Nothing is creepier than a midnight stroll through a cemetery on Halloween. I’m sure anyone with or without much imagination will find the experience to hair raising and chilling.
Exploring old cemeteries is a hobby for many people although most of the exploration is done during the day. A while back grave rubbings were all the rage and why not many of the old tombstones have some interesting epitaphs.
But of course the Halloween season is probably the time when folks looking for things that go bump in the night will take walking tours thru some of the world’s most famous and of course haunted cemeteries.
This year travel is difficult and most I imagine would prefer to avoid crowded tours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore some of the world’s creepiest cemeteries virtually. Here are 5 famous or perhaps infamous cemeteries you can wander thru without ever leaving the safety of your home or the comfort of your couch. You may want to take it with friends and not just before bedtime.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Located on the east bank of the Hudson River just 30 miles away from the bustle of New York City in Westchester County is the village called Sleepy Hollow. This village is in the town of Mount Pleasant. It is the setting for Washington Irving’s short story titled the Legend of Sleepy Hollow which features the infamous headless horseman.
Washington Irving lived in nearby Tarrytown in his house named Sunnyside. He is buried in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery along with a lot of Rockefellers, Andrew Carnegie, Elizabeth Arden, and Leona Helmsley. The cemetery and the village have attracted tourists since 1900 and continue to do so today.
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
New Orleans is said to be America’s most haunted city so it’s no wonder that some of the world’s most haunted cemeteries are located there.
Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District is the most historically significant and most haunted cemetery in NOLA.
Founded in 1833 the cemetery is still active today.
When Parisian cemeteries became overcrowded in the 18th. Century the remains of over 6 million people were transferred to this underground ossuary (a vessel or site that houses skeletal remains).
The remains are stacked along curing dead end tunnels creating an underground maze that has become one of the scariest places in the City of Light.
Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo
Italy has no shortage of spooky catacombs but this one is located on the island of Sicily in the city of Palermo.
Originally intended as the final resting place of Capuchin priests it became a status resting place for residents when others were permitted to be concealed there.
8,000 corpses in varying stages of decomposition panel the walls. Visitors have claimed to have heard whispers and whistles; some of them have claimed to have returned to a section only to find that some remains have shifted positions.
One of the “Magnificent Seven” Highgate Cemetery was the third burial ground to be built out side London. It was built in 1839.
It is the final resting place of many historic and famous people including Karl Marx and George Michael. It is also one of the most haunted places in the world.
Starting with the Highgate Vampire there are a host of spectre, ghost, ghouls, and devils that many have claimed to have seen in the vast cemetery and the small alleys surrounding it.
There’s a chill in the air, days are getting shorter, leaves are falling, and the spicy scents of autumn fill our homes. That can only mean it’s almost Halloween and we’re all in the mood to get just a little bit scared.
This time of year we usually list some of the scariest places you can visit to get in the Halloween spirit and possibly get the pants scared off you! But travel is challenging these days and physically visiting anywhere may not be possible.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t take virtual tours of some of the world’s scariest places. That’s right you can visit some of these places without ever leaving the safety of your home or the comfort of your couch!
Here are Virtual Tours of 5 of the world’s spookiest places, I’m sure you’ll find one that will send chills up your spine!
Near the Ukrainian town of Pripyat the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s reactor exploded in 1986. This disaster forced thousands to evacuate and the town became a ghost town.
It’s no wonder it’s one of the spookiest places on earth. In recent times under very strict safety protocols visitors have been allowed to visit on day trips. I’m not sure if these tours have resumed, but honestly the safest way to “explore” these ruins is virtually.
This YouTube video will take you on a virtual tour of the abandoned town and will even let you travel inside derelict buildings still filled with the evacuees belongings.
RMS Queen Mary
Docked in Long Beach, California this luxury liner turned into a luxury hotel is said to have been haunted since its maiden voyage. I’m certain that having 60 people die on board since 1936 plays a big role in earning this ship her haunted reputation.
There have been haunted tours of the Queen Mary for years. It’s been a favorite of paranormal investigators and some parapsychologists insist that there’s a vortex to a supernatural realm on the ship that makes her more vulnerable to hauntings.
This virtual tour of the Queen Mary follows the path of the actual tours on board.
The Stanley Hotel
Located in Estes Park, Colorado the historic Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel The Shining.
Room 217 is said to be haunted and not even the toughest folks will stay in it. The King of Horror claims that the novel was inspired by a terrible nightmare he had while staying in that room.
