If you still don’t have a Halloween costume, we have an idea for you: ghost hunter. Try your luck spotting ghosts this weekend on these three Bay Area ghost hunting tours.
San Francisco Haunted Haight Tour
During this two-hour walking tour of Haight-Ashbury, you’ll visit sites of the neighborhood’s paranormal activity and hear dozens of ghost stories about San Francisco’s “otherside.” As the founder and president of the San Francisco Ghost Society, your tour guide Tommy Netzband knows about ghosts. In fact, he’s seen (and heard) it all: The waterslide death of 1901, the murder of a rockabilly musician and the spirit that haunts Janis Joplin’s old digs. You may even encounter some of these spirits during your walk — some visitors have reported feeling cold spots, nausea and light tapping on the tour.
Pro Tip: Before the tour starts, head down the street to Loved to Death — a small boutique shop that specializes in taxidermy animals and Victorian goth jewelry. You’re sure to get spooked by the baby coffins, voodoo dolls and preserved skeletons.
Get Lost in the Winchester Mystery House
Tour the Winchester Mystery house and get lost in the secret passageways, marvel at the upside down furniture, and climb stairs that lead to nowhere in the former home of an 1800s widow. The house was originally built by Sarah Winchester, whose husband was heir to the fortune of a rifle manufacturing company. When he died, a medium told Sarah that her family was haunted by the ghosts of those killed by the Winchester rifle. To appease the spirits, Sarah built a mansion in San Jose, continuously adding rooms in order to “fool” them from haunting her. By the time she died, the mansion had over 160 rooms, 10,000 windows and 47 fireplaces.
Visiting: Tickets to explore the entire estate in San Jose are $44 and must be purchased in advance, so ask your Scout to book them for you 24 hours before you’d like to visit.
Pro tip: Sarah was fascinated by the number 13 and cobwebs. Keep an eye out for both as you tour the house — but be on the lookout for ghosts as well. Visitors have reported hearing creaking behind them, feeling cold spots and even hearing ghosts calling their name.
On any given day, Chinatown is full of bustling store owners, schoolchildren playing near the library and neighbors catching up on the latest gossip. By night, it’s a completely different atmosphere, and locals claim that the dark alleys and winding streets are home to a plethora of ghosts and spirits. On the Chinatown Ghost Tour, guides will take you through a journey that blends past and present as you listen to the stories of spirits that never left home. You’ll learn the stories of a little boy who mysteriously died in a nearby Chinese language school, the horrific Golden Dragon Massacre and of the gambler who ran out of luck.
Visiting: The tour meets at Utopia Cafe at 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Included in your $48 ticket is a magic show in a former gambling den at the end of your tour. Want more information or a a pair of tickets? Ask your scout.
Pro Tip: On the walk, be sure to look out for mirrors! Legend has it that mirrors facing windows or doors will frighten spirits and prevent them from entering the residence. See how many Ba Gua (8 sided) mirrors you can find during your tour.