How to Locate a Ghost Hunting Tour Group

Ghost walks (or ghost tours) are guided tours where guests are shown the haunted history of an area or a location. Ghost tours cater to tourists and are not meant to be as frightening or taken as seriously as an actual ghost hunting would be.

If you want the reality of a ghost hunt you will need to talk to the ghost hunting or paranormal research group and ask to be included next time they go out on something other than a tour. However, you would have to be someone with more knowledge and commitment to investigating the paranormal than at the tourist level.

Finding a Ghost Walking Tour

If you are already online the easiest way to find a local ghost hunting tour group is to try an online search. Open your search site of choice: Yahoo, Google, DuckDuckGo (a new search which I’ve been trying and liking), etc. Type in the search terms – “ghost tour”, “haunted walk”, “haunted tour”, “ghost exploring”, and then your local area which could be the town or city or the county you live in. Don’t restrict your search to a small area, unless you live in a very large city and want to find something right in your neighbourhood.

Don’t forget to check social sites like Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest for people who are giving ghost tours or have been on a ghost tour and given a review of their experience.

Also, search for paranormal seekers and ghost hunters in the larger area around you. Often they will have links to smaller groups in the area on their websites or blogs. This is a great help, of course, for people looking for local ghost tours.

You can also contact the larger groups and ask for information, links or phone numbers to contact any local ghost hunters who would give tours if asked or may already run scheduled tours.

Another way to find your local ghost hunters is to watch where local groups list their upcoming events. I found my local group listed in the local newspaper and a website giving free space to local groups to list their upcoming events. The ghost tours are a tourist service, a small business, so they won’t be trying to be too secretive, they want customers to find them. Ask around town, talk to other local business people and see what they know.

Historical Walking Tours

Here in my area, Barrie, Ontario, Canada, we have Doors Open, which is a tour of historical homes and places. The doors to private homes and businesses open once a year for people to have a look.

Look for tours of historical places in your area and ask the people who give the tour if any of the places are known or suspected to be haunted.

Talk to people in your local historical society too. Anyone with an interest in history of the local area is likely to know other people who share the same interests.

Urban Explorers Like Old Places and History

Try to find a group or individual who explores old places, not for ghost hunting, necessarily. Urban explorers like old places. They don’t focus on finding ghosts or any thing paranormal but they are usually interested and have stories of their own to share.

Local Pagans Will Know Where the Ghost Tours Are

Is there a local group of Pagans, Wiccans or Witches? These are another group of people who tend to be involved in the local paranormal community. Chances are great someone in the Pagan community will also know about the paranormal researchers in your area. (Actually, they are very likely to be part of both groups).

If your town or local area has a Pagan supplies store, ask there about ghost tours. They will likely have a business card, brochure or something they can hand out to tourists looking for a local ghost walk.

Find Out What the Ghost Tour Includes

Don’t forget a ghost tour is a business, like any other kind of tourism service. Don’t pay for the tour without checking to make sure you are getting what you want. Just what does the tour include? Will you need your own transportation between locations, if there are more than one included in the tour? Does the tour guide have a plan for handling things if someone gets too spooked out and needs a break? Will you get to see data taken from the tour and discuss it afterwards, like a paranormal investigator rather than being just a tourist sent on your way right afterwards?

Also, find out what you need to bring. Should you dress warmly, bring your own water or coffee? Find out what you are allowed to bring as well. Can you bring your own ghost hunting gear, if you have any?

Need More Ghosts?

Barrie Paranormal Links: My Own Local Ghost Hunters

How to Find a Real Haunted House

Upon Leaving WasagaThere are haunted house attractions around Halloween. There are old houses which people claim to be haunted and run tours in them. But, how do you find a real haunted house?

Start by just searching online for local ghost hunters, paranormal researchers, paranormal societies, and anyone offering tours of your city or town. You might find a local ghost walk or haunted tour, if your town or city is big enough to have some tourist businesses.

The local museum and library will also know about houses in your area which have a history of ghosts and hauntings.

Look for online networks with people who photograph old houses, haunted houses or historical places. You can find a haunted house by networking with other people who are exploring, looking for the same things you are. (Urban exploration is a good way to find abandoned and/ or real haunted houses).

How to Stay in a Haunted House

First, decide if you really do want to do this. If you tend to easily freak yourself out, this probably isn’t a good idea for you. It’s too easy to convince yourself there is a ghost, either because you want there to be ghost or you just enjoy scaring yourself in some way.

