Halloween Tours: Ghosts, Ghouls, & Haunted Histories

October 20, 2014 by

Europe, Family & Kids, North America

Who needs to hang out with the living, when you can go and visit the dead? With Halloween just around the corner, there is a fabulous and fascinating itinerary of ghosts and gravestones, haunted histories and underground vaults to be explored — from Memphis to the Orbs of Oahu, via Vegas, Rome, Venice, Stockholm and Boston.

Visit vampires in New Orleans, explore haunted castles in Edinburgh, wonder at the mysteries of Winchester House in San Francisco, and comb the catacombs in Rome. Wherever you choose to go in the daylight hours, remember the supernatural is always right there beside you, waiting for the darkness to shine!

Vampires in San Francisco and New Orleans

San Francisco Chinatown

Learn about the ghosts of San Francisco’s Chinatown on a night tour. Photo credit: Gabriel Saldana via Flickr.

Ok, I’ll admit it, I’ve always had a thing for Vampires. The fragile pallor, black hair, blood-red lips, thick eyeliner, sexy sumptuous velvet and lace clothes, the exquisite kiss of death to the neck … Stop me now! Before I go straight down to New Orleans in search of my own eternal torment. The mythology of vampires is a well-established part of this deeply atmospheric city, from the fictional to the real, you will be taken into the night with a theatrical adventure through the French Quarter to a Vampire Tavern!

If the San Francisco Undead are more your scene, take a wander along the Gothic side of Nob Hill to hear all about the history and vampire lore at the Grace Cathedral, Huntington Park, Fairmont Hotel and more. San Francisco has plenty of spooky ghost stories. You can also experience the extra-sensory realm of San Francisco Chinatown after dark, with lamplit tales of the spectres from decades of history haunting these historic and mysterious streets and alleyways. Drink in the chilling folklore of this mystical enclave, and find out about the hungry spirits, and why the Goddess Kwan Yin receives such reverence, along with the secrets of magic moon cake.

Read more about Halloween in San Francisco and New Orleans.

Cemeteries and Tombs

New Orleans St Louis Cemetery No. 1

New Orleans St Louis Cemetery No. 1. Photo credit: Fang Guo via Flickr.

Become an apprentice grave digger on this one of a kind fright-seeing experience. Join your host, a 17th-century grave digger suffering eternal damnation, who is cursed to travel the streets of Boston to relay the stories of unfortunate souls encountered and macabre events witnessed during his purgatory. Boston’s most sinister characters will also make an appearance, from the Angel of Death to the Boston Strangler.

Exclusive and not for the faint of heart! Travel on the Trolley of the Doomed to see inside three of the most haunted places in all of St. Augustine. You may have an up close and personal encounter with the lost souls and malignant spirits of The Old Drug Store. Learn the secret of embalming before visiting the death beds of the Spanish Military Hospital and The Old Jail, site of countless supernatural occurrences.

Make a wish or cast a spell at the tomb of Marie Laveau — The Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, in St Louis No.1, the most haunted cemetery of the city. Discover how she was able to be in two places at once, and learn the unique above-ground burial customs, the meaning of ‘Gris-Gris’ and the mysterious ingredients in your souvenir bag. You will find out about the evolution of Voodoo, still practiced today, and how it became such a factor in the Crescent City.

Read more about Halloween in Boston.

Haunted Castles

Kronborg Castle

Kronborg Castle. Photo credit: Maltesen via Flickr.

Travel across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and along beautiful Highway 280 to reach the mysterious Winchester House. Discover the reasons for the many unexplained oddities that have come to pass in this fascinating higgeldy-piggeldy 160-room Victorian house, the design features an endlessly confusing floor plan, with doors and staircases leading nowhere. Built by the Winchester rifle heiress Sarah Winchester who kept carpenters working on the building 24 hours a day for 38 years, until the day she died.

The real-life inspiration for the most notable haunted castle in literature, made famous by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, travel to the intriguing Kronborg Castle on a day trip from Copenhagen, along the Danish Riviera and Helsingor, to see the rooms where Hamlet talked to a ghost.

Mystery in Europe

Stockholm Old Town

See the haunted side of Stockholm’s Old Town on a tour. Photo credit: Michael Caven via Flickr.

Tales of witchcraft, plague and torture abound on the Murder and Mystery walking tour of Edinburgh. Not for the faint-hearted, you will visit scenes of murders and supernatural happenings, with your guide under the cloak of darkness, famous Edinburgh character Adam Lyal (deceased), highwayman who leads you through haunted alleyways and dark courtyards of the Old Town. Look out for the “jumper-ooters” and other ghastly appearances and strange incidents, while you hear of the notorious 19th-century trade of body-snatching.

