Coming Soon in 2017:
First in the Nature Element series
KATHERINE ROEBLING a young woman from Chippewa Falls, WI, embarks on a journey from her quiet academic life studying anthropology at Beloit College to taste the Jet Age. The era of rapid social change, ushered in by faster and bigger jet engines, created stewardesses as the glamor girls. Airlines market these young women as the jet goddess hostess trained to pamper male passengers, mix their martinis, and calm their fears of flying. On the ground these jet goddesses become freedom warriors poised to lead a revolution...read more
Magical Life-Journey Books by Judy Kundert
From the award winning author and storyteller of Women's Fiction and Children's books, come books of self-discovery and journeys into nature and human experience. From air travel to fantasy adventure in a forest, for children age 8-12 to women of any age, Judy Kundert brings us words that inspire self-realizations, leading to success - young or older - in reaching wherever our dreams may take us.
the Legend of the Whispering TreesTwelve year-old Tressi and her friend Ralph Rabbit, a large white rabbit dressed as a medieval prince, open their world to Samantha, a cloistered young violin virtuoso. Tressi’s world consists of trees of all kinds, mythical and real. Forest gnomes help Tressi by transporting a magical chest containing three special volumes of books through the forest. Each book, which she opens for Samantha, contains a story that will inspire and awaken children to enjoy nature and learn to look inside themselves to find their magic. Samantha and the Legend of the Whispering Trees was a 2009 Finalist in the USA News Best Book Awards and a 2014 Mom’s Choice Silver Award Winner. It is the first book in the Magical Chest Series.read more
A new book for children to share with parents, teachers,
and older brothers and sisters packed with helpful tips to
engage and connect them to nature.
From gigantic national forests to the local park in your town to your own backyard, nature is all around us. Join Tressi as she shows children (with a little help from grown-ups!) ten great activities to get outside and back into nature.
Judy Kundert, former airline stewardess in the 1960s, is an award-winning children’s book author and storyteller. She shares her love of travel on her weekly blog. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola University, Chicago, a Master’s Degree from DePaul University, Chicago, and a Master’s Certificate in Marketing and Publicity from the University of Denver. She lives with her husband at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.read more
Iceland, the 3rd happiest country in the world, is a land of magic. Starting with the name Iceland, which may inspire you to conjure up images of ice and icy landscapes. You’ll have to trek to Greenland for the ice and icy wonders of your dreams. Vikings from Norway settled Iceland sometime in the 800s. Connecting the Icelandic horses in the country today is unique in the fact since they are direct descendants from their ancestral Vikings’ horses.
Magical sites to explore in Iceland
The tallest building in Iceland and one of the most visually impressive, rising 244 feet above the streets of Reykjavik is Hallgrimskirkja, It is situated in the capital city’s center and has become one of Reykjavik’s best-known symbols.
Learn about Iceland’s hidden folk at this school dedicated to the study of elves.Road crews in Iceland will sometimes hire folklore experts to determine if certain boulders are homes to elves, and will divert the road around the boulder if it turns out there are little people living within it.
The Volcano Show at Red Rock Cinema
A charmingly eccentric magma chaser presents his complete history of the island’s eruptions since 1947, in cinematic form, just for you. Hidden on the back quarters of a house on one of Reykjavik’s many hills is a bright red oversized garage known as the Red Rock Cinema. Inside, a man by the name of Villi Knudson has spent years showing just one movie, albeit in three languages depending on the day.
Magic abounds around Iceland’s “Smoky Valley” which is a beautiful river that is shrouded in a constant cover of steam clouds. It’s located within the vicinity of the quaint town of Hveragerði, just 45 kilometers away from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. This smoke-shrouded, hidden valley is a part of one of the largest geothermal areas in the country. For the adventurous, there is also a popular local hiking trail leading into the valley after about an hour’s trek, which is eventually dominated by a gorgeous geothermal river.
