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Haunted Travel: Pub Keeper Not Buying It

Where: Wigan Rd., Euxton, United Kingdom
April 17, 2008 at 3:20 PM | by | ()

Famous medium Derek Acorah says that Lancashire pub Euxton Mills is haunted by not one but three different ghosts. But barkeep Keith Burgess says no way--even if TV crews have stopped in to film them.

Sure, plenty of folks have reported a floating gray lady, a presence in the cellar and a spook in the loo. But Keith just doesn't buy it even though:

[He] admits things have been switched on and off in the cellar...and one or two of the staff have had a couple of "scares."

He probably just wants visitors to focus on something else: The place won awards for Best Kept Pub in Lancashire in 2001, 2004 and 2006. Maybe the judges give extra points for the paranormal?

Related Stories:
· Ghostly Pub's Landlord Is a Non-Believer [Lancashire Evening Post]
· Haunted Travel coverage [Jaunted]

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Haunted Travel: Spooks on a Train

October 30, 2007 at 2:00 PM | by | ()

Zombies: Not welcome on Deutsche Bahn.

When it comes to haunted travel, maybe the traditional sights are best. If only Joerg Reichter had read up on our recommendations before passing out on a train ride between Bad Segeberg and Hamburg.

Feeling the effects of a booze-fueled Halloween party, Reichter nodded off on the train, which normally wouldn't be a problem--except he was still decked out in his fake-blood-soaked zombie costume. Some passengers took him for dead and called the cops. A police spokesperson explained:

His costume made him look like the victim of a serious assault as he appeared to be bleeding from the face and hands, and worried passengers called us up. Our officers realized what had happened and woke him up. They got him to take the fake blood and wounds off so there would be no more misunderstandings.

At least Reichter's fellow passengers were looking out for him. In Italy, no one on the trains bats an eye even if you're actually dead.

Related Stories:
· He's Not Undead, Just Unsober [Reuters]
· Haunted Travel coverage [Jaunted]
· Trains coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: atp_tyreseus]

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Haunted Travel: Peyton's Poltergeist

October 29, 2007 at 12:05 PM | by | ()

Freed slaves, led by Peyton Roberts, set up the town of Peyton Colony about 40 miles southwest of Austin after the Civil War. Today, it's a designated as a historic freedmen's settlement, but it's also considered a place with a hazy past--that brings cloudy apparitions late at night.

After a brief stint as Utopia (think, communal living, regular BBQs in the town square and softball and relay races in the park), the community fell on hard times in the 1920s and never completely recovered.

Today, the few remaining residents recognize their neighbor the poltergeist more than kids' laughter in the park. He floats around haunting the old church and schoolhouse, causes electrical problems in people's homes, turns faucets on and off by themselves. Resident Ellen Coffee has recorded some of the movements and sounds. After her work earlier this year, paranormal enthusiasts, psychics and other ghoul professionals flocked to the town to check out the action and try to capture a few of their own sound bytes and photos.

The poltergeist's spooky shenanigans and fleeting appearances are like the spooky version of Britney's crotch flashes, and he now has the paranormal paparazzi to prove it.

Related Stories:
· Haunted Places [Paranormal Travel Guide]
· Haunted Travel [Jaunted]

[Photo: Haunted Places]

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Haunted Travel: Play Pretend Prisoner

October 24, 2007 at 2:05 PM | by | ()

Just in time for Halloween comes the most Oscar-hyped film of cinematic achievement this year: Saw IV. (The Roman numerals lends it gravitas.) While we know little about the plot other than it's probably two hours of straight-up dismemberment, we have some ideas on where to set the stage for the undoubtedly upcoming Saw V.

Eastern State Penitentiary, in Philadelphia, is the go-to site on the eastern seaboard to find the highest concentration of ghosts who continue to torment the living. The prison, built in the mid-1800s, was one of the first and only to promote solitary confinement as a means of rehabilitation, and all the time alone apparently gave inmates plenty of time to consider how they would creep out tourists in 2007. Throughout October, the old prison, purposely kept in a state of ruin, hosts "Terror Behind The Walls," a massive haunted house on the 11-acre grounds.

Attractions include a walk past Al Capone's cell and a simulated intake process, complete with mug shots and fingerprinting, led by a nasty warden/out-of-work actor. New for this year, visitors can even pay to get locked up in their very own cell for the night. Fun... right?

Related Stories:
· Eastern State Penitentiary [Official Site]
· America's Scariest Halloween Attractions [Travel Channel]
· Haunted Travel coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: alicemariedesign]


Haunted Travel: And You Thought Your Family Was Terrible

Where: 3322 DeMenil Pl. [map], St. Louis, MO, United States, 63118
October 23, 2007 at 4:00 PM | by | ()

St. Louis may be known for its Budweiser, but back before "beechwood aged" there was Lemp Beer. Named for the German immigrant Johann Adam Lemp, his family soon took over the town with a steady supply of lager. He put some of his profits toward what's now one of the nation's most haunted homes: Lemp Mansion.

After a long run at the top of the city, the Lemp family tumbled into decline after its heir apparent, Frederick Lemp, died a mysterious death in 1901. His father, William, still stricken, shot himself in 1904. As Prohibition closed the family brewery in 1919, the remaining Lemps started killing themselves in an almost systematic manner. In 1970, Edwin Lemp, with his family gone, died of natural causes at the age of 90.

The mansion itself, built in the 1860s, is now a restaurant and inn, where paranormal investigations regularly take place. Tours happen on Monday nights, and you can rig up your own ghost hunt by booking one of the four guest suites. If previous guests are to be believed, you'll want to watch for flying glassware, orbs of light, doors slamming shut and apparitions of Lemp family members who still haunt the halls.

