Paranormal Tourism and Haunted Holidays
As kids, many of us entertained ourselves during slumber parties with Ouija boards, or chanting, “Light as a feather, stiff as a board.” Some of us snuck out at night to walk through the cemetery at the end of the road. Others may have turned out the lights and told stories by a torch of the old haunted house by the elementary school where a witch once lived. Or maybe, if you were one of the lucky ones, the ghosts in the stories were your personal experiences in the house where you lived.
That child is still in many of us, and our curiosity has matured along with our monthly bills and aging faces. We have fond memories of watching The Nigh Stalker and dreaming of being Kolchak when we grew up. As friends and family are planning summer vacations at theme parks and oceanside getaways, we are researching the most haunted places to visit, booking ghost and cemetery tours, and paranormal investigations for our Haunted Holidays. We are Ghost Trippers.
Not to be confused with Legend Trippers, though they are not mutually exclusive, Ghost Trippers are more interested in the historical facts and proving or debunking ghost stories and paranormal claims. It’s no longer enough to watch Zak Bagans and Jason Hawes gallivant around the globe with their meters, laser/light grids, voice recorders, and spirit boxes. YouTube has told us all about Madame LaLaurie in New Orleans, The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, and The Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia, but now it’s time for us to explore and have our own paranormal experiences.
Ghost Trippers are an exclusive breed of adventure seekers in tourism. We convince our spouses, partners, and friends to do a weekend in Savannah and then drag them on a ghost tour in between cocktails and a low country boil. Or maybe we talk up the vibrant colors of fall in New England and book a room at the Lizzie Borden House for a Haunted Massachusetts weekend in September.
But now, the curiosity comes with a healthy dash of skepticism. Whether you grew up experiencing unexplainable phenomena or you are someone longing for a spirit encounter, most Ghost Trippers keep a bit of logic on a simmer and are open to questioning and skepticism. We know that you can be a believer and still be skeptical. So, we venture out into the unknown, hoping to have an experience that seems impossible to debunk.
Ghost Trippers are the Heart of Paranormal Tourism
Sometimes called Dark Tourism, Paranormal Tourism is its own brand of tourism dedicated to individuals seeking specified destinations for paranormal and supernatural exploration. In Paranormal Tourism, there is respect for the history and the individuals who were affected by the events, often tragic and unimaginable, surrounding the haunted location.
Many cities around the world market their tourism to paranormal enthusiasts. They understand the draw that the history, lore, and legends have and that the many undisputable documented experiences are impossible to escape in an age of TikTok and YouTube. The “If you can’t beat them, join them” attitude serves the tourism economy well. Visit Edinburgh, Scotland, and witness the number of people on Ghost Tours, hearing not only the legend but also the recent accounts of the infamous McKenzie Poltergeist.
It’s unclear if Paranormal Tourism came out of all of the Ghost-Hunting shows or if it was Paranormal Tourism that supported the rise of the Travel Channel’s haunted programming. One thing is for certain: New Orleans has had folks visiting with the hopes of feeling those unexplainable chills that so many have spoken about in the French Quarter for decades. And the spooky legends that have been passed down for generations have always added to the eerie intrigue of well-known haunted destinations around the world.
Paranormal Tourism can encompass a wide range of experiences, from guided Ghost Tours to overnight stays in Haunted Hotels. Travelers learn the history and folklore associated with these locations and are able to hear and experience the rich cultural and historical significance. Paranormal Tourism is a unique way for travelers to engage with the supernatural on Haunted Holidays and Vacations.
Haunted Holidays and Vacations are themed trips that cater to paranormal enthusiasts and Ghost Trippers. These trips are designed to offer a mix of entertainment, education, and, in the case of Spell Caster’s Haunted Holidays and Wicked Women Weekends, the chance to participate in paranormal investigations.
Here are some common features of Haunted Holidays and Vacations:
- Haunted Destinations: These trips often include visits to famous haunted locations such as haunted houses, castles, cemeteries, or historic sites with ghostly legends.
- Ghost Tours: Many haunted holidays include guided ghost tours led by experts who share the history and ghost stories associated with the visited locations. These tours can be walking tours, bus tours, or even paranormal-themed cruises.
- Paranormal Investigations: Some trips offer the opportunity to participate in paranormal investigations, where participants use equipment like EMF meters, EVP recorders, and infrared cameras to search for evidence of paranormal activity.
- Themed Events: Haunted holidays may feature themed events such as séances, rituals or ceremonies, ghost hunts, or storytelling sessions focused on the supernatural.
