Ghostly Historic District Tours

These 8 walking tours scattered across the country will give you a glimpse into the paranormal past of some classic historic neighborhoods.

Savannah is known as the most haunted city in the U.S. (Photo: James C. Massey)

Savannah, Georgia
It’s been called “the most haunted city in America,” so it’s no surprise that Savannah has a smorgasbord of historic-district ghost tours to choose from. (There’s even one that ferries folks around in a convertible hearse.) The highly rated Ghost Talk Ghost Walk doesn’t rely on gimmicks, though—just chilling tales collected from a variety of sources. (Bonus: The tour also includes an after-hours peek inside the historic Juliette Gordon Low House.)

New Orleans, Louisiana
Like Savannah, New Orleans has also mined its spooky, seedy past to come up with a glut of ghost tours that weave through its historic neighborhoods. Haunted History Tours offers several options based on your paranormal preference: classic ghost tours explore the myriad hauntings of the French Quarter and the Garden District, while voodoo and vampire tours explore a different aspect of the city’s eerie history.

Baltimore, Maryland
Both the colonial-era shipyard of Fell’s Point and the 19th-century residential district of Mt. Vernon provide the backdrop for Baltimore’s ghostly tales. Haunted highlights include the 1853 Garrett-Jacobs Mansion and the 1902 Belvedere Hotel. (For those who need a shot of liquid courage before braving Baltimore’s ghouls, the group also offers a Haunted Pub Walk in Fell’s Point.)

Seattle, Washington
“Sleepless” might just describe your state after a tour through Seattle’s haunted history. Members of AGHOST (that’s the Advanced Ghost Hunters of Seattle-Tacoma) lead 90-minute tours around a number of the city’s well-known historic districts, including Pioneer Square, Belltown, and University Heights, mingling stories of their own otherworldly experiences with historical tales of murder and mayhem.

An after-hours tour of Albuquerque’s Old Town Plaza will illuminate the city’s haunted happenings.

Albuquerque, New Mexico
With a history that dates back more than 300 years (and that’s just the modern settlement—various tribes of Pueblo Indians inhabited the area for centuries before), Albuquerque’s Old Town Plaza has gathered its fair share of ghost stories. Tours of Old Town’s lantern-lit ghost tours recount some of the otherworldly happenings (from apparitions to voices coming from empty buildings) witnessed on the plaza over three centuries.

Providence, Rhode Island
Put together by a former Historical Society researcher, this ghost tour of Providence’s East Side neighborhood (home to both Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design) was culled from meticulous research of abnormal deaths and strange occurrences in the area’s historic homes (and even a few dorm rooms).

Chicago, Illinois
Ursula Bielski, known as Chicago’s leading ghost expert (her training includes having grown up in a haunted North Side house), leads tours that explore the lingering presences of some of the city’s most legendary shadowy figures, from serial killer H.H. Holmes (made famous in the best-selling book Devil in the White City) to gangster Al Capone.

Austin, Texas
From the State Capitol building to the Warehouse District, Haunted Texas leaves no stone (or ghost) unturned in its tours of downtown Austin’s haunted history. General historic-district tours incorporate such legendary haunted sites as the Driskill Hotel, while specialty tours zero in on a specific facet of the city’s creepy past (like the Servant Girl Annihilator Tour, designed to introduce you to America’s first serial killer).

Tags: | Online Exclusive Clare M. Alexander ghosts OHJ September/October 2008 Old-House Journal

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