I Double Dare You!
by Amy Lignor
Haunted houses, zombie-filled corn fields, small towns that like to get together and light up the night with scary-faced pumpkins – there are all different types of Halloween
events and haunts you can take the kids to and have a good time. And we’ve researched and reported on the best of them. But if you’re one of those…those who like the macabre…there are places around the globe that offer far more than just a “spooky” evening. In fact, they offer you a vision you’ll never forget.
In the Philippines, the Ingorot tribe thrived. One of their particular beliefs is that they bury their dead in coffins. Sounds reasonable, of course, however they hang the coffins from cliffs. By doing this they’ve created a location called the Hanging Coffins of Sagada for you to view. The tribe believes that this brings them closer to the spirits of their ancestors and keeps the bodies safe from harm.
Pripyat, Ukraine, was the ninth “nuclear city” in the Soviet Union; it was a type of closed town that served a power plant very close by called Chernobyl. Evacuated on April 27, 1986, the day after the Chernobyl disaster, there are actual places you can see up close and personal. The scariest being an iconic amusement park with a Ferris wheel, bumper cars and rides that seem suspended in time. You will never be able to wipe this one from your memory. But don’t worry. Although radiation levels are said to vary, concreted areas are stated to be relatively safe.
In Parma, Italy, there stands an abandoned psychiatric hospital. The location is said to be “undisclosed” yet it can certainly be found with a little work. The history begins quite calmly, with the city being a huge manufacturer of silk and workers at the factories needing a residence. It was in 1786, however, when a silk crises caused many to lose their jobs, that a charity designed and built a “workhouse” for all the people who were suddenly unemployed. Time moved on and eventually the property was used as a boarding school for the children of soldiers during WWI. But it was in the late 1860s that things turned dark. An asylum was needed. The military academy was transformed once again into a large hospital buried behind secure walls. The numbers skyrocketed to almost 1,800 people over time, and was seen more as a prison than a place where help was given. Patients were said to be confined inside the hospital until shutters were eventually put on and the building was abandoned. On the walls, added by an artist of merit, shadowy creatures decorate the dark, chilling rooms and many believe that the souls still scream inside its walls.
The “Church of Nine Ghosts” is a real church and a real site to see. In the Bohemian town of Luková, it is here at St. Joseph’s – a church built back in the 14th century – where a ceiling caved in during a funeral in 1968. Bad omens were felt by the town so from then on it was boarded up and services were held outside. Wanting to restore it, wanting to keep the history and bring in tourists so they could raise the money to do just that, the shutters were taken off. Yet walking through the doors is far more frightening than a ceiling caving in. Nine sculptures, large human figures all in white can be found sitting in the pews, as well as lurking in the shadows of the church. A frightening sight; so powerful you’ll find yourself waiting for the ghosts to move.
Venice. When you say that name, beauty comes into your mind far quicker than horror. Yet in the Venice Lagoon sits Poveglia, an island that used to serve as a dumping ground for plague victims before becoming a mental hospital. Empty now, the abandoned buildings are all that’s left, yet the legends live on. The restless souls of the people burned and buried there, suffering from the Black Plague, brought about “talk” that more than half of the soil on the island is made of human ashes. Another tale (or is it?) that lurks around Poveglia is of a psychiatrist who ran the mental hospital. A butcher, they say, the man loved torturing patients and finally went mad and jumped from the belltower…which remains to be seen.
Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora, the Czech Republic, is far more than the definition of “gothic.” A small building, yet over 200,000 people journey there every year. Why? Because it’s literally made from over 40,000 skeletons. No, these are not props. It was during the Black Death that many thousands were buried in the abbey’s cemetery. The mass graves were found and in 1511 the skeletons were exhumed. A chandelier of bones hangs from the center of the nave…and everywhere you look the eyes of the dead are always looking back.
Can you handle the fear? The legends? Well then visit these sites on Halloween night. I double dare you!
Source: Baret News