Haunted

World’s Spookiest Ghost Tours

As thrilling as ghost tours are, they can often be a little … underwhelming. But some places have taken their ghost tours to a whole new level -- with guest participation. Check out a variety of truly scary ghost tours, where ghost enthusiasts can spend the night in haunted places, experience paranormal activity with ghost-detecting devices and communicate with the dead. These are the ultimate, interactive ghost experiences!

Q Station Manly
Q Station
Sydney

This popular heritage hotel inside Sydney Harbour National Park is a former quarantine station from the 1800s. Immigrants from 1830 to 1884 who were suspected of carrying contagious diseases were quarantined here for an average 40 days. Plenty of deaths occurred in this station -- almost 600! -- and some individuals never seemed to leave. One of the most haunted places in all of the Australia, Q Station offers a variety of ghost tours, but the most thrilling is the Ghostly Sleepover. After a late-night tour of the most haunted buildings, guests have the opportunity to bring their own sleeping bags and stay the night in the former doctors’ and nurses’ rooms, infamous for spirit activity.

Matt Jones, flickr
Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker
Cheshire, England

Not for the faint of heart! At Hack Green Nuclear Bunker, one of the UK's most secret defense sites, paranormal tours are held in complete darkness and total isolation. The bunker’s site has been home to many battles and deaths for more than 500 years. The bunker itself is a vast underground labyrinth of corridors and creepy rooms with paranormal investigations and tours ending around 4 a.m. (though times can be extended upon request). Ghost fans can bring their own sound-recording equipment should they want to capture the voice of the Commanding Officer, a tall, broad-shouldered, intimidating ghost who has been spotted standing in doorways. Also keep an eye out for 2 ghost dogs, one of which supposedly bit a medium.

Floyd Bariscale, flickr
The Blumhouse of Horrors
Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles's most haunted theater is normally closed to the public -- but throughout October the building is open for a truly thrilling journey into the past. The Variety Arts Theatre saw a chilling tale unfold in the 1930s, when the theater owner’s wife desperately wanted to be a magician's assistant. So she climbed into a magic box … and never came back. Said to be haunted also by a deceased actor in a Shakespearean costume, Variety Arts Theatre is reopening as a scary experience brought to visitors by Blumhouse Productions (which produced the movies Paranormal Activity and Insidious). Even with 40 actors in staged scares, you’re bound to experience the real ghosts that linger inside. The attraction runs until the beginning of November, and it’s one of the rare times the public will have a chance to enter the building.

Wally Gobetz, flickr
The Stanley Hotel
Estes Park, Colorado

This hotel is so haunted that it inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. Opened in 1909, the historic hotel was designed by architect F.O. Stanley, and is notorious for its paranormal visitors. F.O.'s wife can still be seen and often plays the piano, children are heard laughing late in the night, and objects go missing. While Stephen King stayed in room 217, the fourth floor seems to be the hot spot for ghost activity. The Stanley Hotel’s Ghost Hunt offers guests the chance to find (and see!) ghosts with actual ghost hunters.

Caitlin Childs, flickr
Winchester Mystery House
San Jose, California

Legend has it this mansion was specifically built to accommodate spirits, thanks to the kooky woman who lived here. Sarah Winchester held nightly seances to commune with the dead, including her daughter and husband. The house contains secret passageways, twisting hallways, a window built into the floor and stairs that lead … nowhere. The house offers guided daily tours, and sightings and incidents are reported frequently, even by those who previously didn’t believe in ghosts! The annual “Fright Nights” give visitors the opportunity to experience a large, interactive maze throughout September and October.

About the Author

Jimmy Im is NYC-based travel writer, TV host and instructor, as well as the cofounder of OutEscapes.com. As an avid traveler, Jimmy has trekked the globe for exciting adventures, from taking a cargo vessel to the Marquesa Islands to bullfighting in Spain (seriously!). If he's not discovering new territory, Jimmy can be found in the comfort of his Lower East Side neighborhood.

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