Yesterday, I reviewed Stacey Graham’s witty & informative book, The Girl’s Ghost Hunting Guide. Today, I’m pleased to host a guest post from Stacey about ghost tours and how to tell if they are legit! Perfect timing!
Something Wicked This Way Comes: Ghost Tours
I love a good ghost tour. I can’t get enough of women in period costume leading a tour by gaslight and speaking in tones so hushed I have to elbow the teenager next to me to stop texting so I can hear. Thus, when I travel, I try to hit the local tours and help the ghostly economy by shelling out a few bucks and line up outside a dodgy-looking tavern with a dozen of fellow ghost story enthusiasts. Years ago I ran a ghost tour for a museum and picked up tips on how to tell if your ghost guide has the clues for the best boos:
- Ambience – Does your ghost host live up to the part? Costuming and questionable lighting aside, your guide’s ability to weave you into the fabric of the story and make you a part of its history contributes a lot to your enjoyment of the tour. When buying your tickets, check to see if the guide is actively involved by chatting with the group before they leave or if they’re killing time on mobile Facebook.
- Route – Where the heck are they taking you? Scout the route first to see if they’re hitting the same spots the other tours have traveled and, more importantly, if other tour groups will be stopping there at the same time. You don’t want to witness a ghost tour turf war – there’s a lot of dancing and snapping involved a la West Side Story and can result in unfortunate solos. If you have members in your group that require flat surfaces, check with the tour coordinator first for its walkability factor: nothing says love like dragging Grandma up a hill.
- Timing – As the tour gets underway, do the stories get shorter the closer you are to a bar?
- Tales – The real meat of the tour, see if the website has a selection of where you’ll be going. While hearing a horrid tale of how someone’s spatula went missing from the kitchen only to appear in the basement is chilling, it’s not worth the spine-tingle. There should be a good selection of stories central to the town’s history with a sprinkle of modern ghost stories included for tour goers to check out later if in a public area. Check their website to see if where you’ll be stopping has stories you’d like to know more about or if another tour group has spookier offerings instead.
Remember to dress for the weather, take photos if allowed, and tip your guide if they’ve made you look over your shoulder more than once to see what that dark fellow is up to back there.
Stacey Graham is the author of the Girls’ Ghost Hunting Guide, the Zombie Tarot and multiple short stories. She is currently writing a book about true haunted objects; if you have a story you’d like to share and possibly be in the book, please contact her at stacey.i.graham[at]gmail.com. Please visit her website at stacey.i.graham.com, on twitter at @staceyigraham and on Facebook at facebook.com/authorstaceygraham.