Where in the world are the hottest hot spots for paranormal tourism? Using sites like Ghost Tour Directory, Ghost Tours of Canada, and Ghost Tours pty Ltd’s Australia, Europe and UK Listings from HJ’s Find Real Haunted Places page, I researched which countries:
- Most actively promote their paranormal tourism (meaning which individual haunted places promote their activities as well as which CVBs promote a city or region’s haunted happenings), and
- Have the highest concentration of paranormal activities, such as ghost tours, haunted historical walks, and other such paranormal events, including Halloween festivities.
Below are the five countries that offer the best paranormal tourism opportunities.
Note: Even though it appears they’re ranked in descending order from the fifth best to first, they’re really not. If that was the case, and if I factored in reader responses when I posed the question, “Which country do you think has the best paranormal tourism?”, the U.K. would’ve won first place hands down.
Rather, the only reason the U.S. is at number one is because of the sheer size of the country. It’s truly a five way tie when it comes to these countries being tops for paranormal tourism.
Even though I wrote about possible discrimination against paranormal tourism in Australia, it still offers a healthy dose of it. A great resource to use to find haunted tours and destinations when jaunting Down Under is Ghost Tours Pty Ltd. They not only offer tours themselves, but list tours in various parts of the country. Some of which are included below:
- Townville Ghost Tours – Choose from four different tours, then hop aboard their Ghost Bus, strap in and let them show you all the haunts Queensland has to offer.
- Lantern Ghost Tours – Their ghost tour options include Williamstown, Point Cook, Melbourne, and the Ward Lunatic Asylum. In addition, they conduct paranormal investigations of Altoma Homestead, Williamstown, or the Asylum. For Halloween, they’ve got a Haunted Weekend event, complete with a stay in a Spooky Stay (Bull & Mouth Hotel).
- Penitentiary Chapel Ghost Tour – Located in Hobart, Tasmania, your tour includes the court rooms, tunnels and gallows of an 1830s convict building.
- Ghoul-burn Ghost Tours – This is a brand-spanking new tour that just opened in May of 2011 and takes tour goers to haunted places in Ghoulburn and the Southern Tablelands. The Foundling Orphanage Tour intrigues me. Offers a glimpse into a sad chapter of Australia’s history of caring for impoverished and orphaned children.
- The Rocks Ghost Tour– Located in Sydney, this tour offers a North and South tour, each of which tells different ghost stories of The Rock.
- Manly Quarantine Station Ghost Tour – Perhaps one of Sydney’s most haunted places, (or at least well known), the Q Station (as its known by many) has deep roots in the city’s history. “From the 1830s to 1984 migrant ships arriving in Sydney with suspected contagious disease stopped inside North Head and off-loaded passengers and crew into quarantine to protect local residents from becoming sick.” These days it’s more of a what we’d consider a resort here in the States. But they do love their ghosts at Q Station, and encourage visitors to experience them by offering a wide array of different “Ghosty” (as they call them) tour options.
Canada has a bunch of great haunts. Here’s a small sampling of some of the ghost tours and haunted places you’ll find from British Columbia to Nova Scotia:
- Burlington Ghost Walks – Haven’t been here yet but this looks like it has a plethora of great haunts.
- Ghost Tours of Quebec – Took this tour. Learned a ton about Quebec City and it’s history. (Haven’t written about it yet, but did post an outtake vid on YouTube.)
- Tattle Tours Ghost Walk of Historic Halifax – Halifax has a super interesting past, as well as has seen it’s share of disasters and sadness. (Halifax Explosion and some of it’s cemeteries have Titanic victims buried in them.) Consequently, spirits abound.
- Halifax Citadel Regimental Association Ghost Walks – Would’ve liked to take this ghost tour when we visited but time didn’t allow. At least we got to see it and take a regular tour. Neat place.
- Haunted Hamilton Ghost Walks and Historical Tours – Have not made it to Ontario yet either, but when I do I’ll be sure to check out Hamilton. It is absolutely LOADED with hot spots.
- The Haunted Walk – Offers tours of Ottawa and Kingston’s haunted places.
The Emerald Isle is full of legends and lore. From leprechauns and fairies to banshees and ghosts, Ireland is brimming with haunted places to explore. These are just a very few of the types of haunted things to do in Ireland:
- Killarney Ghost Tour – I love their website design. They cover everything from villains and heroes to ghosts and fairies in their tours. Sounds like a whole bunch of fun. In County Kerry.
- The Dublin GhostBus Tour – A double decker bus decked out in Gothic style while traveling the gaslight lit streets hearing tales of the supernatural? Sign me up! In County Dublin.
- Discovering Cork – In County Cork their tourism bureau lists two towns for ghost tours: Kinsale and Cobh. The latter was the last port of call for Titanic.
- Galway Night Tour – You board a bus and the Prince of Darkness escorts you on a terrifying tour of the city’s spooky spots. In County Galway.
- Ireland’s Haunted Castles Tour – This is a six day tour with a visit to a new haunted castle each day, including Leap Castle. Various counties including County Dublin and County Clare.
