Halloween Haunted Houses, Scary Attractions and Travel in 2012
Ready for a Scare? Only the Fearless Need Travel
Ghosts, Ghouls and Goblins . . . oh my! Soon the season of hauntings and the macabre will commence. Are you game for travel to the 2012 Haunted Zone to celebrate the season of Halloween? If so, grab your lantern, a cross, some water (holy, of course) and your wits as we embark to lands of the lost and wandering spirits.
Halloween 2012 has plenty of vengeful spooks, lost spirits and wandering souls. Take in one or more of these haunted houses, sites or Halloween attractions for this Halloween season!
Portland is a beautiful city known for its clean living and multiple green spaces. However, the city has an infamous underside which has led to ghost sightings galore. In the 1850's the port city of Portland, had an undergroup network of tunnels -- a labyrinthine of sorts -- which ran beneath the downtown area. Hotels, bars, saloons were connected to the this series of tunnels by basement entrances. This maze was known as the Shanghai Tunnels.
Supposedly, many an unsuspecting downtown patron, was grabbed by paid goons and spirited through the tunnel system to the waterfront. There they were forced into slavery aboard a merchant vessel or if they had the misfortune to be young and attractive, they were "enticed" into prostitution. These dark, damp tunnel system is said to contain the spirits of many who were kidnapped and never seen again.
Louisville is well known for fine steeds, horse racing, and, of course, the Kentucky Derby. However, along with its southern roots, this city is home to one of the oldest scariest attractions--The Baxter Avenue Morgue. This morgue was established in 1901 by the Vanderdark family. Unfortunately, this business dealing with death and disease, became associated with the mysterious disappearance of several of the Vanderdark family members including the original owner, his wife and daughter. Now this basement morgue serves as a haunted attraction. Tours start in September and will continue on selected days through October. And, if you count ghost-busting among your skills, you can participate in a Paranormal class.
Louisville is home to the Slugger baseball bat factory and museum--an interesting place to spend an afternoon and a great museum dedicated to boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
Think witches and this small town, 45 minutes from Boston, comes to mind. Salem embraces its eerie history as the site of the infamous witch trials which led to the deaths of at least 20 people later deemed innocent. This trial is enacted by Salem actors in daily productions where visitors are invited to help escort the accused to the courtyard and to participate in the trial.
There are several haunted tours conducted during the day and night. Salem has a large commercial area with specialty shops, museums and attractions related to hauntings and Halloween.
You can travel to Salem via bus from Boston. Boston has several ghost tours and numerous sightseeing opportunities.
London is a city of grandeur and history and represents a sightseeing buffet. Visitors can walk in the same steps of notables king, queens and politicians. But curious visitors may wish to venture off the path of the famous for a tour of the infamous, Jack the Ripper. The Ripper left five known victims in Whitechapel in 1888. Talk about a cold case, his crimes have remained unsolved for over 100 years.
Several haunted castles dot the English countryside including Featherstone Castle in Numberland which is haunted by a doomed wedding party. You will find Lowther Castle in Cumbria. This castle is said to be haunted by the lovesick Sir James Lowther who mourned his lost love so intensely he placed her body in a glass-lidded coffin and stored her in a cupboard. A Revenue Officer is said to haunt Scotney Castle in Kent. Guess a visit from the IRS was a scary business, even back then.
Even the Tower of London has a rep. Anne Boleyan, one of King Henry's, eight, met her demise here. Numerous prisoners are said to haunt this landmark.
Four score and seven years ago . . . you probably recognize this from the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous speeches and probably the most memorized assignment in U.S. History class. The Civil War came to this small town in 1863 with devastating results -- over 50,000 soldiers dead, injured or missing. Numerous ghost sightings abound here.
While in Gettysburg, visit the Shriver House Museum, the Land of Little Horses, Lincoln's Lost Treasure (2-1/2 hour interactive adventure) and the Eisenhower national history site.
Key West, Florida
Key West's ghostly reputation has been gained by its location and the ghostly company it kept--namely, pirates and other unsavory cohorts. Supposedly, many pirates and criminals met their end from the end of a rope tied to a tree that currently grows through the center of a local saloon. Residents claim to see ghostly patrons still enjoying a cold one at the bar.
If you are an Ernest Hemingway fan, here's your chance to channel your inner writer by visiting one of his homes (museum) on Key West.
San Francisco, California
Another famous city known for its ambiance, history and famous sites. Movies and television shows have used San Francisco for its famous backdrop--including the popular Charmed series which detailed the lives of three good witches as they battled demons and evil spirits. There are several ghost tours including several famous sites such as the Golden Gate bridge. Take a tour of the Alcatraz prison while in San Francisco--perhaps the Birdman--will make an appearance while you are there.
Or, you can take a drive by Linda Vista Community Hospital. This hospital, which has been shut for over 25 years, has hosted several gruesome movie and television productions including "True Blood" and the movie, "Se7en." The Linda Vista hospital caretaker reports several eerie occurences during his tenure with the 107 year old facility including sinks that turn on and off at will and a ghosty child's hand which beckons visitors to places unknown. The hospital is due for a $40 million makeover and will be turned into an apartment complex. Just the place, you want to lay your head after a fearsome day at the office . . . .
Coronado Island is connected to San Diego via a bridge. The Island is doted with classic hotels with the Hotel del Coronado occupying prime beach front land. The Hotel del Coronado is a grand hotel with a storied past. On Thanksgiving Day in 1892, Kate Morgan checked in . . . and you know the story . . . she didn't check out. Supposedly, she killed herself on the steps of this top-rated hotel -- apparently distraught over her failed relationship. Now, supposedly, guests are treated to ghostly visits by a pale figure.
