequent reports of screams and wretched cries.