October 2, 2016 by Bret Kramer (aka WinstonP)
Ghost tours are an increasingly popular outing for tourist and locals alike, especially in New England. While common throughout the United States and parts of the United Kingdom (and quite possibly elsewhere – have you seen one outside of these two countries? Share it in the comments!) I thought I might highlight those offered this year in New England, giving you plenty of time to plan that last minute vacation.
As a note, I have only gone on a few of these tours, and even those twere several years previous, so I cannot make guarantees as to quality of the tours. I’ve generally found ghost tours two fall into two sometimes overlapping types – ones run by amateur actors and ones run by amateur historians. Though I’ve dabbled in both, my heart is definitely with the latter type. The former, more theatrical, style almost always has a costumed guide, sometimes giving the tour in character, and sometimes including having other actors waiting along the route of the tour to provide jump scares. They tend to focus on the more sensationalistic tales of hauntings – accuracy, historical or otherwise, is not the goal. History minded tours are usually a bit more staid, in the case of some historic places offering ‘ghost’ tours, they are simply the standard tour with the numbers filed off, so to speak, and with a greater emphasis on the supernatural. I should note that some tours (of either variety) have some sort of relationship with nearby businesses and, as I found in Boston for example, the number of restaurants and gift shops adjacent to the site of some spectral manifestation can be suspiciously high. These two styles of tour are not mutually exclusive, of course; I’ve seen some interesting ‘haunted’ graveyard tours that are more of a live-action version of Our Town, in which individual actors will portray the person buried at that spot, and are far more interested in history than in horrors.
If planning to take a ghost tour, I recommend looking at reviews, to make sure that the tour matches your interests and physical abilities – nearly all ghost tours are walking tours and can range from the ‘barely registers on your Fitbit’ to ‘half-marathon’. Since most of these happen at twilight, dress accordingly – a small flashlight can be most useful and a sweater is essential. From time to time I have seen a ghost tour that is something a spectre itself = a website lingering long after the tour has passed into the great beyond. When in doubt, call for reservations rather than doing so online. As far as I can tall, all of the tours listed below are still on-going, but caveat emptourist.
Finally, this is only an initial list of these tours – I have no doubt I have missed some. Corrections are welcome.
- Edith Warton home – http://www.edithwharton.org/event/ghost-tour-summer-2016/
- Various http://hauntedhappenings.org/tours
- Various http://www.paranormalsalem.com/#!investigation-tour-tickets
- Various http://spellboundtours.com/
New Hampshire sea-coast
- Mark Twain House – http://www.marktwainhouse.org/visitor/events_programs.php?m=10#639
- Cedar Hill Cemetery – http://cedarhillfoundation.org/visit-cedar-hill/tours-and-events/
- Harriet Beecher Stowe house – http://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/worxcms_published/calendar_page465.shtml
Mystic and New London
Red Cloak Tours (Bath, Bar Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, Camden, Damariscotta, Hallowell, Rockland, Wiscasset)