Our Favorite Haunts - Page 2

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Houses of the holy: New Orleans' above-ground tombs  (Index Stock)

Witches Here and There: Costa Rica
It's a regular bruja-ja in Escazu, the witch capital of Costa Rica. Grown men refuse to cross the bridge that spans the Tiribi River for fear of encountering the infamous "magic monkey." While 60 witches are still rumored to live in Escazu, U.S. witch lore lurks more in the past. Salem, Massachusetts, reigns as the "kitschy" witch capital, but little evidence from the real 17th-century trails still remains.

And You Will Know Us By Our Floating Dead: New Orleans
While it may be easy to get wasted in the South's steamy party capital, the geographical reality of New Orleans makes being literally dead a tricky proposition. The city lies four to six feet below sea level, which makes burial in the traditional six-foot hole something of a macabre parade: bodies (both in and out of coffins) had been known to literally rise from the ground and float through the city streets. This unsightly problem was solved with the creation of aboveground tombs. Now the city cemeteries offer miles and miles of marble tomb mazes. Get lost at midnight and try to convince yourself that you're not scared. We dare you.

Theater of the Macabre: Bali
Spirits—both good and evil—are part of everyday life in this Indonesian paradise. Exorcisms to drive away evil spirits occur daily, while the most elaborate ritual, Eka Dasa Rudra, takes place every 100 years, providing a ritualistic purification of the whole island. More theatrical is the intricate dance-drama known as Calon Arang, performed to get rid of those nasty witches, especially Rangda, the bloody-fanged Queen of the Underworld.

Gardens of Good and Evil: Georgia
Probably the spookiest places around—even in the daylight—are cemeteries, both infamous and not so known. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil made Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery the city's most famous site—and midnight tours are the only way to see it. The potential for a real-life poltergeist looms large in Indonesia, where a portion of Jakarta's Tanah Abang cemetery was plowed over in favor of new development.

Death Becomes You: Czecyh Republic
Some 40 miles east of Prague, in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutna Hora, lies a ghastly ossuary has become famous for its décor—which uses the bones of some 40,000 people excavated from the overcrowded cemetery. Highlights of this morbidly inventive solution include bones arranged in bells, the Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms, and a chandelier constructed from every bone in the human body.

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