Archive for the ‘Ghost Tour’ Category

Something Told Me

Posted: August 31, 2015 in General, Ghost Tour

Acting as a tour guide on a ghost tour can be and has been enlightening, even for a seasoned guide who is well acquainted with the paranormal. We as guides already know the history…the ghost stories. It’s what our guests bring to the moment that gets our attention. Sometimes it’s their own stories, which they are often eager to share once they become comfortable. But sometimes it’s something that happens ON the tour that becomes the highlight…something that happens FOR THEM. This ‘moment’ can be exciting, even exhilarating. Sometimes this experience is even shared later. But however it may come to us…it is something that makes much of what we do worthwhile. Consider this photo and the exciting narrative shared here by Bill Barr:

“Hey I took the tour twice now..as the last one leaving the theatre at the Cuban Club at the end of the tour. I went back and opened the theatre door quickly and snapped about 8 or 9 pics real fast…looked at the pics after getting home and what I caught was absolutely incredible. About 5 rows in I caught a picture of what appears to be a lady in a white dress, holding something cradled in her arms?…a baby?..carrying something?…I can’t tell..and dozens of orbs…and one with a defined face of a man with either a dark beard or no bottom half of his face visible but you can literally see both eyes looking a different direction and can even see the pupils of his eyes…freaky stuff. I have pics and told the host…Greg? After our second tour..didn’t have any luck my second time around except my camera kept taking pics on its own in the basement. Oh I forgot…in the theatre on my first visit when I caught the lady in dress…I left the crowd and went into dark corner by myself with my emf thing (ghost meter) and heard a soft voice (female)? whisper something but didn’t understand what it (she) said and even felt the wind almost on my neck and ear…startled me. First initial thought was someone came up next to me and said something…I looked and no one was anywhere near me..so I got scared and “ran” back to where the rest of the people were…lol but kind of road it off as mind playing tricks… And as I was leaving and decided to turn back open the theatre door and snap pics. It was like something told me to?…strange.”

Bill’s excitement is palatable, almost visceral in his words. He had an experience and he captured it in photo. He has captured something. Do you see…

...what he sees?

…what he sees?

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As a ghost tour guide in Ybor City, I stroll the old village’s streets, entering haunted sites with my guests, telling the ‘creme de la creme’ ghost stories of the town’s immigrant history. I describe with senate passion the events that led to an entities’ attachment…I conjure the characters involved. Derelict surgeons, nurses who can’t let go, mad doctors, murderers and victims…even children. Sometimes their presence is almost palpable. Will they reveal themselves tonight? Will they make an EMF meter go ballistic…or show themselves as a blur in a photograph? It is these entities that I hope will come out to play. Part of my job is to introduce them to my guests, both in story as a narrative but also in some real way that participants can walk away feeling like just maybe…a disembodied spirit was present. Of course, it is THEIR choice to come out…and make themselves known.
On occasion though, a guest will introduce me to ‘their ghost’. No matter how many times this happens, I never cease to be amazed, slightly taken aback by this introduction. They will stop me somewhere along the way, usually while we are investigating in a haunted building. Often very casual in their remarks, they will say something like, “My house is haunted” or “I had this strange experience”…and off we go, into a personal wormhole of paranormal experiences. These very personalized accounts are often, at least for me, just as intriguing as the formal historic ghost stories I tell on the tour.
Recently a man visiting from the Chicago area was on the tour along with his wife. A tall, younger man, he seemed on the surface of it to be like any other guest…interested and engaged. As though he was relating the experience of something commonplace, he turned to me and said, “I’ve been seeing them since I was eight years old”. After all this time, I am still paralyzed in amazement when someone says something like this to me. I said, “Really?”
He said, “Each house me and my wife have lived in, ‘they’ have been around. We lived in a house along with my two young daughters and this ‘third’ little girl started showing up. We call her ‘Amy’.”
All I could say was “Oh really.”
He said “Sometimes, she would get rambunctious. She would tease my daughters…’pick’ at them. I would simply enter the bedroom and, using my parental voice, say loudly ‘AMY! Stop that! Behave!’…and she would comply.” I said, “This worked?” He said “Of course. After all, she is just a little girl!”
Amazing. You can learn a lot about ghosts from guests.

Tales of ghosts are not new, and in fact date back into the shadowy beginnings of history, as we know it.

A ghost story survives from 1200 BC ancient Egypt, translated from hieroglyphics found on shards of pottery.

