Just in time for Halloween, we've pulled together our list of the top 10 scariest adventure spots around the world. We're not talking your average haunted hayride: These destinations have a long history of creepy lore. They're also great adventure destinations, just make sure to pack your garlic necklace and your silver bullets.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
Made famous by Washington Irving's spooky tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, this historic town is the quintessential eerie fall destination. By day, experience the colorful foliage on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trailway: it passes the Pocatino River near the spot where the Irving's Headless Horseman scared Icabod Crane. At night, visit Irving's headstone as you tour the town graveyard by lantern; you might just hear the faint sound of hooves pounding and heads rolling in the distance.
Catacombs of Palermo, Italy
If you thought the catacombs of Paris were creepy, brace yourself. In the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italy, you wont just see a few old bones. Skin, hair, and clothing hang on the intact skeletons of people long deceased. Walking among these dead bodies makes for one of the ghostliest adventures out there.
St. Louis Cemetery #1, New Orleans's Oldest City of the Dead
One of our 100 Adventure Towns, New Orleans has plenty of non-bone chilling adventures. But walk through the vast cemeteries of above-ground graves known as the City of the Dead, and you'll see why this is one of the spookiest spots around. Visit the grave of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, rumored to have walked the streets of the city even after her death in 1881. If you perform a series of knocks and leave an offering at her tomb, you can channel her power and perform your own Voodoo curse. Or so legend goes. Just make sure to go in a group: Muggers sometimes lurk in the narrow paths between large tombs.
Shark Alley, South Africa
If you thought Jaws was scary, try swimming off the coast of South Africa, where great whites and bull sharks abound. Three people have been left dead by shark attacks there this year. Gansbaai, near Cape Town, is known as Shark Alley for its unrivaled density of great whites. If you're feeling really brave, go cage diving there. The sharks are so close, you just might pee your wetsuit.
Dare to sail around the water between the Bermuda, Miami and Puerto Rico, and you might just end up missing: from 1780 to as recently as 2002 ships and aircraft have utterly disappeared in the triangle. Whether or not paranormal activity is at work, braving what some call the "Devil's Triangle" is one of the creepiest adventures around.
Loch Ness, Scotland
Loch Ness is known for the illusive creature some claim resides within the lake: the infamous Loch Ness Monster. Search for it yourself on a cruise across Loch Ness' calm waters. Even if you don't spot a giant tentacle or blinking monster eye beneath the surface, at least you'll have a chance to explore the incredible scenery of the Scottish Highlands.
Transylvania, Home of the Vampire
From Twilight to True Blood, there's no doubt that vampires are cool. Make your way back to the original vampire zone, Transylvania, Romania. Start at Bran's Castle, known for its connections to Bram Stoker's 1897 book Dracula.
Alcatraz Island, California
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Amidst the beauty San Francisco's coastline sits Alcatraz Island, where for almost 30 years the U.S. consolidated its deadliest criminals. Now, its part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Take a ferry over to tour the old penitentiary at night. Watch out for the ghosts of Al "Scarface" Capone and the "Birdman" Robert Stroud as you wander the abandoned hallways and cells.
Situated on a beautiful harbor in Massachusetts, this historical town is famous for it's spooky history. The Salem witch trials of 1692 resulted in 19 women hung and one man pressed to death. It's also home to the haunted house Nathaniel Hawthorne describes The House of Seven Gables. Tour the Witch Dungeon Museum and watch reenactments straight from the 1692 trial transcripts, or discover hidden stairways inside the original House of Seven Gables.
Four hundred giant stone-faced figures standing erect around the coast of Easter Island have baffled outsiders since the Dutch arrived on the deserted island in 1722. Now, it still makes for one of the eeriest places on earth, especially if you make the trek to the dormant volcanic crater at Rano Raraku. From the top, you can look down to see the statues littered across a grassy slope, abandoned by the extinct islanders. —Greer Schott