“Want to get your Halloween Spook On?”
Here are our Top Five Locations guaranteed to give you the creeps this Halloween Season!
# 5 Myrtles Plantation
As a general guideline, we typically do not encourage our readers to visit haunted homes unless the location has at least a baker’s dozen of frequent entities. Otherwise, it is hardly worth their time and expense, but we will make an exception for Myrtles Plantation’s reported dozen spooks.
Metaphorically speaking, you can’t swing a black cat around your television set this Halloween season and not catch a show that features the fascinating story of romance, murder, and hauntings that reportedly occur at this historic antebellum plantation.
Learn more by visiting: The Myrtles Plantation
# 4 Mansfield Reformatory (aka Ohio State Reformatory)
Built to look like a German Castle, this former palace for the naughty, just gives you the willies looking at it! Who wants to spend time in a prison under the best of circumstances, let alone go to rusty, deteriorating, big house of boo?
Spirits are alleged to abound here! Visitors tell of satistic guards, forelorn prisoners, and even the warden’s own “accidentally” shot wife that still frequent the grounds. During the Halloween season, the facility has an extremely popular paid attraction (must be at least 13 years old) called Prison Experience: Dead Walk – they make it sound so nice!
# 3 St. Augustine Lighthouse
Unlike prisons, lighthouses are cool places to visit regardless if they are haunted or not. Here you will learn all about the original Blue Man (years before he formed a group) who likes to chill in the basement, as well as the tragic story of the former lighthouse keeper, whose daughters, along with another girl, drowned when the lighthouses supply trolley they were playing on suffered a catastrophic failure!
This is one Halloween beacon sure to lead you to haunted shoals. For more information, we dare you to visit: St. Augustine Lighthouse’s Dark of the Moon tour
#2 Peoria State Hospital
This one is a no brainer – in fact, everything we post on our blog is a no brainer – but we do the best we can with the limited resources our DNA grants us.
Peoria State Hospital is always near the top of most recommend Haunted Places to visit list. Someone needs to investigate to see if there is a connection between weird castle designs in prisons and hospitals and frequency of haunting. Perhaps these designs are satellite dishes for the receiving departed.
It is also no wonder the patients here went insane, even the location had more names than Sybil. The facility has been called Peoria State Hospital, Bartonville State Hospital or Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane (how is that for an optimistic prognosis doctor!).
Find out more about their brand of crazy at: Peoria Asylum
#1 Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Even if it wasn’t reported to be one of the most haunted places in America, Waverly Hills Sanatorium goes off the spooky richter scale. This expansive sanatorium once housed thousands of patients who were undergoing bizarre treatments for tuberculosis (the “White Plague”).
The real human toll here was staggering. Most patients were sent here to die. Although the actual number of patients who died here might never be known the fact that the facilities tunnel has been nicknamed the “Death Tunnel” or “Body Chute” gives you some sense of the scale of the operation.
Here is how you can check in for treatment: Waverly Hills
It’s a Wrap!
Well that wraps-up our recommendations for our top five locations to get you spooked this Halloween season. Whether you are a firm believer or an ardent skeptic, these locations are sure to get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up!
As always, we welcome your thoughts and recommendations here at Halloween for All.
by John Morgan
Micro Fall and Halloween Breaks
Just reflect on recent conversations with family, friends and colleagues – almost everyone is tasked with doing more, with fewer resources.
Frankly, it is a bear just to hold your own – let alone gain any forward momentum. Dysfunctional, seems to best describe most of our personal and professional lives.
Fortunately, we can all take microbreaks that allow us to hit the mental refresh button.
For example, yesterday, I had a rare business need to take the train from Sacramento to San Jose, California.
It was a welcome change. I brought plenty of work with me to maximize my three-hour trip, but I was amazed throughout the course of the journey how wonderful and refreshing brief glances out the window were for my spirit.
As I boarded the train and peeked out the window, I could see the fascinating old railyard buildings. All in various states of disrepair, but thankfully, these buildings somehow seemed to walk that fine line of being “cool and intriguing,” rather than earning the moniker of: “Someone should do something about this mess – it’s a menace to the community!”
Within seconds of leaving the station, passengers find themselves going over the Sacramento River. This is where two old ghost steam paddle wheelers are alleged to materialize from time to time. Forever locked in an epic race to see who is the faster of the two vessels.
Old Town Sacramento can be seen along the eastern river bank. It is here where mysterious apparitions from beyond are reported to peer at tourists from the windows of surrounding old western buildings. Many more are said to interact with the living in the areas ancient underground tunnels.
Even Mothman has been reported on the Tower Bridge which can viewed just south of Old Sac.
In minutes, you pass one of the major wetland bird sanctuaries in North America as you travel across the Yolo Causeway. Ducks, geese, pheasants, pelicans, and even sandhill cranes can be viewed as you make your way over this large floodplain. The influence of Fall was seen everywhere, even though the temperature outside was in the 90s.