This natural Icelandic fissure allows divers to swim right between two volatile tectonic plates. The rift sits in the gap between the North American and Eurasian continental plates, where an imperfect seam allows explorers into the watery depths an opportunity to dive towards the center of the Earth
It rises from the sea like a stone monster. Starting as the plug of a volcano, over the years the craters surrounding the rock plug gave way to the pounding Atlantic Ocean to leave the outcropping Hvítserkur behind. Icelandic legend has it that the rock was a troll who forgot to retreat from the light and was turned to stone in the sunrise, though from some angles it is said to look like a dragon drinking from the water.
Víddaflakk (Interdimensional Hopscotch)
Check out the plaque that tells one part of Eliala Mei-Ning’s story in an imagined parallel universe. Kcymaerxthaere is a “parallel universe that intersects with much of our linear Earth, but with different stories, creatures, peoples, even laws of physics and qualities of existence.” It has been likened to a novel with every page in a different place.
A “simple-hearted artist” turns an isolated Icelandic valley into his own art museum. Farmer-turned-Folk artist Samúel Jónsson never managed to make much of a living as a painter, but after he retired the “simple-hearted artist” devoted his last years to churning out as much creativity as possible.
Stykkisholmur, Iceland- The Library of Water
This collection of unique liquids allows visitors to wander the waters of Iceland’s glaciers Known as “Vatnasafn” in the native Icelandic, the Library of Water is a long-term project that has set out to capture the spirit of Iceland through its waters, weather, and words.
Are you interested in more Iceland magic?
Pick up this book.
The Little Book of the Hidden People: Twenty stories of elves from Icelandic folklore by Alda Sigmundsdottir (Author, Translator)
Icelandic folklore is rife with tales of elves and hidden people that inhabited hills and rocks in the landscape. But what do those elf stories really tell us about the Iceland of old and the people who lived there? In this book, author Alda Sigmundsdóttir presents twenty translated elf stories from Icelandic folklore, along with fascinating notes on the context from which they sprung.
Not only is Switzerland the United Nations’ 2nd Happiest country in the world, but it has most interesting secret places to expand and add wonder to any weary tourist’s vacation hopes.
So let’s hop aboard and let’s visit Switzerland ‘s best trains.
Where to start: Transportation
The best way to explore Switzerland, whether it’s the secret parts or not, is on the country’s super-efficient rail network. Trains are clean, comfortable, run on time, and offer a moving view of some of the world’s most postcard-perfect scenery. For the best value is the SwissPass.
Best secret places to add to your travels through Switzerland:
Despite thousands of years of human settlement, Chur, the capital of the Graubünden region, is rooted in the present as much as in the past. A regional center for culture, the city is also an adventure lovers’ dream town, with summer mountain biking and winter skiing opportunities all around.
Founded in the 8th century, Disentis Monastery is today the spiritual and educational center of the Upper Rhine Valley (Vorderrheintal). A cultural history exhibition depicts the history of the Benedictine Abbey as well as ecclesiastical art.
The most scenic railway in the entire world, the GlacierExpress runs through central Switzerland. For a true Old World experience, order a delicious three-course meal and enjoy it in the historic dining car.
St. Beatus Cave
The legend of the cave revolves around its namesake, St. Beatus, a monk living around 100 AD, who chose the cave in which to spend his pious hermitage. However, he discovered someone was already living there; a horrible dragon, who shot lasers of fire from his blazing eyes. St. Beatus held his ground and did not run out of his cave, He fought the beast by holding up his cross to the beast. The monk’s action invoked the Holy Trinity. Thrown into a hysteric fit, the dragon ran down the cliff and threw himself into Lake Thun below, causing the placid clear water to rise and boil.
Stretching over an arm of Lake Triftsee (itself a product of the Trift glacier), hidden among the high Swiss Alps, the Trift Bridge is a thin modern suspension bridge that looks like it could blow over with one stray wind, but is in fact quite safe.
Maison d’Ailleurs, or the “House of Elsewhere,” revolves around extraordinary journeys. It is a museum of science fiction, utopias, and other futurist writings. The museum has had an intense history since its creation in 1976 and originally located in a three-story townhouse. In 1991 the collection moved to former prison built in 1806 in the middle of the city.
