Tag Archives: ghosts

Visit These Totally Haunted Halloween Destinations

With Halloween only a few weeks away, it’s a great time to take a few days off and go on a thrilling adventure. Here are some of the spookiest travel destinations you can visit for a good scare:

Credit: Don Hollycross Photography

Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg, VA)

This living history museum in Virginia is a popular tourist destination that thousands of holidaymakers and history buffs visit each year.

Here, dedicated actors live and portray daily life as it was during the Colonial period and the American Revolutionary War. And if you doubt the rumors of hauntings at this popular vacation spot, going on a tour with https://colonialghosts.com/ may quickly change your mind.

Credit: history.org

Colonial Ghosts, one of the most popular Williamsburg ghosts tours in the country, says it provides a uniquely authentic experience. Every night, licensed and knowledgeable tour guides lead visitors through the historic streets and buildings of Colonial Williamsburg, sharing intriguing facts and stories about the area. You can learn a lot from these tours—you will also be scared silly.

Colonial Williamsburg played a key role in the American Revolutionary War, and has seen its fair share of battle, tragedy and violence. It’s no wonder that reports of hauntings, ghost sightings and paranormal activity in the area abound. Every story told on the Colonial Ghosts tours is backed by thorough research and credible eyewitness accounts, adding to the spook factor of the tour—ghost stories are so much more terrifying when they’re based on fact.

Credit: wikipedia.org

Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia, PA)

This imposing prison in Philadelphia was once one of the most famous and expensive in the world.

Within its castle-like walls, prisoners were subjected to grueling forms of punishment, including solitary confinement.

Inmates were made to eat, sleep, live and work alone, and had to wear hoods over their heads while being escorted by guards from one part of the prison to another.

Credit: atlasobscura.com

This extreme way of living caused many inmates to mentally break down, and numerous prisoners died during their stay at the penitentiary. To this day, the ghosts of these inmates are said to haunt the prison (now a historic site,) with multiple sightings and frightening experiences being reported.

If you want to get the full spooky treatment when you visit, the prison conducts its own Halloween tour called Terror Behind the Walls, guaranteed to send chills up and down your spine.

Dauphine Orleans Hotel (New Orleans, LA)

Credit: dauphineorleans.com

This beautiful boutique hotel is located in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and features quaint buildings that date all the way back to the 19th century.

Considered one of the Big Easy’s finest and most luxurious hotels, what makes it so spooky? Local residents and return visitors will tell you: the hotel is considered to be one of the most haunted sites in the city.

Credit: dauphineorleans.com

Guests and employees of the hotel alike have reported numerous sightings and eerie, unexplainable happenings such as footsteps in the night, bar glasses randomly falling off and shattering, and indistinguishable voices.

The ghost of a man dressed in a dark Confederate uniform has regularly been seen pacing the front courtyard, while the spirit of a young, forlorn bride-to-be whose fiance was killed before their wedding is said to haunt the place in her wedding dress.

Fright Kingdom (Nashua, NH)

Credit: frightkingdom.com

Located in a tiny town in New Hampshire, Fright Kingdom is an unexpectedly effective 65,000-square-foot Halloween attraction.

This uber-creepy destination is one of the most elaborate haunted houses in America, with convincing actors and impressive special effects.

Credit: frightkingdom.com

Attractions include Grim, an almost pitch-black labyrinth where the darkness heightens the terror, Bloodmare Mansion and Psycho Circus.

Fright Kingdom is open from September 28 to November 3 from 7am to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 7am to 10pm on Sundays.

Lizzie Borden House (Fall River, MA)

Credit: awesomelocations.blogspot.com

The story of Lizzie Borden is one of the most grisly American unsolved mysteries. In 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally murdered in their home with an ax.

Lizzie, Andrew’s daughter, was the main suspect in the case. She was eventually acquitted of the murders, but to this day, the case remains unsolved.

Today, Lizzie Borden’s house operates as a bed and breakfast for curious and adventurous tourists.

It is said that almost everyone who spends a night in the B&B experiences some kind of paranormal activity, from hearing voices in the night, objects being mysteriously moved from one room to another, to the covers being ripped right off you while you sleep. A stay at the Lizzie Borden house is definitely not an experience for the faint of heart.

