Ghost Tour of Philadelphia  

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Map of Philadelphia and Parts Adjacent, depicting the State House as it appeared in 1752.Image via WikipediaGhost Tour of Philadelphia
Tickets available at:
Gift Shop next to Omni Hotel
401 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
until tour time
Independence Visitor Center
6th & Market Streets
until 5:00 pm
Tour departs from:
Signers Garden
5th & Chestnut Streets

You should know
Dan and I had been talking about ghosts for years. He very much wants to spend the night at Leverington Cemetary that is supposed to be extremely haunted; I’m not quite up for getting arrested.

I believe that ghosts could exist, but I have never experienced one. Nor, by all accounts, do I much wish to. But hey, I’m a sucker for a good story.

First of all, there is very little parking in Center City on a Friday night. Fortunately, the 9 bus goes right to the site. Unfortunately, we didn’t take the 9 bus. Parking cost us over $20.

Buying tickets was interesting, because there were two ghost tours selling tickets right next to each other. I don’t know anything, good or bad, about the other tour, but keep the one you want in mind so you don’t find yourself on the wrong one. Also, leave yourself time to eat – we spent almost as much time looking for non-sit-down food as we would have had we say down. There’s plenty or restaurants or bars around if you have the time, though.

Perhaps most importantly, the weather was about perfect – cool enough for autumn, but not so cold as to be uncomfortable.

The tour started in Signers Park, where tour guides dressed in black pseudo-Victorian garb held lanterns with real, lit candles. Our guide, Katie, started taking us around the city, to sites like Independence Hall, Washington Square, and St. Peter’s Cemetery, telling us stories about the various ghosts said to haunt the sites and how they fit into Philadelphia history. Yellow fever, dysentery, mass graves, murders, fires… and Ben Franklin refusing to leave. Hey, this is Philadelphia – Franklin is everywhere.

It seemed that different tour guides had different sets of stories. At times, I eavesdropped on another group, and their story was completely different from the one being told to ours. Does this mean the stories are fake… or that the sites are so haunted that the guides have their choice of tales? Well, that’s really not my call.

Ultimately, Dan and I agreed that the tour was well worth the $15 ticket – but not the total cost of ticket plus parking.

Go… by bus
We took an earlier tour, and there were a handful of kids who were well behaved and far from terrified. For a juicier tour, the later show might be in order.

The rest of the Internet
Cher Mayn Chan at 34th Street Culture speaks highly of the tour.

Awesome link of the week
Sluggy Freelance is a popular 10-year-old comic. Don't bother starting with today's and knowing what's going on, though; you're better off going back to the beginning and watching Pete Abrams's style evolve over the last decade. Make sure you have a weekend with no plans cleared away; I wasted a ton of time going through the archives when I was first introduced, and that was about six years ago.

Also, if you're into the comic to the point where you want to flesh out that conspiracy theory, or you just want some intelligent, civil discourse, check out the forums at The Sluggite Zone. Spammers and trolls are dispatched with quickly, and coherent posting is the norm. L33t, along with certain hot-button issues, is forbidden, and language is kept to PG-13 (the rule is: if Pete used it in a comic, it's OK).

Full disclosure: I'm a moderator on the boards myself. See if you can figure out which one!

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