The first station stop occurs near UC Davis and from the train you can see the agriculture student’s fields of corn and pumpkins. Next you travel through Dixon, which recently held the title for the world’s largest corn maze!
For the remainder of the journey, I was treated to sight after sight of images of Autumn and Halloween. From my window I could see the eerie looking Ghost Fleet in Suisun Bay, catch sight of the supposedly haunted Alcatraz and USS Hornet, and view the Oakland Raider stadium, as well as view construction going on for the new 49er stadium in Santa Clara.
The entire trip afforded brief reminders of how beneficial it is to simply take a moment to reflect on the world outside our typical challenges and life routines.
Even if you cannot travel, simply view various web sites of places you would like to see or better yet, challenge yourself to explore subjects or places that you have never focused on before. A great starting point is to see where your blog is being viewed and make it a point learn more about the people and things in that part of the world. Which reminds me that I need to find out how Halloween is celebrated in Moldova!
Let’s face it, we all need to take a break from time to time. If nothing else, it will afford you a fresh perspective from daily grind. As always, we appreciate you taking a macrobreak with us here at Halloween for All.
Looking for a good scare this Halloween season?
Here is a teaser on Waverly Hills Sanatorium from our friends over at Ghostly World.
We encourage you to check back with us soon, as we are about to publish our post on the top five locations to get spooked this Halloween season!
Whether you are a firm believer or an ardent skeptic, these locations are sure to get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up.
Warning: Did you know that kids today believe that Halloween is all about “Having Fun and Getting Candy.”
Watch this shocking expose from The Onion and judge for yourself if “Halloween Has Become Over-Commercialized?”
Proof that Americans are Nuts!
“Sorry Russell, the Only Jack
We Want Around Here is on Our O-Lanterns!”
According to a recent CNN survey, Americans are expected to spend $370 million this Halloween season on costumes for their pets! That is an increase of over $40 million over last year. Well, that is to be expected since we are living in such robust economic times – what better use is there for spending our excess discretionary boo bucks than on pet costumes?
In general, we here at Halloween for All don’t give a Shih Tzu how you spend your hard-earned greenbacks! However, if Reality TV has taught us anything, it’s this: “All issues and problems with people and their pets originate in the gray matter – no matter how limited – found between the ears of the primate in that relationship.”
If you have ever watched an episode of “The Dog Whisperer” or “My Cat from Hell,” you will quickly discover that nearly all animal behavioral problems originate with the pet owner or guardian not treating the animal like an animal. In short, the two shows’ basic principle is this:
“STOP TREATING YOUR PETS LIKE THEY’RE PEOPLE!”
Cats are cats and dogs are dogs – isn’t that wonderment enough? Animals are great companions. It is impossible not to marvel at the parallel and mutually beneficial relationship that humans and especially cats, dogs and horses have developed and maintained through the passing ages.
Here at Halloween for All headquarters, we love animals. We have two cats, one dog, two rats, one hamster, one turtle, one bearded dragon (lizard), one tarantula, and two black widow spiders! In the spirit of full disclosure, we have adorned our dogs and cats – even the bearded dragon – in various costumes.
Is it the right and responsible thing to do? Certainly not, we can recognize that it is not beneficial to the animal. We cannot hide our bizarre compulsion behind the “Dolphin Show Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Tarot Card” disclaimer of “the tricks you are about to see here today are natural behaviors that can be observed in the wild.” We have yet to read about packs of wolves donning “Princess Leia” outfits before the hunt nor have we received reports of bearded dragons dressing like Elvis in the Australian Outback – until now!
So we are left with the conclusion that Americans are nuts!
Wheatland, CA – You do not have to look any farther than your local pumpkin patch or farm to realize that Halloween is gaining in popularity.
Since 2003, our crack research and trend analysis team has ventured to the Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm in Wheatland, CA to assess the health of the holiday. We are delighted to report that Halloween is in good spirits and doing well.
For you history buffs, Wheatland became the base camp for the Donner Party survivors after they finally crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but of course they became infamous for eating more than Wheatland’s legendary pumpkins.
Anyway, rather than our usual snarky observations and bizarre factoids, we’ll try something new, and merely post some images of our fun-filled outing.
Should you find yourself in the greater Sacramento region during the Halloween season, we encourage you to include a visit to Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm as part of your short list of things to do while you are here. For more information, check out their web site: Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm
By John Morgan
“Help – I am Lost and I Haven’t
Even Entered the Corn Maze!”
Halloween is a big enough and versatile holiday to handle just about everyone’s tastes. Since Halloween is agile enough to please just about everyone, there are bound to be elements that simply are not your cup of cider.