There are wonderful waterfalls in the world, such as the Niagara and the Victoria, that draw thousands of tourists each year to marvel at their natural wonder, but there is one hidden away in the alps of Switzerland the notorious Reichenbach Falls. It looms larger than other falls in the world, since it’s the final and deadly confrontation between Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis, the Napoleon of Crime, Professor Moriarty.
In July 1916 German artist and poet Hugo Ball stood in the tiny performance space at Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire, and read the first Manifesto introducing the world to a new concept in thought and culture. This was Dada: “An International word. Just a word, and the word a movement.”
Lucerne’s Spreuer Bridge looks to be a peacefully bucolic old-world span, the kind where medieval lovers might have met on a warm spring day, but hanging beneath the covered roof are dozens of historic paintings of skeletons and reapers collecting souls. They all remind travelers that every second is one closer to death.
Thanks for stopping by.
If you’d like to send a comment, you may send via one of Switzerland’s cherished St. Bernard dogs.
Today you’re here.
But you dream of being here
Here’s help with your Caribbean island getaway dream.
Five tips on finding your special Caribbean Island
“Top 25 Things to Do in the Caribbean: 2016 Viator Travel Awards” by the Viator Staff
The Caribbean spans over hundreds of islands, ranging from tiny to expansive and offering a diverse range of activities. From adrenaline junkies looking for their next daring adventure to shoppers hoping to find that perfect travel souvenir, plus lots of hiking and nature found in between, the Caribbean does not disappoint, regardless of one’s activity level.
For details, please visit: Viator
Easy Planet Travel’s “Quick and Easy Guide To the Caribbean Islands”
The Caribbean, with more than 700 gorgeous islands, is the perfect spot for a winter vacation. December to April is the best time to visit, and yet, you can go year-round and find beautiful weather too (it’s a little more of a gamble during hurricane season from August to October, but you can still get a sunny and hot week). Scattered across the Caribbean Sea, the islands are close enough to make it the world’s premier holiday spot for cruising, but still so different, that it’s sometimes hard to choose one over another. Here are a few pointers to help you choose between them.
For details, please visits: easyplanettravel.
Lonely Planet’s “How to choose a Caribbean island”
The dozens of islands scattered across the Caribbean are a remarkably diverse lot. Pulsing Jamaica has little in common with group-filled Aruba, and even islands in plain sight of each other like St Kitts and Nevis are vastly different not just in appearance but in what they offer visitors.
So for the Caribbean-bound visitor, which island among the many to choose? Big or little, near or far, urban or lost are among the many considerations that can turn choosing a carefree holiday into a perplexing chore. Happily, our Caribbean Islands primer can take the pain out of choosing what’s right for you. We’ve got the low-down on all the most-visited islands, complete with what’s best about each one.
For details, please visits: lonelyplanet
Washington Post’s writers, Cindy Loose and Gary Lee’s “Finding Your Place in the Sun”
The unwitting traveler who heads to the island of Saba dreaming of white-sand beaches, duty-free jewelry shops and steel bands playing till dawn will have a rude surprise. Yet Saba would be the dream destination of a lifetime for the diver who also happens to love handmade lace and quiet nights where the only sounds are of waves crashing into volcanic rocks. In other words, choose your island wisely.
Washington Post’s chart is a quick reference for matching your desires to your destination. It lists the major Caribbean islands, plus Bermuda and the Bahamas, and notes the island’s strong points in 11 areas of interest to vacationers. A check means that the island is a good choice for that subject; a star means it excels. Once you’ve narrowed your search to the perfect island, you’re practically on your way.
For details, please visits: WashingtonPost
Luxury Retreats’ writer, Katherine Scott’s “Where to go in the Caribbean”
With so many to choose from, picking a Caribbean destination for your next villa vacation can be a challenge. Which islands generally include chef service? Where can you find the best beaches? Can you catch a direct flight? Whether you’re looking for a peaceful getaway or on-island excitement, take our Caribbean quiz now and find your perfect match!
For details, please visits: luxuryretreats
Enjoy your trip to paradise.
When you get home, please send a comment on your trip.
In 2012 the United Nations started to report on the quality of life for citizens around the world. The same 13 countries dominated the top of the list. Out of these thirteen countries, Denmark gained the 1st place each year. The United Nations determined the quality of life for citizens around the world through surveys and data analysis. The analysis found that the happiest countries possess a winning formula of good governance, strong sense of community, respect for fellow citizens, and general high quality of life.
