Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Halloween is creeping up, and that means we’re all looking for a little extra spookiness in our lives.While there are some locales that just ooze terror, you might not be totally sure which destinations are the very scariest on Earth—that is, which cities are the most haunted and which towns have the darkest histories.
See the scary histories of 6 cities >
Not knowing this for sure can put a real damper on your Halloween trip planning.
But never fear! (Get it?) At Hopper, we ran the numbers to objectively pinpoint the scariest places in the world. With our guide in hand, you should have no trouble picking out a frightful site to get your horror on this October.
To learn about other fun travel destinations, hop on over to our blog!
You might not think of Paris as a scary city, but the City of Light has always had a dark side. With 22 cemeteries filled to the brim with famous and anonymous corpses alike, Paris has just as much in store for ghost-hunters as it does for lovers.
Many claim to have seen the ghost of Marie Antoinette wandering the halls of the Chateau de Versailles. Additionally, the violent end to the brief Paris Commune government in 1871 resulted in what is known as La Semaine Sanglante, or the Bloody Week. Somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000 Parisians were slaughtered in just a few days, and many more exiled from the city. If that doesn't spell ghosts, we're not sure what does.
Should you visit Paris around Halloween, don't miss the Catacombs of Paris, a subterranean ossuary holding the remains of an astounding six million people. Unsurprisingly, many have reported ghostly sightings in the underground caverns.
Another ornate European city not often associated with gore is Vienna. What began as a Roman military camp soon matured into a centre of civilisation and culture for Europe. A millennium-worth of inhabitants makes for high ghost potential!
An early target of the Barbarian invasions, there is also some evidence that Vienna suffered from a devastating fire around the beginning of the fifth century. The Napoleonic Wars brought even more violence to the area and the Battle of Wagram alone resulted in more than 20,000 casualties. Later, in the 1930s, Hitler's army occupied and annexed Austria. The Allied bombings of the city in 1944 and 1945 also destroyed large portions of the city and killed many of its inhabitants.
If you manage to stop by Vienna this spooky season, check out the Ducal Crypt under the Stephansdom, which contains 78 receptacles filled with the bodies, hearts and viscera of several members of the Habsburg dynasty. Creepy!
Savannah has often been voted the most haunted city in the U.S. With a war-torn past and three historical cemeteries, this southern city has long been home to phantoms of all stripes. It's no wonder, when you consider the city's past. The Siege of Savannah in 1779 was a failed attempt by the joint French-American forces to overthrow British rule, and is considered to have been one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolutionary War, with 948 killed on the French-American side.
Savannah was also the site of the end of General Sherman's famous March to the Sea (officially titled the Savannah Campaign) during the Civil War. The campaign devastated Georgia and the Confederacy, which surrendered to Sherman at Savannah. However, the city did manage to avoid being burned and ransacked, as most in Sherman's path were.
This only adds to Savannah's creepy old-world charm, with buildings that date back hundreds of years and are in nearly perfect condition. Later, Savannah was the site of various segregation conflicts. Six well-known haunted locations include: Mercer House, Marshall House, 17Hundred90, Wright Square, Pirate's House and Sorrel-Weed House.
Did you know that there's a whole neighbourhood buried underneath Edinburgh's Royal Mile? The area is known as Mary King's Close, and has only been open to the public since 2003. While rumours of the area being walled off and Plague victims sealed in alive may or may not be urban legend, the attraction is nonetheless notorious for its ghost sightings.
Each year, the city holds a 10-day Mary King's Ghost Fest, with enough creepy activities to attract visitors from all over Europe and the world. The Edinburgh Castle is also thought to be haunted by a piper who disappeared in the tunnels below it and was never seen again. Two television series have explored the reportedly ghost-ridden Edinburgh Vaults as well, where paranormal activity is often reported by tourists and locals alike. Of course, it also doesn't help that the city is home to 40 cemeteries.
If you visit Edinburgh, beware of ghouls in kilts and don't wander into the fog alone.
With its complex mixture of cultural influences, ranging from Caribbean to French to Voodoo, New Orleans is a truly unique city with a patchwork history. Once a French colony, Louisiana was later ceded to the Spanish and then back to the French before becoming an American colony and eventually a state.
In 1815, the Battle of New Orleans was waged here, tragically, in spite of the fact that the Treaty of Ghent had already been signed. The Americans succeeded in killing almost 400 British troops during this battle, but also lost 55 themselves. From 1817 to 1905, more than 40,000 people died in New Orleans of the vicious Yellow Fever. The year 1854 was particularly bad, with over 7,800 deaths.
Marie Laveau is a figure famous for merging voodoo traditions and the Catholic religion, and many people still go to her tombstone to ask favours and pray for her mystical intercession. There are several ghost tours to choose from in the Crescent City, giving you plenty of chances to spot a ghastly vision or two.
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