Haunt Jaunts is happy to publish the following guest post by Eve Pearce about five haunted cruise destinations. We’ve been to one. The rest are on our list. What about you?
Cruise liner trips are among the best ways to explore the world; visiting historic cities, beautiful beaches, the high seas and glorious coastlines. Cruises are also a great way to seek out the world’s most haunted places, mysterious locations, the darkest, spookiest sites and secrets from humanity’s past.
Glamis Castle, Scotland
Anyone with an interest in history and the paranormal who takes a cruise that visits the east coast of Scotland must make a trip inland to explore Glamis Castle, the home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. The castle is one of the finest pieces of architecture in Scotland – largely dating from the 17th Century and set among a picturesque valley, the building appears to be straight out of a fairytale with pointed towers, battlements and many windows spread across it’s ivy-strewn walls.
Despite its beautiful appearance, the castle holds some dark secrets and haunting tales. The ‘Monster of Glamis’ is said to have been a child born to the family who was so appallingly disfigured that he was kept hidden in a room in the castle; when the monster-child died, the room was bricked up. The legend also describes how each subsequent generation of the family has produced vampire children and each of these creatures has been trapped in the same bricked-up room. To this day, visitors to castle have been unable to locate the hidden room despite numerous reports of banging, shrieks, ghostly apparitions and hair-raising encounters with ancient ancestors in the middle of the night.
Poveglia, Venice, Italy
Venice is one of the popular cruise destinations in the world and for ghost hunters the city also provides access to Poveglia, a small island in the Venetian Lagoon which is considered by many experts to be the most haunted place in Italy.
A long history of invasion and intrigue, disease and madness has created a great deal of folklore, legend and haunting tales related to the island. During the Roman era victims of the plague were sent to Poveglia to isolate them from the rest of society and when success waves of the Black Death wrecked havoc through Europe in the Middle Ages the island was used for quarantine and plague pits. Tens of thousands of plague victims have died on Poveglia throughout history and many of these unfortunate souls are said to haunt the island.
In the 1920s, a mental hospital was constructed on Poveglia and, according to legend, a cruel doctor tormented, tortured and murdered his patients at the institution. The doctor finally went mad himself as a result of his butchery and in despair threw himself from the top of the island’s bell tower. He miraculously survived the fall but a ghostly mist emerged from the ground and strangled him to death. Folklore suggests that the doctor and his victims still make their presence felt to visitors to the island.
Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia
Port Arthur is a former British colonial convict settlement dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, located on the coast of Tasmania not far from the state capital Hobart, and is an important UNESCO World Heritage property. The site features the remains of several penal sites, an open air museum and is Tasmania’s most popular cruise and tourist destination; it is also a highly evocative place set among beautiful countryside with an unsettling history and ghostly ruins. Visitors arriving on a liner to Tasmania can make their way to Port Arthur, explore the sites independently or join guided tours which explore the Isle of the Dead and Point Puer or enjoy a boat cruise of the harbor. Most attractively, at least for visitors interested in the site’s paranormal past, is the opportunity to join an evening walking ghost tour of Port Arthur, examining the ruins by lantern light under the direction of a black cloak-clad guide. The historic site takes on a completely different character after nightfall and ghost hunters joining the tour can hear the troubling tales of the penal colony’s long history of cruelty and intrigue.
Alcatraz, San Francisco, USA
Alcatraz, nicknamed ‘The Rock’, has a long history of haunting and ghostly occurrences. Native Americans avoided the isolated island in San Francisco Bay, referring to the rocky outcrop as ‘Evil Island’, and after the European colonization Alcatraz was developed as a lighthouse, military base, military prison and, perhaps most famously, was the site of a federal prison from 1933 to 1963.
The Rock was chosen as the destination for USA’s most dangerous prisoners because of its lonely position in the foggy bay and developed a notorious reputation for brutality, prisoner confinement and occasional breathtaking and bloody escape attempts. Many haunting stories have been reported by ex-prisoners and the staff who used to live and work on the island, and today visitors arriving on a cruise to San Francisco Bay can take in a ghost tour to discover the dark secrets of Alcatraz for themselves.
Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana, USA
Finally, Myrtles Plantation has been described as ‘one of the most haunted houses in America’. Constructed in 1796, the site is an antebellum plantation in St Francisville, Louisiana, and is accessible to ghost hunters taking cruises along the Mississippi River.
The plantation, which now serves as a bed and breakfast guesthouse, has a sinister history of death, disease and murder – it is claimed that 10 murders have been committed at Myrtles and the house is now haunted by as many as 12 ghosts. Legend suggests that the plantation was built on the site of an ancient Tunica Indian burial ground and the families that have tried to make the house their home over the centuries have suffered early deaths, yellow fever, typhoid, shootings, homicide and hauntings.
Be sure to check out our International Ghost Tours page if you jaunt to some of the places listed above. We know of ghost tours in Venice, Port Arthur, and Edinburgh, which is just south of Glamis Castle.
Port Arthur Ghost Tour
Ghost and Gore Walking Tour of Edinburgh
Underground Vaults Walking Tour in Edinburgh
Venice Ghost Walking Tour