Dracula’s Castle, Romania
Located in the mountains of the Transylvania region in Romania, Bran Castle has become famed as Dracula’s Castle. Some accounts say that Prince Vlad III was imprisoned in the castle for two months in the mid-1400s. The prince, better known as Vlad the Impaler, inspired Bram Stoker’s famous character.
The castle looks like it’s straight out of Stoker’s novel. Indeed, the author may have based his description on a picture he saw of Bran Castle. Tourists apparently gave the castle its nickname because they thought it looked like Dracula’s Castle should look. The 57-room fortress, built in 1377, eventually became a royal residence.
The castle is open to the public, including on October 31 for a Halloween getaway. More than half a million people visit it each year. There, they discover the similarities between Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Vlad reportedly impaled tens of thousands of his enemies on stakes. That was common practice in medieval Eastern Europe. But in his native Romania, Vlad is celebrated as a military hero who fought off the Ottoman Empire. Ready to go? G Adventures offers a Transylvania Tour complete with a visit to Dracula’s castle.
The city of Salem is famed for something that happened more than 300 years ago. In 1692, Salem tried, convicted and executed 26 people accused of being witches.
Today, Salem makes the most of this heritage all October long. Its annual Haunted Happenings attracts 250,000 visitors. The festival offers a variety of events, including theatre productions, fireworks, costume balls, witches’ circles, street fair and grand parade. There are even movie nights with films such as Ghostbusters.
Don’t miss the Witch House museum as part of your Halloween getaway. It’s the only building left with direct links to the Salem Witch Trials. The former home of Jonathan Corwin, one of the trial judges, it’s now a museum displaying 17th-century life. Visitors take in eerie sights like “witch pins” and a bottle with finger bones. Other museums, including a wax museum, also educate visitors about the town’s spooky past.
Walking tours (some led by modern witches) explore infamous spots including Salem’s earliest cemetery. Not surprisingly, most of the reported hauntings over the years are by people who lost their lives as a result of the trials.
Many of London’s most celebrated attractions have been allegedly haunted for centuries. So it’s a perfect place to consider for a Halloween getaway.
Not surprisingly, many ghosts have been reported at the Tower of London. The best known at the former prison founded in 1066 is Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. She met her end there in 1536.
Visitors to other London landmarks have also observed spirits. Another of Henry VIII’s wives reportedly haunts Hampton Court Palace. Fifth wife Catherine Howard lived at the palace under house arrest before departing this life in 1542.
Westminster Abbey houses more than 3,000 bodies, including 17 monarchs. It also allegedly houses several ghosts. The most frequently viewed is Father Benedictus, a former monk of the abbey. Visitors say they’ve seen him and even had conversations with him.
St. Paul’s Cathedral may be best known as the site of Prince Charles’ wedding to Princess Diana. But in the paranormal world, it’s known as the home to several spirits. The ghost of a whistling clergyman has been reported in the cathedral. The elderly man glides across the chapel, then fades into the wall.
Two Paris attractions are perfect for getting in touch with the Halloween spirit (and spirits). More than one million people have been buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery since it opened in 1804. Celebrities interred at Paris’ largest cemetery include Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Frederic Chopin, Gertrude Stein and Edith Piaf.
A Halloween getaway is a perfect time to explore the cemetery. The colorful leaves falling off trees set a spooky mood. Take a stroll through the 109 acres (44 hectares) and take in the tombstones, mausoleums and statues.
The Paris Catacombs have long fascinated lovers of the paranormal. The underground ossuary was created to store remains from the city’s condemned cemeteries. In the late 1700s, bodies from several burial grounds were relocated in the underground tunnels. Today an estimated six million people rest here.
Open to visitors since 1874, the catacombs attract over one million visitors each year. Some of them say they’ve seen ghosts wandering the underground halls. The catacombs are so haunting that they’ve inspired numerous writers of the macabre, including Edgar Allen Poe.