Skip to content

Find out how to register, vote early, research a candidate and more in AARP's midterm election guide.

 

10 U.S. Ghost Tours

  • Don Ryan/AP Photo

    Unnerving Underground

    En español | Keep Portland weird? Oregon’s largest city does just that in its Shanghai Tunnels, forgotten grottoes of despair that you can tour as a guest of the nonprofit Cascade Geographic Society. More than just the cool air down here will send chills up your spine. You can almost sense the eerie presence of 19th-century press-gangs, who drugged unsuspecting men in waterfront bars and stashed them in these catacombs before forcing them to crew vessels bound for Asia. Ghost tours offered on Fridays the 13th and Saturdays the 14th. Halloween excursions run Oct. 15 to Nov. 4.

    1 of 12
  • Courtesy Yorktown Ghost Tours

    Spectral Ship

    Accounts of history and heroism — to say nothing of certain unexplained anomalies — abound aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C. Initially named the Bon Homme Richard in December 1941, the flattop was retitled the Yorktown in September 1942, just three months after the original Yorktown was sent to the bottom during the Battle of Midway. And those “anomalies”? Supposedly, cryptic noises have been heard below the waterline and long-gone sailors spotted pacing the deck above. A ghost tour takes you to areas not normally open to the public — and urges you to watch for paranormal phenomena.

    2 of 12
  • Kerrick James/Alamy

    Stage for Scandal

    Do Wild West spirits still tread the boards of the Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone, Ariz.?The ghost tour here may persuade you that they do, transporting you back to a time (the 1880s) when both Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday patronized this former saloon, theater, bordello and gambling den all in one. Keep your wits about you if the lights go out: You might just observe a ghostly manifestation glide across the stage, sense the perfume of an invisible shady lady or hear a departed pianist tickling the ivories. The early evening tour is family friendly, while the later one is strictly for adults.

    3 of 12
  • Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy

    Creepy Community

    If wronged souls from the past have a right to haunt the streets of any town, it may well be Salem, Mass. — site of the infamous 1692 witchcraft trials. The Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour is held by lantern light every weeknight of the year, with additional tours added in October. Wondering whether goblins emerge by day? Try th

    4 of 12
  • I. Glory/Alamy

    Perilous Prison

    You can visit Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in broad daylight, but the infamous — and supposedly inescapable — lockup in the middle of San Francisco Bay is even more unsettling once the sun goes down. Leave Fisherman’s Wharf by ferry in the late afternoon Thursdays through Mondays for Alcatraz by Night, a tour of the Rock that’s less crowded and goes to more places than those conducted during the day. Behind-the-scenes spots you might visit are two where prisoners could finally catch a break: the chapel and the morgue. And do let us know if you encounter any phantoms resembling famous former inmates Al Capone, Robert “Birdman” Stroud or George “Machine Gun” Kelly.

    5 of 12
  • AARP Offer: Explore Your World

    Explore the ends of the earth with expert advice, tips for vacations and fantastic images.
    Sign up for the Travel Newsletter today. Help save for your next dream trip by joining AARP.

    6 of 12
  • John W. Penney

    Terrifying Trolley

    Restless haunts must really find their ease in Savannah, Ga. Why else would so many tours of this seaport go searching for ghosts such as “Laura,” reputed to hang out in Perkins & Sons Ship Chandlery? To keep your feet from haunting you the next day, board the Trolley of the Doomed and head for the Ghosts & Gravestones Frightseeing Tour. Along the route is the Andrew Low House, where Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low died of breast cancer at age 66 in 1927. Its current inhabitants are rumored to be banshees from days gone by, making visitors “ghoul scouts.”

    7 of 12
  • Mike Briner/Alamy

    Bloodcurdling Battlefield

    The three-day Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., in 1863 was the bloodiest clash of the Civil War, inflicting more than 50,000 casualties on the two sides. A natural spot, then, for postmortem sightings of the combatants? Several  walking tours visit buildings where shades may dwell. The West Confederate Tour run by Ghosts of Gettysburg, for example, ambles down streets once briefly — or is it permanently? — occupied by Confederate soldiers. Seminary Ridge will give anyone spooky shivers, guided commentary or no. And at nearby Cashtown Inn or Farnsworth House Inn, it’s conjectured some late lamented guests never checked out.

    8 of 12
  • Carol M. Highsmith/Library Of Congress

    Diabolical District

    Might vampires lurk in the shadowy recesses of New Orleans? Do unavenged victims wander the Vieux Carré  at night in seek of retribution? Decide for yourself on the twice-nightly (and occasional afternoon) French Quarter Ghosts & Legends Tour, which departs from the Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo. The two-hour tour delves deep into the macabre: unsolved crimes, the dark arts, the undead. There’s even a stop along the way at a “haunted” bar — but really, aren’t they all?

    9 of 12
  • Carol M. Highsmith/Library Of Congress

    Horror Hotel

    In a disclaimer to his 1977 horror masterpiece The Shining, Stephen King threw the Colorado tourism industry a bone: “Some of the most beautiful resort hotels in the world are located in Colorado, but the hotel in these pages is based on none of them.” Yet die-hard King fans soon agreed that the master’s fright-filled Overlook Hotel had been inspired by the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Now the place unabashedly capitalizes on its eldritch reputation, offering a Night Ghost Tour and a Ghost Adventure Package. In October, the inn stages Twin Terror Weekends — a costume ball and a Halloween masquerade party. (Rubber axes sold separately.)  

    10 of 12
  • Carol M. Highsmith/Library Of Congress

    Mysterious Museum

    The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., boasts a soaring interior nearly 160 feet high. But it’s hard not to feel the place is haunted. Take those deep grooves in the stone stairs inside: They were made by the soles of tens of thousands of Civil War vets, trudging up and down to petition the Pension Bureau offices the building once housed. Then there’s that curious collection of shoes historians found beneath the foundation, and the time a staffer apparently vanished into thin air, only to reappear the next day with no recall of the episode. The museum’s ghost tour runs twice nightly from the end of September through October.

    11 of 12
  • 12 of 12

Join the Discussion

0 | Add Yours

Please leave your comment below.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.