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In the month of October the world celebrates Halloween, the creepiest day of the year. Most of us think of carved pumpkins, trick-or-treating and costume parties, but did you know that originally 31 October was believed to be the day when the boundary between this world and the spirit world was the thinnest, making it easier to connect with your beloved departed ones?
While Halloween is much bigger in the United States, there are quite a few places in Europe, as well, that will make your skin crawl, from haunted mansions to churches adorned with skeletons and vast underground labyrinths.
CATACOMBS OF PARIS
Originally limestone quarries, the catacombs of Paris started serving as an ossuary in the late 1700s due to the city’s overflowing cemeteries. Today, over 6 million remains are stacked neatly in a tunnel network spanning several kilometres. You can take a tour of the catacombs, descending underground and wandering the winding tunnels for about 2 kilometres.
MOOSHAM CASTLE IN SALZBURG
Located not far from Salzburg you’ll find Moosham Castle, which took centre stage in the Salzburg Witch Trials in the late 1600s. Over a period of 15 years, hundreds of people suspected of witchcraft were imprisoned, tortured and executed here. No wonder there are tales and rumours claiming this castle remains haunted even today.
ELVEY FARM IN KENT
Aside from its idyllic countryside, the village of Pluckley in Kent is also known for its reputation asBritain’s most haunted village. In Pluckley, you’ll find a 600-year old farmhouse called Elvey Farm, which comes with seven guest rooms, a pub/restaurants and… its very own ghost stories. Do you dare to spend the night in a haunted house?
One of the haunted pubs of Pluckley
WHITECHAPEL IN LONDON
In 1888, the Whitechapel district of London’s East End marked the hunting grounds of the notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper, who murdered at least five prostitutes but was never caught or identified. This unsolved murder mystery today still fascinates the crowds and it’s even possible to book a guided tour taking you through Whitechapel’s eerie alleyways and past the Jack the Ripper murder sites… We’ve seen less scary places :-)
BRUSSELS SEWER MUSEUM
The Brussels Sewer Museum is one of a kind: it invites you to descend into the city’s extensive sewer system which extends over 400 kilometres and take a walk along the underground Senne River. The “bowels of Brussels” are quite intimidating, dark and smelly, which highlights how difficult the job of sewage worker can be… Follow the guide; you don’t want to get lost here!
Across Europe by rail
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* Unless expressly stated otherwise, all fares quoted are per person/per leg (VAT included) based on an online reservation for a 2nd class return from Brussels. Please note, terms and conditions apply. Tip: As the number of seats at the lowest fares on Eurostar, TGV INOUI and ICE trains is limited, we recommend that you book your trip as early as possible. Most international trains allow reservations to be made from 4 months before the date of departure (for Eurostar journeys to and from London, bookings can be made as early as 330 days before the date of travel, and for ICE as early as 6 months before the departure.).
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