Tag: Thanatourism

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The Creepiest Haunted Prisons and Asylums in America, Open for Tours

September 25, 2014 at 2:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

Claims of paranormal activity are stories that stick; pair a spooky history with brutal architecture, and you have a winning setting for ghost tours.

Beyond the usual prison tours is true Thanatourism, or tourism of places associated with great grief or violence. Asylums are a popular option, owing to their histories as buildings originally erected to serve only one purpose, to house and treat patients with mental illness. Despite their dark reputations, asylums provided food, shelter, and at least some hygiene. Unfortunately, because mental illness was considered un-curable, most of the patients were forced to live out their life in asylums such as these, while others could have been the victims of barbaric experimental treatments and surgeries.

Accessing the hushed, forbidding structures of these strict institutions is a modern fascination, one which flares up in autumn around the coming of Halloween.

Here are 4 of the most haunted institutions open to the public:

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Is This the Most Photographed Abandoned Building in Detroit?

July 24, 2013 at 4:13 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's been called "the face of American ruin porn" and an average nice weather day sees scores of cars driving by solely for a photograph. Serious shooters set up tripods in the weeds, and a meal at Slows BBQ is often followed by a stroll over to stare. Though Detroit's Michigan Central Station turns 100 this year, the last train departed in 1988, at which time the 18-story structure began its rapid decline from proud landmark to toothless sideshow attraction. The carcass of crumbling stone now draws curious gawkers like gnats, a form of architectural thanatourism.

Even the New York Times called Detroit "the world capital of of staring at abandoned old buildings" and, of the station, said: "Itís hard not to think of it as an epic-scale disaster that seems engineered to illustrate manís folly ó as if the Titanic, after sinking, had washed ashore and been beached as a warning."


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In Phnom Penh: What is the Genocide Museum and Should You Visit?

April 24, 2013 at 5:27 PM | by | Comments (0)

Usually we're pretty light-hearted when we travel because we simply love to explore new and exciting things. Eventually something does comes along, however, which shakes our soul and moves us in way that few other things have. Our recent exploration of Phnom Penh came with one of those moments while visiting the Genocide Museum. Vacations are supposed to full of good memories and a museum visit like this one doesn't sound too fun, but please stay with us; it's worth it.

Here's a little background before we get into our take on the grounds: back in April of 1975, Cambodia was in the thick of a government run by the political party of Democratic Kampuchea, led by the infamous Pol Pot. During this time, the security office S21 was created from a former primary school campus of four buildings, with the purpose of detaining Cambodian citizens considered a threat to the Communist movement, primarily those with education.

If you're thinking, "this can't end well," you're right.

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Where to Spend Your Halloween Amongst 'The Walking Dead'

October 18, 2012 at 2:50 PM | by | Comments (0)

Universal Studios Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights is back for another year of creepy mazes, "scare zones," monsters and now, zombies too.

In addition to a Silent Hill-themed maze, the Penn and Teller ďVegasĒ maze, even an Alice Cooper maze, Universal Studios (on both coasts) features a new Walking Dead maze. [Be sure to check out our comprehensive guide to Halloween Horror Nights here].

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Tripping over Scareactors at Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights 2012

Where: 1000 Universal Studios Plaza [map], Orlando, FL, United States, 32819
October 16, 2012 at 6:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

Once again, Universal Studios Orlando is doing its best to scare nightly visitors as the park is in the midst of the 22nd annual Halloween Horror Nights. You know the drill—each fall crowds converge on the park to experience the transformation; by day Universal Studios welcomes guests of all ages to experience the new Despicable Me ride, ET's bike, and pose for photos with Spongebob, while at night (22 nights, ending on Halloween night) the park turns itself into a giant live action horror movie.

A gaggle of writers work year-round to come up with the themes and schemes that inhabit Universal's annual Halloween Horror Nights. For this 22nd incarnation of fright, Universal went heavy on the partnership route, teaming up with AMC's Walking Dead, Penn & Teller, Alice Cooper, and Silent Hill for four of the seven houses. Furthermore, the park ditched the "scare zones," opting to let the legions of horror scareactors freely roam the streets to search for victims in bars, restaurants, lines, and inside every henhouse and outhouse inside park boundaries.

We toured each of the seven haunted houses and searched out all the scareactors roaming the streets and here's what we think, in order from scariest to not-so-scary:

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Hitting Halloween at the USA's Top Five Theme Parks: Dates, Prices and More

September 13, 2012 at 3:32 PM | by | Comment (1)

If you havenít started to feel the chill in the air you will sooner than later, and that means that theme parks around the country will start loading in their pumpkins, scarecrows, and other spooky seasonal decorations. Halloween is still over a month away, but that doesnít mean that the scary stuff wonít begin a little bit sooner.

Hereís a quick rundown of some of the countryís best parks and when they begin to do their Halloween thing:

Cedar Point Ė HalloWeekends

Over at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio the werewolves and vampires come out to play beginning on September 14óthatís this Friday. The frightening fun runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through October 28, but you might want to just double-check the official calendar before filling up the tank and starting your drive. Admission to this yearís events should set you back around $45, but thatís only if you order in advance online.

