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Visiting The Classic Horror Story Locales (PHOTOS)

Posted: 10/31/2011 8:00 am

As the spookiest holiday of the year draws near, enjoy a tour of real-life sites famously featured in classic horror stories, folklore and film. Some look surprisingly sweet, some flaunt their history, and some will chill your bones.

- Lena Katz

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  • Dracula | Carpathian Mountains, Romania

    The world's very first vampire crush and Romania's most enduring celebrity, Dracula has a tremendous amount of charisma for someone who never technically existed. People travel from all over the world to go on vampire-inspired tours of the Carpathian mountains, Romanian villages and the alleged haunt of Vlad the Impaler, the real-life inspiration for Dracula. Photo Credit: Romania Tourism

  • Legend of Sleepy Hollow | Sleepy Hollow, New York

    Some places would try to distance themselves from past history involving a psycho-killer with supernatural tendencies. Not Sleepy Hollow. The biggest attraction in this historic New England town is its spooky, 400-year-old cemetery. Gnarled trees, ancient stone busts and crumbling gravestones show you just what inspired Washington Irving -- and his grave is there too, for visitors who want to personally say "Thanks for all the scary Headless Horseman dreams." Lantern tours are offered regularly throughout the year, and every night the last week of October. Photo Credit: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

  • From Hell | Whitechapel, London

    And speaking of psycho-killers...who could forget Jack The Ripper? Though certain details of his nefarious killing career have been more-or-less confirmed, he was never caught, which means history has mixed freely with urban legend. As the decades transformed Jack into a demon, the Whitechapel neighborhood he once hunted has transformed in a different way, becoming hip and colorful, with open-air markets, live rock venues and a subway stop where no one's afraid to linger after dark. Photo Credit: Flickr olivern5

  • The Birds | Bodega Bay, California

    Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film was the stuff to inspire a lifetime phobia of winged things. Unprovoked and unexplained, hordes of gulls, ravens and other not-normally-birds-of-prey viciously attack hapless humans in the remote Northern California town of Bodega Bay. These days, sleepy Bodega still harbors quite a population of seabirds. They're not aggressive at all (or are they?). Photo Credit: Flickr Will Wilson

  • Dawn of the Dead | Monroeville, Pennsylvania

    Props to the producers of "Dawn of the Dead" for shooting their seminal zombie apocalypse film in Pennsylvania -- where the story was actually set -- instead of some generic town just outside Hollywood. Without armies of shambling undead, the suburban town of Monroeville is as unthreatening and middle-America as can be, with quiet streets and fields in every direction. Photo Credit: Flickr jmd41280

  • The Crucible | Salem, Massachusetts

    Salem can look pretty grim from some angles. It preserves its real-life legacy through historic tours (such as the Witch Trial Trail) and numerous visitor attractions like the Salem Witch Museum. The original Salem witch-hunters would be appalled to know how enthusiastically their once-Puritan town has embraced its witchy tendencies: Halloween must-sees include "13 Ghosts of Salem 3D Haunted House," the "Salem Witch Walk" (hosted by modern Wiccans) and the "Witch Dungeon Museum," which hosts "Raise the Devil" shows all day April through November and some evenings in October. Photo Credit: Flickr dougtone

  • The Necromancer | The Black Forest, Germany

    The Black Forest's bleak winter snows, densely wooded areas and medieval ruins inspired all sorts of superstitions and night-time fears in centuries past. Many of them came together in the Necromancer, a German gothic novel featuring ghosts, peasant-killing noblemen and a sorcerer returned from the dead. Thankfully, from the looks of things, German engineering, and modern architecture have cleaned up the Forest quite a bit. Photo Credit: GNTO & BSB

  • Pit and the Pendulum | Toledo, Spain

    This classic Edgar Allen Poe chiller is set in a dark and nightmarish dungeon in Toledo, Spain, the center of the Spanish Inquisition. Today, the dark patches of Toledo's history are remembered alongside other, more enlightened times when it was a cultural melting pot. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site decades ago, it's as much historic preservation site as city, with protection placed over its cathedrals, palaces, and, yes, even its collections of sharp steel blades. Photo Credit: Tourist Office of Spain

  • Interview with a Vampire | Garden District, New Orleans

    Long before "Twilight" inspired widespread YouTube hysterics, adult fantasists were losing themselves in the bloody, seductive, amoral but artistic world of the Vampire Chronicles. New Orleans was immortal rockstar-Vampire Lestat's home. In reality, it's a city that accepts eccentricity, artistry and debauchery -- supernatural or otherwise. Cemetery walks, voodoo tours, vampire bars and haunted mausoleums are just a few of its creepy attractions. Photo Credit: Donn Young

  • The Shining | Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Oregon

    Ever wondered who could possibly stay in the uber-creepy "REDRUM" hotel? The answer: lots and lots of West Coast snowboarders and skiers. Though Stephen King's classic chiller was supposedly inspired by the Stanley Hotel in Colorado, exteriors for the film were shot at the Timberline. But at this Oregon ski resort it's rare to see an eerie abandoned scene like the one pictured. Usually, it's filled with couples on getaway, foodies arrived for a wine dinner, or snowboarders so young they only know "The Shining" as some movie that their parents like. Photo Credit: Timberline Lodge