At the risk of polarizing our readers (and we know who both of you are), we here at Halloween for All have a confession to make: corn mazes appeal to us as much as pork flavored ice cream – we are simply lost regarding their popularity.
So, if we understand it correctly, the allure of corn mazes consists of the following: you get to go to the country; you get to find a corn maze that suits your needs; you get to shuck out some boo dollars; you get to enter a hot, humid, perhaps bug infested corn field; you get to have hours – perhaps even days – of fun as you wander around seeking an exit. Is that correct (minus of course any effort on our part to describe anything remotely resembling fun)?
We are huge fans of critical thinking here at Halloween for All, it is the only way we can maximize the limited gray matter in our gourds. Therefore, we will apply Barbasol shaving cream to the problem and then whip out Occam’s Razor – which states that the simplest solution is often the best – and we will shave ourselves a solution in no time!
Ah, we have it! Don’t enter the maze. Even better, stay at home!
So in a real sense, you will be saving corn by not visiting a corn field. When you stay home, you won’t expend any corn ethanol; when you don’t use any corn ethanol, fossil fuels aren’t used in creation and transportation of the corn ethanol; when farmers decide that it is better just to grow corn in the former maze paths, additional corn will be grown; when additional corn is grown, more feed is available for domestic livestock; when more feed is available, pigs will multiply and get larger – which in turn can be used for making more pork flavored ice cream. It is the perfect win-win!
Isn’t it wonderful what you can do with properly applied critical thinking!?
However, we also realize that there are some corn haters out there who can not or will not be persuaded to not go into a corn maze no matter how compelling the arguments against it are! Therefore, we reluctantly will provide you with the following resources for your sick amusement:
One final warning before we select submit to this post, let us ask you this: Are corn mazes part of a complex, subsidized government effort, to keep us distracted and misinformed, in order to fog the collective memory of humankind regarding not the nature of corn mazes themselves, but the true alien menace – crop circles?
Quick, tell us, what came first, the corn maze or the crop circle? See for most you, you simply do not know or worse, you might even be thinking “I don’t care!” And if that is the case, wouldn’t that be exactly how the power elite would want you to feel.
“Cucurbita Panem et Circenses”
NEW WORLD RECORD!
A one-ton pumpkin squashes the competition at the Topsfield Fair! History was made when Ron Wallace’s massive pumpkin, “The Freak II,” became the first pumpkin to break the one-ton mark!
Readers, we have to ask ourselves, “what is going on in the family of Cucurbitaceae?” The alarm bells are ringing.
It was only in 2000 that the 1,000 pound pumpkin barrier was broken. So let’s get this straight, pumpkins have doubled in size in just 12 short years! We here at Halloween for All, recognize that this is bigger and more dynamic than any previous c-change in the orbit of Halloween.
Is this the dire warning of the Mayan calendar manifesting itself in Massachusetts? Why are the two presidential candidates so mum on the matter? Could the fabled 13th planet Nibiru actually be a pumpkin? We don’t know about you, but we’re not waiting around to take marching orders from some kind of monstrous orange overlord!
This a call for action! Please, while there still may be time, each and every one of us needs to devour anything made of pumpkin. We need to tip the scales back in humanity’s favor. So have another piece of pumpkin bread and drink another pumpkin spiced latte.
After all wasn’t it Aragorn who said:
“Hold your gourd, hold your gourd! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men and women fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of Halloween fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered pumpkin fields, when the age of pumpkin carving comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we eat and fight, but mainly we eat! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you feast on all that is pumpkin Men and Women of the West!”
by John Morgan
The Cauldron List
But not just any travel, mysterious forces have cast a strong spell on us that requires us to solely focus on those destinations that celebrate the rich tradition and spirit of Halloween. These are the enchanting locations that we would like to experience – at least once – before we do any haunting of our own.
Here is The Cauldron List’s top Halloween Travel Destinations:
The Real Dracula’s Castle
And you thought Ravens and Crows got a bad rap when literature refers to them as a “murder of crows” or an “unkindness of ravens.” How would you like to go on Ancestry.com and discover that you are related to Vlad the Impaler and his father Vlad II Dracul from order of the House of the Dragons?
Many attribute Vlad the Impaler as the real life inspiration for Bram Stoker’s immortal Dracula.
OK, things are never as easy as they seem. There are actually three castles in modern-day Romania that claim to be “Dracula’s Castle”: Bran Castle, Poenari Castle, and Hunyad Castle. Although it worth pointing out the Stoker’s own notes state that he invented the castle and placed it on an empty mountain top.
We figure it is not every day we get sojourn through the rugged Transylvanian and Wallachian terrain so why not visit all three. Just make sure to drop by the local Romanian Leu Store to pickup plenty of garlic, crucifixes, and wooden stakes – along with greeting cards, batteries and helium balloons (what else does one go to the Dollar Store for?).