Stop in this southwestern Arizona town to visit with the likes of Wyatt and Virgil Earp, and Doc Holliday -- souls immortalized by the famous gunfight at the OK Corral. This October 26, 1881 fight between Marshall Virgil Earp and the Cowboy gang left three of the cowboys dead and the Earps and Doc Holliday with sullied reputations. Doc and Wyatt stood trial for murder, but were acquitted.
The dead were laid to rest in Boot Hill Cemetery -- aptly named since the deceased buried therein were said to have died with their boots on. Today, the vengeful spirits of this silver boomtown are said to haunt the dusty streets.
Of course, no decent haunted tale is complete without a mention of the world's most famous vampire, Dracula. Halloween is peak travel season for tours of this fanged ghoul's purported home base. Tours may include a night's stay in a haunted castle, sightseeing and a masquerade ball.
Romania has numerous castles worth seeing including Bran (near Brasov) which is associated with Prince Vlad Tepes (supposedly Dracula). This region is known for its quaint medieval towns and beautiful churches, also.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Due to its water table, all graveyards are above ground in this city of Saints and voodoo. There are many ghost tours including events devoted to cemeteries such as the Lafayette Cemetery which was established in 1833. The LaLaurie House sits in the French Quarter and is said to contain the spirits of abused slaves.
The warning beacons of Maine's lighthouses were indispensable to sailors approaching rugged coastlines. Many of the lighthouses are rumored to harbor ghosts. Ram Island Lighthouse is said to benefit from a protective spirit -- a lady in white -- who warns fisherman away from the deadly rock ledge ahead. According to local lore, Owl's Head lighthouse has two ghosts--one who apparently polishes brass and lowers the thermostat at the keeper's house.
Michael Jackson in Thriller
Los Angeles, California
Although Michael Jackson's Thriller video was rumored to have been filmed in a cemetery, it was actually filmed in both the Palace Theatre and the Angeleno Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles.
Dead Acres / Haunted Hoochie
Attractions in Columbus, Ohio
Thurs. - Sat., starting September 27, 2012 - Nov. 2, 2012
This attraction warns it may not be suitable for immature . . . or even mature audiences. Dead Acres has won many awards and is on the list of 25 Must See Haunts and Haunted Digest's Must See Attractions. There's plenty of blood and gore to go around. Leave the kiddies at home for this one!
Netherworld Haunted House
Attractions in Norcross, Georgia (outside of Atlanta)
Fri., Sat., Sunday, Starting September 28 - November 2, 2012
This year, Netherworld, which consistently offers its customers (or victims), top value for their money, celebrates the rising of the evil city of Ys, off the coast of Ireland. The eyeless, winged Banshees have been released and are feeding on the spirits of the doomed. This attraction consistently receives top reviews for realistic special effects.
The Bates Motel and Pennhurst Asylum
Attractions in Philadelphia, PA
This scary haunt is No. 1 on HauntWorld's Top Haunted Houses in America list for 2011. This haunt includes a hayride and is located deep inside a 200-year old forest. The Pennhurst is a 100-year old former Mental Asylum which has been featured on the Ghost Hunter's show several times.
The Asylum House
Attractions in Indianapolis, IN
Explore a mind-numbing maze of darkness in this house of horrors.
Knotts Berry Farms Halloween Haunt
Attractions in Buena Park, CA 90620
As one of the earliest theme parks to celebrate Halloween, Knotts Berry receives a bloody thumbs up from veteran fans. Knotts Berry celebrates its 40th year in the scare zone with over 1,000 roaming monsters including the Green Witch, gory zombies and crazed clowns.
Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses
Attractions in Ulster Park, NY (two hours from New York City)
This event has been profiled on CNNBC and USA Today and in the past has been named the No.1 Haunted Attraction in the US by Haunt World Magazine (yep, there's a magazine for those who like to be scared). This attraction is spread out over 45 acres and includes hayrides, a corn maze, nightly sideshow and three haunted houses. Of course, there are ghoulish treats from food concessions and several gift shops. Over 100 actors join in for the fun and fright!
Attractions in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Join the folks who make that sinfully good chocolate at Herseypark in the Dark. This event is will feature a costume contest and spookatacular attractions. There will be trick-a-treating and a visit to Treatville--the sweetest place in the world .
Plan on visiting Hershey Gardens and the Antique Automobile Club of American Museum while in Hershey.
Attractions in Bristol, Connecticut
Lake Compounce will feature a Haunted Graveyard, over 15 haunted houses, and fright zones. Participants can visit Zombie Forest and the Mayan Temple.
Halloween Horror Nights
Universal Studios --
Attractions in Orlando, Florida & Buena Vista, California
Friday and Saturday starting September 21, 2012 / Fri, Sat. Sun October 5 - 28
Halloween Night, 6:30pm until ?
Universal Studios celebrates with new haunted houses for 2012. The California Studio will feature a Haunted Maze, Terror Train and Scare Zones. You can purchase tickets for the Horror Nights only or upgrade your Universal Studios ticket to include Horror Nights. This event is not recommended for young children and guests are not allowed in costumes.
The Smitherman Family Haunted Yard
Attractions in Pointe-Claire, Quebec
October 23 - October 31, 2012
This fund-raiser for the Starlight Children's Foundation of Canada features ghouls and ghosts a'plenty.
ADDITIONAL ATTRACTIONS AND EVENTS
Most theme parks will celebrate Halloween with special events. Travel to any of these parks for a scary good time -- Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio; Six Flags (multiple locations) Universal Studios in Los Angeles and Orlando, Carowinds in Chalotte, North Carolina, and Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio,
Ripley's Believe It or Not hosts an impressive Haunted House Adventure in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, San Antonio, Texas and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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Overview of 2009 Halloween events at U.S. and Canadian theme parks and amusement parks. Includes highlights, general info, and links to photo galleries and videos.
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