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12 Places to Relive Your Favorite Spooky Literary Novels

Visit these spooky literary destinations for thrills and chills.

For many bibliophiles, the fall season and Halloween present the perfect time to revisit or discover scary tales and spine-chilling stories. For those who love to combine adventure with literature, it’s also a great way to walk in the footsteps of the spookiest novels you’ve ever read. For connoisseurs of ghost tours, haunted houses, and other creepy delights, your next horror-themed vacation based on literary works can bring you from the jungles of Mexico to picturesque New England to the catacombs of France and the islands of Japan to relive your favorite horror novels and tales.

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WHERE: Bran Castle, Transylvania

Bram Stoker’s 1987 novel Dracula launched the world into a vampire craze with its tale of a Transylvanian Count with a taste for blood who lived in a castle high upon a rock in Transylvania. Although many Dracula fans believe that the character was based upon Vlad the Impaler, who had a crumbling ruin in Wallachia, Bran Castle in Transylvania actually fits Bram Stoker’s description, and it’s widely believed that Stoker used an illustration of Bran Castle in Charles Boner’s book, Transylvania: Its Product and Its People as the inspiration for Dracula’s lair. Today, Bran Castle is open to the public and hosts tours and various events, including live concerts and an annual Halloween party.

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Mexican Gothic

WHERE: Mineral Del Real, Hidalgo, Mexico

Set in an isolated, dark mansion in an old mining town in the Mexican countryside, Canadian-Mexican author Sylvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic is a haunting glimpse into the horrors of genomics, forces of race and colonialism, and family secrets. The author herself says the setting for the darkly creepy mansion was a real town in Mexico called Real del Monte or Mineral del Monte, a mountain town in Hidalgo known for its rich mining history. The gothic novel may take place in the 1950s, but visitors today can visit Mineral Del Monte to tour old mines and learn about the groundbreaking medical care for miners at Museo de la Medicina Laboral (Museum of Occupational Medicine). The impressive Museo de Sitio Mina la Dificultad also delves into the history of mining and colonialism in this small, vibrant community.

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Interview With a Vampire

WHERE: New Orleans, Louisiana

Anne Rice’s Interview With a Vampire seduced the horror genre with its detailed descriptions of New Orleans and the vampires who haunted its streets and plantations. The story follows the memories of the vampire Louie as he recounts his dark and lush life to a modern journalist at his spooky Louisiana plantation. While the plantation home that Louis haunts may be fictional, fans of Anne Rice can visit the Destrehan Plantation, just west of New Orleans, and Oak Alley Plantation in nearby Vacherie, where the movie starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise was filmed. Both locations offer tours to the public.

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The Shining

WHERE: Estes Park, Colorado

Considered one of Stephen King’s most terrifying novels and one made into a movie starring Jack Nicholson in 1980, The Shining lures literary fans to The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. In the novel and the movie, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is hired to be the caretaker at the fictional Overlook Hotel in the winter season when all other guests have checked out, and The Stanley Hotel fits the grand and isolated location perfectly. Today, guests can book a room at the picturesque Stanely deep among the vistas of the Rocky Mountains, take a historic tour of the property, and reportedly watch The Shining, which is offered on one of the TV channels at the hotel at any time.

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The Cask of Amontillado

WHERE: The Paris Catacombs

Edgar Allen Poe is the master of bloodcurdling horror, and in his short story, “The Cask of Amontillado, a man named Montresor seeks revenge against the unfortunate Fortunato by luring him into the catacombs of his home and burying him alive. Although the story takes place underground somewhere in Italy, you can feel the same claustrophobic terror at the Paris Catacombs, which house the bones of six million people in its tunnels and rooms. After being renovated in 1810, the Paris Catacombs became a destination and now hosts tours of the ossuary and its walls decorated with human bones and skulls and beautifully ominous inscriptions.

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WHERE: Okinawa, Japan

Japanese horror master Junji Ito creates a bizarre and fantastical world filled with strange robotic-legged fish and the stench of rotten seas in his horror classic Gyo. Gyo’s initial setting is Okinawa, where the protagonist Tadashi is staying with his girlfriend Kaori to enjoy their vacation. The estranged legged denizens of the deep bring with them a noxious plague, causing great trouble for the people of Japan. You, too, can follow Tadashi’s “flippers” by snorkeling and diving in Okinawa, Japan, which is famous for its clear waters, coral reefs, and colorful tropical fish who aren’t running around on weird robotic legs. A visit to the remote islands of Miyako Island and Ishigaki Island are popular day trips for divers worldwide.