- Haunted Accommodations: Some trips include stays in reputedly haunted hotels or inns, where guests and staff have reported paranormal experiences.
- Historical and Cultural Context: In addition to the paranormal aspects, these trips often provide historical and cultural context for the locations visited, offering insight into the local folklore and traditions.
- Community and Networking: Haunted Holidays are a great way for like-minded individuals to come together, share their experiences, and connect with others who share an interest in the paranormal.
Top Places to Visit
There are a ton of lists out there on the best places to visit: “The Top Ten Most Haunted Cities in the World” or “The Best Places for a Ghostly Encounter in the U.S.” We’ve narrowed it down to places where we have had personal paranormal experiences.
Here’s a Short List of Spell Caster’s Top Haunted Holidays and Vacations in the US:
- New Orleans, Louisiana: Known for its rich history and voodoo culture, New Orleans is famous for its haunted locations such as the LaLaurie Mansion, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, and the historic French Quarter, which is said to be teeming with ghost stories.
- Salem, Massachusetts: Famous for the Salem witch trials of 1692, Salem offers a unique blend of history and the supernatural. Visitors can explore locations like the Salem Witch Museum and participate in ghost tours focused on the city’s dark past.
- Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Gettysburg is known for its Civil War history and is considered one of the most haunted places in America. Ghost Tours and Paranormal Investigations are popular activities, and many visitors have reported ghost encounters and unknown phenomena while on the battlefield.
- Galveston, Texas: Galveston is known for its rich history, beautiful beaches, and also for its many ghost stories and haunted locations. The apparitions of pirates roaming the beach at night, the sightings of a shadowy woman in the Hotel Galvez, and the sad ghostly victims of the Great Storm of 1900 give visitors to Galveston a memorable Haunted Vacation.
- Savannah, Georgia: Savannah is known for its beautiful architecture, Spanish moss, and Southern charm, but it also has a reputation for being one of the most haunted cities in the US, and for good reason. Savannah’s historical significance and storied Downtown Squares never leave Ghost Tour guides at a loss for words.
Ready to Start Planning Your Haunted Holiday?
Planning your Haunted Vacation is exciting!
Where to go?
What to do?
How long will you stay?
Here are some steps to help you plan your haunted vacation:
- Choose Your Destination: Research and choose a city or area known for its haunted history and paranormal activity. Consider places like New Orleans, Savannah, or Gettysburg, which are famous for their ghostly tales and haunted sites.
- Solo or Partner: Decide if you are traveling alone or with a partner/travel buddy. This may determine where you stay and the length of your Haunted Holiday.
- Research Haunted Locations: Research is the fun part of planning. Once you’ve chosen your destination, look into the history of the area, search for haunted hotels, and read about the historic sites with hauntings.
- Self-Planning or Destination Management: If you are planning it all on your own, then the following steps will be important in designing your itinerary. If you would rather have your Haunted Vacation organized, search for group tours that specialize in Haunted Trips and Excursions, like Spell Caster’s Haunted Holidays and Wicked Women Weekends.
- Plan Your Itinerary: Create an itinerary that includes the haunted locations you want to visit, ghost tours you’d like to participate in, and any unique experiences you would like to participate in – ghost hunts, seances, etc. Try to book guided tours and experiences in advance.
- Book Accommodations: If you’re planning to stay overnight at a haunted hotel or inn, make sure to book your accommodations well in advance. Many haunted hotels are popular and may fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons or around Halloween.
- Pack Accordingly: Depending on the activities you have planned, consider packing items like a flashlight, camera, and EMF meter and downloading ghost investigation apps to your phone. And don’t forget to pack comfortable walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothes.
- Stay Open-Minded: Keep an open mind and be prepared for the unexpected. Even if you’re skeptical about the supernatural, approaching your Haunted Vacation with curiosity and a sense of adventure can make the experience more enjoyable.
- Document Your Experience: Travel journals are important and oftentimes overlooked. A journal is a great way to keep your photos and videos organized as you document your Haunted Vacation experience. Whether you encounter anything paranormal or not, it’s still nice to have something to look back on and reminisce about your Ghost Tripping Holiday.
Your Haunted Holiday
Ghost Tripping is a great way to see parts of the U.S. that you may not have made the time to visit. So much history is learned when visiting Haunted Destinations, giving new perspectives on cultures, and an appreciation for the lore of the region. Not to mention the unforgettable memories you’ll create whether you see a ghost or not! And who knows…. maybe you’ll bring home the best souvenir ever when that shadow figure or disembodied voice teaches you about the Attachment Theory.