This Halloween season, skip the commercial haunted houses populated by zombies, werewolves and chainsaw-wielding actors, and go in search of actual ghosts instead. Most haunted places — from buildings to battlefields — conduct family-friendly ghost tours. Some even equip you with paranormal equipment so can search for ghostly evidence of your own.
Before you book a tour as a family, though, realistically assess whether your kids can handle the scare regardless of the tour’s age restrictions. Even adults can get freaked out by an unexplained noise or touch.
The flagship of the Cunard-White Star Line from 1936 to 1967, the RMS Queen Mary is considered the world’s most haunted ship. Staff and visitors to the ship, now docked in Long Beach, California, report seeing an engineer who died in the its engine room, a “lady in white” and children who like to play around the first-class swimming pool.
You can take the Haunted Encounters tour to visit some of the ship’s most haunted places, but for a real thrill, book the Paranormal Investigation tour. On the tour, you and family members ages 13 and up will investigate paranormal hot spots with the ship’s resident paranormal investigator using handheld monitoring devices. At the end of the tour, you’ll review captured evidence, including vocal phenomena recorded during the group Electronic Voice Phenomenon sessions.
More than 7,000 soldiers lost their lives in and around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania., in one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg. Even though the battle ended 156 years ago, some say the dead are still locked in combat. Visitors have spotted a headless horseman at Little Round top, sharpshooters at Devil’s Den and soldiers throughout the park. They’ve also heard phantom gunshots and drum rolls.
Your family can conduct a Gettysburg paranormal investigation at one location using K2 meters, infrared video cameras, EVP recorders and other equipment on After Dark Investigations’ family-friendly Short and Scary tour. If you have more time, book the three-hour Evening Investigation tour and investigate three locations.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Located in Weston, West Virginia, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum housed up to 2,400 mentally ill patients at a time (despite being designed to hold only 250) from 1864 until 1994. Over the years, hundreds of patients died, and some, along with their nurses and doctors, never left.
Today, the asylum offers a number of paranormal tours, but if you want to investigate paranormal activity along with members of your family ages 12 and up, skip the Daytime Paranormal tour and take the two-hour evening tour. Or, make a reservation for one of the overnight Ghost Hunting experiences and investigate using K2 meters, spirit boxes and other equipment.
There’s not much spookier than getting lost in a maze cut through tall stalks of corn — especially in the dark. The first corn maze is attributed to a farm in Annville, Pennsylvania. Since then, mazes have become huge autumn attractions. Many of today’s larger mazes are cut with the help of Global Positioning Satellite technology, allowing maze makers to create intricate shapes that add to navigational challenges.
It’s the time of year that the creak of a door sounds sharper in the silence, that the footsteps in the hall seem foreign and the voices talking in the next room sound unfamiliar. This is the season we fear and celebrate the dead and they seem to know it. Here are the places that do both right:
Switzerland’s Vaud canton encompasses some of the country’s most breathtaking scenery and beautiful towns and villages, including Lausanne, Nyon, Villars-sur-Ollon and Montreux. Spread between the shores of Lake Geneva and the edge of France, and replete with castles, terraced vineyards and world-class hotels, it’s the ideal setting for a romantic break. We’ve got a few suggestions to help you with your planning:
Visiting Japan soon with the family? For any travelers heading to the country’s western regions, get ready for vast rural towns and quaint accommodations.