01/4/13

5 Tips for Taking a Ghost Tour

skull and crossbones cemetery

I worked at a ghost tour company in Charleston, SC for close to two years. If you plan to take a haunted tour, here are five things to keep in mind.

Make a Reservation
If you want to take a ghost tour, be sure to make a reservation! Many cities restrict the number of customers per guide, so tours can, and often do, fill up. Reservations are important even when things are slow as tour companies may cancel tours if they don’t have enough guests.

Be on Time!
Ghost tours start on time, so it’s important that guests aren’t late. Most companies ask that guests arrive 15 minutes early for a tour so everyone will be ready to go at the designated time. Some latecomers are perturbed when a guide starts a tour without them, but it isn’t fair to keep others waiting because one party is late.

Go During the Off Season, if Possible
If possible, schedule your tour at a time when the city isn’t slammed with visitors. You can still have fun on a crowded tour, but dodging hoards of tourists and straining to hear your guide over drunken revelers (who love to make ghost noises as they walk by) can really kill the mood. In general, summer and spring is a popular time for ghost tours, while early fall and winter tours are less crowded.

Research Tours Before Making a Reservation
There are several types of ghost tours, so be sure to explore your options before making a reservation. Some companies offer tours in hearses or carriages, while others offer walking tours only. Some guides are mysterious and dramatic, while others are matter of fact. Destinations also vary. If you want an inside look at a haunted hotspot, be sure to choose a tour that has access to ghostly graveyards, buildings, and other haunted locations. Some tour companies have arrangements with haunted property owners and can enter cemeteries and old buildings that are normally closed to the public. However, most tour guides simply stop their groups outside a haunted spot and tell spooky stories from the street.

Don’t Expect See a Ghost
Taking a haunted tour doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to see a ghost, hear strange noises, or have a brush with the paranormal. While this might seem obvious to some, you’d be surprised at how many people genuinely expect to see a ghost on tour and are disappointed when one fails to materialize.

Famously-haunted cities like Charleston or Savannah have dozens of ghost tour companies, so tourists should have no problem finding a tour. Other cities have fewer options, but visitors can find tour companies by searching online or asking hotel staff for recommendations.

Have fun!

Photo: Stock.xchng/belgalsan