These are just some of the spookiest places you can visit in America. Plan your trip now and enjoy a chilling, thrilling Halloween weekend you’ll likely never forget.

The 13 Most Haunted Hotels in America

 

Haunted hotels entered the public imagination in a big way with the spectrally occupied Overlook in The Shining. But creepy stories of spooky stay-overs have always been the subject of speculation – and some reportedly haunted stays still exist today.

Here’s Halloween Alliance’s list of the 13 spookiest hotels in America. Pack your bags and stay a while…if you dare.

#1: The Bourbon Orleans Hotel

Unearthly dancers are said to waltz through the Bourbon Orleans ballroom.
Unearthly dancers are said to waltz through the Bourbon Orleans ballroom.

Nestled in the iconic French Quarter of New Orleans, the Bourbon Orleans is the site of the original Orleans Ballroom, built in 1817. Among those reportedly at unrest at the Bourbon Orleans: a Confederate soldier for whom the war will never really be over (seen on the 3rd and 6th floors), children and nuns who were victims of a yellow fever epidemic when the hotel was an orphanage, and mysterious dancers who disappear as quickly as they appear, ruffling the draperies as they waltz from one world into the next.

#2: The Omni Homestead Resort

Despite its idyllic appearance, the Homestead is said to be anything but restful (or at rest).
Despite its idyllic appearance, the Homestead is said to be anything but restful (or at rest).

According to guests, the Hot Springs, VA-located Omni Homestead Resort is anything but restful. Though the entire building is said to experience ghostly disturbances, the 14th floor receives the most reports of paranormal activity. Originally erected as a much smaller facility in 1776, the resort is said to have a bloody history, including a bride left at the altar who committed suicide in one of the rooms. More recently, the hotel has experienced violence that visitors swear was spurned by the unrest in the building: two hotel supervisors were shot by an employee in the hotel’s kitchen in 2009.

#3: The Onaledge Inn

Harassed male visitors claim some of the Onaledge's guests have reserved a postmortem stay at the haunted locale.
Harassed male visitors claim an aggressive elderly woman has booked a post-mortem stay at the Onaledge.

Built as the Red Craggs Inn in 1844, this Manitou Springs, CO bed-and-breakfast is said to have a number of unearthly “regulars,” including a “blue boy” who plays near the pond and, perhaps more dangerously, an unidentified elderly female who attempts to shove at male visitors. The location was rebuilt as the Onaledge Inn in the early 20th century, but these spooky guests, visitors say, refuse to leave.

#4: The Stanley Hotel

stanley hotel ghost
The spooky Stanley Hotel has a dangerous history and is said to host at least one ghost (see image above).

That’s right: it’s the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining in 1980. And it’s not just King who felt something eerie in the famous locale. According to hotel employees, the Estes Park, CO structure, built by Stanley Steamer magnate Freeland O. Stanley in the early 1900s, things go bump in the night, and not just in Room 217. The place has been plagued by a gas leak, a mystery explosion, power outages and, according to records, has resulted in injuries, including two broken ankles by one of the employees.  Among its spookier stories: beds are found by chambermaids already made up (and not by the guests), and honeymooners report being physically separated on the marriage bed by a spectral presence. And according to hauntedplacesinamerica.com, an eerie image (shown in the pic, right) has been captured – temporarily, anyway – on camera.

Continue the Haunted Tour ->

 

The Queen Mary Houses Guests…AND Ghosts

What’s going on at the docked Queen Mary? Plenty – and it’s all coming from long-deceased guests who never checked out, according to reports. Visitors report thumps, childish giggles, and heart-stopping apparitions.

Read on for a history of the ship, info on the annual Dark Harbor attraction, plus loads of spine-chilling ghost sighting tales to keep you up at night.

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Long Beach, CA is home to creepy haunt, hotel and carnival Dark Harbor aboard the famous Queen Mary. What’s the story behind this mystery ship and its haunted reputation? Read on…and shiver.

Why is the Queen Mary Haunted?

