October is a magical time. The crisp fall air, the apple cider donuts, the freedom to play songs like Monster Mash on repeat. Most importantly, October is the time when we can all be goths and embrace the darker, spookier side of our natures. (Somehow me wearing a witch hat around town is frowned on throughout most of the year, but on October 31st it’s suddenly okay? That doesn’t make any sense!) Let’s all make the best of it and live out our Octobers, and certainly our Halloweens, to the fullest this year. We deserve it.One fine way to make the most of the spooky season is to take a ghost tour. Ghost tours are fun, educational, and just the right amount of creepy, so grab a friend and your favorite witch hat for a chance to see your everyday surroundings in a new and eerier light. Ghosts and their stories are everywhere, and the Twin Cities is no exception. Here are three ways to learn just how many ghosts are among us.
Every October, the historic Mounds Theater in St. Paul opens up for ghost tours in addition to plays. Why? Because it’s haunted, obviously. Most theaters are. You can either take the one hour tour, like an amateur, or opt for the three hour experience. On both tours you’ll learn the history of the theater and its resident spooks. For the three hour tour, you’ll also get a trip to the creepy basement (everyone’s dream, right?) and time to explore on your own. For something more child friendly, consider a Sunset Tour instead. On Sunday, October 30th there will be a special tour just for younger folks before the sun goes down. A following lack of nightmares is not guaranteed, however, so beware!
Right about now you are probably asking yourself, “Ghosts aren’t really real, are they?” Of course they are! Just ask Dangerous Linda. Linda leads walking ghost tours around downtown Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Stillwater, her most recent addition. These informational tours are based on her and Twin Cities Ghost Tours founder Mike Huberty’s research of documented hauntings as well as conversations with psychics to learn more about the spirits’ backgrounds and what keeps them here on earth. See haunted sights with your own eyes as you learn the history behind each Minnesota ghost story. Guests on the tour are also encouraged to share their own ghostly encounters with the group. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, Dangerous Linda’s tours are a fun way to learn about some of the seedier aspects of our local history. While she admits you probably won’t see any ghosts on the tour, you are guaranteed to get a little exercise, and that’s always a plus.
Perhaps ghost stories alone are not enough to satisfy your curious mind. You demand proof of spirits from the great beyond! In that case, put the Ouija board away and reach out to the paranormal investigators at Real Ghost Tours. This Minneapolis-based operation combines dramatizations of local history with technological equipment used to hunt down genuine haunts. On their 90 minute tour, a ghost hunter and a psychic medium will take you to the locations of documented hauntings and utilize electromagnetic field meters to determine if there are lingering spirits in the vicinity. Tour goers even get the chance to communicate with the spirit world via dowsing rods. Honestly, I thought those were for locating water, not ghosts, but what do I know! I’m not a ghost hunter, sadly. We need to trust the experts here.
Even if you don’t encounter any apparitions, a ghost tour is sure to make a more memorable evening, than your typical pumpkin carving or hayride. What do you have to lose? Get out there and learn more about your city and the many ghosts who also call it home.
By Liz Walker