You can also descend beneath Edinburgh’s South Bridge for a spine-chilling tour of the Edinburgh’s underground vaults. Focused on the findings of the Edinburgh Ghost Project, part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, which confirmed the anecdotal accounts of paranormal sightings and experiences in different forms, touch, sight, sound and smell. The spirits of former vault residents may interact with visitors, and guests regularly report experiences from the eerie to the terrifying, the strange to the inexplicable. Some simply prefer to forget …

When night falls, the empty streets of Stockholm‘s Old Town belong to the spirits, vampires and you. Follow the lantern of your ghost-guide to hear true accounts of poltergeists, unsolved mysteries, myths and legends in the maze of forgotten courtyards and deserted alleys. Taste the past of medieval Stockholm, with a refreshment break in a haunted location!

Dark side of the Vegas Strip

Rhyolite Ghost Town

Rhyolite Ghost Town. Photo credit: Ken Lund via Flickr.

The Darkest Ghostly Secrets of Sin City will be revealed to you in this spirited and spooky tour of Haunted Las Vegas. Investigating some of the 21 locations of paranormal activity, you may find yourself at the ‘Motel of Death,’ site of numerous celebrity deaths, and the eerie sites and haunting grounds of Bugsy Siegel, Liberace and Elvis.

Take a day trip from Vegas to Death Valley, with a breakfast in the Mojave Desert before a visit to Spanish Style Scotty’s Castle, the Furnace Creek Ranch Museum and finally, Rhyolite Ghost Town. Sure to have you shaking in your desert boots!

Read about Halloween in Las Vegas.

Ghost Tours

Savannah Colonial Park Cemetery

Colonial Park Cemetery in Savannah. Photo credit: Eric Fleming via Flickr.

Join the Ghost Hunt in search of the dark and hidden past on the streets of Old Montreal and the wharves of the Old Port. Witness fires, political demonstrations, heroic acts and mysterious legends. You may find some of the city’s most notorious criminals, Mary Gallagher still looking for her head, or the heroes and villains of the New France in this adventure-laden ghost hunt.

In Florida, you can follow the lantern along the ghostly streets of Key West to the Old Town’s most infamous haunted locations, with tales of pirates, smugglers and benevolent protectors, learning the colorful history behind the sunshine. Or maybe it’s time to board the Savannah ‘Trolley of the Doomed!’ in Georgia. In this “FRIGHTSEEING” experience you will share tales of murder, mayhem, ghosts and ghouls in the secret haunts of gravediggers. Enter if you dare, the real antebellum mansion Sorrel Weed House to see a cauldron of supernatural activity!

The Haunted Philadelphia Story takes you on a ghoulish walking adventure to learn about the Master of the Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe, paranormal Pine Street happenings and folklore of the legendary ghosts that inhabit Independence Hall. Hear about the dancing statue of Benjamin Franklin, and visit Haunted Movie set locations from The Sixth Sense, National Treasure and other thrillers.

Hear the darker site of Memphis, with chilling tales of the city’s haunted heritage, named for the famed Egyptian City of the Dead, taking you through the mysterious supernatural experiences of Orpheum Theater, Cotton Row and Handy Park.

Aloha, ghosts

Visit the favorite Haunts of Honolulu City Ghosts, for a spooky evening of true tales of the historical and eye-witness accounts, from the residence of Hawaii’s monarchy to the hotspots of ongoing supernatural activity. Or learn camera tips for photographing ghosts, and find the Orbs of Oahu on the southern part of the island, making ‘dead stops’ at some of the most haunted locations, including Morgan’s Corner, the Chinese Manoa Cemetery and the Pali Area.

Ghosts of Italy

Rome catacombs

Look for ghosts in the Roman Catacombs

Descending into the labyrinth of Ghostly Venice, from the Rialto Bridge across sleeping canals and abandoned squares, to discover the gruesome murder tales of the Assassins, and a secret passageway used to make quick escapes. Architectural follies are highlighted by intriguing ghost stories sure to make you quiver in the night.

The Dark Heart of Rome comes alive at night, on a nocturnal stroll through the hidden ghostly sites of this mysterious city. The historical and supernatural comes to life while visiting the Campo de Fiori, via del Governo Vecchio, Piazza Farnese and Castel Sant’Angelo, where fact and legend are intertwined.

Descend into the subterranean burial chambers of the Eternal City to discover the dark secrets of Rome’s catacombs. The Catacombs of the early Christians, crypts filled and decorated with thousands of bones, and the Church of San Clemente, built over a pagan temple, are some of the wonders you will see on this private viewing of the Capuchin Crypt and Catacombs. Travel to a time when Christianity was considered a cult.

Wherever you go on your next trip, something gory, ghoulish and ghostly is waiting for you!

– Jodi Rose

Planning your Halloween? Browse Viator’s Edinburgh Halloween tours and activities and USA Halloween tours and activities!

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One Response to “Halloween Tours: Ghosts, Ghouls, & Haunted Histories”

  1. Bob Welch Says:

    You should add Salem Ma. to this article.