Busch Gardens Ė Howl-O-Scream

Thereís a couple flavors of this yearís seasonal celebrations from which to choose, as Busch Gardens is getting the ghosts and goblins ready in both Tampa and Williamsburg, Virginia. Expect haunted houses, live entertainment, and plenty of pumpkins. In Virginia the run runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays beginning this week, ending October 30. Down in Florida things donít begin until next week, and itís going to be a Thursday, Friday, Saturday thing with the scary stuff running as late as 2am. Advance admission will set you back $55 for Florida and $70 if youíre looking to be scared silly in Virginia.

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The Titanic Graveyard Isn't in New York or Southampton. It's in Canada.

Where: Halifax, Canada
April 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

Going to visit the largest burial site of those who died in the Titanic ship disaster while on a cruise probably isn't the best idea, but then you think of something better to do while practically fogged in at Halifax's harbour. We took a bus out to Fairlawn Cemetery, which definitely isn't near downtown Halifax but more on the edge of a regular neighborhood. You'd never guess that inside the modest gates lay 121 victims, some still unidentified 100 years after the ship hit the iceberg and sunk on its maiden transatlantic voyage.

Fairlawn is open during normal daylight hours and, on a typical day, one bus tour will be followed by another bus tour stopping to visit the site. The Titanic portion of the cemetery consists of three rows of graves that mostly match, save for a few whose families purchased individual tombstones for their loved ones. All death dates are the same: April 15, 1912, though the ship hit the iceberg on the 14th.

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Photographing NY's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (in Hipstamatic)

April 2, 2012 at 3:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

It wasn't part of the plan, spending some of our Sunday afternoon with long-dead notable names, but sometimes these things just happen. They specifically happen when, during a spur-of-the-moment rental car weekend trip up the Hudson River Valley, we spot Sleepy Hollow Cemetery coming up on Google Maps Driving Directions on our iPhone.

There was a fork in the road. Go right and continue on to our planned brunch? Go left and head into the thicket of graves, cutting brunch short? Since the best experiences usually result from taking the least convenient option in moments like this, we veered left.

What resulted was a surprisingly happy hour manuevering the inclines and switchbacks of this hilly cemetery to visit The Legend of Sleepy Hollow author Washington Irving, gazillionaires Andrew Carnegie, William Rockefeller, Walter Chrysler, Elizabeth Arden and the Helmsleys. We missed the Astors, so a return is already in order. You need to go. The photography opportunities alone are worth it, as we found out after firing up the Hipstamatic app and playing with our eeriest filters.

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Five Jewish Historical Sites to Visit in Amsterdam

February 14, 2012 at 6:12 PM | by | Comments (0)

A display at the Verzetsmuseum

All this week, traveler and writer Lilit Marcus will share her favorite unique spots in Amsterdam, a city Jaunted can never get enough of.

As a Jewish traveler, or simply one interested in checking out the local Jewish sites, thereís more to do than simply patronize kosher restaurants. Holland lost the largest percentage of its Jewish community during the Holocaust, and since then the country has worked overtime to make sure that the communityís history didnít disappear. These sites help give a broader picture of Jewish life in Amsterdam—past and present:

· Verzetsmuseum
The Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) paints a picture of what life was like for ordinary Dutch people during the German occupation. The rooms in the center depict everyday life, complete with food rationing and forced military service, while rooms on the side share stories of Dutch citizens who worked against the Nazis and in some cases paid with their lives. The museum successfully gives a broad representation of what Holland was like during the war without resorting to victimhood.

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Zombie Survival Camp: Yes, It Exists and Yes, You Can Go

January 26, 2012 at 2:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

Do you want to be prepared for the coming zombie apocalypse? Maybe you need to polish your zombie-fighting or shelter-building skills? Then TrackersPDX in Portland, OR is offering a survival training camp just for you.

The outdoor and adventure specialist have created an intensive 2-day course—taught by seasoned experts who have fought on the frontlines of the zombie epidemic—where you will learn all of the essential skills you'll need in the event of a zombie takeover.

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Got $189 Million? Then You've Got 5,500 Artifacts from the Wreck of the 'Titanic'

January 5, 2012 at 4:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

A mug from third class on the Titanic

Anyone got $189 million just chilling in the bank? If your answer is yes, then you've probably also got enough extra space to house some 5,500 artifacts raised from the ocean floor wreck of the RMS Titanic, because all that is about to be auctioned off...in one fell swoop.

That's right; if you want to buy just one piece from the massive collection, you're going to have to buy all of it, since the auction comes complete with a 19-page document of what you can and cannot do with the items. It's mostly cannot do. So there'll be no drinking your morning coffee from a steerage class mug, nor will there be fogging up a porthole with your breath, only to write "J + L = <3" with your finger. You've got to treat these items with respect, just as the salvage company has attempted to do until now:

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Brangelina and Brood Head to Ho Chi Minh City for a Vietnam War History Lesson

November 14, 2011 at 12:37 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Brangelina clan added more stamps to their passports last week as they traveled from Tokyo to Vietnam. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie took their six children to Vietnam, where their son Pax was born, after premiering Brad's latest movie, Moneyball, in Japan.

The couple wanted Pax to visit his home country so he could better understand, and be proud of, his culture. "They are all learning about each other's cultures as well as being proud of their own," Jolie recently said of her three adopted children.

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