When you drive the country for a job as a professional truck driver, there is a lot of different scenery at different times of the year. The vibrant flowers in spring, shimmering waters of summer and changing colors of fall can all add interest to your travels.
While few things rival the changing leaves of the East Coast during Fall, for some individuals, this season is all about one thing – Halloween. For some, this Spooktacular annual occurrence is not just a day — it’s a lifestyle. If you’re a professional driver, you have the unique opportunity to travel around and see all the hot spots that become so popular this time of year, any time of the year!
Ready to brave some haunted grounds and explore some urban legends? Check out these spirited places if you happen to be rolling through these areas.
In the North
Just off the 71 highway in Iowa is a little — well, tiny — town called Villisca. Today it’s the epitome of small-town life. In 1912, however, Villisca was home to a grizzly murder scene — eight people were massacred in their sleep by someone with an axe.
It’s called the Villisca Axe Murder House. No one has solved this horrific crime, but rumors from the era say the perpetrator was a traveling minister who taught the gospels at a neighboring church the same night and left the next morning. You can take a daytime tour of this house or book an overnight stay — if you dare.
If you’re cruising through Indiana on I-465, take 36 West just a little ways and you’ll run into Avon, Indiana. Now, they say this state has enough haunted locales to pack an entire city full of lore, but if you enjoy getting away from the bigger cities, Avon is a sleepy, bedroom town with a population of around 12,000. It’s also the home of the nation’s creepiest haunted railroad bridge.
It’s a menacing sight — older than dirt itself and with a sinister vibe. Take County Road 625, park your vehicle, and look around. Local legends tell of encounters with a ghost woman crying for her child who was killed on the tracks and the drunk bridge worker who accidentally fell into the concrete mix during the building of the bridge and is now entombed in it. If you can’t stop and can only drive through, no harm, but you’ll likely feel the temp drop a few degrees as you do.
In the Southeast
Sure, all cemeteries are creepy. And most likely, they are all haunted to an extent. This cemetery is no different. But it’s not Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama, that’s really creepy — it’s the playground right next to it.
Maple Hill is the oldest cemetery in Huntsville, and in 1985, someone built a playground right on the grounds. Cemetery officials demolished it in 2007, but the locals were so angry that the town rebuilt it — a resurrection of sorts. It’s pretty easy to find. Just put Maple Hill Cemetery into your GPS.
In the Southwest
As you travel through the desert of Yuma, Arizona, you’ve got to check out the Yuma Territorial Prison. Built during the expansion westward, this prison housed over 100 “guests” between the late 1870s and early 1900s. The state designated the prison in a historical state park, and easily the creepiest one in the country. Tour guides say they’ve felt chills passing Cell 14, where an inmate killed himself.
In the East
If you love horror films, you’ve probably seen the original Blair Witch Project. Of course, the entire premise of the film was not a true story, but the places in the film are very real. For instance, filmmakers shot some scenes in and around Burkittsville, Maryland, and the majority in the Black Hills Forest.
While the Mayor of Burkittsville says no one in town has ever heard of the story in the film at the very least, this is a cool town that’s barely changed since its founding. You may even want to check out the surrounding forests — if you’ve got some good running shoes on.
In the Midwest
Nebraska’s a desolate place when you get away from the major cities. But in Otoe County, just a short way outside Nebraska City, lies County Road L — known as Seven Sisters Road to the locals. It’s aptly named, too, but not for a good reason.
Local legends say a young man lured his seven sisters, one by one, to a horrible fate, hanging them by a tree, each on a different one of seven hills along the road. People who drive this route report experiencing all sorts of electrical issues with their vehicles and hearing the pleading cries of young women echoing through the air.
In the West
Movies are great forms of entertainment, and even more so when they feature real-life locations — places you can actually visit. Stephen King’s book and movie, The Shining, tells of the haunted Overlook Hotel. In the 90s remake, The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, played the role of the Overlook. Just like the Overlook, The Stanley has a reputation for being haunted by the ghosts of long-since-gone employees. Whether or not you believe ghosts haunt your room, be wary — the hotel sits at such a high elevation that simply strolling to your digs can really take a lot out of you.
Driving the open road as a long-haul trucker allows you to check some destinations off your bucket list — and destinations like these can help you add a few more. Not a Werner driver yet? Become one today.