NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Travel writing is the search for magic. I mean that very literally. By now most of the world makes sense to us, and there aren't many mysteries left hiding behind my kitchen sink. Out and over the horizon, however, it might be another story. Although my rational side has never met a monk who can levitate or a psychic who's telling the truth, that's just one side of the story.

My irrational side, genuinely believes that there could always be something to discover just around the next corner and will keep on traveling until I find the right one. I may be crazy, but I'm certainly not alone; whether we want to admit it or not, many of us who travel often do so in at least the small hope of finding a mystery we can't answer.

Around Halloween, that means ghosts. So, knowing how many people obviously make their travel plans around October 31, here's a guide to help you find some in seven of the creepiest and most haunted places around the world.

#1. Pripyat, Ukraine
During the Chernobyl nuclear disaster the town of Pripyat (sometimes spelled Prypiat) was itself a casualty. Living in the shadow of the plant, residents were evacuated immediately to escape the growing disaster.

Today, Pripyat is a ghost town, frozen in the middle of an average day. Once a town of over 50,000 people, since 1986 the town has stood empty, with tools, textbooks and toys left where people dropped them in the evacuation. Walking down the streets is like creeping into the opening scenes of a zombie movie; it doesn't seem possible that a town like this could simply become completely empty.

Perhaps creepiest of all is the town's amusement park, complete with Ferris Wheel and bumper cars. The park had been scheduled to open on May 1, 1986, just four days after the accident. Today it's rusting and overgrown, another casualty of the accident.

Life in Pripyat was as normal as yours and mine until April 26, 1986, when suddenly it wasn't anymore.

2. Oxford, England

Oxford is a surprisingly perfect spot to go looking for ghosts (and a good glass of beer). The 800 year old university town is custom built for scary stories. Gothic spires loom over the university's 38 colleges, with shadows hiding dark alleys and corners around the entire city. Every building looks like it could belong on an empty moor or to a cursed family line, and ghost lights in many of the school's tall windows help complete the image of this haunted town.

There are, it turns out, few things creepier than a single orange light burning at the end of an empty street from the top of a pitch-black steeple.