With the chill of October comes Halloween, a day when indulgence in darker themes and paranormal activity is expected! Though Classic Journeys doesn’t host any ghost-specific tours, we do pass through locations rich in spooky history. For those who like a little scare while on vacation, we’ve rounded up five destinations visited on our various tours, which are guaranteed to make your hair stand on-end just in time for Halloween.
The Tower of London
Our Cotswolds tour rattles through foggy London, where, if you're brave enough, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the famed Tower of London. The site of many grisly events throughout history, the Tower of London has served many purposes since its construction in 1078. Many were imprisoned, tortured or killed there, such as Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes and others seen as a threat to the British crown. Nowadays, visitors can tour its halls, including a torture chamber outfitted with a score of horrifying devices. And if you feel a sudden cold rush of air, that might just be Anne Boleyn’s ghost-- said to have roamed the halls for the last 481 years, seeking retribution following false accusations of treason and adultery, which resulted in her beheading on these hallowed grounds.
On our Charleston & Savannah Culture + Walking Tour creeps-and-crawls into Savannah in the week’s second half. The city lays claim to being one of the most haunted in the United States. As the setting for the hit novel and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Savannah is positively rife with ghoulish locations, including the Mercer Williams House - site of the novel’s murder. There is also the 17-Hundred-90 Inn, where Anna Powers leaped to her death from the third-floor balcony. Her ghost is said to still occupy room 208. Also popular are the Bonaventure Cemetery and The Olde Pink House, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of its builder James Habersham.
A stop on our Edinburgh & Scottish Highlands Culture + Walking Tour is the Edinburgh Castle, thought to be one of the most ghost-filled spots in all of Scotland. Over the years, various phantasmal sightings have been reported, including: French prisoners from the Seven Years War, a dog patrolling the castle’s cemetery, a headless drummer, a phantom piper and prisoners who fought during the American Revolutionary War. Over the years, several professional paranormal studies have been done at the castle, with surprising results that support overwhelming paranormal activity within its walls.
In Nova Scotia, its far-flung, water-bound and windswept location makes it fertile ground for some of Canada’s scariest stories. Some of the many legends swirling around the island include a gravestone that gives onlookers the symptoms of typhoid; an ever-burning ghost ship in Northumberland Strait; a grey nun at one of the hospitals, who comforts dying patients in their final hours; a haunted brewery; three ghosts who inhabit the 5 Fishermen restaurant; a ghoulish girl who follows tours on Citadel Hill; and a building in Halifax that is besieged by endless sounds of a baby’s cries.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
With its connection to Mexican culture, Santa Fe has a longstanding Day of the Dead tradition. Called Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, the holiday, which takes place from November 1-2, focuses on remembering loved ones who have passed. This is done through altars, songs, special foods, gravesite visits and other rituals to honor the dearly departed. As a world-renowned capital of art, Santa Fe boasts plenty of Day-of-the-Dead-inspired installations and pieces, including catrina statuettes and colorful sugar skulls. In particular, the Museum of International Folk Art hosts activities celebrating the day, and sets up a public altar laced in the holiday’s signature flower: marigolds.