A World of Haunted Happenings

I love Halloween. In fact, I love the whole month of October. Or, “Rocktober” as I like to refer to it.

I love that everything is pumpkin. We’ve got pumpkin pies, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin muffins, and of course pumpkin beer. I love that AMC plays really terrible scary movies every day leading up to Halloween.

And the costumes. In the month of October, every table or surface of my house becomes some sort of craft station, littered with latex makeup and glue guns. On Halloween, we’ve got a free pass to take a break from our true skin and for one night, be someone or something, else.

But there is something more at play during this month. October is scary. Dead leaves fall from the trees. Harvest moons rise in crisp night air. Murders of crows huddle on wooden fences and turkey buzzards circle ominously above us.

Autumn is a transition from the warm balmy summer to the dark reserved winter. It is the middle time between life and death. The in between. Which is why, autumn is a perfect time to recognize the in-betweeners, the ghosts that walk amongst us! Let’s celebrate some of the spookiest places around the world, drawing skeptics and believers far and wide who want to experience something otherworldly. Here are some of our favorite international haunted happenings.

Leap Castle Ireland

1. Leap Castle- Ireland
A history so violent, Leap castle is thought to be Ireland’s most haunted castle. What makes it so spooky? People believe this castle is haunted by what is called an “elemental” spirit – which some call “it” – that brings an overpowering sense of fear and dread and, apparently, smells just awful (like a rotting corpse)! Believed to be constructed on the land where magic rituals were held by ancient Celtic Druids, this place saw nightmarish events, from bloody sibling rivalry to a torturous chamber where numerous skeletons have been uncovered. It is no wonder some paranormal experts call this place the most haunted place in the world.

alem, Massachusetts

2. Salem, Massachusetts – USA
Whether there really were witches, or bizarre hallucinations were actually caused by fungi in the bread, the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and the subsequent hangings were very real. Today, Salem celebrates its spooky past, exemplified in its omnipresent witch motifs throughout the town, from high school witch mascots to Wiccan souvenir shops. Tourists travel here to join in on a ghost tour, where guides dress as famous historical characters from the area, from hanged women accused of witchcraft to notorious pirates from the local seaport. A town whose local identity is intrinsically tied to its ghostly past, Salem is undoubtedly a hotspot for thrill seekers.

Tower of London

3. The Tower of London – England
If ever there were a place to be haunted, it ought to be the Tower of London. Countless people were tortured and executed within this well-preserved fortress, including some famous historical figures. One of the most familiar is the ex-wife of Henry VIII, Ann Boleyn, who was beheaded here in the 16th century and has been known to haunt the tower carrying her own head. Other notable spooks include Sir Walter Raleigh, Guy Fawkes and Lady Jane Grey – once said to been seen by a guardsman on the anniversary of her death. But innumerable other unknown folk also died and suffered within the tower, their torments lasting perhaps years, without ever telling their tale. (It is no revelation it is the most haunted place in London.)

White House

4. The White House 

The White House hauntings may not be the scariest, but they certainly rank as some of the most bizarre. Winston Churchill, a frequent visitor of the White House, once claimed that as he came out in the nude after his evening bath with this signature cigar in his mouth, he saw the ghost of Honest Abe sitting at his fireplace. Other strange sightings include John Adams wife, Abigail, carrying her laundry in the East Room and Lincoln’s wife, Mary, who once claimed to hear Andrew Jackson shouting and trudging around the White House.

Poveglia Island, Italy

5. Poveglia Island, Italy
Poveglia Island is a small island in the Venetian Lagoon with an ever so sinister history. Legends tell that it was once a quarantine station for victims of the plague, with hundreds of thousands of people dying here. What’s more, another story revolves around a mental hospital, where legend has it that patients were tortured and butchered by an insane doctor who ultimately jumped off a tower to his own death. Today the island is so feared that it is said to be avoided by local fisherman and that the soil is half-comprised of human ash. But for all you ghost hunters out there- stay clear! The island is strictly off-limits to visitors.

Do you think these sites are really haunted? Plan an international program and find out for yourself!

To investigate the sites within the U.S., start planning a domestic program with DiscoverNow!

Article written by Sarah Wyland

Sarah Wyland
Sarah never gets in trouble for being on Facebook and Instagram at work, because its her job. As social media manager, she gets to tell the stories of travelers, teachers, and interesting places. Other titles she enjoys include dog mom to Knox, barre instructor, Crossfit athlete, avid reader, and world traveler.