It’s October in New England. Dunkin Donuts is churning out pumpkin muffins, our bulky sweaters are finding their way to the front of our wardrobes, and we’re spending Saturdays raking leaves. Along with apple picking and pumpkin carving, don’t forget to add a ghost tour to your list of fall activities on the north shore. Salem Ghost Tours offers a tour every night, beginning on Essex Street in downtown Salem. And we all know that here, on a crisp New England autumn evening, there’s a certain… somethingin the air.
“We’re actually known nationally for the fact that all of our tours are more historically accurate them any competition,” said Jacob Black, marketing and PR director of Colonial Ghosts. “We are constantly doing research and working on material and stories. We do everything we can to make sure the experience is authentic and historically accurate.”
At 8 p.m. each night, tour guests meet their guide on the street at 221 Essex Street in front of the Freaky Elegant gift shop. The ninety-minute tour costs $19 for adults and $9 for children and directs guests through a mile of the most haunted sites in Salem, like the Old Town Hall, Proctor’s Ledge, and the “Witch House” of Jonathan Corwin. with lots of picture-taking opportunities. An optional thirty-minute extension leads guests to another four sites for an added $6.
The tours are led by part-time guides, individuals with storytelling or tour guide histories. Black says they hire with a “priority on history. We want our guides to tell the stories.”
Although spooky season is at its height in October, the Salem Ghost Tours run year round, every single night at 8 p.m. Black says that while the tours’ popularity peaks around Halloween, they also hit a high in July, another tourist climax.
Colonial Ghosts, under which Salem Ghosts operates, launched Boston Ghost Tours this month, just in time for Halloween season. This tour, also one hour and one mile, begins at the Omni Parker House at 60 School Street and leads guests through sites like the Boston Common, the Old South Meeting House, and the Old City Hall.
“We don’t dramatize the tours—there are no jump scares,” says Black. “We let history do all the scaring.”
If you’re feeling a bit brave this Halloween season, head over to Salem or Boston for a tour—if you’re lucky, you just might see some apparition in some of the most historical towns in the country.