With a headline such as "Where I'd rather be", it may seem odd, if not a little warped to fantasise about haunted houses and islands overrun by possessed dolls, but in the spirit (excuse or applaud the pun) of Halloween, it seems fitting to take a foray into the occult.
Along with a wealth of online museum tours, the pandemic has delivered some truly terrifying global locations straight into the seemingly safe space of our living rooms.
Time to fire up the laptop, dim the lights and convince ourselves there's a scientific explanation.
Let's start where all good ghost stories begin, a classic haunted house. Built in 1884, the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California is a large and ostentatious mansion offering all the hallmarks of a scream-inducing stay. Cross the threshold and you're presented with a labyrinth of musty rooms dressed in Victorian attire. An immersive 360-degree virtual tour can be purchased online for less than $10 at winchestermysteryhouse.com/video-tour, allowing guests to move between the wings and open creepy doors previously left untouched.
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Perhaps you're in the market for some jailhouse jitters, in which case Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary will enthral. A crumbling relic of cell blocks and deserted guard towers, it was once the most famous prison in the world, with residents such as Al Capone rattling at the window bars. Jump online at easternstate.org/explore/online-tour for a clickable floor plan and a virtual walk-through of the cells, its hospital, Al Capone's rather lavish digs and "The Hole" – solitary confinement which maddened many a man.
From incarcerated gangsters to something far more sinister: tiny dolls. The Mexican island of Isla de las Munecas (Island of the Dolls) is infamous for its scores of supposedly possessed dolls that hang awkwardly from the trees. Watch the videos at isladelasmunecas.com/island-of-the-dolls-videos to find out why they are there. Best to also keep one eye on all those malevolent grins.
... Who wanted to sleep tonight anyway?