When the Queen Mary sailed on her maiden voyage in 1936, she was the second largest cruise liner in the world, with almost twice the tonnage of the Titanic. Famous personalities from American actors to British royals were often seen enjoying its first class amenities while crossing the Atlantic from Southampton, UK to New York City.

The ship also saw service during World War II, but reverted to a passenger ship until 1967. The ship sailed to Long Beach, California, where it’s been a combination museum, hotel and tourist attraction ever since, with over 1.5 million visitors per year.

But all hasn’t all been smooth sailing aboard the Queen Mary. Crew are said to have seen 49 deaths onboard the vessel during its years of operation – including those of innocent children.

And while tragic all by themselves, the stories don’t end there.

A (Very) Extended Stay: Ghosts Roam the Queen Mary

Queen Mary HauntingsThe chilling part? Some of these visitors are said to have never checked out. The ghosts of the Queen Mary are so famous, signs have actually been installed within the ship to point out where ghosts have reportedly been spotted.

So, what are some of these stories that would make this ship one of the world’s foremost haunted attractions? Let’s take a hair-raising peek into the unearthly goings-on aboard the bloody Queen Mary.

The Grey Ghost

In World War II, the ship was painted grey as camouflage, and due to that and the fact it held the world record for speed at sea, it was nicknamed The Grey Ghost.

To avoid torpedoes, it sailed in a zig zag pattern, and once sliced through an escort warship that went off course, sinking it rapidly and drowning 338 of her 439 sailors.

Forty years later, a television crew accidentally left an audio recorder running overnight in the exact location where the collision happened – the tape played back sounds of pounding hands on a metal hull and noises of drowning sailors.

The Crushed Crewman

In 1966, a young seaman named John Peddar was crushed to death in the depths of Engine Room #13 during a drill. To this day, visitors report sightings of a young man in coveralls wandering around.

One story goes that a visitor felt something brush across his face while visiting the room, and later his wife noticed a streak of engine grease on his face. You’ll find dozens of such stories, with ethereal touches that have left their impression on frightened (and thrilled) visitors year after year.

Ghostly Swimmers

According to insiders, there have been several reports of ghosts in the first class now-empty swimming pools aboard the ship, including bathers in 1930s era swimsuits. Visitors say they can sometimes hear the sounds of splashing, and many have seen wet footprints on the tile.

In the second class pool (long since converted into a theater), a little girl named Jackie is said to have drowned, and visitors can sometimes hear her calling piteously for her mother.

They’ve also heard Jackie’s innocent laughter and singing in the first class pool and have witnessed her shadowy form clutching a tattered teddy bear.

Little Spirits in the Playroom

The ship includes a children’s playroom and nursery, where  visitors may hear children laughing and playing. In 1991, one passenger on a guided tour heard the sounds, but could only see the usual toys, games and books on the display. Then the doorknob began rattling, and the terrified tourist heard the sound of the door being kicked.

The woman quickly went to catch up with the rest of the tour group, but felt her purse and shirt constantly being tugged along the way. It seems someone needed a play companion.

A much darker spirit is that of a little infant named Leigh, who tragically died a few hours after birth (though not without the doctors trying in vain to save his innocent life.) Some ship guests can still hear the last wails of the baby while passing what was once the third-class playroom.

The Woman in White

A “regular” ghost seems to reside in the ship’s first class lounge – a beautiful woman in a white evening gown is often seen dancing alone within the shadows.

On one tour, a little girl, who had never heard of the sighting, kept pointing and asking about a “woman in white.” Nobody else saw the apparition, but the girl insisted she was there, and continued watching it dance.

A Lonely But Playful Girl

In 2000, a hotel service member was vacuuming the carpet in the Exhibit Hall when the temperature suddenly dropped. Turning around, he saw a little girl sucking her thumb and floating in the air.

The child then stretched her arms out, as if wanting to be picked up. Her eyes appeared to be glowing. Terrified, the crew member fled and reported the incident.

A few weeks later, while leaving the Grand Salon on R Deck, another cleaning crew member was pushing his mop and bucket. The bucket suddenly jammed, so the worker checked to see what was stopping the wheels. He felt a presence, and turned around to see a little girl in a white dress and white hat sucking her thumb.

