Before any horrific holidaying can take place, one must of course book flights. And what better plane to take than the infamous Flight 401??
After it crashed into the swampy Florida Everglades on 29th December, 1978, killing 101 of its 163 passengers in the process, all working parts of Eastern Airlines' Flight 401 were salvaged and used in the construction of a number of new jetliners. But this seemingly economical move had disturbing consequences, as passengers on the new planes began to notice some unsettling goings on- namely the regular on-board appearances of pilot Bob Loft and flight engineer Don Repo, both of whom perished in the original Flight 401 crash...
Many who claim to have seen the two ghosts- including a number of high ranking air travel professionals- believe that Loft and Repo are spending their afterlife trying to ensure the safety of the Flight 401 survivors (by scaring the living daylights out of them, apparently).
2. La Isla de Las Muñecas
Spring breakers and doll collectors, Mexico’s La Isla de las Muñecas is the perfect destination for you!
Floating in a canal just outside Mexico City, La Isla de las Muñecas looks like the final sequence in a grim psychological thriller, where the hero descends into the antagonist's lair to discover just what level of depravity the film's set designer is capable of... Hordes of creepy dolls (many with decapitated heads, severed limbs or scratched-blank eyes) act as an ominous warning to onlookers: pinned to trees, hanging from washing lines and stuck to fences, the dolls remain in eternal twisted welcome.
The creator of this monstrous retreat and caretaker of the island, Don Julian Santana Barrera, speaks of a time years earlier, when the body of the young girl washed up on the island, drowned. A few days later, Barrera found a doll floating in one of the island’s canals which he supposed belonged to the girl. Barrera hung the doll on a tree in a show of ritual respect for the spirit of the young girl. As he became more disturbed however, the man began to hang more dolls, believing them to be possessed with the spirits of other dead girls.
While many said that Don Julian had made the story up, no one has been able to explain the strange conclusion to this story, when in 2001 Barrera was found floating dead in the same spot where he claimed to have found the girl years earlier.
3. The Lighthouse of Tevennac
Some people say there’s nothing more refreshing and life-affirming than the sea air. But these people have obviously never had to spend a year in solitary confinement on a haunted lighthouse.
Celebrating its 140th anniversary this year, the infamous lighthouse- which sits on an isolated rock off the coast of Brittany- is home to endless stories of lighthouse keepers going mad and dying from loneliness, only to come back and haunt their successors.
Lit for the first time in 1875, a man named Henri Guezennec became the first keeper to man Tevennec. The story goes that the loneliness quickly became too much for Guezennec and he went insane, before finally killing himself. Things continued in this vein for the next 35 years, with lighthouse keepers unable to last more than a year in the job without suffering complete mental breakdown. Some of the more chilling stories include guards mysteriously falling on knives, visiting children dying, and - more recently - numerous ghost sightings.
With Marc Pointud set to be the first man in over 100 years to stay on Tevennec (he’s planning on staying for 60 days to raise awareness for France’s abandoned lighthouses), the next chapter in this haunted lighthouse’s terrifying tale may be about to be written…
4. Varosha (Cyprus)
The ideal resort for lovers of derelict, dilapidated buildings, utter isolation and those wanting to feel like the lone survivor of a nuclear holocaust…
The glamourous Greek Cypriot resort town of Varosha - once frequented by Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Brigitte Bardot and countless other A-listers of the day - has lain derelict since 1974, when the Turkish Army invaded the northern part of the island.
Today Varosha is one of the world’s largest ghost towns, almost frozen in time since the mid-seventies, but for the slow salt decay plaguing the building fronts.
5. The Queen Mary Hotel
All aboard the most terrifying sea vessel since The Marie Celeste, and full scream ahead!
A former behemoth ocean liner which sailed the North Atlantic in the 1930s-1960s, The Queen Mary dropped its anchor for good in the 70s to begin a new life as a hotel in Long Beach, California. Not long after however, reports started flooding in from terrified tourists claiming to have seen horrific things aboard the former sea vessel.
Many of these accounts relate to the First Class swimming pool, with one recurring tale telling of wet footprints appearing out of nowhere at the poolside. Psychics (yes, psychics) believe the footprints belong to the ghost of a young girl who was murdered in the changing rooms.
Other stories include: the Third Class playroom has been host to the sound of disembodied crying noises; a tall, dark haired figure dressed in a 1930s suit was seen lounging in the 1st Class Staterooms; banging has been heard from outside the ship at sea level, which many people believe to be caused by the spirits of around 300 soldiers from the HMS Curacao, a boat which was sunk after getting in the way of the Queen Mary during WWII (following orders, The Queen Mary didn’t stop to save the drowning soldiers).
