From the scores of reality ghost hunting shows on prime-time TV to record-smashing box office hits like Paranormal Activity, it’s clear to see that interest in the paranormal has spiked in recent years. In an age where so much is known, it is now the exploration of the unknown that attracts audiences en masse.
While television shows and movies offer some genuine scares from the comfort of home, there is nothing like exploring the paranormal up close and personal. That’s a big reason why ghost tours are a growing source of tourism in many small towns and big cities across the country.
Just in time for Halloween, we’ve compiled a list of 5 of the best ghost tours in the United States. Here they are:
Ghosts of Gettysburg (Gettysburg, PA): These candlelit tours, based on the research of historian Mark Nesbitt, wind through the streets, cemeteries, and battlefields of one of the most haunted cities in America. Torn apart nearly 150 years ago by the bloodiest battle in the country’s history, Gettysburg is purported to be a hotbed of paranormal activity to this day. Visitors have reported sightings of soldiers in battle, apparitions of the wounded, and whispers of the horrifying sounds of century-old battle. Ghosts of Gettysburg offers four two-hour walking tours and a more expansive bus tour that culminates in a visit to a quiet farm which once served as a makeshift Civil War hospital.
Haunted History’s New Orleans Ghost Tour (New Orleans, LA): This famous New Orleans ghost tour explores the grim and undisclosed history of the French Quarter. Guides tell of the horror suffered by slaves kept secretly at the LaLaurie House and the reported hauntings that followed their deaths in 1834. Further in the tour guests will investigate a bar that has been at the center of dozens of reported ghost sightings. The offbeat tour guides provide audiences with chilling, eerie, and accurate commentary as they uncover the secret and unsettling past of one of the country’s most famous neighborhoods. Featured on The History, Discovery, and Travel Channels, this two-hour tour has become world famous in recent years.
Ghost Tours of St. Augustine (St. Augustine, FL): This award winning tour was created by St. Augustine native Sandy Craig who can trace her ancestry back to the original Spanish settlers who founded the city nearly 400 years ago. Started in 1994 as a way to keep visiting schoolchildren active in the evenings, the instantly successful tour was quickly opened to the public by popular demand. With over 20 full-time storytellers and input from local historians, the tour is constantly being updated to include the most vivid and historically accurate ghost tales in the country. The tour runs every night of the year, including holidays, and has been featured on the Discovery and Travel channels.
Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry (Harpers Ferry, WV): The oldest ghost tour in America, Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry has been entertaining and spooking visitors to this small West Virginia town since 1970. The tour and its stories are based on a book written by Shirley Dougherty who began experiencing and subsequently researching unexplainable phenomena at a popular restaurant she owned in the area. As she began to research the history of Harpers Ferry, dozens of others came forward to tell experiences of their own and thus the ghost tour was born. Today the tour is owned, managed, and guided by Rick Garland, a local Civil War historian. The hour and a half tour is packed not only with spooky ghost stories but also the fascinating history behind them.
Chicago Supernatural Tour (Chicago, IL): Chicago’s original haunted tour takes weekend visitors to the infamous site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, uncovers the secrets of the city’s allegedly haunted Chinatown, and explores the origin of the town’s notorious Rosemary’s Baby tale. A special mid-tour food break at the famous Billy Goat Tavern allows tour goers to learn more about the supposed curse placed on the Chicago Cubs and the ghost of newspaper columnist Mike Royko. The extensive tour was created by Richard T. Crowe, the windy city’s premiere ghost hunter, and lasts just under four hours with special matinees being held for the Halloween season.