Creepy Catacombs in Paris
Since the season of the supernatural is in full swing, with Halloween and other celebrations around the world, we thought we’d offer up a short list of destinations with a spooky bent … places with the potential to make your hair stand on end during a visit. Travel at your own risk!
#1 – Catacombs Museum, Paris: In the middle of the 19th century, the masters of the great rebuilding of Paris encountered the slight problem of how to stabilize the massive structures and grand boulevards being built to make the great city. One of the architects’ answers: Dig up graves and use human bones as building materials. What could go wrong?
They say the spirits of the disturbed souls still haunt the Paris underworld, and ghost hunters have been drawn to the area ever since. A small portion of the creepy catacombs is open to the public as a museum (you’ll find the museum’s web page HERE), but spirit seekers claim hundreds of secret entrances and tombs are spread across the city. Reports of apparitions go hand in hand with their explorations.
Haunted history at Edinburgh Castle
#2 – Edinburgh Castle, Scotland: Paranormal researchers have been drawn to Scotland since the study of the supernormal became recognized science, and for good reason. The country’s history is littered with massive battles, countless tortured prisoners of warring factions of all sorts, death by disease and plague, and general torment and torture.
The haunted heartbeat of Scotland is Edinburgh Castle, site of more than 900 years of conflict and inconsonance. Left over, according to many with a particular supernatural interest, are cavernous rooms and vacuous vaults cool with spirits, known to rattle the walls and make themselves known to those of us dwelling among the living.
A tour that you can book HERE hits all the highlights of Edinburgh, including a visit to the castle.
#3 – Transylvania, Romania: What list of haunted destinations would be complete without including the mythical home of the fictional Dracula? Travelers to the Transylvania region of Romania might be a bit disappointed if they’re looking for gothic haunted castles and mystic mountaintop fortresses, though. While the medieval era is still remarkably preserved in the seven-town region, it’s more of a holiday destination these days – with sun-soaked meadows, ski resorts, and quaint villages that hearken to the 12th century.
Vampire hunters can get their fix, however, at Dram Castle near the city of Brasov. (Click HERE for the castle’s web page.) Vlad the Impaler, the man upon whom the fable is based, reportedly stayed at the castle for a short stint back in the blood-thirsty day.
England's crown jail, the Tower of London
#4 – Tower of London, England: The place that has served for centuries as the prison for the English crown, and been the site of countless beheadings over the ages, is a no-brainer for our list. (Couldn’t resist the obvious pun …) Among the tower’s most famous temporary residents said to still haunt the place are Ann Boleyn, Thomas Beckett, Henry VI and Sir Walter Raleigh.
The tower is one of the stops on THIS great tour, which takes in many of the best historic and modern sites in London.
#5 – St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.: It’s fitting that the oldest incorporated city in the U.S. would have perhaps the country’s richest haunted history as well. The city itself has an old feel – with cobblestone streets, architecture reminiscent of eras past, and remnants of battles and conflicts you won’t find anywhere else stateside. Of the dozens of spots in town where the paranormal has been reported to pop in, three sites so frequently frazzle the nerves of visitors that they can actually be classified as “haunted.”
First, the Castillo de San Marcos, or “The Old Fort,” is one of the most recognizable tourist draws in Saint-A. First built in 1672, soldiers and watchmen who met their doom here over countless battles still roam the grounds, according to believers who have witnessed their presence.
Saint-A's Old Fort
Next, visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse, a magnet for the unexplained over the years. Strange sounds continue to rattle the walls, recently captured on tape by some of the world’s leading ghost hunters. Many attribute all the paranormal activity to a tragic accident that happened during construction in 1873, among other ill history at the place.
Lastly, the city’s Old Jail is perhaps its spookiest spot. Local legend Henry Flagler opened the jail in 1891, and in a strangely karmic nod, designed it to resemble the finest seaside hotels of the day. It, in fact, was as far from plush as possible; the humid heat and harsh conditions made the place one of the most punitive a prisoner could find in their day. Scores met their end by noose, and the gallows are still around today. More than 90 years of brutal punishment seems to have manifested itself in the modern metaphysical influence on the place, not lost on the many visitors who have reported more than an uneasy sense while visiting.
A great way to see the old city is by hopping on or off the sightseeing trolley, which is included in a tour you can book HERE.