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Haunted Destinations

By Jason Jourdan

It’s the time of the year when leaves blaze red and children dressed in gaudy costumes scramble from porch to porch, past the flickering glow of jack-o-lanterns, to announce their intent to plunder all the confectionary treats they can carry!

Whether it’s Tricks or Treats, spending a night in the pumpkin patch (looking at you, Linus), exploring a haunted house, or something a bit more macabre, people all over the globe find unique ways to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve. The United States is home to over 1,200 professional haunted houses catering to thrill-seekers and fans of the paranormal. America isn’t the place to get your ghost on! The spooky season is a great time to travel abroad and experience the local traditions of the world’s most haunted locations.

The first haunted house was built in 1915 by Englishman and carnival manager Patrick Collins. Located in Liphook, England, the Orton and Spooner Ghost House offered townspeople a brush with the supernatural for the price of a ticket.

Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle, constructed in the 12th century, is rumored to be home to a paranormal piper whose haunting melodies echo from the empty chambers of the castle. Visitors are welcome to attend special events and daily guided tours of the castle’s dark secrets. Mwaaahahaaa!

The highlands of Scotland also the birth place of Apple Dunkin.’ Players bob their heads in a bucket of water and floating apples in attempts to grab one using only their teeth!  As if that weren’t wet and sticky enough, the Scots also favor a game played with Treacle Scones. The objective is for guests to take a bite from a syrup-covered scone hanging from a string. Anyone attending a Scottish Halloween gathering should arrive hungry with hands behind their back! 

For the discerning ghost hunter, there’s The Fairmount Banff Springs Hotel Canada’s Alberta mountains. The luxurious 133-year-old “Castle in the Rockies” features spas, restaurants, bars, pools, retail shopping, and a ghost who has haunted the property since its construction in 1888! The spirit of a bride-to-be who died after an unfortunate accident involving stairs and her wedding gown is said to be shimmering about the ballroom, eagerly awaiting her husband for their first dance.

Trick or Treating is also widely popular in Canada. Whereas Americans tend to favor M&Ms, Skittles, Reese’s Cups, and the occasional Butterfinger, Canadian ghoulies are accustomed to cans of soda and bags of chips in their beggar’s sacks. Make sure to pack a durable bag for those cans of Canadian Dry!

Halloween in France marks a slight change to beggar’s night protocol. French children say “candies or a spell” instead of “trick or treat.” Families visiting the city of lights are welcome to attend the annual Halloween festivities in Disneyland, Paris. For the brave and adventurous, there are the infamous catacombs of Paris. The Catacombs span 500 miles below the streets of France, where eerie happenings have occurred since the tomb’s consecration in 1786. Opened to the public in 1809, the walls of the passageways contain over six million bones, and it’s believed the ghosts of Parisian’s past dwell within its shadows. Spirits are often caught on film as their spectral forms appear in guests’ selfies!

How about a tour of the world’s most famous cemeteries? The Guardian has posited their list of the Five Best Cemetery Tours and their most notable residents:

  • Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires – Eva Perón’s gravesite
  • Père Lachaise, Paris – Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Edith Piaf, Colette
  • ikhvin, St Petersburg – Dostoevsky, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky
  • St Mary’s, Whitby – Humpty Dumpty, Tom Thumb rest near the abbey from Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • St Louis No 1, New Orleans – Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau 

What grim recesses of the mind draw people into a fascination with the bumps in the night? The reasons for willingly exposing oneself to the supernatural are many and varied. Psychology Today unpacks 5 Reasons We Enjoy Being Scared, and here’s why:

1.      The safety net allows our mind to evaluate the situation and regard it as a “safe, purposeful fright.”

2.      The flood of endorphins and dopamine can create a sense of euphoria

3.      The self-satisfaction of surviving the thrill

4.      One can experience a closeness with friends, family, or a significant other

5.      Curiosity

Ghost hunters and thrill-seekers alike can rest in peace knowing the coverage of Point Comfort Travel is by their side. While an exorcism, garlic, or a silver bullet may guard against the supernatural, international travelers will want the protection of the right insurance policy for their ghosting adventures.

A policy can’t account for every international travel contingency, but it can mitigate some risks on this side of the afterlife! Fire up a favorite Ray Parker Jr. tune and feel good about the bust’n coverage of Point Comfort Travel:

·       COVID-19 Medical Expense Coverage up to the Policy Maximum

·       Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation

·       Emergency Medical Reunion

·       Return of Minor Child

·       Emergency Traveler Assistance

Frightfully delightful travel insurance!

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