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10 places to visit in the spooky season

By: Josh Lew on Oct. 22, 2014, 2 p.m.
Bran Castle in Romania

Photo: Emi Cristea /Shutterstock

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Bran Castle, Romania

At first glimpse, Bran Castle might seem like just another historic Eastern European fortress. It is certainly an attractive structure, and it offers great views of the beautiful Romanian countryside. However, this castle is surrounded by legend. It is located in the famous region of Transylvania and is sometimes referred to as Dracula's Castle. Some claim that the castle was the setting that inspired Bram Stoker to create his famous fictional vampire. Proponents of this theory say that one of the castle's former residents, Vlad III (better known as Vlad the Impaler), was Stoker's model for Dracula. (Indeed, Vlad's family name was Drăculea.)

According to some accounts, Vlad was as terrifying as Stoker's blood-drinking villain. Some legends claim that he was responsible for putting 100,000 people to death, torturing many before impaling them. Other historians portray him as a Romanian patriot who was instrumental in fighting off invaders and strengthening the local economy. Despite the unclear past, many tourists come to visit what they are convinced is “Dracula's Castle.” There are daily tours at Bran and even special events such as concerts. The castle was put on the market in May 2014 for a cool $80 million.