The virtual tour give you a glimpse of the entire hotel then takes you on a ghost hunt in the infamous room.
The Lizzie Borden House
“Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother 40 whacks, when she saw what she had done, gave her father 41.” So the rhyme goes.
The murder in this family home may be the most recognizable and infamous murder mystery in America. The home currently a Bed & Breakfast located in Fall River Massachusettes was the scene of a particularly grisly murder. Lizzie Borden who lived in the house with the murder victims who were her father and stepmother is believed to be the perpetrator. But to this day no one has been able to prove it.
But after such a horrific event it’s almost certain that the house is haunted. This virtual tour is well done and actually pretty scary.
For almost 80 years patients were tragically abused, neglected, and brutalized behind the closed doors of this facility. Located in Spring City, Pennsylvania this building once housed the region’s mentally and physically disabled residents. The facility started treating patients in 1908 and finally permanently closed its doors in 1987. It’s said that paranormal activities linger in it’s halls; no wonder given the amount of human suffering that occurred within its walls.
Which virtual tour will you take? I’m sure whichever one or two you choose will give you goosebumps!
Travel is usual part of our family summers. Every year since our children were young we’ve spent at least 2 – 4 weeks of their summer vacations traveling the world. These days we do it with our grandkids as well. Our travel generally includes something fun like a theme park, something about nature like a National Park, and something educational like a museum or two.
This year our summer travel is cancelled due to COVID19, the virus which has pretty much changed daily life worldwide. Travel restrictions as well as social distance and personal hygiene guidelines have made travel that much more complicated. These days added to the stress of dealing with airports, hotels, and car rentals are the need to wear masks or facial coverings, hand washing, social distancing, and sanitizing surfaces on planes, hotels, restaurants, and all forms of public transportation. So we like I’m sure many other families have chosen to spend summer at home.
But staying home this summer doesn’t mean we can’t go to museums or other places we normally visit during our vacations. We just have to do it virtually from the safety and comfort of our home. Of course virtual tours aren’t the same as actually being there, but it’s a good way to discover new places that we may want to visit as soon as we feel comfortable traveling again.
Here are some virtual museum tours that kids will enjoy. My grandkids and I have done quite a few of them and have found them enjoyable. They’ve opened the way to further explorations and discussions!
The Houston Children’s Museum has been rated the #1 Children’s Museum in the US by Parents magazine. I can definitely say it’s an incredible place for kids to explore and learn about many interesting things. My grandson’s loved it when we visited 5 years ago when they were 1, 7, and 12 years old. Read about our visit here!
While they don’t have a virtual tour they do have a schedule of virtual events such as workshops, story time, and at home activities. Check their event schedule and find something you can plan to attend. Click here for their event schedule!
NASA – Johnson Space Center Houston
The Johnson Space Center in Houston isn’t exactly a museum although they do have several areas that showcase rockets, spacesuits, and other interesting items from their long history of space exploration.
An actual visit to the Space Center includes a tour of the facilities including Mission Control, the area where many space launches from the Saturn rockets, Apollo Missions, and Shuttle missions were monitored.
The Johnson Space Center offers several virtual tours and activities. This should keep you and the kids busy for days! My kids and grandkids have visited the Space Center several times and have had a great time. We’ve also done the virtual tours recently and found them very educational. Click here for the NASA – Space Center’s virtual tours!
Fans of the Ben Stiller movie “Night at the Museum” will recognize the American Museum of Natural History located in New York City. The movie takes place inside this wonderful museum although movie only used exterior shots of this museum and wasn’t actually filmed there.
It’s also a family favorite. It’s a museum we visit whenever we’re in the Big Apple.
Located on Fifth Avenue in New York City The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of my favorite museums. How can it not be? I went to school across the street, my friends and I spent many afternoons exploring the exhibits. We were huge fans of E. L. Konigsburg’s novel “From the Mixed Up Fils of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” which tells the tale of two siblings who runaway to NYC and “live” at this museum.
The MET as it’s lovingly called has many online offerings for both kids and adults to explore it’s many exhibits and spaces. My grandkids love #MetKids an online plaltform made for, with, and by kids. It takes kids on a fun filled journey thru time to explore over 5000 years of art from around the world. Click here to start your journey!
No fairy tale is complete without a grand palace or castle. But did you ever wonder if those fairy tale castles really do exist? The answer is of course they do! And you can visit them from anytime you want without every having to leave home!