As with the other sighting, the ghostly child was floating in mid-air and oddly, appeared to have no legs beneath her wispy gown. She floated away into the Grand Salon, where the doors had mysteriously shut (they were normally kept open). The doors swung out so powerfully, they knocked the employee to the floor. As he struggled to get back up, the worker heard the girl’s chillingly playful laughter recede in the distance.

The next day the worker checked the (open) doors, and realized they were much too heavy to be swung shut by one person.

Cabin B340

Cabin B340 Queen Mary hauntingsCabin B340 has had so much paranormal activity, it’s now closed for rentals.  Previously, guests sleeping in the room were awakened in the night by lights turning on and off, water gushing suddenly from faucets, and covers being pulled off the beds. Other guests have heard an angry voice saying “Get out!”

There are two famous stories involving this cabin. The first is that in 1948 it was used as a holding cell for a deranged man who had been threatening his family. When the family visited later, the man flew into an inexplicable rage and murdered his 5-year old-daughter.

The second story involves a crew member who was murdered in the room in 1937; guests say that his ghost still resides there.

The Piano Player

One evening, a mother and daughter staying aboard the Queen Mary for the night were waiting for a friend to join them. The night wore on, until at at close to midnight, the daughter decided to sit at the lobby’sgrand piano, which had been constructed especially for the Queen Mary in the 1930’s.

The lid on the keyboard was down, but suddenly a tinkling, eerie melody emerged from  beneath it.

Both the daughter and mother heard the spooky tune. The two wisely decided to wait for their friend on deck instead.

The Dark Harbor Haunt

Queen Mary Dark Harbor EventMany people would list the Queen Mary as among the top world destinations for hauntings. To celebrate, the ship puts on a frightful Halloween bash every year. It features 7 mazes and attractions, as well as a complex for live entertainment, food and cocktails.

To enter the haunt, visitors must first pass through a 220 foot long, fog-shrouded tunnel of shipping containers containing ghouls and monsters. They then emerge at “Hell’s Bells Tower,” a 33-foot tower made of shipping containers and which shoots flames into the night sky.

Throughout the mazes, pyrotechnical and other spooky special effects keep visitors spooked and their skin crawling. Such attractions include “Containment” where the ship’s infirmary gets a bit sick, “Submerged” where it feels like you’re sinking (the ship almost sunk once due to a rogue wave on choppy seas), and “The Village of the Damned” where creatures attempt to make you their permanent residents.

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is not to be missed for hardcore Halloween fans. Get more info here – and remember: don’t visit any area of the ship alone after midnight!

Using Scary Halloween Sounds, Inside And Out

 

Halloween is a scintilatingly spooky time for young and old alike. Whether you go trick or treating, host a costume party or just decorate for friends and neighbors to see, everyone loves to get in on the festivities.

And one way of really amping the holiday atmosphere is with music and with frightening, classic sound effects.

Choosing the right music for your festivities is easy and fun. Here’s how to get that haunting atmosphere – and get those screams!

Children’s Parties

For a child’s costume party, you don’t want it to be too scary. Depending on the ages of the kids, choose music that will make it very definitely Halloween-ish, but still fun.

“The Monster Mash” has always been a big hit with the kids. So are funny tunes like “Purple People Eater” and classics such as “Ghostbusters.”

For sound effects, use soundtracks of different scary noises such as witches cackling or bubbling cauldrons. Even the sound of the wind blowing and creaking doors is enough to make the little ones get goose bumps.

Adult Parties

Halloween Party by RaviN
Halloween Party by RaviN/Flickr

For an adult party you can go for a much bigger “creepy” factor. For instance, if you have an organ in your house or a piano that could use some tuning, put it in a secluded spot and have someone play strange music very loudly.

You can also use recorded CDs. Have them playing throughout the party. How about an adult-scale Halloween music mix? Or truly chilling sound effects?

You can get some friends in on the sound effect action, too. Have people hide throughout the house and occasionally let out a blood curdling scream. They can also be outside the house by a partially opened window, or behind trees to scare people as they approach.

