From grisly prisons to frightening forests to paranormal investigations, we've rounded up seven spooky activities that are guaranteed to give you the shivers.
Eastern State Penitentiary, a working prison until 1971, is now a National Historic Landmark with an especially spooky past.
There are daytime tours throughout the year, but come fall, it's time to experience the prison as it should be: after dark.
The annual Terror Behind the Walls event takes intrepid explorers from the recreation yard to the infirmary and several other haunted sections of the prison. For a truly frightening experience, submit your name on online to be eligible for a night at the prison … alone.
Also new to the penitentiary this year is the after-dark VIP tour, an hour-long flashlight guided tour of cell blocks including Al Capone’s cell and Death Row.
Ghost hunts are a regular event at the Ohio State Reformatory, which may look familiar as the filming location of The Shawshank Redemption.
Although a Morgan Freeman sighting is unlikely, participants have been known to come across some haunted happenings on overnight stays all year round. From now through Halloween night, the prison is hosting a special Death Row experience to scare the wits out of nighttime visitors.
Choose your own (eerie) adventure at Blowing Scream Farms along various paths and trails. Wander through the cursed forests (where 3D effects make the experience extra creepy), hop on a haunted hayride, and crawl through the cornfield of screams. The battle between North and South will come alive (again) as you learn about the renegade spirits known as the GhostRiders faced Union soldiers and venture through a 165-year-old house that served as a Civil War hospital.
Don't believe in ghosts? Hear what the experts have to say about that when you join the South Wales Paranormal Research Team at the 16th century Llancaiach Fawr Manor. Resident ghosts include a 19th century maid and a little boy who fell to his death from one of the upper rooms.
The Ghost Tour Extra includes a meal with members of the research team where even skeptics can get their questions answered, followed by a guided tour. The Ghost Watch gives visitors the opportunity to conduct their own paranormal investigation under the guidance of the research team. Get a sneak peak online with the Ghost Web cam.
Who hasn't heard of ghosts lingering in New Orleans?
The Historic New Orleans Collection is offering a guided tour that covers the haunted history of 10 locations throughout the city. Guest share hair-raising stories of infamous New Orleans residents such as the American socialite and serial killer Madame Lalaurie and Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.
The tours are also favorite among history buffs, as it incorporates factoids from the Williams Research Center to reveal significant historic events, like the yellow-fever epidemic and pirate attacks. These experiences take place within the HNOC galleries, but a map with the actual sites are provided for a self-guided tour.
Meanwhile, the New Orleans local known as Bloody Mary hosts historic haunted tours and workshops all year long. Things really start to pick up around this time of year, with haunted pub crawls, voodoo doll making classes, and cemetery tours.
But it's not all smoke and mirrors—each experience is packed with information about New Orleans history as it relates to ancient voodoo practices, Creole tradition and haunted legends. And, if you're in feeling the spirit of romance, Bloody Mary also holds cemetery wedding ceremonies.
Not to be outdone, equally haunted Charleston, South Carolina, is celebrating its happenings well past Halloween.
Bulldog Tours offers a number of bone-chilling experiences, with access to some of Charleston's most famous haunted sites, including the old jail, a pre-Revolutionary dungeon, and a nighttime walk through the Circular Church Graveyard, one of the oldest cemeteries in the nation.
By Jessica Kate Soberman for PeterGreenberg.com.
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