These days travel is something many of us are hesitant to undertake. Not only do we have to worry about social distancing at the airports and on planes, we have to follow new airline rules designed to keep us safe. Temperature checks and virus testing before being allowed in the boarding area; face masks and gloves for the duration of the flight; no hand luggage; higher ticket prices; and arriving 4 hours before a flight are just some things we can expect when we do decide to travel. Pretty daunting isn’t it?
We love to travel and explore the world, but right now we’re not quite ready to take that first step and venture out into the new world we’ve come to live in. But that doesn’t mean we can’t virtually explore new places or revisit some of our favorite destinations.
So here are 6 fairy tale castles you can virtually explore. Perhaps you’ll find one or two to put on your travel bucket list to explore when you’re ready to brave this new world of ours.
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Arguably the most famous fairy tale castle of all is Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at the center of all Disney Parks. It was modeled after the real life Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.
Complete with a “Talking Mirror” this castle in the German town of Lohr a. Main is said to be the inspiration for the Snow White fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. Today is houses the Spessart Museum where they actually have the infamous Talking Mirror on display.
The town really plays up to the Snow White tale who in real life was modeled after the daughter of the Bavarian Castle’s owner.
Here’s a short video that takes your thru some of the exhibits.
Here’s a 360 tour of the outside of the castle and the surrounding area.
Palace of Versailles
This French Palace is just as famous for its residents as for its history and beauty. Situated in the outskirts of Paris the Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France for over 100 years; from the reign of Louis XIV in the 17th. Century until the end of the French Monarchy under the reign of Louis XVI in 1789.
Marie Antoinette is arguably it’s most famous resident. Born an archduchess of Austria, her parents were Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis of Austria, she became the Queen of France when she married Louis XVI. Tragically she was the last Queen of France when Louis XVI was deposed during the French of Revolution; she was tried by tribunal and executed at the Place de la Concorde in 1793.
Today it’s used for state events and it’s a museum where visitors can visit the complex that houses the main palace, small chateaux, gardens, and fountains. It was also the setting for 5 recent films including the Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette.
Commissioned by the Romanov Czar Peter the Great in the early 18th. Century Peterhof is located in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was built to rival Louis XIV’s Versailles in France.
This palace complex is composed of several palaces, gardens, and fountains. It served as the imperial palace for Russian Czars for over 200 years.
It’s most famous residents were probably Nicolas and Alexandria, the Russian Empire’s final Czar and Czarina. Like their counterparts in Versailles the Russian Revolution brought the demise of the once great House of Romanov with the arrest, imprisonment, and ultimately the executions of Nicolas, Alexandria, and their children in Yekaterinburg in 1918.
Built in the early 18th. Century by Russia’s Catherine I, the wife of Peter the Great. Located in a town not far from St. Petersburg, Catherine’s Palace was the summer house of the Romanov Czars and Czarinas.
This Palace is best known for The Amber Room decorated with gold backed amber panels. The Amber Room was gifted to Peter the Great to celebrate peace between Russia and Prussia 1716. It adorned the room in Catherine’s Palace for over 200 years until it was dismantled and looted by the Nazis during World War II; it has not been seen since.
A list of fairy tale palaces and castles would not be complete with out Buckingham Palace. It is the official London residence of British monarchs since 1837 when Queen Victoria ascended to the throne. Today it is the London residence of HRM Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip.
In recent times it was at this Palace’s balcony where the world first “officially” met Princess Diana after her marriage to the Prince Charles, and the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, after her marriage to Prince Harry. Explore this historic palace here!
The world is a beautiful place filled with historic places. Exploring our world is what motivates many of us to travel. Unfortunately for many of us travel may be on hold for the foreseeable future.
With the pandemic sweeping the globe travel has become very complicated and pretty risky. I know that our family is not ready to venture out into the world again due to travel restrictions and health guidelines. For now we’ve opted to stay home.
But staying home doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of the beautiful historic places around the world. These days it’s possible to virtually explore the world from the comfort of your living room on whatever wifi device you own. It’s a great time to visit new places which may inspire you to actually visit when you feel comfortable to travel again.
At our house we’ve been going on many virtual tours of some of our favorite places and many places we’d like to visit. We’re also taking this at home time to do research on the places we’ve put on our travel bucket list. Here are a few of our favorites. I hope they’ll inspire you to plan a visit real soon!
Tower of London
Located on the banks of London’s Thames River the Tower of London has served as a royal palace, a prison, a place of execution, an arsenal, and a vault where the British Crown Jewels were kept.
