“Yes, that’s right Barney, this year I invested in pumpkins. They’ve been going up the whole month of October and I’ve got a feeling they’re going to peak right around January and BANG! That’s when I’ll cash in!”
Ah, Homer Simpson with your flawed logic of the stock market and oblivious mindset as to when and why pumpkins would be popular. Everybody knows that you need to get them in from August – well, that would certainly be the case if you worked in any form of supermarket. Anyway, Halloween is around the corner so it’s time to be spooked.
It’s that point of the year where we celebrate the occult, dress up as our favourite horror film characters and attempt to scare the bejeezus out of anyone and everyone. If you want to have a real fright then why not visit some of these notoriously haunted locations – that is unless, you’re too chicken?
Poveglia Island – Veneto, Italy
Ah, picturesque Venice with its gondola rides through the canals, the incredible architecture and its…hang on, what’s that mysterious island in the distance? That would be Poveglia Island, a tiny strip of land which simply screams “yes, something horrible has happened here”.
Occupying the lagoon between Venice and Lido, the island was home to fleeing townspeople trying to avoid barbaric invaders in 421. It was all well and good until the Bubonic Plague arrived in 1348 and they came up with the great idea of burning the dead and even those too sick to protest. They repeated the trick in 1630 when the Black Death rocked up.
There’s also the abandoned Poveglia Asylum where rumours suggest that doctors would conduct strange experiments on patients in the 1930s. Now fishermen, construction workers will go nowhere near the island for fear of “dark forces”. Have fun!
Island of the Dolls – Mexico City, Mexico
Photo credit: Cordelia Persen via Flickr.
Dolls are creepy. End of. Think of the most terrifying horror films you have seen – The Conjuring, Poltergeist, Annabelle, Saw – what’s the common theme? Dolls. Now just picture a whole island full of dolls, it’s already terrifying.
South of Mexico City is your worst nightmare. The small island in the canals of Xochimico has a host of dolls hanging from a tree. Legend has it they appeared after a girl drowned in mysterious circumstances and some witnesses have claimed that the dolls whisper to each other and even lure nearby boats ashore. This is creeping me out already.
St Augustine’s Lighthouse – St Augustine, Florida
Thankfully we’re back on the mainland and into the welcoming embrace of a lighthouse in Florida. But this isn’t any normal lighthouse. St Augustine’s Lighthouse is, of course, a haunted lighthouse. Perched on the picturesque Florida coastline, there is something not quite right about this salvage of sailors.
First of all, it just looks spooky. It favours a black and white colour scheme instead of the usual red and white. Oh yeh, and all the ghost stuff.
Legend has it that the spectre of the first lighthouse keeper – Peter Rasmussen – stalks the building with many people claiming to often smell the whiff of his trademark cigar smoke. Then others claim to hear the laughter of Eliza and Mary Pity, daughters of foreman Hezekiah Pity who died in an incident back in the late-1800s.
Casa Lercaro – La Laguna, Tenerife
When it comes to Tenerife, things like beaches, package holidays and volcanoes tend to spring to mind but not in the case of the town of La Laguna. Here you will find the Museum of History and Anthropology of Tenerife – okay, not much to note here, until you start asking questions.
In November 2003, a Spanish newspaper published a story about the museum being haunted by the ghost of a young woman – identified as Catalina.
The woman was the daughter of Antonio Lercaro, who forced her to marry an older man in the 16th century. Such was Catalina’s misery at the future that lay ahead she committed suicide by jumping from a window at Casa Lercaro and there have been numerous reported sightings of her ghost around the museum.
Cemetery of Pleasures – Lisbon, Portugal
We admit that cemeteries are probably the go-to place when you are looking for a slice of the supernatural to spice up your holiday and Lisbon has you covered. The cosmopolitan Portuguese capital was hit by a cholera epidemic in 1833 leading to the creation of this slightly surreal cemetery.
In the years proceeding, it has become the final resting place of many famous Portuguese citizens including the painter Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro. It is said that on certain nights, the spirits leave their mausoleums and wander the streets – now if that isn’t quintessential horror film stuff then I don’t know what is.
It’s not too late to book a Halloween-inspired break. We have a host of package deals available for October and November at www.sunmaster.co.uk. Start your search today!