There wasn’t anything special about the door. Heavy, dark wood planks nailed together in a jagged, haphazard pattern were adorned with slightly rusted hinges. The door didn’t stand out from the heavy stucco walls of the building – there was nothing attractive about it, and alternately, it wasn’t particularly alarming -- but for some reason, visitors were drawn to it. Even as they sensed a foreboding – they didn’t want to know what hid on the other side of that door – they had no choice. Each would follow the same pattern … a hesitation, an internal struggle against the trepidation – it is just a door, after all … nothing to be afraid of – they would ultimately reach out slowly and pull down on the cool, black cast iron lever … and feel the slight shiver of panic as the door slowly inched open …
Stephen King was apparently inspired to write The Shining after staying at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Valley, Colorado. I’m no Stephen King, but I did have an encounter with a door while visiting St. Augustine, Florida that had me thinking Stephen King-like thoughts. Yes, I know, it was just a door. But it was a seriously creepy door.
It is that time of year when we like to be scared. The scary novels are lining the bookstore shelves and some seriously spooky, hide-behind-your-hands movies are being released. It is mid-October and it’s time to get your scare on.
If kids in pirate costumes, scarecrows in front yards, and the local run-through-while-grown-men-wielding-fake-axes-scream-at-you haunted house just aren’t doing the trick, here are some very creepy (and some insist very real) locations to visit this Halloween season:
The St. Augustine Lighthouse: Absolutely gorgeous, awe-inspiring, and hands-down one of the spookiest locations I’ve ever been to. The St. Augustine Lighthouse is one of the most haunted locations in the US. They offer an after-dark tour for those who want to add a little more thrill to this ghostly location. While you are there, give one of the St. Augustine ghost tours a try.
Pike’s Place Market: Located in Seattle, Washington, the Pike’s Place Market is a bustling, interesting market during the day. It has been operating since 1907 and attracts more than 10 million visitors a year. At night, the ghosts come out to do their shopping.
Sorrel-Weed House: Savannah, Georgia is one of my all-time favorite locations and this house is an all-time favorite scary destination. Just looking at it from the outside, you’ll feel chills. The house was built in 1835 and is considered one of the most haunted buildings in Savannah (which, in my opinion, is saying a lot). Night tours are available – if you can work up the nerve.
As creepy as the Stanley Hotel is, it isn’t the most haunted hotel in the country. That honor belongs to the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The hotel was built in 1886 and the ghost stories are legendary. But don’t worry – if you stay at this mountaintop resort, you can relax at the New Moon Spa.
While the Crescent Hotel may be the most haunted hotel, New Orleans can claim the title of the most haunted city. Founded in 1718, New Orleans is an old city with a long history and plenty of legends – and some of those involve voodoo and vampires. What better place to spend Halloween?