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Ghost Tours: We’re not alone

Courtesy Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Weston, West Virginia
Visitors are surprised that the hand-cut stone masonry building of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, constructed between 1858 and 1881, was originally planned to offer therapeutic sunlight and fresh air to residents, according to Bethany Cutright, office manager.

“The building itself was to be healing,” she said.

The hospital, designed to house 250 souls, was open to patients in 1864 and reached its peak in the 1950s with 2,400 patients in overcrowded and poor conditions. From the start, the campus played an important role with the local economy, West Virginia history and even the Civil War.

At the hospital, which was closed in 1994, preservation and renovations have allowed visitors to experience a patient art gallery, the medical treatment room and simply the recognition of the many patients who spent their lives there.

“The paranormal stories, many from past patients and town residents who worked here, are countless,” said Cutright. “One patient recounted telling the nurses about the strange things she saw but eventually gave up because, she said, ‘Who’s going to believe me?’”

The 90-minute tour includes roaming all four floors with the legendary spirits. Groups can also choose to take a nighttime tour or participate in a ghost hunt where investigations of violent murder and past sightings are on the itinerary. ”


Market Ghost Tour
The Pike Place Market has been called the soul of Seattle. On the Market Ghost Tour, you can meet the “souls” of Seattle, according to Mercedes Carrabba, founder and owner.

“We start at the famed Gum Wall at the market and have a night walking tour through the nooks, crooks and crannies on the cobblestone streets. The architecture and waterfront offer a beautiful backdrop to the various haunted places,” she said.

Those scary locations include Kells Irish Pub, a favorite local hideaway and featured paranormal location on the Discovery Channel. “This eatery has so many stories. The venue is made even better by the pub’s owners, who are so open to talking about their haunted history,” said Carrabba.

One of the country’s first mortuaries is also a stop on this 75-minute tour. “In the early 1900s, there were terrible illnesses that took the lives of many children here,” Carrabba said.

“Many of those children are thought to still be around, and we tie yesterday’s accounts of sad history to events that are still happening now. Guests learn a great deal about this city’s history.”


Ghost Tours of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Florida
No matter where you stand in St. Augustine, which offers 450 years of European history, someone has died or has been buried underneath your feet, according to Hope Chessel, ghost host and spokeswoman for Ghost Tours of St. Augustine.

“We have been deemed the third-most-haunted city in the country. We will soon celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Spanish arrival in Florida. The Timaquan Indians were completely wiped out, not by war but by the fancy diseases the Europeans brought with them to this new land,” Chessel said.

Not only is the 75-minute walking tour historically accurate, but all spirits are documented. Those spirits have been experienced at cemeteries, a local schoolhouse and a local restaurant, where a lady is often heard washing dishes in the middle of the night. At a souvenir store, two long-deceased poodles can be heard walking across the floor.

“One of my favorite stories is from our vintage clothing store, a one-time mortuary,” said Chessel. “At one time, they would prop up fashionably dressed dead people in their caskets in the window. So people would come and look to see not only who died, but to discover the latest fashion trends.”