10Best: Creepy Literary Destinations

  • Interview With the Vampire - Oak Alley Plantation, New Orleans

    Many scenes in Anne Rice's classic Gothic horror novel Interview with the Vampire take place in nineteenth century New Orleans, where the vampire Louis owns an indigo plantation. Visitors can get a sense for what life was like for Rice's Southern vampires with a visit to historic Oak Alley Plantation, where many scenes from the movie adaptation were filmed.

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  • The Cask of Amontillado - Italian Catacombs

    Edgar Allan Poe's classic short story "The Cask of Amontillado" takes readers deep into the catacombs of a nameless Italian city to witness the horror of a character being buried alive. While Poe's catacombs were fictional, travelers can experience similar eerie tunnels with a visit to the Catacombs of San Giovanni in Sicily.

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  • The Shining - The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colo.

    The Shining by modern master of thrills and chills Stephen King takes place at the fictional Overlook Hotel somewhere in the Colorado Rockies, but the setting was inspired by King's visit to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Parts of the TV miniseries adapted from the novel were filmed at The Stanley as well.

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  • The Amityville Horror - Long Island, New York

    The classic and controversial book The Amityville Horror: A True Story by Jay Anson recounts the supposedly true paranormal experiences of the Lutz family at their Dutch Colonial home in Long Island, N.Y. The house at 112 Ocean Avenue where the creepy occurrences took place still stands, but it's since been renovated and the address changed.

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  • Turn of the Screw - Essex, England

    The Henry James novella Turn of the Screw tells a tale of strange and sinister haunting at Bly, an isolated country estate in Essex. Travelers can get a sense of what such a manor might have been like for the characters in James's story by visiting Audley End House, a 17th century Jacobean country house outside the town of Saffron Walden.

    Photo courtesy of Karen Roe

  • Dracula - Bran Castle, Romania

    While the location of the infamous castle from Bram Stoker's Dracula has been hotly debated, one candidate nicknamed "Dracula's Castle" is Bran Castle, a fortress in Transylvania, Romania that fits the description from the novel. Today, the castle houses a museum and is open to tourists.

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  • Shutter Island - Long Island, Massachusetts

    The modern psychological thriller Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane was inspired by a visit to Long Island in Boston Harbor. It's the longest and largest of the Boston Harbor Islands, and its structures have housed a hospital in the past. While the island is currently closed to the public, you can still see it from the water, much like U.S. Marshal Daniels did in the book.

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  • Frankenstein - Burg Frankenstein, Germany

    Burg Frankenstein sits in the Odenwald Mountains overlooking the town of Darmstadt, Germany, and is believed to be the inspiration for Mary Shelley's 1818 Gothic novel Frankenstein. Each year during Halloween season, the castle transforms into a fully immersive haunted house experience.

    Photo courtesy of Michael Mertens

  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

    "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," a classic short story by Washington Irving tells the ghastly tale of a Headless Horseman haunting a secluded glen just north of Tarrytown, N.Y. Sleepy Hollow has embraced its spooky literary heritage, and visitors can take guided tours through the 165-year-old Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and visit the grave of Irving.

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  • Haunting of Hill House - Ettington Park Hotel, England

    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, considered to be one of the best literary ghost stories of the 20th century, takes place in an ancient mansion known as Hill House where spirits roam the halls and the residents encounter all sorts of strange occurrences. While the estate from the novel is fictional, fans of the books and its cinematic adaptations can stay the night at the Ettington Park Hotel in Stradford-upon-Avon, used for exterior shots in the 1963 film The Haunting.

    Photo courtesy of Heather Cowper