Looking for a completely different vacation? Most people wouldn’t think of exploring haunted and abandoned places as a vacation option, but I can promise you, once you do it, you are hooked. Case in point: Driving down a country road, I saw an abandoned house in the field. I pulled over, trekked through the tall grass and walked up to a house that looked like the inhabitants just vanished. I walked through the chipped paint front door, and old photos and sheet music were strewn around the main room. There were pots and pans and children’s toys, random pieces of clothing and furniture that had been the home to multiple animals throughout the years — and I was instantly hooked. There are so many places like my mystery house out there, and you can find them simply by doing an internet search by state, country or movies. If you are like me and enjoy spending time in your local bookstore, there are multiple books that can lead you down the path of the ghoulish and mysterious.
Here is a list to get you started:
- The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas
- Lizzie Borden’s house in Fall River, Massachusetts. There are several movies about this murder scene.
- Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio. This is where The Shawshank Redemption was filmed.
- Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia
- Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky
- The Marshall House in Savannah, Georgia. This hotel is considered the most haunted hotel in the United States.
- The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana. This was the background for the movie The Conjuring.
- The Winchester House in San Jose, California
- The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. The infamous hotel in the movie The Shining.
- Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore, Maryland
- Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. The cemetery in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
- Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa. The setting where eight people were murdered — the murders still unsolved.
- The Ed Gein Farm in Plainfield, Wisconsin, which is known as the Psycho House.
- Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay
Of course, there are entire towns or cities that are known for the comings and goings of spirits. They are Salem, Massachusetts; Sleepy Hollow, New York; and the most spirited city of all, New Orleans, Louisiana. These are all within the United States, but there are numerous ones to visit in Europe … if you dare!
Let’s start with the most famous:
- Bran Castle in Transylvania, which is Dracula’s humble abode
- The Doorway to Hell in County Donegal, Ireland
- The Catacombs in Paris
- The Tower of London
- The Colosseum in Rome
- The Hell Fire Club ruins in Dublin, Ireland
- Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England
- The Vicarage of Borgvattnet in Sweden
- Château Miranda in Belgium
- Hoia Baciu Forest in Romania
- Moosham Castle in Austria
Whether you choose Europe or the United States as the starting point of your foray into the unexplainable, all these places have a tragic past in common. Torture, crimes of passion, murder and the paranormal all come together to tell the tales of lost souls. Happy haunting!