It's that time of year again! Time for awesome Halloween outfits, pumpkin carving competitions, Dracula fangs and the opportunity for all girls under the age of 25 to dress up in animal ears and cat whiskers.
In celebration of this spooky event, here are five of the creepiest, most haunted, freaky, and just downright scary travel spots. If you don't like things that go bump in the night, look away now...
Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
Also known as the bone church. The story goes, after the Abbot of Sedlec went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1278, he bought back some dirt from Jesus's burial site. Deeming the cemetery mightily blessed, legions of Catholics from across Europe then demanded to be buried there. With an obvious lack of space, the church staff decided to dig up all 40 000 bodies in the cemetery and use their remains as interior decorations. Garlands of skulls, a coat of arms made of bones and even a chandelier made from every bone in the human body now decorate the church.
Want to visit a real life ghost town? Fengdu's your place. Located on the north bank of the Yangtze River, Fengdu is a completely abandoned city that's rumoured to be a junction point between earth and the underworld, where rampaging demons snatch unaware souls. Feeding the fear further, there are even terrifying statues that depict souls undergoing vicious and demented tortures. Definitely the place to leave you with nightmares...
La Isla De La Munecas, Mexico
In the canals south of Mexico City there are dozens of small, uninhabited islands. Fifty years ago, a man named Don Julian Santana lived, hermit like, on one of the islands. One day, he fished a young girl out of the water. Terrified of evil spirits and bad omens, he started hanging dolls from the limbs of tree branches on his island. He continued this creepy ritual over the next few decades until his own death. The island is now covered with broken, weathered dolls, and is genuinely terrifying.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
A phantom piper, a headless drummer and a spectral dog are just some of the ghoulish creatures said to haunt Edinburgh castle, one of Scotland's most haunted sites. In 2001, the castle vaults and chambers were subjected to a rigorous 10-day scientific survey, using night-vision equipment, digital cameras, thermal imaging, and 240 carefully-screened volunteers. Nearly half of those who took part reported ghost sightings and spooky phenomena, including sudden drops in temperature and the sensation of unseen presences tugging at their clothes.
Otherwise known as the 'zone of exclusion'. Following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, the former bustling town of Pripyat (with a population of 49 000 people) was completely evacuated. The people fled leaving everything behind, from discarded dolls on schoolhouse floors, to vehicles and worldly possessions. Those who have ventured into the area since report an atmosphere of desolation and terror, with the town in total disrepair and decay. The skeleton of an abandoned amusement park only adds to the true ghost town feel of this little town.
If you're ready to get your travel on then contact your ASATA travel agent or Contiki directly on (011) 280 8400.