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