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Ghost Tours

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You might be a horror movie fanatic, or you might be someone who gets squeamish at the very thought of a vampire thriller. But either way, you might be interested in taking ghost tours of a place when you are a tourist. For the most part, these kinds of tours are not meant to scare the living daylights out of you (although they can), but rather to introduce you to the somewhat darker elements of a place's history.

Some locations have legitimate claims to tales of spirits and hauntings, but even those with more tenuous connections to the spirit world often offer ghost tours as well. Most of the time, in order to heighten the effect, these tours are given at night - which leaves your daylight hours open to all the non-haunted sights you want to see! And because these tours are most often walking tours, they also give you a chance to see a city at a slower pace, and really take in your surroundings.

San Francisco's Chinatown is a great place for ghost tours - the area is full of back alleys and there is much history to cover. New Orleans is famous as the setting for Anne Rice's vampire and witch books - not to mention a city with a major voodoo history - so it stands to reason that there are plenty of ghostly goings on in this city as well. You might not be surprised to learn that Venice and Rome have ghost tours available, since both are ancient places with (probably) lots of unhappy ghosts lurking about, and you may have heard of the ghost tours in Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh, too. But did you know that the streets of Old Montreal are a great place to go ghost hunting?

The truth is that generally speaking, despite the scary-sounding names, most ghost tours are really excellent history lessons about aspects of a city's past that the tourist information office and the regular tour guide books may leave out. These are the stories of slavery, of kidnappings and murders, of jealous lovers and family rivalries, and of politicians bent on power. Ghost tours are usually fun for the whole family, but if you have really little kids (or kids who are easily frightened) you might want to ask about an age limit before you sign up!