If you’re inspired to live like the world’s happiest country, but can’t travel there here are some suggestions to make your home a happy Danish home.
The first step in the making you home a happy place is to have a change in mindset. Revamp your approach to the long cold winters. Stop plodding through the cold dark chill of the snowy, icy season and discover and embrace along the attitude of hygge. What is hygge? Roughly translated, hygge is a Danish word that means cozy. For the Danes, it’s a sensibility of warmth, of togetherness, intimacy, and well-being.
How you can you have hygge at home.
Hygge is more than a cozy room full of candles, company, and good food. Hygge is a philosophy. It’s a way of life, which helped Danes understand the importance of simplicity. In our hectic, tech wired lives; it offers time to unwind and slow down the pace of life. Hygge originated in Denmark, but you can practice Hygge at home!
11 ways to enjoy the Hygge experience in your home
Get the right lighting
Hygge lighting is about creating a warmer light that feels cozy and comforting instead of harsh. Decorate your space with lamps (which don’t have to be expensive) and warm white bulbs. Fairy lights are also a winner.
Create a hygge corner
A hygge corner is a space in your house that feels like the perfect little cozy nook. Fill it with cushions, blankets, low lighting, and anything else that makes it snug. Best uses for this comfy corner are reading, journaling, or meditating.
Make a winter reading list
Invite friends and family round
Getting together with friends in a small and cozy scale is the center of hygge. Danes make their cold long Denmark winters, into wonderful time to stay home and socialize at each other’s houses. A hygge get together is about simple but good food.
Indulge in sweet treats
The hygge factor is also a time to enjoy cake, pastries, and cookies factor into hygge!
Join the slow food movement
Take a full afternoon to cook or bake is very hygge because cooking can be so relaxing and nourishing.
There must be something good about coffee since Danes are Europe’s biggest coffee drinkers. The benefits of coffee drinking are many. Some of them are: coffee can improve energy levels and make you smarter; coffee can help burn fat, and coffee may lower risk of Type II Diabetes.
Cozy up with soft furnishings
Awaken your senses and treat yourself to some new cushions and a blanket. If you can do it’s best to have them made with natural materials like wool.
Start a new tradition with friends or family
Start a new social connection tradition by inviting your circle of friends to a monthly board games night.
Connect with nature
A venture into nature is a remedy to escape our technology engulfed lives. Time in nature is free, but its benefits are countless; such as reductions in stress, increased creativity, and restore mental energy.
Snuggle up in your woolies
Socks, jumpers, hats, and scarves are all hygge, the more woolies, the better for a hygge tradition.
See Hygge in its country with this YouTube from Visit Denmark.
Do you want to start the New Year with a bang? Would you like to hop on a plane where you can visit a world-class country? Then put a trip Scotland on New Year’s celebration list.
Why is Scotland the place to welcome in the New Year?
To start, Hogmanay is Scotland’s New Year celebration. It’s the biggest holiday of the winter season.
When winter is the coldest and darkest time of the year, the Scots’ make it the boisterous time of the year. The whole country takes two days off, and every town and city have its own Hogmanay celebration. It usually includes:
Fine food with a splash or three of whiskey
Edinburgh’s New Year fireworks are one of the biggest displays in the world.
While some villages, such as Comrie and Stonehaven have spectacular fire festivals.
Another reason to welcome the New Year in Scotland is to sing the illustrious song in its homeland. It’s the nostalgic one that the world sings to welcome the New Year. We have the Scots to thank for the creation of the beloved New Year’s song Auld Lang. In 1788, Robert Burns wrote the poem from an ancient song which he was the first to record it on paper.
The phrase ‘auld lang syne’ roughly translates as ‘for old times’ sake,’ and the song is all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year.
If you welcome the New Year in Scotland, you will have an opportunity to join in the much-loved Scottish tradition to sing the song just before midnight.
Visit visitscotland for details on Hogmanay and New Years Celebrations around Scotland.
