There are many types of ghost tours, but generally all have a few things in common. Sometimes known as a ghost walk or haunted history walk, a ghost tour is tour led by a guide who tells stories about ghosts, legends and history. Many are done on foot, walking from one haunted location to the next. Many have guides who are dressed in either period costumes, scary makeup or clothing or just the branded tour uniforms. You’ll often know a ghost tour is walking by your neighborhood if you see a person walking at the front of a group of 20 or 30 people holding a lantern.
History of Ghost Tours
Ghost tours have been around for a few decades now, but have been becoming increasingly popular over the last half decade or more. Some of this increased popularity can be said to be due to the increased popularity of paranormal research in pop culture. Shows such as Sy-Fy’s Ghost Hunters, A&E’s Paranormal State, and the Travel Channel’s Most Haunted and Ghost Adventures. Not only has this recent spring of ghost-related television content created and interest in the paranormal, but it has at the same time simultaneously broken down some of the barriers associated with believing in spirits and ghosts in general. Many of those who were, twenty or thirty years ago afraid to talk about their experiencese in realm are now able to speak about them with less concern for being labelled an outcast.
Naturally, this increase in ghost-related shows, especially ghost HUNTING-related shows has brought about an increase in those of us looking for a good ghost story…and maybe ghosts of our own. Instruments like Geiger Counters, video cameras, K-II detectors and the like are starting to become quite accessible to the public and the public is taking the experimentation and the “hunt” into their own hands. For the ghost tour industry, this has proven to be a great thing. Crowds that come out to ghost tours these days are looking for ghosts, not just ghost STORIES. They bring their own cameras, their own detectors to see if they can catch a ghost or something otherworldly. This has made for ghost tours to be a lot more interactive and cohesive of an experience.
Ghost tours exist all over the world, as you can see from this site. From Dublin to Key West, from Prague to Hawaii- people love to hear ghost stories and there are certainly the tours to provide them. Ghost tour operators research and document their stories, often mixing them with local legends and history to give substance.
Are the stories real? Many first-time tour goers ask the same thing. In the ghost tour industry, a code of ethics exists to ensure that all ghost stories of a research and supported nature. It is the nature of the paranormal as a subject to be rather difficult to “prove”, persay as science is not yet at the point of understanding it completely. Therefore, stories are stories. Tour operators and tour guides can only tell you what they know, what they’ve researched, what people have experienced and what evidence if any exists. A good storyteller can make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, spinning a web of a story to tie together all of the facts and hearsay that comes with ghost research.
What should I bring on a ghost tour?
First time on a ghost tour? No worries. Bring your bravado, be ready to be scared but be skeptical too but most importantly bring a sense of open-minded and get ready to have a good time. Many tour goers bring their cameras. Digital cameras tend to get the best results and are easiest to examine during and afterwards. Phone cameras often get results too but are less reliable and sometimes do not have the quality level to get good photos. Bring a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers if it is a walking tour, a raincoat or poncho if it is raining and a bottle of water. Remember, not every ghost tour has restroom facilities so make sure that you have gone before you arrive.