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Who says you need to save up all of those vacation days for summer? With the crisp air and mild temperatures of October, why not try a different kind of adventure? You could call it Halloween break!

Freaky, right?

Of course, October isn't exactly in the middle of beach season, and most folks seem to either be obsessed with pumpkin spice or buying cheap Halloween costumes for the boss's lame office party. But you, my friend, are not satisfied with the status quo. You need a lot more out of life, which is why we at Dish have compiled a list of the Top American Destinations for the Scariest Ghoulish Adventures Ever! Ranging from California to Louisiana and including stories of vengeful witches and mysterious monsters, there are more than enough spooky locations in this country to please the most avid thrill seeker.

The Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA

Located in San Jose, California, the Winchester Mystery House is a strange labyrinth full of supernatural wonder. Standing 7 stories high, Winchester boasts a number of unusual features, such as extremely long hallways, secret rooms, stairs leading to nowhere and doors that open into walls. The house was a project started by the grieving widow Sarah Winchester, who had tragically lost her baby daughter to marasmus and her husband to tuberculosis. When a medium told her that her family was cursed by the restless spirits of those who had been killed by a Winchester rifle, Sarah took matters into her own hands. She received directions from the medium to move west and build a house to contain these spirits.

And this is truly why this enormous building is built like a fun house. If Sarah was going to elude these cursed  spirits she would have to confuse them, and endless corridors and haunt rooms filled the bill to perfection. It almost sounds more like an old fable than history, but be assured that the house is a monument to the reality of this unusual story.Winchester Mystery House

The Bell Witch Cave, Adams, TN

Bell Witch CaveLocated in Adams, Tennessee, the tale of the Bell Witch is one of the most infamous American ghost stories ever told. Made famous by the 2005 film An American Haunting, the Bell Witch is one of the most menacing ghosts who ever lived in the United States. The story revolves around the Bell family and a curse from a spiteful neighbor beyond the grave. The spirit is said to be Kate Batts, a mean old neighbor of John Bell who believed he cheated her on a land deal. On her deathbed, she swore to haunt John and his descendants for the rest of eternity. According to the tale, she terrorized the Bell family for years, picking on John's daughter Betsy in particular. Bell Witch House

The haunting started with strange creatures who showed up on the farm, and the sound of knocking on the doors and walls. Before long, the family could not ignore the sounds of chains, choking and falling rocks that loudly echoed throughout the house.  When John confided in his neighbor who also had similar experiences himself, they formed a committee to investigate the apparition. From there the tale spread throughout the country. It even attracted the attention of Andrew Jackson, who spent the night with his troops on the Bell farm.

“I had rather face the entire British Army,” Jackson is quoted as saying, “than spend another night with the Bell Witch!”

New Jersey PinelandsJersey Devil

It's not often that you see an entire state park on a list of top spooky destinations, but sometimes the woods hold eerie secrets as well as towns and cities. The New Jersey Pinelands holds miles of pine trees and sandy roads, including over one million acres of farms, forests and wetlands. The boggy area expands through much of southern New Jersey and is home to one of America's most infamous monsters- the Jersey Devil. Though reports of the creature date back to Native American folklore, the most common story about the creature revolves around Mrs. Leeds, a resident of Esteville who was distraught when she learned she was expecting her 13th child. In a moment of disgust, she cried out, “Let it be a devil!” and sure enough, it was.

With more than 250 years of history, this creature is one of the oddest and most well documented monsters of all time. Supposedly the creature has the body of a kangaroo, a dog-like head, horns and bat wings (because what's a devil without horns and bat wings?)

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

Made famous by Stephen King's The Shining, this old Colorado hotel is one of the biggest haunted buildings in the U.S. Unlike most hauntings, there's no one event in history that compares to the odd and eerie happenings that have been reported here. In fact, no one is even sure when these strange occurrences first began. Rather, the hauntings just sort of started one day and have painted a colorful history for the famously spooky hotel. Reports of ghostly children running through halls, invisible nannies tucking guests in and luggage unpacking itself are common, making for some of the most hospitable spectres we've ever heard of.The Stanley Hotel

The St. Louis Cemetery, New Orleans, LA

St. Louis CementeryOddly enough, this collection of three Roman Catholic cemeteries is located in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is a spooky reminder of just how haunted this historic city is. This collection of cemeteries is Marie Laveau the Voodoo Queen of New Orleansunique for its above-ground vaults, most of which were constructed and placed there in the 18th and 19th centuries, due to the city’s uniquely low altitude. Though many notable folk rest here, none are more eerie, strange and infamous than Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. It's said that if you knock three times upon the tomb (to awaken her), mark the tomb with XXX in chalk or brick, then knock three times again, she'll grant your wish. Don't forget the offering. Wishes don't come free, you know.

 

 

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 196 - November 8183
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