5. Castello di Amorosa – A replica of a medieval castle that cost at least $20 million dollars and 20 years to make located in the world renown Napa Valley. Beautiful frescoes, doors imported from Europe, towers made with hand made bricks and a well that sinks deep into the belly of the castle and beyond. Not only is this an impressive piece of architecture to wander around in but it is a fully functional winery. But among the oak barrels full of wine in the basement there is a room set off from the juice of the gods that is full of medieval torture devices. A rack, whips, flogs and the dreaded iron maiden, all of which are originals that had been used to torture enemies of the monarchy in day of ancient past. At once one is both intrigued by the elements used to torture those who oppressed the king but also frightened as to what kind of man the winery owner is. If he has a created a torture room using not replications but the very instruments of torture that tore into flesh once upon a time, there is an unnerving question that occurs in the back of your head. Could I be the newest victim and suffer undue pain simply because I drank too much wine? Best to buy my wine and go for I do not want to be left in the iron maiden overnight as every move I sends the spikes further into my skin and tissue.
4. Fort Ord – A former US military base located near one of the most beautiful locations in all of California, Monterey Bay. The base was closed down in 1994 but many of the buildings, housing and barracks remain in tact but abandoned. Sure, California especially in the Gold Country areas is full of ghost towns but nothing is a spooky as a Cold War era military fort that is eerily quiet. You might even half expect a zombie to pop out from behind a shuttered door.
3. Paris Catacombs – It boils down to the wall of skulls and bones.
2. Winchester Mystery House – The widow of the man who created the Winchester rifle had become convinced that her house was haunted with the spirits of people who had been killed by her late husband’s rifle. To confuse the ghosts she created pathways, stairs, doors and windows that led to nowhere. But also created secret rooms to hold seances in the hopes of driving away the spooks that were tormenting her in the darkness of night. This real life carnival fun house is one of nightmares and best experienced with a flashlight in the dark.
1. Auschwitz Concentration Camps – Not a place I have visited but I have known people who have gone. There is a quiet solemnity that occurs as people walk through the gas chambers where thousands of people were killed by the Germans. The mere thought that you are standing in the same place as those who died at the hands of an evil empire is haunting to the core of your very being.