Don’t go alone. For one thing, you will appreciate having a witness if you do find ghosts or something haunted. It’s also great to have a second opinion about everything you see. Not everything is a ghost just because you don’t know how to explain it.

Bring all the gear you need to navigate around. If you go at night, traditional but less sensible, bring a flash light.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

You may get a spooky feeling, but isn’t that what you were looking for? Don’t forget the objective. If you’re frightened, calm down. Become more analytical than emotional. Think of yourself as a scientist.

Keep notes about what you see, feel and hear. Take along a digital camera.

Make plans for doing something afterwards. Get a coffee along the way home. Give yourself a time and place to wind down.

How do Places Become Haunted?

There are places you would expect to draw ghosts, or keep them. Places like hotels, hospitals and prisons, where tragedies, dramas and big, life changing events and crowds of people hustling and bustling through – those are the places you would think to find a few ghosts haunting the building and the grounds.

Yet, some common, every day and random places can be haunted, or have people who have seen something, felt something or reacted to something.

People leave an impact on a place, even long after they are gone and no one quite remembers what happened or who it happened to any more. That energy sticks to a place. Like walking into a room when people have been arguing, you can feel the charged atmosphere and the sudden drop when things go silent.

I think this is what haunts a place, the charge of energy and the sudden drop. It’s as if all that energies charged up, was never grounded or allowed to ease off and dissipate Instead it was frozen in place, as it waiting for something else to happen to let it release the charge.

Each place has it’s own story and it’s own mood. Just as no two people are the same, no two haunted places will be quite the same either. If you find a place you think is haunted find out what you can of the history of the place and it’s people. Don’t let what you discover bias you as you explore, however. You might only find just what you expect to find that way and completely miss something really unexpected and unusual.

Links to Get Started With

 

old house

How I Chose to be a Pagan Earth Witch

When I was about 20 I decided to look into religions. I knew the traditional Christian ways were not for me. I didn’t like they way these religions viewed women. I had just read a book where the women were put into isolation after having their period or giving birth, they were “unclean”. This was on top of growing up with the Adam and Eve mythology. From that point the Bible (written and rewritten by men) just goes on to look down on women, and worse. If I were a male, I would probably never have become Pagan. I would never have begun researching other religions and beliefs and looked deeper than the surface. Most likely I would have put religion behind me as not being all that important.

My Early Pagan Experience

I started with Witchcraft and Wicca because I found a book written in the 70’s. It’s a book I wouldn’t choose to read now but parts of it were enough to send me looking for more information from more reliable sources. I found a Pagan bookstore referred to in a book. I made the hour long bus trip to downtown Toronto and found the place. Entering for that first time was not easy. I felt daring and yet I also felt I was walking into a place I didn’t fully belong and might not be welcome. I wondered if they could see inside of me, my mind and my thoughts. Would they know what I was thinking, could they see my future and my past, my aura…? That was creepy.

The first thing that really happened was the smell. Ever since then I have noticed the same smell, strongly of incense over time, in every Pagan bookstore. I like pulling out a book I bought in a Pagan store. Even a couple of decades later I can smell it in the pages. If the smell ever goes away I don’t know. So far it hasn’t.

My adventure in that first Pagan store was intimidating. If I were less determined or less curious I doubt I would have tried another Pagan store. The people there did watch me and yet said nothing. Maybe they thought I was going to walk off with something, maybe they were just curious too, I won’t know and I didn’t ask then. I was already the shy type. I bought a book and a couple of polished rocks and I left, glad to be out of there. I was left with the feeling of not belonging and I never did go back to that store. Luckily there were others and more came along later.

Finding Where and How I Fit In

A few years more and the Internet came along too. By that time I was making my own decisions about what I believed and how I believed it. I didn’t accept Wicca as it came. I took what felt right to me and put it together with how I felt about the world and it’s people. I still believe this way; I’m very much an eclectic solitary type of Pagan. I gave myself the label of Earth Witch and I’ve stuck with that, to keep the explanation simple. To me an Earth Witch means I focus on the Earth, the natural and I don’t feel influenced by deities or magick. I believe we each create our own magick from ourselves and it is up to each of us to choose how to use it, or not use it.