You and your children will have fun visiting some of the 160 countries that celebrate Christmas around the world. This is a fantastic cultural experience for your children since they’ll discover other countries’ different traditions and their various way of celebrating the holiday season. Grab your children and settle in to view this entertaining YouTube video sharing around the world Christmas celebrations.
Marco Polo Presents – Christmas Around the World
For more Christmas Around the World celebrations check out whychristmas where your children will discover: the 160 countries’ Christmas traditions including: Christmas Around the World – the Christmas Story and Christmas Fun and Activities.
To you and your family
Are you thinking about a Christmas in Scandinavia? Here is a quick journey of the places to visit.
The long Nordic winters inspire locals to be masters of Christmas cheer. Share in their warmth and merriment where you can experience local Christmas traditions in Scandinavia. While the countries may share some seasonal customs, all Scandinavian countries have individual beliefs and their own unique ways of celebrating the holidays. Let’s take a look at three of the wonderful holiday countries.
The wilderness urhokekkonennp , a 90-minute flight from Helsinki, is an actual winter wonderland: traverse the frosty landscape via a reindeer-pulled sled, or go cross-country skiing on the Saariselkä trail.
rovaniemi is the home of Santa Claus. Santa Claus’ Village on the Artic Circle is a great place to visit where you can find fun things, like meeting Santa Claus, visiting Santa Claus’ official Main Post Office, where he receives all his letters. Of course, meeting all of the elves is fun too.
Where to Stay: kakslauttanen is located the vast Lapland wilderness, towering pines loom above 40 fireplace-equipped log cabins and 20 domed “igloos” of thermal glass. From December through April, you can also stay in one of eight real igloos built from snow and equipped with down sleeping bags.
What is the Christmas Holiday Dinner: In Finland, the Christmas preparation starts a month in advance. The traditional meal is composed of ham, scalloped potatoes, salmon, rice porridge, and sometimes turkey. After dining, families often visit the cemetery to light candles to remember the deceased. The evening also includes a traditional sauna and a visit from Santa Claus.
Why Go: Helping create the Christmas mood are Malmo winters. They can be bracing with short daylight hours and occasional snow. But the flip side is the city begins holiday season celebrations early, building to a crescendo of romantic Christmas markets, ice rinks, and illuminations. Most spectacular is the Christmas finale. It starts in late November with “Shop Window Sunday” when more than 800 stores unveil their Christmas window displays simultaneously. Malmo’s main square turns into a magical fairyland.
Where to Stay: grandhotelgarden is high-class and centrally located on Baltzarsgatan, that serves traditional Swedish Christmas dishes as part of an all-you-can-eat buffet on December 25th.
Holiday Dinner: If you like a traditional Swedish Christmas buffet, the make a reservation at calmarstadshotell You find a Swedish Christmas Julbord pronounced ( “yuleboard”), which could traditionally be over 100 dishes.
Where to Go: The snowy city island of Trømso offers unparalleled views of the northern lights. Plus, there’s dogsledding, great food, and a mountaintop cable car.
Where to Stay: Clarionhotelbryggen is one of the only hotels that remains open during the holiday and its right on the harbor. Enjoy Tromso Sound from the roof’s steamy Jacuzzi.
Holiday Dinner: Stay put at the Clarion for a traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner at its restaurant, Astro. The chef serves basil-glazed filet of catfish and whole roasted filet of pork and recommends a side of French salt-baked Rosewald potatoes.
Traveling throughout Scandinavia:
Scandinavianrail travels throughout Norway, Sweden, and Finland in comfort. They offer a selection of rail passes, train tickets, and scenic rail tours for exploring all the exciting destinations. From Norway’s scenic fjords and Finland’s Arctic adventures to Sweden’s fashionable design.
Thanks for Stopping By
Have a Merry Journey and share your comments.
It started in October 1843 when Charles Dickens wrote one of his most famous and best-loved books, A Christmas Carol.
Today many think of Dickens as the creator of our modern Christmas spirit.
Coca-Cola gave us the red-coated Santa and Prince Albert introduced the Christmas tree.
But we need to thank Charles Dickens for the modern Christmas spirit. Dickens inspires the festival activities like no one else.
