Monday, October 31, 2011

Spooky Travel Destinations!

Call me a Halloween Scrooge. Since I was a young girl I've never been a fan of Halloween. I hated the feeling of putting my hand into a pumpkin, pulling it out full of slime. I didn't like the idea of dressing up in a costume (especially since I usually had to cover it up with my winter jacket before heading out into the chilly October air). And most of all, I never liked going door to door begging for candy. I am however a fan of spooky tales and I do believe in spirits! Not gruesome, gory tales and crazy, violent spirits but tales that take us back in history and the sad, distressing stories that go along with them. I believe the spirits are for the most part good, just misunderstood. They want to share their story with us and not be forgotten. Below are some great options to travel to some wonderful destinations and experience some spook of your own!

Queen Mary
Originally launched in 1934, Cunard’s historic ship served as a luxury cruise liner and a WWII transport ship. It is now permanently docked as a floating hotel and museum and is reputed to have a host of resident ghosts. One tale is of a young seaman by the name of John Henry who lied about his age to secure a position on the Queen Mary.  He was crushed to death while trying to flee a fire. To this day, knocks and bright lights can be heard around engine room 13 where John Henry met his tragic death. It's even been reported that the door to the engine room is sometimes hot to the touch or that mixed in with a ball of light is tendrils of smoke.

The pool area is also a place of many sightings. As one story goes a girl from third class thought she'd have some fun and slide down the banister but a sudden wave upset her course and she broke her neck on the fall. She now wanders the pool area and nursery looking for her doll or mommy. There's also been reported sightings of ladies in vintage clothes wandering the ares as there were two other women who met their untimely deaths in this area. Retired from service since 1967 and permanently moored in Long Beach, California, The Queen Mary offers many different options and to experience this fascinating, huge old ship with a rich history. But beware: there are so many hauntings that some parts of the ship are now barred from the public!

Bermuda Triangle
Keeping with the theme of maritime haunts, the Bermuda Triangle is no stranger to tragedies at sea. Otherwise known as The Devil's Triangle, and not really a 'destination', you won't find it on any official map. It refers to an area of sea between Florida and Puerto Rico where mysterious and unexplainable events have occurred over the years.  Dozens of planes, people and ships (including a whole fleet of US Navy Bombers in the 1940s), have been said to have disappeared from this area.  It's up for debate whether this area and the mysterious disappearances are fact or fiction. Check it out for yourself if you dare!

Tower of London
It's not surprising that a 900 year old structure harbors mementos of all those that have passed through its walls. The Tower of London was once the site of a prison and execution area where countless inhabitants met their demise. Some of the spirits are common folks while others are quite famous. The ghosts of Sir Walter Raleigh and a decapitated Ann Boleyn are just two of the famous specters to said to have appeared in the tower over the years.

Savannah, Georgia
The southern town of Savannah, Georgia has earned the phrase 'America’s Most Haunted City.' Many ghosts of the Civil War dead are said to linger around the homes and buildings that populate the area. With a history of Revolutionary and Civil War bloodshed, fire and disease, it is easy to believe that ghosts roam the cobblestone streets of Georgia’s oldest city. Supposedly several areas of the city are built over old cemeteries and supernatural legends abound. Several bed and breakfast establishments boast resident ghosts – one of the creepiest haunted houses in Savannah is the 1851 Marshall House that was once a Civil War hospital. Ghost hunters up for some “fright-seeing” just might find what they are looking for on a nighttime ghost walk, a haunted pub crawl or a visit to the moss-draped oaks of the creepy Bonaventure Cemetery. Just a few examples which proves why with good reason, Savannah has earned her reputation!

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Given the number of tragic deaths that occurred on the Gettysburg Battlefields during the Civil War, it’s easy to believe that the ghosts of some soldiers are still hanging around the hallowed grounds. There are an abundance of ghost tours that tell visitors of repeated battlefield sightings of soldier apparitions that disappear and sounds of snorting horses that don’t exist. Visitors to the Cashtown Inn Bed and Breakfast have found their bags packed in the morning, while the innkeeper denies any employee foolery; and ghostly children have been seen playing at the Jenny Wade house. Best place to visit - Devil's Den. Visitors of this historic area have reported malfunctioning cameras developing images that weren't actually there, or tourists that have taken pictures of the grassy field but see only black when the film is developed. Yikes!

New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans spooky history tells a more sinister tale – one seeped in voodoo and black magic. Marie Laveaux was a powerful and feared voodoo queen who lived, cursed and died in New Orleans. Visit her house, her shop and her tomb – all of which are said to have some kind of paranormal activities going on. The haunted LaLaurie House in the French Quarter of New Orleans has a sad history. When a fire broke out at the house in 1834, many slaves were trapped. Some were chained and beaten and it was even said that some were used for science experiments. Their ghosts often reappear and have been seen on the balcony of the house. Walk the streets of the lower French Quarter at night and you just might find yourself believing in ghosts!

Transyvalania, Romania
Vampires are pretty spooky creatures ~ and I'm not talking about the Cullens here ~ so what could be spookier than a visit to their birthplace – Transylvania, Romania? During the 14th century, the famed (and fanged) vampire king himself, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (otherwise known as Dracula or Vlad the Impaler), called this place home. He was said to have impaled thousands at a time, between 40,000 to 100,000 Europeans, sometimes making their agonizing torture go on for months before death would claim them. Not a place I'll be visiting anytime soon...I'll take Forks, Washington and team Jacob for me!

I realize it's a little late in the game this year to get yourself and your family to another town for some spirit hunting, but how about this? Send the kids out trick-or-treating with Dad and turn off the front lights. Pour yourself a spirit of your own, sit down to watch a nice, romantic comedy and enjoy a few hours of peace and quiet! Now THAT'S a Happy Halloween!  Until next time....

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