Posts Tagged ‘ghost tour’

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.

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Halloween’s origins likely go back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. The holiday has evolved into a secular event with community participation involving children ‘trick or treating’ in costume as well as costume parties for adults…as well as having some implications for various religions including Paganism and various practices such as witchcraft. It’s affect and implication in the world of the paranormal may not yet be fully understood, but it does appear to have an impact on activity. It may be through transference and projection in which the living, in anticipation of ‘contact’ can themselves generate energy that harkens to those entities who populate the ‘in between dimension’.
Ghost tours around the world experience greater numbers during the month of October. Just as the desire for peace, charity and brotherhood exists as an energy more during the Christmas month of December…it might be said that people begin to think more of ghouls, witches, monsters, zombies and, yes…ghosts…in October. In short, ghost tours are usually more attended in the month when ‘things go bump in the night’. But it also means the expectations are higher among guests. And it could be that this changes the very level of activity. It is believed by many paranormal investigators that this might be a time more ‘fruitful’ for contact.
On this particular Halloween we toured nearly ninety people which included a special midnight investigation of the infamous Ybor City Cuban Club…a building renowned for it’s level of paranormal activity, listed by the Travel Channel as one of the top ten most haunted sites in America, investigated by the Syfy Channel’s ‘Ghost Hunters’ in a 2009 episode entitled ‘Club Dead’…and, a building that has in it’s documented history a cast of deceased characters which support some the most interesting and colorful ghost stories ever recorded. One such story concerns a former board of directors member who was shot to death in a fight which broke out during a board meeting. Disgruntled and angry, he is known for, on occasion, scratching unwanted visitors in the building.
He has scratched or left marks on guests before. On Halloween, two guests separated by several hours, were scratched. Let us consider this: one guest received what one might describe as ‘whelps’, three of them…on her back. She stated that she felt a burning sensation along her spine and a heavy nausea just before the whelps appeared. These marks were on her back, a place she could not reach with her hands. They ran long and parallel along her spine and could not be made by ‘rubbing up against’ something. Plus, no one was near. One must deduce from this that unless she can generate her own ‘stigmata’, she was marked by an entity.
What are we to make of this? You may conclude for yourself, but…
it seems that on All Hallow’s Eve, there is a shift in energy, where anything might happen.

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.