Even our perception of the perfect Christmas being white one comes from Dickens. In his classic A Christmas Carol there are references to snow because his childhood in the 1810s included several snowy winters in a short period.
Would you like to experience a Dickens’ Christmas?
Plan to spend Christmas in London.
London hotel suggestions offering a Christmas spirit
LondonTown offers a convenient booking system for excellent hotels near London Christmas activities
TheTelegraph is a helpful review of the best hotels in London for Christmas.
Take a Dickens’ walk
dickenslondontours offers seasonal walking tours through Dickens’ London.
dickensmuseum.com offers a costume Dickens walk that begins in the heart of historic London and wanders the old alleyways where Dickens began his festive A Christmas Carol.
nowherethis is a fantastic blog guiding people who want to imbibe in some holiday spirits at local pubs and “Get Drunk with Dickens”.
Have a very Merry Christmas.
It’s through our senses that we experience life, and it is through our senses that we can reawaken to a fuller and more authentic way of being. For many us, we’re losing a valuable part of daily living. We’re getting out of touch with our sensory experiences that give us joy. We’re bombarded with over stimulation from visual and audio technology. Don’t we sometimes feel numbness to real feeling, seeing and hearing the real things in our life?
As Clifford N. Lazarus a Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute, questions in his blog, Enhancingyour five senses, who has the time or takes the time to look at a sunset or starry night or smell a bouquet of flowers? As Dr. Lazarus says, most of our pleasures, most of the stimuli that give our life meaning come from our five senses – hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and taste.
Great Thinkers Use All Five Senses
If we develop and take care of our sense, we create an opportunity for more personal growth and enjoyment in life. The great mind like Albert Einstein’s approach to life integrated and used the five senses.
Leonard DaVinci Gives us help on how to use all five senses
In a previous post, I mentioned how the genius of Leonardo da Vinci can express us to be more creative. It’s worth visiting him again since he’s the master who used all fives senses in ways that can help us today.
The Boston Museum of Science exhibit of Leonardo da Vinci works explains how he used his senses this way:
While greatly influenced by the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, Leonardo, unlike many of his contemporaries, saw the limitations of seeking the truth solely in those writings or the Bible. Instead, he took the startling approach of actually observing nature and asking deceptively simple scientific questions like, “How do birds fly?” To finish the bill, he then systematically recorded their solutions in his sketches.
Leonardo DaVinci Sensory Principle and How to apply it
Michael J. Gelb’s “How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci, defines Leonardo da Vinci’s sensory principle as follows:
Sensazione. Sensazione is “the continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience.” According to da Vinci, we can best practice Dimostrazione through our senses, particularly sight. That’s why one of Leonardo’s mottoes is saper vedere (knowing how to see) upon which he built his work in arts and science.
Here are some ways to apply Sensazione:
- Write detailed description of an experience. For instance, describe your experience of watching a sunrise in your journal.
- Learn how to describe a smell.
- Learn to draw.
- Listen to different sounds around you. Learn to listen to different intensity of sounds from the softest (e.g. your breathing) to the loudest (e.g. traffic).
- Live in the moment. Practice mindfulness.
Thanks for Stopping By.
Please comment if this helped you.
Did you know that being scared is good for you? Think back to all the times you jumped and screamed when you watched a scary movie or read an extreme horror or thriller book. Your reactions provoke fear. Fear makes your brain burst with healthy chemical substances that excite your mood and fills you with feelings of euphoria. Dr. Margee Kerr, a sociologist who studies fear, says these powerful chemicals include endorphins and dopamine-natural compound in our bodies that create happiness
Get happy with a scary book or plan a visit to scary literary sites. Writers and storytellers get their inspiration from creepy locations. For Halloween, here is a list of some of the best real-life destinations that inspired great novelists and poets for centuries.
Where you can visit to get scared.
