Happy Mardi Gras! Laissez les bon temps rouler!
I thought it’d be fun to explore the most haunted Fat Tuesday/Carnival cities that I could find. Dare to join me? Let’s indulge…
New Orleans, Louisiana
I think it’s safe to say that the first place that probably pops to most people’s minds if they live in the U.S. and hear “Mardi Gras” is New Orleans. As for haunted places? Yep. New Orleans is loaded with those too. In the French Quarter alone you can find a concentration of New Orleans’ most haunted places. I’m talking haunted hotels, haunted restaurants, even haunted cemeteries!
Just a few of the many popular haunted hotels include the Andrew Jackson Hotel, Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, and
Bourbon Orleans Hotel. You’ll find everything from the ghosts of Confederate soldiers, a ghost maid who tucks guests in, and the ghosts of children who died in a fire.
Ghosts aren’t the only haunting things you might encounter in this city either. Be on the lookout for vampires. As Stephen P. Unger once wrote in a guest post here, New Orleans’ vampire scene has been active for many, many decades. Centuries even. Ever since the city was first established. Anne Rice certainly had a lot to draw from for her beloved novels.
And if you want to take a Mardi Gras, ghost, or vampire tour, Viator offers a bunch, such as:
- Mardi Gras World: Behind-the-Scenes Tour in New Orleans
- Mardi Gras Walking Tour in New Orleans
- New Orleans Ghost Adventure
- Murder in New Orleans Ghost Tour
- New Orleans Haunted History Ghost Tour
- New Orleans Ghosts and Spirits Walking Tour
- French Quarter Haunted Excursion In New Orleans
- New Orleans Supernatural Tour
- New Orleans Voodoo Mystery and Paranormal Tour
- French Quarter Walking Ghost Tour of New Orleans
- Haunted History Of New Orleans
- Ghostly Galavant New Orleans
- New Orleans Vampire Tour
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Another huge Mardi Gras –or, rather, Carnival— hot spot is Brazil’s Rio. As for being haunted…well, that’s not among its claims to fame. There are a lot of haunting stories about the real life struggles of living there (especially in the favelas), but no real ghost accounts like what I’m looking for.
However, it’s such an iconic Mardi Gras destination that to not include it would be blasphemous. So I searched hard and came up with one haunted place to share.
Not far from Rio is the Imperial Museum in Petropolis. (It’s also known as the Petropolis Museum.) Allegedly the ghost of Emperor Dom Pedros II haunts its garden. (It used to be the Emperor’s favorite residence.)
Viator even offers a tour there:
Another iconic Carnival hot spot is Venice. Mysterious, beguiling, and enchanting, this Italian City of Love is famous for its canals, culture and architecture. But it does possess a dark side.
And seems to have its fair share of curses. (Which caught my eye, because of my recently released Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories…or are they? anthology.)
Some feel sure that the Cà Dario, or Palazzo Dario, is cursed. After all, death has befallen all who have owned it.
The Casin degli spiriti is a palace that is also regarded as a cursed location. It includes tales ranging from spirit and demon-invoking religious sects who practiced there to a heartbroken suicidal ghost who still roams there. Fishermen won’t fish in that lagoon because of a horrible murder in the 1950s where the killer chopped the victim’s body up before throwing the remains in those waters.
And then there’s the very creepy Poveglia Island. Another place fisherman don’t dare go near for fear it’s cursed. It’s a 10 minute ferry ride from Venice and was home to Black Death victims during the plague epidemic. Centuries later it became a psychiatric hospital run by a doctor who tortured the patients. He went mad himself and committed suicide after claiming to be haunted by the island’s ghosts. 160,000 deaths are said to have occurred there. Visitors need special permission to step foot there. (And a whole lot of courage, I’d say.)
Those who want to learn more about Venice’s ghosts should check out the Venice Ghost Walking Tour
Unless you’re a Mardi Gras aficionado or from the South, a lot of people don’t realize Mobile touts itself as “The Original Mardi Gras.” It puts on just about as big a Mardi Gras celebration as New Orleans –sans the debauchery and more emphasis on the family-friendly. But there are parades, bands, food galore. It’s a big time!
Mobile also has some great haunts. Such as the Seaman’s Bethel Chapel Theater at the University of South Alabama. A couple of ghosts are said to haunt it from top to bottom: a ghost child who plays in the basement and a ghost wearing a Captain’s coat in the fly loft.
There’s also the USS Alabama Battleship in Mobile Bay. The ship served in the Pacific in WWII. It didn’t see any deaths from war, though. Eight men were killed in one of the gun turrets by friendly fire from another of the ship’s gun turrets. Footsteps and other noises have often been reported by people who’ve found themselves on the ship after visiting hours are over, but when they go to investigate they can’t find the source of e noise.
Here’s a couple of books about Mobile’s haunted places if you’d like to learn more about its haunted places:
We’re headed Down Under for this next pick. Sydney’s Mardi Gras festivities combines gay pride with Carnival spirit to celebrate life in all its many wonderfully diverse forms. 10,000 people participate in the parades, displaying some of the biggest enthusiasm and costumes (or lack thereof in a lot of cases) that you’ll ever see. Sydney’s haunts match this exuberance.
Stay at The Russell Hotel, not only Sydney’s most well known haunted hotel, but perhaps all of Australia’s. Room 8 is said to be where the activity is. It’s allegedly haunted by a sailor who doesn’t seem to want to check out. (And who also purportedly likes to watch the guests sharing his room sleep.)
And then there’s the Quarantine Station. It’s arguably Sydney’s most active haunted hot spot. As the name implies, this is where people suspected of carrying contagious diseases were sent so as not to infect the general population. Some truly were sick –and died. Their spirits remain. Some are very interactive with human visitors too, giving them a little push –or sometimes a big one– to let them know restless spirits really do wander there.
I’m not sure if ghostly activity has been reported at the Q Station Sydney Harbour National Park hotel, but staying here will put you that much closer to the action.
You can also always learn more about Sydney’s haunts by taking the Sydney Ghost Walking Tour too.