Festival of the Dead
Talk about Halloween sensory overload: witches, necromancy, séances, Celtic ceremonies and dramatic fall foliage all in one – better make that two – locations!
Just like in Dracula’s Castle, time seems to cloud the record, as various parties claim to be the real fright deal in order to entice you to spend your boo bucks in their locations. In Massachusetts, both Salem and Danvers claim to be the sight of the original witch trials of 1692 and 1693.
It appears that Mrs. Hickok, my eighth grade history teacher, must have had a broom in the game for promoting Salem, because she never once called it the Danvers Witch Trails. Where do the lies end Mrs. Hickok? Was the Boston Tea Party really a Gloucester Espresso Soiree?
Just like the curtain between the physical and spirit world grows thinnest around Halloween, perhaps you will become clairvoyant enough to decide which witch community has rightful claim to the historic witch trials. Either way, a trip here will leave you enchanted.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
Finally, a Halloween location that exists without much controversy. After all Halloween is not worth losing your head over – just don’t tell the Hessian I said that!
There is plenty to see and do in this small community to celebrate Halloween. Although there are parades, hayrides, pumpkin patches, and various festivals and events held throughout the community approaching Halloween, the one can’t miss event is the annual Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor (tickets are required and they do sell out quickly).
Sleepy Hollow is a fantastic destination to celebrate Halloween. You will experience the same spooky locations that inspired Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. You might even be unfortunate enough to sight the Headless Horseman himself. If you do, just make sure you can outrun the person next to you. That should be enough to ensure that you come out head and shoulders above the rest of the Halloween revelers.
Stonehenge, Hill of Tara, and an Irish Pub
The foundation of today’s Halloween celebrations can directly trace its origins back to the Ancient Druid, Roman and Catholic traditions and beliefs that blended in the melting cauldron that is Great Britain. As such, Great Britain is a dream location to celebrate Halloween!
Visit to Hill of Tara and other Druid locations where Samhain festivals were originally held. Warm yourself by a bonfire, the likes of which brought some of Halloween’s most recognizable symbols of the bat and owl to become indelibly linked with the holiday.
Then find a warm pub, enjoy a pint or two and recount the legend of “Stingy Jack.” Who tricked the devil in an Irish pub and in the process became the inspiration for the modern-day jack-o-lantern.
So those are our recommendations for perfect Halloween destinations that celebrate the spirit of Halloween’s rich history and traditions. As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments.
by John Morgan
As a lifetime Halloween enthusiast, I have to come clean: I have never understood what the heck a goblin is. Oh sure, I have faked the funk enough: “Goblins, I know all there is about goblins! They love hanging out with ghosts and you don’t even want to get me started on their subspecies, the Hobgoblin!”
It is time to stop faking it until I make it. Today, I have decided to finally ferret out the little (they are little, aren’t they?) rascals. Let me do a quick Google search. Ah yes, here we go…”the term goblin is a collective noun for evil spirits like redcaps and bugbears.” Well, mystery solved then – this will be my shortest post to date.
(Note to self: If anyone asks me to explain redcaps or bugbears, I will just shake my head in pity, boldly state that they are goblins, put on a facial expression that conveys “what else could they possibly be?”, then turn and walk away in mild disgust).
As someone who currently is not much of a gamer, unless you count the occasional Spider Solitaire game while I am waiting for something to upload, I am guessing that I might be in the minority in my goblin quandary. Especially since we are now living in a post “Dungeons and Dragons” and “World of Warcraft” age.
Maybe I am suffering from a mild form of amnesia. I have always admired the Lord of the Rings, it’s quite possible that goblins were thoroughly described and chronicled throughout Tolkien’s classic series. After all, just by reading the series and watching the trilogy, I have through osmosis acquired an understanding of trolls, elves, and ring-wraiths and the like. If pressed, I would hazard that the LOTR character Gollum is probably the most goblin-like. Yet, I would not be in the least surprised if someone admonished me by definitively declaring that Gollum was a redcap, bugbear, or hobgoblin – whatever the heck they are?
OK, so let me see if I can at least get a handle on Hobgoblins. Let’s just go to Wikipedia, here it is: “Hobgoblins –seem to be small, hairy little men who—like their close relative, brownies”…STOP! STOP right there! Is someone messing with me? How come every definition of a goblin or goblin relative is defined as something resembling an even a more obscure mythical creature?
Great, it goes on to state that Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream character Puck is a hobgoblin. Now I am even more confused, wasn’t Puck a half goat, half devil looking thing like Phil from Disney’s Hercules?
At this point, I no longer give a @#%& jack-o-lantern what they are! It is time for me to break this infinite vague definition chain and just proclaim that all I know about goblins and their evil spirited kin is that they are now my least favorite Halloween characters!