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Haunted Vacations

"I see dead people.”

Admittedly one of the best movie lines ever spoken. From “Ghostbusters” to “Ghost” to “The Sixth Sense” Hollywood has had a fascination with the world beyond the living. But, why let Hollywood have all fun? Perhaps on your next vacation, you’d like to try your own hand at ghost hunting.

There’s not enough space in one article to list all the supposedly haunted sites in America. Therefore, I’m just going to acquaint you with a few of these other-worldly destinations.

First up, Moundsville, West Virginia. Don’t know why, but West Virginia has more than its share of hauntings and ghost tours. One such tour occurs at the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia, one of the bloodiest prisons in America. The tour starts at 8:00 P.M. and lasts an hour. But, it doesn’t end there. From 9:00 P.M. until 6:00 the next morning, you’re free to explore the prison under the guidance of a paranormal investigator, or, if you’re the really brave type, by yourself. Alone. With no one but the spirits to keep you company. This tour is available March through November. Yes, that’s right, you can even go on Halloween – if you dare. The number to call for reservations is 304-845-6200.

Our next destination is located in Dresden, Ohio. Here you’ll be able to tour and spend the night in Prospect Place, a 29-room mansion built in 1856 by abolitionist George Willison Adams. Cost for a tour and guestroom for the night is only $40, and that includes breakfast when you wake up (if you wake up, that is). For those not choosing to stay the night, there is a 90-minute tour on Friday and Saturday nights when paranormal investigations are scheduled.


And, for the real chickens amongst us (not pointing any fingers) there is a daytime tour scheduled. While on the ghost tour be on the lookout for the many souls which apparently haunt the mansion. They include: The Servant on the Stairwell; Constance, the little girl who fell from the balcony; The souls of the many slaves escaping slavery via the underground railroad who took refuge in the basement.

Now we come to San Diego, California for a Ghost and Gravestone Experience night tour of some of that city’s most haunted locations. Themed trolleys will take you and other “ghost hunters” to various hauntings, featuring the Whaley House, which some believe to be the most haunted houses in America. (Okay, what does “most haunted” mean? To me, just one ghost is plenty).

Whaley House has a particularly sad history – it sits atop a graveyard of some of the almost 9,000 Kumeyaay, a local Indian tribe who were converted to Christianity by Father Junipero Serra’s mission, who died of disease and violence. The Whaley family itself held many Kumeyaay as slaves. It’s said that many of these Kumeyaay haunt the house to this day. Other haunted locations on the tour include the Villa Montezuma, the William Heath Davis house in the Gaslamp Quarter, as well as one of the oldest cemeteries in San Diego. Walking shoes are recommended (or, running shoes if you’re of the chicken variety I mentioned above). The tour is approximately two hours long. Reservations can be made by calling 619-298-8687.

Shari Hearn is a writer and frequent contributor to


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