For party music, try a compilation that includes “Dragula,” “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and other rock classics.

Outside The House


Scary house, by Ali West/Flickr

Perhaps you want to have a haunted walk. It’s easier than you think – it all starts with the perfect setting.

Whether there are lots of trees to walk through, or a deserted path, make sure the sounds are there. An owl hooting, yowling cats, and don’t forget the chainsaw. And of course, nothing makes your hair stand on end like being alone in the dark and hearing a chainsaw start up behind you.

Creepy laughter is always good in this setting as well. Ghosts moaning and the howling of wolves will keep you watching your back.

Set up speakers throughout the yard if you have a walkway where people walk to your house. This can be done for trick or treaters as well. It makes the advance to your door much spookier.

Sometimes the unexpected can be scarier than playing what your guests expect. For instance, a solemn flute player slowly playing a dirge on the flute, or maybe a record that just keeps skipping and skipping. The footsteps of someone running through the woods screaming and out of breath will make anyone move a little faster toward safety.

The options are endless to how you can incorporate the perfect music into your setting. Just look around you and think what would make it super scary to YOU, then have fun with it.

Jonathan McDonald is a choir director and loves to write content for holiday sites. He recommends www.christmassongs.org as a great reference for all Christmas song lyrics, including funny Christmas songs.

Carnival Arcane Review

With the approach of Halloween comes another new tradition: the release of a new album from horror masters Midnight Syndicate (Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka.)

Their albums – Carnival Arcane is their 14th – fill the air with Gothic dread, ambient sounds and creepy instruments. If “things that go bump in the night” had a soundtrack, Midnight Syndicate would ring through the echoing halls upon their midnight entrance.

Each album the artists release tells a story in music, a “soundtrack for the imagination” filled with haunting melodies, sound effects, shrieks, groans and the occasional lyrics, all fitting the theme of the album.

For instance, their studio album “The 13th Hour” has the listener journeying through a sinister and Gothic haunted house. The album begins with the house looming in the mist, and subsequent songs makes it feel like we are stealthily creeping from one dusty, decrepit room to the next, until at last, we realize we are not quite alone … and that this presence is not friendly.

A Masterful Tradition of Chilling Tunes

Your Ringmasters, Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka

Carnival Arcane continues in this grand, masterful tradition of storytelling with music, but is even more ambitious than all others in the depth, grandeur and creepiness of the music. It delivers a well-researched and accurate representation of what it would be like to visit a slightly shabby, sinister circus from the Victorian era.

The album owes a lot to the novel “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (at least that’s the impression this offer had), complete with nightmarish rides, a sense of foreboding and sinister characters.

We’re introduced to the Lancaster-Rigby Carnival, a traveling circus with a sinister past. The album begins with the arrival of yourself, a “mesonoxian” visitor (a very cool archaic word meaning midnight.)

The atmosphere is cold, and in the distance we hear the arrival of a locomotive – the wheels squeak to a halt, and the sounds of the circus rise from the night air in a slow, haunting chorus of introduction.

Already, we feel a sense of something shady and macabre, but we must go forward – who know what wonders await within? Besides, the aggressive ringmaster (voiced by Jason Carter – aka Marcus Cole on Babylon 5 and a bit part as a demon on Angel) promises us the horrific instruments of lobotomies, freakshows, the big top and a grand carousel you’ll never forget.

Ambient, Spine-Tingling Effects

While we voyage through a variety of acts, we can hear the ambient sounds of excited visitors, strange laughter, elephants and the squeals of horses.

From a menagerie of strange creatures, a forceful hawker ushers us into Madame Zora’s tent, where we are read our fortune with a flourish of deep atmospheric music, curious whispers and a sense of dread. Through Dr. Atmore’s Elixers and Good Humour and Fortification (cheerful circus music and applause), Alura the Snake Lady (Middle Eastern mysticism) and Arcane Wonders (Victorian music boxes), we have a sense of the wide musical range Douglas and Goszka have put into this album – far beyond the Gothic melodies of previous albums.

