The South's Best Ghost Tours

Celebrate Halloween any day (or night) of the year by taking a brave tour of a spooky plantation, bone-chilling neighborhood, or haunted pub. Don't say we didn't warn you!
Stephanie Granada

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The Myrtles Plantation's Mystery Tours, St. Francisville, LA
This 1796 home is haunted by at least seven ghostly guests. One of the spirit residents is Chloe, a servant who (the legend says) was the mistress of the home's owner. She got mad at him after he cut off her ear, so she baked a poisonous birthday cake that killed his wife and two children, for which she was hanged. The home is now a bed-and-breakfast, and several guests have reported seeing Chloe wandering around, looking for her missing ear. The home is open for historical tours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, but things get really spooky during Friday and Saturday night "mystery tours" and this month's Myrtles Halloween Experience, October 28–31. myrtlesplantation.com or 225/635-6277

Ghosts of Old Louisville's Lantern Ghost Walk, Louisville, KY
David Domine, a travel and food writer, started researching Old Louisville's ghosts after purchasing the Widmer mansion in 1999 (where he clearly had some company!). He and three other history and architecture buffs now lead a lantern-lit stroll through the nieghborhood's "Millionaire's Row" area, stopping to see if ghosts such as the "Lady of the Stairs" at the First Church of Christ Scientist are also out for the evening. If you aren't into ghost tales, you'll still enjoy this tour through Old Louisville, America's largest Victorian neighborhood. louisvillehistorictours.com or 502/637-2922

ACP Ghost Hunt with Martin Leal, San Antonio, TX
Ghost hunter Marin Leal started his search for haunts in the Alamo 15 years ago as a way of testing his ghost detection equipment. Now, his 1 ½-hour tour leads visitors through five blocks of downtown San Antonio, stopping at the Menger Hotel (said to be one of the most haunted spots in America with 43 reported ghosts), and the Emily Morgan hotel (originally the 1926 Medical Arts Building), before ending at the Alamo, where Martin brings out his temperature guns and electromagnetic field detectors. Watch closely–Martin reports seeing several apparitions a week in the landmark. bestsanantionioghosttours.com or 210/348-6640

Tara Tours' Haunted Irish Pub & Ghost Tour, Savannah, GA
Thanks to Savannah's open container laws, you can sip on brews and juleps as you walk the streets and hear ghostly tales. Tour guide Tara Ryan takes visitors to such haunted drinking establishments as the 17Hundred90 Restaurant & Inn (home to a reported six spooks), as well as a few historical places, including a house once owned by her great-great-granddaddy, William Kehoe. The tour ends at the Moon River Brewing Company. The brewery building once housed yellow fever victims, and some say their spirits walk among the hops-and-yeast spirits now made there. taratourssavannah.com

Ghosts & Gravestones St. Augustine Frightseeing Tour, St. Augustine, FL
Visit the creepiest spots in one of the country's oldest (and some say most haunted) towns aboard an ominous trolley-style bus decked out with Spanish moss and vintage portraits from St. Augustine's past. The guides give bloodcurdling performances that mix ghost tales with true stories from the city's history. Reservations required. ghostsandgravestones.com/st-augustine or 888/920-8687

Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, AL
The largest and oldest (built in 1822) municipal cemetery in Alabama is the final resting place for 100,000 people. hsvcity.com/cemetery

Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, MD
On September 17, 1862, more than 22,000 men were killed here, and some visitors claim they can still smell the scent of gunpowder. nps.gov/anti

The Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC
In the 1920s a woman wearing a flowing pink gown fell (or was pushed) to her death from a balcony. Since then, the Pink Lady has often been seen by guests roaming the halls. groveparkinn.com

The Orpheum Theatre, Memphis, TN
Young Mary, the victim of a trolley accident in 1921 near the Orpheum, can still be heard playing and giggling inside the theater. orpheum-memphis.com

Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, SC
The 1736 building, the first built in America for theatrical performances, is also one of Charleston's most haunted spots–with a variety of ghosts seen backstage and onstage. charlestonstage.com

The Ramsay House, Alexandria, VA
Residents say some of Alexandria's founding fathers haunt this re-creation of a 1724 house that now serves as the city's visitors center. visitalexandriava.com

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, Eureka Springs, AR
Check into room 218 (if you dare) , and you may hear the cries of an Irish stonemason who fell off the roof more than a century ago. americasmosthauntedhotel.com