Related Stories:
· Lemp Mansion [Official Site]
· Account of a Night at Lemp Mansion [Your Ghost Stories]
· Haunted Travel coverage [Jaunted]

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Best Fall Festivals :: Festival of the Dead in Salem

Where: 18 Washington Sq. [map], Salem, MA, United States, 01970
October 10, 2007 at 4:30 PM | by | ()

Nothing says fall like ridiculous harvest festivals in small-town America. This week, we'll be mapping the best.

This one may be a bit spooky to be called a harvest festival, but it's too wild to pass up. Salem, Massachusetts is of course famous for its 17th-century witch trials, lampooned in more modern times by everyone from Arthur Miller to The Simpsons. But in one of history's greatest transformations of lemons to lemonade, Salem is now a town for witches, and its Festival of the Dead is the best time to practice the dark arts in New England

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Wine Travel: Miles Wine Cellars

Where: 168 Randall Crossing Rd. [map], Himrod, NY, United States, 14842
September 6, 2007 at 1:45 PM | by | ()

Okay, it's not Napa, but there are some great finds in New York's Finger Lakes wine country. We'll be drinking it all in this week, and mapping our favorites.

Miles Wine Cellars caught our interest from the get-go, mostly because it shares a name with Paul Giamatti's loveably pathetic character in Sideways. A short jog off the major highway running down the western shore of Seneca Lake, Miles is a perfect spot for a picnic and, of course, some wine tasting.

Before you get to the bar, though, take a walk through the Greek Revival tasting room and HQ. Owners Doug Miles and Suzie Hayes say spirits occupy the house, though it was early enough in the day that we didn't see any apparitions on our visit.

When it comes time to taste, the deal here is the same as at Rooster Hill: Five tastes cost $2.50, and you'll keep the glass. Miles has a fairly small production, so they decide what you get to taste. (This keeps the good stuff in stock.) When we were there, the '05 Pinot Noir was drinking quite nicely, as was the '05 Riesling.

Related Stories:
· Miles Wine Cellars [Official Site]
· Upstate NY Travel Map [Jaunted]
· Wine Travel coverage [Jaunted]

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Tourist Trap: Winchester Mystery House

August 10, 2007 at 11:00 AM | by | ()

For those who like a bit of good old American weirdness with their tours, San Jose offers a stroll around the famed Winchester Mansion. A 160 room monument to nonstop renovations, the Winchester Mansion features endless arbitrary additions and staircases to nowhere.

The story goes that the widow of William W. Winchester, awash in money from her husband's namesake rifle, was spurred by a psychic to move west and build a sprawling domicile as a cure for a run of bad luck that included the deaths of her famous husband and their only child. This compulsive construction was an attempt to appease the souls of those who had died by means of the rifle that bore her husband's name. Ultimately, this appeasement resulted in thirty-eight years of round the clock construction and a one hundred and fifty six acre spread of idiosyncratic rooms and passageways.

The still-standing mansion and garden grounds offer a variety of daily tours. The best deal--short of faking senior status--is the Grand Estate tour at $28.95. This will take you through 110 of the 160 rooms and give you a behind the scenes look at the building and operation of the estate. If that's too rich for you, Weird US put together the video above.

Related Stories:
· The Winchester Mystery House Blogger Talks [Jaunted]
· The Winchester Mystery House [Official Site]

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Haunted Travel: Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp

Where: Route 60 [map], Cassadaga, FL, United States
July 19, 2007 at 3:45 PM | by | ()

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is the snow bird's answer to upstate New York's Lily Dale Assembly. The town's founder probably got lost on his winter trip to Boca and ended up in Central Florida, connecting people with dead loved ones. According to the Camp's web site:

As a young man from New York, George Colby was told during a seance that he would someday be instrumental in founding a Spiritualist community in the South. That prophecy was fulfilled in 1875, when Colby was led through the wilderness of Central Florida by his spirit guide "Seneca" to an area surrounded by uncommon hills.

About 55 homes sit atop the 57 acres of land that comprise the camp, though the church retains ownership of the land. About 25 of residents are mediums who channel the spirit world in their living room. George (or Seneca) probably came up with the name because Lily Dale has an adjacent Lake Cassadaga. In other Cassadaga trivia, Bright Eyes' Colin Oberst used to hang out in the town and named his seventh album after it.

Related Stories:
·Cassadaga [Official Site]
·Florida Tourism [Jaunted]
·Florida Hotel Reviews [Jaunted]

[Photo Credit: Wikimedia]


Haunted Travel: Lily Dale Assembly

July 13, 2007 at 1:46 PM | by | ()

It is Friday the 13th so we're introducing a little supernatural travel. Lily Dale Assembly, located south of Buffalo, New York along Lake Cassadaga, near both Pennsylvania and Ohio, is the country's largest psychic community. Residents claim that the barrier between the living and the dead stretches so thin there that visitors often feel burdened by the intense "other-wordly" presence. We just felt creeped out, whatever that meant.

Pastel cottages with the detailing of gingerbread houses line the streets. Inside, mediums perform readings in their living rooms for a fee of about $60 for a half hour. Only members of the town's assembly are allowed to live within the gated community. This means every one of the town's 500 inhabitants (or an immediate family member) is a studied psychic and member of the Spiritualist religion.

More than 30,000 visitors from the mortal world (some call us muggles) flock to Lily Dale each summer, when the town's central square fills with lectures and workshops featuring speakers gifted with the sixth sense. Well, supposedly.

Related Stories:
·Hotels in Buffalo [HotelChatter]
·Travel Stories in Buffalo [Jaunted]

[Photo Credit: Richard Sutphen]