Our recent World's Creepiest Destinations photo gallery got us thinking about all the spooky places that travelers stumble upon during their explorations. In the spirit of Halloween, we asked SmarterTravel readers, plus our friends on Facebook and Twitter, to hit us with their own creepiest travel experiences. Here's a roundup of the most spine-tingling stories we received.
Most travelers don't associate sunny beach destinations with the chills, but reader Jack M. gave us the goose bumps with his story of a tunnel in Jamaica with a sinister history:
There is a tunnel that runs from the Rosehall Estate outside Montego Bay, Jamaica. The "White Witch" Annie had it built so she could leave the house and then appear in the surrounding cane fields like magic. She killed all the slaves that worked on the project to keep her little secret and keep the fear factor up with the rest of the help.
In 1970, before the whole place (Rosehall Plantation) was restored, a friend and myself entered the tunnel at the base where the waterfall is. It had the cold chill, bib spider webs, vines and was pitch black in the middle. I was 15 at the time and we both got totally creeped out halfway through and beat it back out to the waterfall.
I was in Jamaica for another 4 years, used to shower in the waterfall after surfing, but never went near that tunnel again!
Reader Randall C. shared this story about what he had hoped would be a typical night's sleep in an old farmhouse in South Africa:
The creepiest destination I have ever been was De Opstal Country Lodge in Oudshoorn, South Africa. There were three of us traveling together, and you could stay in renovated stables, the farmhouse, etc. It was autumn there and there weren't many guests, so just the three of us were put in the old farmhouse. It had old furnishings, three bedrooms, a kitchen, and [a] living room. It was very quaint.
We all went to bed in our separate bedrooms in the farmhouse. I left the en suite bathroom light on because the place was just so dark. I left the bathroom door open about a foot. At 11:45 p.m. I awoke to the sound of the door creaking closed and open again. Keep in mind that no window was open in the bathroom or the bedroom so no breeze could have caused this. The combination of the creaking and the light dimming in the bedroom as the door closed woke me up. I got up and ran to one of the other guy's rooms, woke him up and then he too could hear the creaking door as it closed and opened yet again. Later we could hear what sounded like footsteps or thuds in the hall that separated our two rooms.
Our other friend was at the back of the farmhouse so we got up our nerve to go to his room and told him the story. He then told us that when he was in bed he thought he saw the glowing light of the TV remote floating in the air but thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. The two of us thought otherwise.
Needless to say we didn't get much sleep that night and when we asked the staff in the morning if anyone had reported strange occurrences in the farmhouse, the young girl looked us in the eyes and slowly said no (as if to say yes).
Theresa A. and her sister veered off the beaten path in Ireland and got more spooky surroundings than they bargained for:
My sister and I visited Leap Castle in Ireland last October. It is not on the tour list of castles to visit, but my sister knew of its existence. We had to ask townspeople to guide us there. The castle has a creepy history of family murder and torture.
The moment we walked down the gravel road and turned the corner to face the castle, about 300 blackbirds came from everywhere and started circling the castle and squawking in the most violent, crazy way. I was scared out of my wits.
Others shared their top picks for the creepiest place they'd ever visited. Stephanie R. suggested Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, while reader Bocabini elected the catacombs in Paris. On Facebook Hayati A. called the Choeung Uk Killing Fields in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, "Damn eerie n' scary," and on Twitter @AdamGRosen described Ulan Bator as the kind of place where if you heed the warnings, you don't dare leave your hotel after 10 at night.
Got your own creepy destination experience? Add it to the comments below!