There is also the legend of Tu-Po, who served as a minister to Chinese Emperor Hsuan (lived 827-783 B.C.). After a disagreement with the emperor, Tu-Po was put to death, but he did much more than just haunt his former boss. It is said that Hsuan was killed by an arrow, fired by a shadowy figure that resembled his former minister.

And then there is this, from Ancient Rome:

Roman senator Pliny the Younger, who died in A.D. 113, told a ghost tale so haunting that it survives to this day. “There was at Athens a large and roomy house, which had a bad name, so that no one could live there. In the dead of the night, a noise — resembling the clashing of iron — was frequently heard, which, if you listened more attentively, sounded like the rattling of chains,” disturbances that led to the appearance of a specter “form of an old man, of extremely emaciated and squalid appearance, with a long beard and dishevelled, hair, rattling the chains on his feet and hands.”

Needless to say, the house was abandoned and had to be rented out for a cheap price. When a philosopher named Athenodorus heard the story, he reportedly rented the house and confronted the ghost. The ghost appeared, and rattled around before vanishing. Athenodorus calmly marked the spot where the ghost vanished and, in the morning, ordered that the spot be dug up, the story goes.

“This was accordingly done, and the skeleton of a man in chains was found there, for the body, having lain a considerable time in the ground was putrefied and mouldered away from the (chains). ” After being given a proper burial, the ghost departed, and the house was haunted no more, according to Pliny’s tale. (Translation from Pliny the Younger, The Harvard Classics, 1909-1914.)

So as shocking as it is to encounter a spirit, don’t think you are the first – or only one – to do so. You are just the latest.

image by Alejandro Jodorowsky

image by Alejandro Jodorowsky


Sometimes being a tour guide of a ghost tour is like being a sherpa in the high Himalayas…you never know what may happen in that ‘rarefied air’. Your skills must include a command of information and historical facts, story telling, experience and knowledge of paranormal activities/investigations and a deep and sensitive respect for the experiences and feelings of your public guests.

Each tour, (because of the many varied influences offered by guests, the environment and the ‘perceptions’ of the moment), is unique. On one such tour recently, a family was participating comprised of a father, mother, two teenage daughters and a third daughter who was ten years old. In story, I was recounting the actions of an entity who will on occasion ‘flick’ the hair around or touch the ear of guests…but he only does this with females. Men are safe from his trickery. It became apparent that the girls, particularly the ten year old, were emotionally affected, that is to say, obviously uncomfortable. As I became aware, the concerned father, addressing the ten year old, said “Are you ok?” She said “No. I need to leave”. The other two daughters said they would go upstairs with her, away from where we were in the basement area. A public space upstairs, I said they would be safe there. This all happened very quickly. The father, a man relatively conventional in appearance, turned to me and said, “It’s ok. She has ‘the gift'”. I was stopped in my storytelling tracks. I said, “Ok. We need to take a moment and address this!”

He said “I’m a police officer and I don’t believe in what I can’t touch or see…or prove. But my daughters have brought me over. They all are ‘sensitives’. They can see and hear the dead. However, my youngest is different. She has a physical connection and they will sometimes ‘touch’ her. I had a feeling your story was going to affect her”. I could only respond with “Amazing”. Those on the tour were very interested and so, as time allowed, he shared and we all listened intently. He told of events in which his family had been touched by emotions while in contact with deceased loved ones. “We have been on ghost tours around the country” he said. “In an odd way, it has brought us all closer together. It’s something we alone share and understand”. Throughout the rest of the night the girls were in and out…intently involved but at times keeping a distance. When we went into the next haunted site, they remained outside and their parents took turns attending to them.
There may be several lessons we can take away with us concerning the events of that night.
First, a book indeed cannot be judged by it’s cover. I never know as my tour begins who may be a ‘believer’ and who may be not. I have learned that people attend ghost tours for as many reasons as there are individuals. For some it’s a serious paranormal investigation. For others it’s an enjoyable way to learn about history. Others yet it is just entertainment…a way to do ‘something different’ for the evening. Or for some it is a confirmation that we exist after death. And yes, some come hoping for the thrill of being scared. And you will never know by looking at them initially which one it may be until the tour is nearly over. Secondly, the ones who might become scared are usually not the disbelievers, unless they have been ‘converted’ in the course of the evening. More often it might be the ones who have had prior experiences and they really do KNOW that this is real. And thirdly, when a moment arises that is outside of what might be expected…and certainly outside of what might have been planned…sometimes something very rich occurs. And when this happens, (and it happens far more often than you might expect), both the tour guide and the guests must respect what can be revealed in that moment by being sensitive and non-judgemental. These are often the ‘jewels’ of a ghost tour in which the guests become as interesting as the ghosts.