I have written about my Pagan beliefs before but not shared much of my actual experience. I used to get email from young women who wanted to know more about being Pagan. The main thing they wanted to know was how to hide it from their parents. I was never behind this. For one thing, if you have to hide it, maybe you should rethink the whole thing.

I do understand that some families are very Christian and close minded or even afraid of Pagan ideas and Pagan ways. If that is the case and you are living at home, this is not the time for you to explore being Pagan. Wait until you can do it openly. In the meantime, there is no reason you can’t do simple things like have a collection of rocks, maybe some shells and feathers, keep a journal about your observations of nature, history and people. These are things you can do without upsetting your parents and family. You can be Pagan without having to prove you’re Pagan. Know it yourself and start there.

Nowadays…

For me, being Pagan is a personal thing. I mainly keep it to myself. I’ve found a local group with weekly meetings but I have yet to venture out and attend one. I think I will. Each time I have stepped out and met other Pagans I have enjoyed the experience and learned new things about history, religion and beliefs. But, I’m comfortable with what I believe now, the way my feelings about being an Earth Witch have evolved. So I’m not as eager to stir myself up as I was when I was younger and just starting to explore and discover.

Where the Wild Things Are: Teaching Pagan Ideas to Kids

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, February, 20, 2003.

What do you do with Pagan kids?

I think kids are too young to get started on the more serious side of being Pagan. Partly because they are too uninformed to make the decision to be Pagan versus something else. Also, calling themselves Pagan could become a problem with other members of the family or kids/ teachers at school. Most people don’t understand Paganism and thus they don’t trust it. Kids are a bit too defenseless in that situation.

That doesn’t mean kids can’t be Pagan too. Calling yourself Pagan is not being Pagan. What is being Pagan about, at it’s heart? To me it’s nature, the Earth, life, history, science, traditions and environmentalism. Is there any reason kids can’t be involved in those things, of course not. Kids just love to talk about the supernatural too, few kids don’t enough the spooky element of Halloween. You can add the facts about ghosts, Witches and such to their ghost stories.

Teach kids to appreciate nature, take them on walks outdoors, show them how to recycle and make it a priority to learn about history and science. Involve them in your rituals. Take them on a nature walk to gather leaves, stones, etc. Let them know what your altar is for, don’t make it a big mystery, but don’t make it sound too “weird” either. Get them started writing a journal, they don’t have to know it’s a Book of Shadows. Spend time with them, that’s the most important thing for any kids, Pagan or otherwise. Remember, they learn from you. What you do is what they see and what they believe.

You can introduce kids to the Wiccan Rede, the basic ideas behind Paganism and what you believe about Gods, Goddesses, life and death. But, make sure they understand not everyone shares your same beliefs. For one thing you want them to make their own decision about being Pagan. For another you don’t want them to be confused when they discover people who disagree with Pagan ideas.

Kids haven’t lived enough to have a deeper understanding and they don’t know how to protect themselves from those who think Pagans are evil, devil worshipping types. That’s the main reason I think I would just let kids see the heart of Paganism and introduce them to the body later. Likely, they will have had a life of living like a Pagan and it will be a very smooth transition to become Pagan officially.

Where the Wild Things Are: A Pagan Appreciation for History

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, March, 1, 2003.

Do you care about history?

I love reading a bit here and there. I studied history in high school. I would have taken it in college but it wasn’t available among my optional courses.

Mostly I like reading about women in history ancient history and old cultures and customs. Being a Pagan/ Witchy type person I tend to read about superstitions and old traditions connected to nature and ceremonies too. I once spent several hours in the public library reading about wedding traditions and omens. That was long before my own wedding.

When I first heard of Wicca I went to the library to read about it. I wanted to know where it came from and who was involved. How did they feel about the things that matter most to me? That’s all history too. Most, of the people who created Wicca are no longer here to tell us their side of things. If you go even farther back, the first Witches and Pagans are hopelessly lost to us. We couldn’t even come up with a reliable source to know who the first Witch really was. Just some woman gathering herbs and helping people I would guess. But, you can’t know. That’s something lost to history.

History gives us a past, an anchor. Whatever else you learn about, it’s all current or in the future. Nothing but history teaches you about mistakes, conquests, people and possibilities that have come before you.

Not everyone appreciates history. Some think of it as just dusty old books that don’t matter any more. But, I think differently. How can you follow your path if you don’t know where you’ve been and what you’ve passed along the way?