Backpackers beware: from the Bermuda Triangle to Loch Ness and the Roswell Desert, the world is a strange and unpredictable place.
Traveling – that great journey into the unknown – can sometimes be a pretty scary experience, too. And we’re not just talking about the departures lounge at Heathrow Airport…
Set in a creepy, old Scottish castle, Carbisdale is an authentic, haunted hostel. The grounds are rumored to be visited by a mysterious lady in white, while the mournful wail of the bagpipes are said to be heard from time to time. But of the piper there’s no sign…
Its setting – on a rocky outcrop overlooking a stunning river valley – is incredibly dramatic. And the Highlands of Scotland, although beautiful, are bleak and lonely, a region of windswept moors, still lochs and whispering forests.
The Ghost Towns of California
There’s something uniquely eerie about the deserted towns, or ‘ghost towns’ scattered across America. And the back roads and dirt tracks of California are dotted with such atmospheric places.
While Bodie (pictured) may be the most visited, there are dozens of other places where, after the gold dried up, one by one the inhabitants moved away. These days, the crumbling porches and empty boardwalks have been left to the elements and the bouncing tumbleweed.
The Vampire Vacation: Sighisoara, Romania
There could be no more suitable place to spend Halloween than in Transylvania (or Wallachia, depending on who you listen to!), Romania. But as everyone knows, Bram Stoker’s fictional Count Dracula was actually based on a real historical figure – Vlad Tepes, known as ‘Vlad the Impaler’ for his less than pleasant habit of impaling his unfortunate victims on stakes…
Several sites stand out for horror fans: the atmospheric Bran Castle and Poenaria Castle – both of which were once home to the bloodthirsty Count – and the stunning medieval town of Sighisoara, which was believed to have been his birthplace.
The Salem Witch Trials
The Massachusetts town of Salem is one of the big destinations on the supernatural map of the world. Although Europe saw its fair share of burnings, duckings and hangings, few cases of witchcraft have captured the popular imagination like the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
These days, though, the town is quiet. Salem – an excellent daytrip from Boston – makes a fascinating (and troubling) reminder of a time when fear and superstition played a more immediate role in people’s everyday lives.
The Monster of the Deep: Loch Ness, Scotland
Scotland’s bursting with myths, legends and stories of the occult. But none are more mysterious than that of the Loch Ness Monster. The deep, fresh water lake of Loch Ness has been the scene of many sightings of ‘Nessie’, the world’s most famous monster.
Like Carbisdale Castle, (just a little further north), Loch Ness is also an incredibly evocative place – even without the Monster. On its shores stand the ruins of Urquhart Castle while nearby is Boleskine House, once home to the infamous Satanist, Aleister Crowley.
The Night in a Prison Cell: Karosta Prison Hostel, Latvia
There are few buildings as troubling as an old prison. Given their near-perfect suitability for the job, though, it’s hardly surprising that the world of hostels is full of former jailhouses that have been converted into accommodation for backpackers.
Karosta Prison Hostel, however, is the real deal. And pretty scary it is, too! You can spend a night on a wooden plank bed, or even, (should you be so inclined), go for their ‘Extreme Night’ where you get to be treated like an actual prisoner for the night…
The Hunt for Bigfoot: Canada
Throughout the northernmost reaches of North America tales persist of Bigfoot, or the Sasquatch. Countless hunters, trappers and loggers insist on having seen a large, hairy ape-like creature out in the wilds of British Columbia, particularly.
Ultimately, though, only one thing’s certain: Canada is a vast expanse of practically unexplored forests and mountains. Who can say for sure exactly what might be living there?
Have you got any stories of ‘haunted hostels’ or spooky places to stay? Let us know.
Not going away this Halloween? Scare yourself silly with our travel horror movies selection!