Thursday, October 31, 2013
Hauntings...Just for Those of You Who Aren't Quite Done With Being Scared
I have to admit, I love Halloween, so since it is Halloween and I'm not quite done being scared, I thought I would do a little blip in my little blog about the scariest cities in America. These are the places where you can go and wait out the day until night falls and the ghoulies come out to play. These are the places where the paranormal experts go and come away still confused. These are the places that all the best stories are about. Of course, as a sideline, most of these places have great parties most of the time.
First on the list that I got from the Haunted America Tours people is New Orleans. This place just reeks of something otherworldly from it's above ground cemeteries like St. Louis to the ancient practice of voodoo, to the otherworldly tales of pirates untimely demises. The plantations are haunted, the homes are haunted, the gardens are haunted, and of course the cemeteries are haunted. Come and take a tour of all the most haunted spots in the Crescent City, and you will be surprised just how many paranormal hot spots there are.
Second on the list is Galveston, Texas. This island community is inhabited by many normally unseen guests, or residents as the case may be. Galveston has been ground zero in Texas for hauntings for years. Mayfield Manor is probably the most publicized spot, but there are tales of ghost ships in the harbor with pirates of old on them, and the entire Strand district is filled with spectral residents. There are many places from the Strand to the harbors where ghosts are cited by many on a regular basis, so don't be surprised if you stay in a hotel and have no choice but to share your room.
Third is the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Now, it comes as no surprise that one of the bloodiest battlefields in the Civil War could be haunted. If you believe in ghosts, this would make all kinds of sense. Turns out though that it goes back a little further than that. Word has it that when the battle was fought, George Washington, himself was riding around on his horse. As the story goes, he still rides around the area today. Is it real? Who knows, but it is a really good time trying to find out.
Fourth is Key West, Florida. This lovely little island has been home to pirates, refugees, voodoo practices, and some pretty eccentric artists over the years. That makes for some pretty interesting ghosts. Everything from the stories of Hemingway and his suicide, to pirate tales of old make this the best viewing of spectral curiosities in all of Florida. You can still go to see a voodoo queen and have your future told by local psychics. Rumor has it that the best one is that the spirit of Elvira likes to hang around the old hanging tree in the middle of Captain Tony's Bar. Also, check out the haunted doll. You just have to try it.
Fifth is Savannah, Georgia. This city is famous for being haunted. I've never met anyone who's heard of this city and hasn't heard that it is haunted. There are way more than just one guidebook to the ghostly sights and activities of this place. Most people consider this to be the most haunted city in America, or at least seriously creepy. The entire historic part of the city is deemed to be haunted. There are ghost tours all over this town. It has haunted forts, buildings, cemeteries, dark streets, and so on. This was the location where they filmed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Many say that the city has a midnight side. There are many ways to tour this dark city in it's darkest hours. There are horse and carriage tours, walking tours, train tours, plantation tours, and so on. There is no end to the ways that you can get spooked in that town.
Sixth is Charleston, South Carolina. Welcome to the land of Blackbeard. This is where the legendary pirate held the city under siege for many days. It's said that his spirit is still in the area, even though after the incident he moved along up the coast. But this city was very important during the Civil War. In fact, some people say that it's where it all really started. Fort Sumpter still stands here as a historic reminder of many things including that war, and most visitors will tell you that there are still sentries patrolling the fort's walls today, even though they've long been dead. But, whatever the case, Charleston has much the same reputation as Savannah, and there's never a dull moment after dark.
Seventh is San Francisco, California. This is home to the infamous Alcatraz Prison. This was home to Al Capone and so many hardened criminals of legendary status. If Alcatraz isn't haunted, I would be amazed. But not only are there ghosts of criminals wandering through Alcatraz, there are ghost ships sailing around the harbor since they were originally lost in the fog of the bay. Also, there are the ghosts of the Golden Gate Bridge where over 1,000 people have committed suicide, and apparently are still here. There are many older neighborhoods that are deemed to be haunted in this city as well.
Eighth is Chicago, Illinois. Most people know at least a little of Chicago's unusual and sometimes violent and tragic history. There are legends here. The biggest one if of course how Mrs. O'Leary's cow started the great Chicago fire that leveled the city. Every cemetery in town is supposedly haunted in Chicago. If not by victims of the fire or one of the local odd cults that have come through there over the years, then by anything and everything connected to Al Capone and the gangsters. There are haunted restaurants, harbors, skyscrapers, and cemeteries all over town.
Ninth is Miami, Florida. That's right, Miami. That one took me a little by surprise, but once I heard about the Biltmore Hotel, I was sold. The Biltmore was once a beautiful mansion. Then it became a hospital for many years. Apparently when the Biltmore was turned into a class A hotel, some of the victims of the hospital didn't get the memo. Apparently, there are unexplained happenings and noises all over the hotel, especially on the 13th floor. But that's not the only supernatural occurrences in town. There are many famously haunted cemeteries, and even some nightclubs. So go out and party with the paranormal.
Tenth is Salem, Massachusetts. This surprised me, because all of the horrifying stories about this city are historical fact. I would honestly have thought that it would rate higher on the list. Salem has been haunted since at least the 1600's following the famous Salem Witch Hunt. Two girls reportedly were taken over by evil spirits in the city and for the next several months, the people of that city lived in fear. At any point, you could be next. Citizens were accused, tried, hung and even crushed because they were labeled witches. Some say that even dogs were killed because they gave people the evil eye. This city was turned upside down by fear, hatred, and delirium which allowed that travesty to happen. Is it any wonder that the spirits of these folks might not yet be at rest? There are many tours on the subject in the city, and many places that have been preserved from that time. The cemetery still houses the residents that were put to death, if you dare get that close to them. The House of Seven Gables of course is also famed for being haunted.
So, if you haven't been scared enough after Halloween, there's some more ideas for you.