6. Borgvattnet (The Haunted Vicarage)
Spiritual pilgrims seeking enlightenment, come to Borgvattnet and find God… or if he’s busy, something more devilish will happily keep you company.
Known as one of Sweden’s most haunted locations, Borgvattnet is the perfect destination for the terror-seeking traveller.
Indeed the sightings through the years- which recount washing torn from the line, perpetually rocking chairs, mysterious shadows, ghosts of abused maids and buried babies in the front garden- was enough to grab the attention of self-professed ‘ghostpriest’ and enemy of the occult Tore Forslund, who came to Borgvattnet to exorcise the vicarage. Needless to say Forslund left in failure and a hurry within the year, proving no match for the evil residing at Borgvattnet.
7. Hot Lake Hotel and Sanitarium
Feeling poorly, traveller? Come for a spot of R&R at this haunted hotel and hot-springs.
Constructed in late 1800s Oregon, the Hot Lake Hotel quickly became known as the perfect destination for wealthy and sick holidaymakers, due to the access guests had to the nearby natural hot springs. However when a fire destroyed half the building in 1934, the hotel went bust and the building became subsequently used as a nurses’ training school, a retirement home and finally an insane asylum, before being abandoned completely.
Dark rumours have surfaced over the years of hauntings by such spectres as: old vacationers, a nurse who was once scalded to death in the hospital wing, a gardener who committed suicide, and numerous patients from Hot Lake’s days as an insane asylum. Add to that a 3rd floor piano which was said to play itself, screaming and crying noises coming from the surgery room, and a rocking chair which moved of its own volition (another one), and the Hot Lake Hotel could be the most haunted holiday destination around!
8. Hoia Baciu Forest
Zen-like green forests, calming streams, and some of the most sinister unexplained phenomena this side of the Twilight Zone are on offer for those looking to explore Hoia Baciu.
Dubbed “The Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania”, Hoia Baciu forest achieved international fame thanks to a photograph taken by Alexandru Sift there in 1968, which looked to have captured a UFO on camera. However, locals had been aware of the forest’s strange, paranormal qualities for quite some time prior to this. A taboo subject - and avoided warily - by those in the know, Hoia Baciu naturally became a visitor attraction for international ghost hunters, paranormal investigators and parapsychologists.
Dr Adrian Patrut, one such parapsychologist and chemistry professor, claims that “Hoia Baciu is one of the best [places around the world boasting unexplained phenomena] due to the intensity, variety and complexity of its manifestations”. Manifestations which allegedly include unexplained splotches of light, luminescent orbs hovering the sky and mysterious burn marks which appear on the skin of trespassers. Those lucky enough to return from the forest are also known to experience severe anxiety, excessive thirst, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Essentially the same symptoms which follow an evening at Wetherspoons Curry Club.
9. Poveglia Island
Looking for the Venice you don’t see in guidebooks? Poveglia is it, in a manner of speaking. A derelict mental hospital, layers of sinister ash and regularly resurfacing human bones await the traveller adventurous enough to disembark here.
Considered by those who know it to be one of the most evil places in the world, Poveglia Island’s dark history began in the Roman Era when it was used as a quarantine zone for plague victims.
Skip forward to when the Black Death was plaguing Europe, and Poveglia was used to burn masses of bodies. Venetian residents would be torn from their homes to Poveglia, thrown onto piles of rotting diseased bodies, and set ablaze. An estimated 160,000 bodies made it to Poveglia in this time.
Today, the island is putrid. A thick, disgusting layer of gloopy ash reportedly covers parts of the island. Surprisingly, this has been conducive to the growth of grapevines (we dare you to try the wine).
A psychiatric hospital was built on Poveglia in 1922. Patients quickly began reporting stories about ghosts of plague victims, but these were dismissed by staff due to the unreliability of the patients’ testimonies.
In the hospital’s ensuing years, a doctor gained a reputation on the island for his strange experiments on patients as he tried to find a cure for insanity. Lobotomies were carried out using hand drills, chisels and hammers, and patients were often subjected to torture in the hospital’s bell tower. Eventually, in a manic episode said to have been brought on by the appearance of the ghosts of his tortured patients, the doctor jumped from the bell tower himself.
The bell tower is rumoured to be heard ringing still on a quiet night.
10. Kryziu Kalnas “Hill Of Crosses”
This Lithuanian religious site, where 100,000 crosses stand, is the perfect place for a religious pilgrimmage.
The origins of Kryziu Kalnas can be traced back to 1831 when, forbidden from properly honouring those who had died rebelling against the tsarist government, relatives would remember their loved ones by placing a cross here instead.
Today the site stands as a shrine to the countless Lithuanians who have died in the almost 200 years since the first cross was planted. Moving, yes; scary, most certainly.