Dartmoor – The Hound of the Baskervilles
The most famous of the Sherlock Holmes stories, The Hound of the Baskervilles is set upon the windswept wastes of Dartmoor in deepest Devonshire. Published in 1902, Arthur Conan Doyle used Gothic narrative techniques like the ancient ancestral pile, mysterious figures that only appear silhouetted against the moon, and a murderer on the loose, escaped from Dartmoor Prison, as well as the titular demonic hound that preys on the Baskervilles family. But it’s the haunting Dartmoor landscape, desolate and menacing, that makes the novel so effective. Is the ubiquitous baying sound the hound or the wind running through the abandoned tin mines of the great Grimpen Mire? Doyle took inspiration from the story of Richard Cabell of Buckfastleigh, a 17th century squire said to have killed his wife and sold his soul to the devil, who, legend says, stalks the moor with his phantom hounds.
Frankenstein Castle – Frankenstein
In the Odenwald Mountains not far from the city of Darmstadt in Germany is the original Frankenstein Castle. Surrounded by dense forests and the site of a big Halloween festival every year, the castle was originally built in the 13th century by the Barons of Frankenstein. Since then countless myths and legends have become attached to the castle. The area around the castle is said to have been a center for witchcraft, a favorite for paranormal investigators, and the location where Siegfried is killed in the Nibelungenlied. When Mary Shelley passed through nearby Gersheim in 1814 she took the name for her famous novel, and inspiration from the 18th-century alchemist Johann Conrad Dippel who conducted experiments to raise the dead at the castle.
Palais Garnier – Phantom of the Opera
Before the film, before the musical, there was the 1909 novel by Gaston Leroux. His story of the masked phantom Erik, who lives in the labyrinthine corridors and secret passages of the Palais Garnier in Paris, takes advantage of the vastness and strange history of the building. Built in the 1860s in bombastic Second Empire style, the Palais Garnier has its own underground lake, tunnel systems, and myriad corridors and rooms. In the novel, the phantom kidnaps a prima donna and tries to murder her lover in the underground lake. Leroux was able to take advantage of stories of executions and prisoners held in the Palais Garnier during the Paris Commune of 1871 and the strange tale of an architect said to have lived in the basements of the Opera House during building and disappeared never to be seen again.
The Old Dutch Church – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The village of Sleepy Hollow is rated by some paranormal investigators as the most haunted place in the world. The little village in New York was the setting for Washington Irving’s 1820 tale of Ichabod Crane and his meeting with the Headless Horseman, who pursues him one night past the Old Dutch Burial Ground to his apparent death. The Old Dutch Church, built in 1685 to serve the original Dutch settlers of Sleepy Hollow is still there, along with the burial plots of many of the people Irving used as inspiration for his characters. And somewhere in an unmarked grave in the burial plot is the resting place of a Hessian soldier killed in the Revolutionary Wars and left decapitated who was buried by the van Tassel family – the source of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow legend.
Whitby Abbey – Dracula
We couldn’t do a spooky locations list without a Dracula reference. Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel takes readers through Romaniaand London, but the most atmospheric location is the Yorkshire town of Whitby and its magnificent abbey ruins that sit atop the East Cliff. In the novel the Count comes ashore at Whitby in the form of a black dog, climbing the 199 steps to the Abbey ruins after his Russian ship runs aground. Mysteriously the ship’s crew are nowhere to be found and the skipper is found dead at the helm. A native of Dublin, Bram Stoker came to Whitby in 1890 on holiday. You’ll also find St Mary’s Churchyard in the town, where Dracula attacks his first victim in the novel, Lucy Westenra.
Glencorse Old Kirk – The Body Snatchers
If literature teaches us anything, it’s to stay away from ancient burial plots in the small hours of the night. Robert Louis Stevenson was always attracted to the macabre side of life and death He uses Glencorse Old Kirk in the country south of Edinburgh close to Penicuik as the location of the climax of his most chilling short stories, The Body Snatcher. It tells the tale of Fettes, a medical student in Edinburgh responsible for taking delivery of corpses dug up by body-snatchers for dissection. He becomes aware his body-snatchers are murdering victims for their bodies, and sets out with another student to dig up a fresh corpse. They come upon Glencorse Old Kirk, dig out a recently buried body, and start to head back to Edinburgh in the pitch black only to find a terrifying change comes over the body.
Source: “10 Spooky Literary Destinations You Must Visit This Halloween.”
by Matthew Keyle, theculturetrip