The middle of the album begins the transformation from fantastical wonders and big top adventures to something far more sinister and dangerous – you begin to realize and witness the fallen grandeur of the Lancaster-Rigby circus.

From the chilling and even sad music of the freakshow, we go on a carousel ride from Hell – beginning with the usual cheerful carousel melody, it quickly degenerates into an abomination of madness, ghosts and ghouls until it explodes in a crescendo of what must be broken horses, snapping electricity and injured victims.

Going Deeper Within

Carnival ArcaneWe journey deeper into the carnival, where all the Gothic and Victorian horrors begin to close in on us – mad clowns, screaming children, horrific laughter as we’re lost in the hall of mirrors, a ghoul chasing us in the shadows, where we run, panicked, into a dreaded labyrinth, and finally collapse in a claustrophobic room of barking mad laughter.

The carnival then closes (perhaps a bit too hastily … before the Victorian-era authorities witness the mayhem), and we are left listening to the grunts of several circus performers entering their boxcar after a long night, trying to stifle their mirth and drunkenness. One performer talks to another in a conspiratory whisper “So, what’s the next town at?” A cold wind blows through the air, and music from a Victor gramaphone echoes off in the distance.

With its wide range of atmospheric sounds and natural transitions from one track to the next, this could easily pass as a movie soundtrack for a grandiose horror film.

Midnight Syndicate have definitely pushed their musical boundaries, and the mix of ambient carnival sounds and atmospheric composition blend perfectly, successfully transporting you to their fantastical world. It fits perfectly as the chilly atmosphere of a home haunt, and no doubt you will hear it at some amusement park, where their music is often played.

This is an essential album to add to your horror collection, and powerful mood music while celebrating Halloween … or to add a touch of sinister magic before going to a modern circus.

 

Halloween Game Idea – Ghost Hunting!

 

We welcome guest contributions and are pleased to share this game idea. Scare up some fun this Halloween with Ghost Hunting!

As a youngster, I participated in a cool game that I just KNOW would make a great addition to any party, kids or adults – so I’ve decided to share it!

It’s goofy enough to get in some good laughs, and kids will go wild with fun with this awesome idea. I call the game Ghost Hunting, and it involves you, a ghost, and some stomping just for good measure.

On spooky, creepy Halloween night, it’s just you and your ghostly ally against the rest! For best results, have at least five players. The more the merrier!

What You’ll Need

  • String
  • Black marker
  • Glow stick bracelets or necklaces
  • Glow-in-the-dark balloons/white balloons and a black light

How to Play

  1. Each player grabs a balloon and blows it up.
  2. Next, draw the creepiest ghoul face you can muster. The scarier the face, the more likely your opponents will wet themselves, and therefore give you more time for stomping! Also, don’t forget to name him. Something not too out of the ordinary…Dexter, William, Casper, anything you wish.
  3. If by any chance your little friend should fall due to the enemy during combat, you are obligated to call out your ghost’s name and ask why. I shall demonstrate for you… “POP!! No, Dexterrrrrrrrr!Whyyyyyyyyy???!!!!”
  4. Next, tie your scary teammate to your ankle. Don’t have too much string between the two of you, or he will be near impossible to defend. However, you don’t want him right on your heal either, unless you like bleeding heals 🙂
  5. Finally, throw on some glow sticks to avoid crashing into each other, and hit the lights! If using a black light to make the white balloons glow, turn that one on now. If you start feeling something touching you but don’t see any glow sticks nearby, stay calm, you are merely being groped by an actual ghost. So be sure you all decide on a safe word before you hit the lights…tee hee!

Rules

  • No grabbing or holding any opponents.
  • No non-ghost allies.
  • No covering your ghost.
  • Once your ghost has passed on to the next world, you must sit out. Do not attempt to stomp anymore ghosts.
  • The partner of the last ghost standing wins!

Variations

  • Have multiple ghosts attached per game. Three on the same ankle for example.
  • Team ups. Four vs. four for example. (Two Ghosts and Two Humans.)
  • No glow sticks. (This is a more dangerous version, and therefore more awesome!)

Happy ghost hunting, and happy Halloween!