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WHERE: Burg Frankenstein, Germany

In Mary Shelley’s 1818 gothic horror novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, Dr. Viktor Frankenstein defies the laws of nature to make a terrible creature that causes havoc and terror. That classic novel turned Frankenstein Castle (Burg Frankenstein) into a tourist attraction, as many say Shelley used the castle as inspiration for her book. Though little more than a quiet ruin these days, visitors can book individual tours of the castle through The Burg-Restaurant on the Frankenstein or attend various cultural music and performance festivals at the castle itself. Every Halloween, Burg Frankenstein hosts the only Halloween spookhouse held in a 1,000-year-old castle ruin with more than 100 creatures waiting to give you a monstrous scare.

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Legend of Sleepy Hollow

WHERE: Sleepy Hollow, New York

The 1820 novel The Legend of Sleepy Hollow follows the trials of local school teacher Ichabod Crane who discovers the legend of the Headless Horseman may be more than a legend in the sleepy hamlet of Sleepy Hollow. Today, fans of Washington Irving’s novel can visit the villages of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown on the east bank of the Hudson River, about 15 miles north of New York City, to stroll across Headless Horseman Bridge, take a ghostly tour at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and take part in a whole slew of Halloween activities, like gothic mansion tours, the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze with its more than 7,000 carved jack o’lanterns and more.

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WHERE: Cincinnati, Ohio

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved by Toni Morrison is a classic haunted house story wrapped up in the tragic cruelty of the American slave trade. The character Sethe was born an enslaved person and escaped to Ohio. However, she is still a captive of her memories of the Kentucky plantation Sweet Home and her Ohio house, which is haunted by the angry ghost of her baby, who died with no name and is buried under a tombstone inscribed with a single word: “Beloved.” Morrison’s gripping novel takes place primarily in Cincinnati. The city’s Ohio River served as the demarcation point between southern slave states and the “so-called” free states in the north. Visitors today can discover the history of Cincinnati’s Underground Railroad epicenter at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in downtown Cincinnati. Other historic sites that pay homage to the plight of escaping African Americans include the  Samuel and Sally Wilson House, which served as a refuge for slaves until at least 1852, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati’s Walnut Hills neighborhood.

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The Crucible

WHERE: Salem, Massachusetts

While Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible was written as a fictional story of the Salem witch trials that saw more than 200 men and women accused of witchcraft in the 1600s. Miller actually wrote the play as a commentary on McCarthyism, when the United States government persecuted people accused of being communists. The witchy history draws visitors to Salem, Massachusetts, to visit the Witch Trials Memorial and participate in the Salem Haunted Happenings, the largest celebration of Halloween in the world with events like the Grand Parade, Howl-o-Ween Pet Parade, costume balls, ghost tours, live music and more. Salem is now home to a vibrant practicing witch community as well, which can be explored at the Salem Witch Village.

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The Mothman Prophecies

WHERE: Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Point Pleasant, West Virginia, was gripped by a real-life nightmare creature in 1966 revolving around a terrifying and bizarre winged apparition known as the Mothman. Journalist John Keel investigated the strange occurrences and found himself integral to the eerie mystery. His book The Mothman Prophecies: A True Story has since been translated into 13 languages and is considered a classic in true stories of the unexplained.

Those seeking the legend of The Mothman can visit the infamous Mothman Statue and the Mothman Museum at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the only museum in the world dedicated to the mysterious creature. Each third weekend in September, the town also hosts the annual Mothman Festival, in which thousands of visitors fill the streets of Pt. Pleasant to celebrate all things Mothman.

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The Ruins

WHERE: Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico

In Scott Smith’s novel The Ruins, a group of young explorers ventures deep into Mexico’s Yucatan after one of their party goes missing. They find an ancient Mayan ruin covered with a plant that craves blood. While the ruins depicted in the novel and the 2008 horror movie of the same name are fictional, explorers can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World,” Chichen Itza. Thankfully, no blood-lusting plant lurks on Chichen Itza, but its El Castillo pyramid creates the illusion of a snake ascending or descending the 365 steps during the summer and spring equinoxes. Blood stains these historic ruins in the Great Ball Court (the largest in the Americas) and Sacred Cenote, where human sacrifices took place.