2. THE UNITED KINGDOM
Researching this article I learned something which had always perplexed me: What the U.K. exactly consists of. Which is Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland) and Northern Ireland. I always thought they were separate countries. Nope. The U.K. is a country, the rest all falls under it. Set straight now! One thing I know for certain, Great Britain and Northern Ireland have a lot of haunts and people are passionate about the U.K.’s ghostly lore. Here’s some of the top, but by no means only, ways to experience it:
- Shiverpool Ghost Tour – A cleverly named tour playing off of its origins (Liverpool). They have a variety of tour options, the historical findings of which are told via stories by costumed actors. A fun way to learn about Liverpool’s haunts.
- The Original London Ghost Walk – Their website advertises “three chilling tours to choose from.” I think it would just be thrilling to take a ghost tour of London period! (Heck, just to be in London period!)
- The Ghost Bus Tours – A double decker adventure “ride around the dark side of London.” Led by a Creepy conductor of course. Who else?
- Mary King’s Close – “Discover what lies beneath the Royal Mile.” Tales of ghosts and other eeries happenings from Edinburgh’s rich history.
- Celtic Mystical Journeys – These are not one hour type tours. These are vacation type tours, with itineraries that take you to different sites each day. Two of the tours that caught my eye were the Crop Circles and Sacred Sites of England and the Ghost Hunting Tour of Scotland.
- Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum – “The last remaining steamdriven brickworks in the [U.K.]” also boasts quite a bit of paranormal activity. They work with many groups to host paranormal events (like Dark Encounters, which is noted below, among others).
- Craig Y Nos Castle Ghost Events – Located in Wales, this castle offers you the chance to not only spend a night in a haunted castle, but to do a ghost hunt there too. Plus, inlcuded with the price is dinner. (I love when I get fed too. If I get the crap scared out of me, I might need some filling back up.)
- Dark Encounters – They offer all kinds of paranormal events, from ghost hunts and ghost tours to ghost weekends and psychic suppers. Some of the haunted places they’ve held events at include Bursledon Brickworks (listed above), Fort Widley, Kings Theatre, Southsea Castle and Wymering Manor.
1. UNITED STATES
From the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, paranormal enthusiasts can find tours and events in just about every major city, as well as quite a few minor ones. And that’s not including all of the individual places, like hotels and museums, that offer ghost hunts and tours. The following lists represents but a tiny fraction (doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface!) of all the tours and events ghost enthusiasts have to choose from in the States.
- American Hauntings Tours – Most of their tours are overnight events held at some of the most popular haunted places in the Midwest, including the Villisca Ax Murder House in Iowa, the Brumder Mansion in Wisconsin, the Mansfield Reformatory in Ohio, and the Lemp Mansion in Missouri. They often sell out far in advance, especially for the better known places.
- Beyond Ghosts – Comprised of para-historians, the BG team hosts lectures and hunts primarily in New York state. However, they also take their show on the road to haunted hot spots like Eastern State Penitentiary, West Virginia Penitentiary and Old South Pittsburgh Hospital.
- Ghost Eyes and Southern Ghosts – These are two separate entities that coordinate overnight and weekend investigations, but they often work together in conjunction on them. (I had the pleasure of going to one of their Old South Pittsburgh Hospital events in 2010.) Gettysburg and Savannah are among some of their favorite haunts to explore.
- Chicago Hauntings Tours – Gangsters pop first to mind for a lot of people when they think of Chicago’s history, and, yes, quite a few ghost stories have mob-related ties. However, there’s more to the Chicago’s spirits than that one link to time, and this tour covers that.
- Bulldog Tours – Once upon a time (mid-1700s), Charleston was the top cultural center of the colonies. It has weathered every type of storm, from the medical (small pox and yellow fever epidemics) to earthquakes and hurricanes. What time has not destroyed the people of Charleston have perserved. Perhaps that’s why its ghosts still linger. This tour company offers several different tour options to introduce visitors to Charleston’s ghostly denizens.
- Ghost Tours of Galveston, San Antonio Ghost Tours, and Fort Worth Spirit & Paranormal Investigators – These are all different tour companies but they share one thing in common: they all operate in the great state of Texas. The San Antonio one even provides some equipment for tour goers to use. FWSPI films their tours. And the Galveston tour affords you a glimpse into the tragic history that contributed to the island being one of the most haunted places in Texas.
- Dearly Departed Tours and Haunted Hollywood Tours – These are two separate tour companies but I lumped them together because you can find both in L.A., a place most people associate with the famous (and in some cases the infamous). These tours offer a fun way to tour the darker side of the movie and TV industry.
- Spooked in Seattle – However you want to explore Seattle’s spirits (by bus, a walking tour, or pub crawl), this company can hook you up. Their tours are pretty comprehensive, too, and span different sections of the city. See and hear tales about some of the city’s best known haunts, such as Pike Place Market, Kells Irish Pub, and the Seattle Underground.