It housed many historic figures, many before their execution on the palace ground. Among them are Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Gray, Princess Elizabeth, Sir Walter Raleigh, and King Edward V and his brother. During the WWI several spies were executed these as well. It’s no wonder the Tower of London is said to be one of the most haunted places on earth!
Commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in AD 70 this massive stone amphitheater sits in the center of Rome within a stone’s throw from the Roman Forum.
It was opened in AD 80 by Vespasian’s son Titus and could seat over 50,000 spectators. It was in active use for for 4 centuries as a venue for gladiatoral combats, wild animal fights and hunts, and even a re-enactment of a naval battle when the ground floors of the structure were flooded. Click here to take this virtual tour!
The Athens Acropolis is probably the most famous of Greece’s many Acropoleis. As it’s name suggests it a city that sits atop a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens.
It was built during the 5th. Century BC and houses many building of religious and historic significance including the famous Parthenon, Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. The temples are dedicated to the goddess Athena the patron of the city of Athens.
This ancient city located in Turkey’s Izmir Province was an important city during Greek and Roman times and thru the spread of Christianity. St. Paul and St. John spent years in Ephesus during their Apostle years.
During the reign of Greece and Rome it was the main Mediterranean commercial center. The ancient site features temples, colonnaded streets, baths, shops, and homes. Click here to take this virtual tour!
Located on Ellis Island not far from Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty stands is this building complex where immigrants were processed as they entered the United States. Over 12 million immigrants who arrived at the ports of New York and New Jersey were processed on this island between 1892 to 1954.
Travel may prove difficult this year. With travel restrictions, quarantines, airline regulations, masks, and social distancing many of us may not feel too comfortable boarding an airplane, staying at hotels, and even exploring major cities using crowded public transportation.
We’ve canceled this year’s family summer vacation and our usual travel and cruise itineraries for the rest of the year. In fact we’re not sure when we’ll feel comfortable traveling anywhere that entails long haul flights, and since we live in Hawaii this pretty much covers the whole world. It makes me sad that I will probably not be able to visit my daughter in Italy until hopefully next spring, we usually visit in the summer and fall. But health and safety come first and with no cure or vaccine in sight for the novel corona virus it means that home is where we’ll be for the foreseeable future.
Staying home doesn’t mean we can’t explore new cities on our bucket list or re-visit some of our favorite ones. We’ll just have to explore virtually from the comfort and safety of our family room.
Here are some virtual tours of 6 of cities that you may want to re-visit or add to your travel bucket list. Enjoy!
The City of Lights brings romance, history, art, fashion, and cuisine to mind. I love Paris in the Spring!
I love the sights, sounds, and smells of this wonderful city. From the Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame, to the magnificent artworks in the Louvre and D’Orsay museums, the shops on the Champs Elysee, and the cafes along the Rive Gauche, Paris has something for everyone.
What’s not to love about London? I love the palaces, gardens, museums and galleries, theaters, markets, and shops in this great city.
From Buckingham Palace to Hampton Court; the British Museum to the West End shows; Boroughs Market to Harrods; there are many excellent sites to explore in this beautiful city.
Explore Westminster Abbey where you’ll find the tombs of England’s kings and queens as well as poets, scientists, and other notable historic figures. Get a bird’s eye view of the city on the iconic London Eye. Walk the fog shrouded streets of Whitechapel where the infamous Jack the Ripper left his gory mark.
The Big Apple! New York City has so much to offer, it’s one of my favorite city’s. Having been raised in the City I guess you can say I’m just a little bit biased!
New York City is a bustling place where you’ll find the iconic State of Liberty, green spaces such as Central Park and Battery Park, quirky neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and Tribeca, museums like the MOMA and the Guggenheim, and Times Square.
Dubai never fails to make me feel like I’ve stepped into a Star Wars movie.
The mish mash of futuristic looking buildings tower over the desert sands. It’s not at all unusual to find camels sitting on the beach in front of one’s hotel room; nor is it unusual to ski inside the Mall of the Emirates in the morning and have dinner in the desert dunes just outside of the city.
Of course you’ll find every high end designer shop in the Dubai Mall and you can drape yourself in gold from head to foot at the Gold Souk across the creek in the old section of the city.
Dubai is a fascinating city with a foot in it’s past and an eye to the future.
On the banks of the Chao Phraya River sits the bustling city of Bangkok.
Here you’ll find Temples that house Buddha statues in a myriad of sizes, positions, and materials. Along with is huge temple complexes you’ll find a palace complex, green spaces, floating markets, night markets, and more.