As we journey deeper and deeper into autumn, the nights are getting darker, the air colder, the days shorter. As it's Halloween, what better time to cosy up inside and discover some of the spookiest tales from around the world? Here are a spook-tacular collection of our favourites. Warning: you may want to check under the bed before going to sleep tonight…
In the north of Iceland, you’ll find the Hörgárdalur Valley, which leads into Iceland’s longest fjord. This area of almost ethereal beauty has given birth to a number of fables and ghost stories. The most notable of these is called The Deacon of Dark River, which tells the story of a Deacon who died while trying to cross the river.
His body was found and buried the next day by a farmer. Across the river, the Deacon’s girlfriend waited to meet her lover. The Deacon appeared, but his girlfriend had no idea he was actually dead. Together, they rode to the river Hörgá, where the ghost of the Deacon tried to pull his beloved into his open grave with him. Although she escaped, the woman was haunted by the Deacon until a stone was placed atop his grave.
While the haunted river Hörgà isn’t for the faint-hearted, you’ll want to pay a visit to the nearby Akureyri during your Iceland cruise, which is home to the world’s most northerly botanic garden.
Many know Barcelona for its lively main street, Las Ramblas, and Gaudí’s perpetually uncompleted masterpiece, Sagrada Familia. But did you know that this city was also the site of the first recorded poltergeist attack in Spain?
It happened in 1935 when a family reported loud banging, drawers flying across the room, lights swinging from the ceiling and stones raining down onto the courtyard. The local police investigated but found nothing amiss. In fact, only the children witnessed the mysterious white shadow lurking between the clock and the chairs…
To get the most out of Barcelona (without the scare factor) join us on a Mediterranean cruise. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the Spanish cities of Madrid and Valencia.
Norway is famous for its majestic fjords and rugged, dramatic coastlines. But not all is what it seems in the Scandinavia wilderness, as proven by the myth of Draugen, the ghost of the water. Draugen is said to be a horrifying monster, the ghost of a man drowned out at sea. He is covered in seaweed and appears in a rowboat approaching the shore.
Those brave enough to venture out during a dark storm might just encounter Draugen – but we wouldn’t recommend it. The last thing Draugen’s victims hear is his horrible scream before he capsizes their boat, sending them to the bottom of the ocean for eternity.
For some safer, but just as spooky, fun, why not take a ghost walk in Oslo? Don’t miss the Akerhus Fortress, which was used for executions in the Middle Ages.
Although you may know it for its fresh, white-washed buildings and distinctive blue roofs, the Greek island of Santorini is actually one of the most haunted places in the world. It even has the nickname "the Island of Vampires", as it’s home to a strange burial ground, where those suspected of vampirism were buried.
According to legend, these creatures are even more ghoulish than Hollywood would have you believe. Greek vampires, also known as vrykolakas, are thought to be the ghosts of those who lived a violent or sinful life. They were said to knock on the doors of houses, prompting the superstition that you should never answer the door until the second knock. If you did, you were at risk of a vrykolakas sitting on your chest and suffocating you!
Sink your teeth further (sorry) into Santorini’s history by visiting its caldera. The island was the site of an enormous volcanic eruption around 3,500 years ago, which left a gaping, mostly submerged crater. The eruption led to the demise of the Minoan civilisation.
The atmospheric Russian city of St Petersburg is a treasure trove of creepy stories – the most intriguing of which centres around an abandoned radio station. Just outside of the city, you'll find an eerie collection of decrepit buildings which date back to the Cold War. Inside the crumbling walls is an empty radio station which transmits a low, haunting hum 24 hours a day, interrupted only by a foghorn sound every few seconds. Sometimes, a voice will read out Russian words.
Strange, you might be thinking, but not particularly scary. And it isn’t – not until you consider that no one claims to run the station. Somehow, it operates alone. Tens of thousands tune into “MDZhB” (also known as “the Buzzer”) every day, and the popular theory is that it was created by the Russian Military, although of course – no one can be sure. Other haunted places to visit in the city include Yusupov Palace, the site of Rasputin’s murder in 1916.
Got goose-bumps yet? Check out our favourite haunted destinations for yourself on our Northern Europe, Baltic and Mediterranean cruises.
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