Halloween Haunts

With the spookiest time of the year upon us, Adventure HQ is getting into the spirit of all things Halloween. We’re forever haunted by the spectres of visas, stamps yet to go in the passport and the ghoulish task of grappling with the age-old question: where next? But more than anything, we’re getting thrills off the creepiest and most unnerving destinations! Here’s our rundown of the creepiest places around the world; the superstitious, supernatural and downright spooky.

 

Vilified Vampires

(Bran Castle, Romania)

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No name sends a more sensational shiver up the spine: Dracula. Bran Castle is the archetypal home of the Count, a typically Transylvanian building with a fairy-tale air and a sinister, ancient history. Surrounded by ancient woodland, home to the last few European wolves and bears, the castle has a gruesome past as the stronghold of Vlad the Impaler, purportedly the inspiration for the Count, notorious for his particularly inventive torturing techniques, though historians believe his methods no more extreme or merciless than his contemporaries.

Visit the Castle

Dead Colourful

(The Day of the Dead, Mexico)

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This Mexican celebration is possibly the most vibrant and colourful tribute to human mortality there is. Lurid and intricately decorated skeletal figures dominate the day, from disembodied skulls draped with garlands of flowers to the disproportionate Catarinas who stalk the streets. Citizens pay tribute to the dead, especially close relatives, by visiting graves and congregating to lay edible offerings at the headstones alongside beautiful golden mounds of marigolds, the Flor de Muerto (flower of the dead).

Celebrate the Day of the Dead

Bat for Lashes

(The Deer Cave, Borneo)

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The dark, cavernous tunnel leads back over four kilometres into the belly of the rock, a pitch blackness which begins crawling and writhing as dusk begins to fall outside. The Deer Cave has an unmistakable odour due to one particular inhabitant: the bat. Over 30 different species reside in Deer Cave, which flock in their thousands to feast at dusk in the swamps and rainforest of Mulu National Park, a World Heritage Site. The weird, sonar-led throng moves like a bizarre congregation of birds, discolouring the twilight skies with its shadow – a surreal sight even for the most dedicated wildlife enthusiast.

Visit the Deer Cave

Crystal Maze

(Actun Tunichil Muknal, Belize)

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In the gloom of the caves, once revered as sacred gates to the underworld and the home of the gods, lies a grizzly sacrificial past. Hike through humid jungle and wade through the cleansing stream to enter the dark almost-catacombs where countless people were killed to appease the gods and help a good harvest. The Mayan artefacts discovered here are exceptionally well preserved and protected – most chilling of all is the Crystal Maiden, the crystallised corpse of an unfortunate young woman whose bones have calcified. Their almost sparkling appearance is starkly at odds with the brutality of her end.

Visit Actun Tunichil Muknal

 

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