Contrary to popular belief, you might be surprised to learn that Halloween actually began with the Celts, who marked October 31 as summer’s end. On this night they believed that the boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead was blurred and in an effort to ward off evil, they lit bonfires, wore costumes and made food offerings to the spirits.
Let us take you to the birthplace of old Hallows Eve, to the dark and mysterious corners of Britain’s best haunts…if you dare. Here are 5 spooky sites guaranteed to bring to spine-tingling fun.
Glen Coe, Scotland
Behind the spectacular setting of this Scottish Highlands valley lies a dark tale. According to the story, in 1692, 38 men, women and children from Clan Macdonald were murdered by troops from rival Clan Campbell. Visitors claim to witness re-enactments of the deadly massacre and to hear blood curdling screams echoing through the valley.
Hampton Court, London
Dating back to the 1500’s, Hampton Court Palace is said to be haunted by ghosts of two of Henry VIII’s wives – most notably, Catherine Howard. When Henry’s fifth wife was arrested for adultery, she was said to have run screaming toward the chapel, begging the King for his mercy. The betrayed and unsympathetic King had her beheaded several days later. Catherine’s ghost is said to be seen running down the hall of the now “Haunted Gallery” at the palace.
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, England
Standing for more than 1000 years, this castle is no doubt the source of some spooky stories. Perhaps the most famous is the story of Sir Fulke Greville, who was gifted the castle in 1604. He was betrayed and stabbed by his most trusted servant and spent more than a month in agony, slowly dying from the wound. His ghost is said to haunt the room that was once his study. The dungeon of Warwick Castle is also said to be home to haunting paranormal activity. This visit is not for the faint-hearted!
In 1785, the construction of Edinburgh’s South Bridge began, connecting the New and Old Town. The bridge, comprised of 19 arches, was used as storage space, workshops, and for the very poor, housing. However, the space was not inhabited long – the bridge was never properly sealed and began to flood, bringing waste and disease to those who worked and lived there. After residents and shop owners began to abandon the area, it quickly became notorious for illicit activity, crime, prostitution and illegal drugs. Rumours of notorious serial killers storing bodies of their victims in the empty vaults also circled. To this day, hundreds of unexplained paranormal encounters have been cited at the vaults.
The small town in Scotland is home to many eery legends, though perhaps none more famous than Death Bogle, the spirit that haunts the town’s main crossroads. Is it said that if you encounter the figure and he grips you with his icy white fingers, you will die within one year. To this day, townspeople often warn visitors to avoid the crossing after dark.
Do you still dare to visit these spooky towns? Check out our Britain and Ireland tours here!