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The Paranormal Blunderer: What You Shouldn’t Do When You’re a Paranormal Tourist

I am not a boy scout or a girl scout. Be prepared was never my motto. Unfortunately, that has gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years. My adventures in paranormal travelling have been no exception to my usual chaos. Through all my bumbling, I have made a wonderful list of what not to do when going on ghost tours. I hope this helps all those paranormal travelers out there be a little less ridiculous than I usually am.

My largest mistake in paranormal tourism involved the ghost tour, which is really just any tour since this is possibly the most haunted place in the world, of the catacombs in Paris. When I travelled to France with my husband, I made many stupid assumptions. I assumed things would be similar to the states and hours of operation would be like they are here. I assumed that since my husband is French we would be able to navigate Paris like we were born to it. Of course, I was wrong. Paris is an old city that is Labrynthian and difficult to navigate. It isn’t on a grid like New York. First thing you should never do, don’t think that just because you looked at the map in passing you can find where you are going. Bring detailed maps and print outs with phone numbers and other information, especially in another country. Don’t assume locals will help you. In Paris, when we asked for the catacombs, people looked at us like we were crazy. Second thing you should never do, assume that the hours make sense. The Catacombs were closed on Monday. We got lost and when we got there, they were closed.

When I went to Chicago, I was very excited about the ghost tour there. It is famous and known for being one of the best paranormal experiences in the area. Which brings me to the third thing you should never do on ghost tours, forget to make reservations in advance. When you are travelling to a new city, you should call before you leave for your trip. Check with the touring company on hours and dates and make plans around the ghost tour. Different touring companies have different rules, but many expect reservations. Chicago’s Ghost Tour is one of the most famous in the county and it is booked weeks in advance, so when I called at the last minute to make a reservation, I was told there were no openings for the duration of my stay.

Finally, my last large blunder. Many ghost tours are seasonal and are only available during the tourist season, summer, or around Halloween. Just because a website says they meet every night at 8 pm doesn’t mean they always do. Don’t forget to call in advance even if reservations aren’t required. I spent a long night wandering the streets of Orlando looking for a ghost tour that never came. We found many other adventures along the way, but a phone call would have saved us some time.

Jessica Penot is a psychologist and writer who loves a good ghost story and often considers deserting conventional psychology for the more nonconventional para side of psychology. You can learn more about her at or read her collection of Ghost Stories and Haunted Places on her blog

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4 thoughts on “The Paranormal Blunderer: What You Shouldn’t Do When You’re a Paranormal Tourist

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with Mommy D. When I lived and investigated in the Northern NC beach area; there were lines for everything during tourist season; and the only paranormal tours are during Halloween. It’s always best to plan your trip. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Good advice! I know of a few places that have their haunted tours on their website but actually only do them 4 weeks out of the year (right around Halloween) but neglect to mention that little tidbit of useful information.

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