With the spookiest time of year fast approaching, we explored the top five freakiest and most ghoulish destinations in the world. This list attracts scare-seeking tourists every Halloween; would you be brave enough to visit?
The catastrophe that shook the world in 1986 is still as harrowing for audiences today. The explosive meltdown during an extreme power spike caused more than 350,000 people to be evacuated from radiation-contaminated areas of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Today, Chernobyl is a mere a ghost town with only a few thousands of individuals brave enough to continue to live in the affected areas, which are still permeated with high levels of radiation. It has only been deemed safe for public visits since 2011, yet within the last eight years this spooky, desolate landscape has been drawing people to Ukraine from all over the world. The most common symbol of the disaster is the abandoned Pripyat amusement park, which includes a skeletal, empty Ferris wheel and ghostly, untouched bumper cars.
Dracula’s castle: Transylvania, Romania
Dracula has gone down in history as a trailblazing, horror-influencing villain. The legend of 'Vlad the Impaler' or Dracula, first gained popularity in German speaking countries during the 1400s, when stories of his wickedness began to spread. This story has led to many representations of this character throughout history, most famously portrayed in Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. Bran Castle, otherwise known as Castle Dracula, is based in Transylvania, Romania and now offers Halloween tours of the region. These tours allow Halloween fans to visit the Snagov Monastery, Poienari Castle and Dracula’s castle in Borgo pass. It also provides an after dark, special Halloween party in the biggest medieval castle in Romania, Hunyad Castle. Bloody Marys anyone?
Hoia Baciu Forest: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
A truly terrifying forest in Romania, the Hoia Baciu forest is infiltrated with paranormal activity and boasts a number of reasons to include it on our Halloween-inspired destinations. Mother nature isn’t as graceful in Hoia Baciu, as an unusual feature of the forest is the abnormally shaped trees, which grow out of the ground at hook-shaped angles. Though, the aspect that attracts most horror-hungry individuals is the photo taken in 1968 by a military technician, which seemingly showed an UFO-like object hovering above the forest. Other tourists claim to see the ghost of a young girl that went missing in the forest years ago, whilst others say that they can hear the wind talking to them. This one isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Eastern State Penitentiary: Philadelphia
Abandoned prisons are the pinnacle of all Halloween-inspired locations, however, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is particularly horrific. The castle-like prison was built in 1829 and is renowned for taking solitary confinement to an all-new level. Inmates were forced to live alone, exercise alone, and sleep alone; when a prisoner left his cell, a guard would cover his head with a hood to prevent him seeing or being seen. The prison had to abandon its solitary system due to overcrowding, though the forms of punishment did not get any less severe (for example, chaining an inmate's tongue to his wrists) before it closed for good in 1970. Interestingly, the infamous Al Capone was incarcerated here. The spooky site now welcomes thousands of thrill-seekers every year, both for its museum and ghost tours. There are a number of paranormal happenings that have been reported, including shadowy figures, disembodied laughter and footsteps that pace through the corridors.
Last but definitely not least, let’s discuss Poveglia, commonly known as “Italy’s most haunted island” and has also been dubbed as “Like Hell, but in Italy.” Poveglia is a small island just off the coast of Italy yet is nothing like it’s serene sister isle. Hundreds of years ago when the world was battling the dreaded plague, many people believed that the solution would be to simply ship the plagued people off to Poveglia Island. Since the island was already permeated with death and decay, the next time an epidemic came along, more bodies were quarantined there and burned in mass graves. Eerily, this islands structure is literally built on death, with 50% of the islands soil being composed of human ash. This has seemingly been a repetitive cycle as, in the 20s, an asylum was built there to welcome the island's newest "guests." Unfortunately, the patients were subject to many immoral and torturous medical treatments, some which included their brains being chiselled into. Many people believe that the tortured souls of this island can still be heard today. Despite Poveglia being technically illegal to visit, thrill-seekers still consider it an enticing albeit creepy destination. However, everyone who has stepped foot on this island has left with absolutely no desire to return.
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If you're a scare-seeker looking for your next adventure - booking a trip to any of these destinations will be sure to satiate your thirst for thrills. But remember, loading your Caxton prepaid currency card in advance will enable you to enjoy stress-free and fee-free travelling.