It’s getting to be that fabulously spooky time of year! Halloween is just one month away, so I want to share one of my favorite ghostly activities for families, friends, or – if you dare – all by yourself.
I’m often asked by the people who take my ghost tours in Galveston if I take the same type of tours when I travel. You bet! These type of tours are a fun way to explore the local communities and their folklore…whether or not you’re a “believer.” There are a lot of ghost tours in the Lone Star State but hands-down my favorite tour to TAKE is the Historic Jefferson Ghostwalk.
The small east Texas town of Jefferson is known as one of the most haunted towns in the state, and has no shortage of stories.
As darkness falls, tour-goers gather at the corner of the Kahn Hotel to meet tour guide and resident ghost story expert Jodi Breckenridge. No one knows the stories about this town as well as she does. Jodi gives the tours every Friday and Saturday night year-round…so, truth be known, you don’t have to wait for the Halloween season to enjoy one.
Every time I’ve been on her tour (yes, I’ve taken it more than once) there have been several others who are repeat customers. That may sound unusual, but each tour is a bit different depending on what does or doesn’t happen, and access to haunted locations. Those locations make this one of the best and most unique opportunities, because the tour goers will actually get to go inside a few! For each place Jodi shares a little bit of history and a few ghost stories.
Take the word “walk” in the tour name seriously because you’ll be walking all around this charming town learning about the spirited residents of haunted hotels, houses, mansions, and bed and breakfasts, and businesses. You’ll even get to venture into the “Old Mill,” a darked antique market where attendees are encouraged to wander the aisles with the lights out. It always amazed me that I’ve never seen anyone knock anything over!
Jodi encourages her customers to take photos along the way to see if they can “capture” something otherworldly, and shows a few spooky photos on her iPad from past tours.
Now I’m going to let you in on how to make the most of this experience…
Twice a year, Jody hosts a “History, Haunts & Legends Paranormal Conference.” I usually go once a year, and am one of the guest speakers. It happens once in the fall and once in the spring. The ticket price includes your chance to meet and shop from authors of books of ghost stories, people who sell ghost hunting equipment, craftspeople who selling hauntingly unusual goods and more, in addition to hearing a day full of spooky-topic talks. I suggest buying a “VIP” ticket, so that you can also participate in a multi-location ghost hunt on the Saturday night of the conference. Private homes open up, each with a real ghost hunting team stationed with equipment, and you can go from location to location to participate. You’re sure to come away with fun stories to tell your family and friends.
Want to stay somewhere haunted while you’re there?
Kahn Hotel (where I usually stay) is nice pretty low key, with a small coffee shop on the first floor. They openly admit they’re haunted, so they won’t think anything about it if you wander the halls with your “ghost meters.
The elegant old Excelsior Hotel – notoriously haunted, but whatever you do don’t mention that to the staff – who don’t like that reputation. Even Director Steven Spielberg has had experiences here!
Jefferson Hotel – purchased a couple of years ago, the new owners have turned it from a creaky old hotel with a haunted history into almost an amusement park for ghost and horror enthusiasts. Each room has a theme – some of them over the top.
Jefferson also has a variety of bed and breakfasts to enjoy, and many of them have paranormal stories of their own.
Now . . . are you ready to brave the ghosts of historic Jefferson?