Haunted Travel & Tours

Halloween Events in Silicon Valley

We’re already halfway through October and Halloween is just around the corner. The Halloween spirit is all around, so join in the fun! Here are a few ways you can go out and celebrate.

Since this is the Haunted Real Estate Blog, I’ll begin with some ghostly get togethers. Santa Clara County Parks has put together the Whoppers and Ghostly Tales of New Almaden tour where you can learn history and hauntings of the old mining town. Check the Bay Area Ghost Hunters’ Meetup page for upcoming excursions such as the Haunted History Tour of Alum Rock Park on Saturday October 19th, or the Ghost & History Walk of Downtown San Jose on Saturday October 26th.

Looking for a pumpkin patch? San Jose has more than a few! Try Spina Farms’ Pumpkin Patch in South San Jose (Santa Teresa area) for the corn maze, or Moreland Education Foundation’s Pumpkin Patch and Haunted Trail (ranked Best in Bay Area by ABC7). Looking for a simple, neighborhood option? ABC Tree Farms has a plethora of locations for their Pick of the Patch Pumpkins.

Have some little ones ready to show off their costumes? Join in on a Halloween parade! Come to Downtown Los Gatos for the annual Halloween Pet & Kids Parade, Sunday October 27th from 3pm-5pm. Stop by the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Library in Downtown San Jose for an afternoon of family fun at their annual Halloween Parade, Friday October 25th from 3:15pm-4:30pm. Trick or treat at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo during their Green Halloween event on Saturday October 26th and Thursday October 31st from 1pm-4pm.

Looking for a scare? California Great America’s Halloween Haunt and Winchester Mystery House, this year presenting Unhinged, are staples for the local thrill seeker. Looking for a home-brew horror? How about Rebel Yell Haunted House in San Jose’s Cambrian Park neighborhood.

However you choose to celebrate, have a happy Halloween!

Slideshow of Spooky Ghost Towns

A friend sent me a link to this online slideshow of haunted places in the US.  Hope you like it!


Haunted Tours Article

Many thanks to fellow San Jose area Realtor CJ Brasiel for alerting me to an interesting article in Women’s Day Magazine (online) about haunted tours.  Written by Kimberly Fusaro, the article, “Real Haunted Places“, lists a dozen haunted hot spots around the country that are worth a visit.   The piece is well written, concise, and includes good photos. Have a read!

Photos of Hacienda Cemetery and Memorial Park in New Almaden (San Jose, CA)

graveyard.jpgToday on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog, I posted a number of photos shot by friends Tisza and Mel of the historic and very scenic old graveyard in San Jose’s New Almaden area.  Please have a look!


Review of Haunted Real Estate Website

Occasionally it’s fun to google “haunted real estste” or “buy a haunted home” or “sell a haunted home” and see what comes up. Awhile back, the search unearthed a site which is titled, simply, “Haunted Real Estate” and is hosted by a gal who really, really knows her stuff.

Kim Hirchak, a Keller Williams Realtor who advertises that she has been selling haunted and non-haunted homes since 1989, is the hostess with the mostest for ghostly real esate in North Carolina.

A year or two ago, I emailed back and forth with Kim and learned that not only does she have good intuition for sensing spirited places, but she also runs a ghost tour and a haunted pub crawl in Wilminton, North Carolina.

Since it’s now autumn and we’re closing in on the Halloween season, I wanted to reference Kim and her interesting variety of services for the Wilmingtin, North Carolina area. One of these days, I’ll hope to meet her at a Keller Williams event. Meanwhile, if you’re in the area, say hello to Kim and take in one of her fabulous tours!

With warm regards from Silicon Valley,
Mary Pope-Handy

Orby Staircase at Independence Hall in Philadelphia

Orbs near staircase at Independence Hall in Philadelphia

We were ending our weeklong family reunion in Cape May, New Jersey, and stopped in Philadelphia for some sightseeing before returning to Virginia to see more family en route home to Silicon Valley.  Here please enjoy a photo taken by my daughter, Clair, of the staircase inside of Independence Hall. I think these orbs may be more than just particles of dust. Have a look and see what you think. (Image has been cropped along right side and is smaller than original size to fit in post but otherwise is unaltered.)

Next, a closeup of the upstairs room where we were free to roam. (I cropped out any faces so as not to horrify unsuspecting tourists who were there on July 5th, 2008.)

Closeup image of orbs in the upstairs room at Independence Hall in Philadelphia

Pea Patch Island, Delaware – Very Haunted Spot!

Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island, June 27, 2008Sorry for the long pause between haunted real estate posts. We’ve been busy on the family front with serious illness and hospitalization (my dad) and blogging about ghosts has been a luxury that my time  budget couldn’t afford. But now I’m (we’re) getting a little break with a visit to the east coast to see family and with that breather I’m able to investigate a little and blog a little.

Today my family and I toured Fort Delaware (on Pea Patch Island) in Delaware. It’s now a state park but was a Civil War POW camp and is supposedly the most haunted place in the state.   It was made even more famous by having an episode of Ghost Hunters feature it.

Scott Debski of Pea Patch Island's Fort DelawareA friendly docent named Scott Debski told us a bunch of interesting stories about the place, and I’m afraid my blog post really won’t do his storytelling (or the ambiance of the place) justice.  Even so, I’ll give it a shot.

One sad, salient story relates to the death of a child near the entrance of the fort. During the Civil War era, a young Italian boy named Stefano ran errands for the captured officers. One ran the poor boy ragged!  During one race down the The spot where Stefano died at Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Islandslipperly granite stairs, Stefano took a bad tumble, badly injuring himself as he rolled down the bent stairway until he crashed at the base of it – dead or mortally injured and dead soon thereafter.

The spot where Stefano landed is oddly darker than the stone pavers around it, which I hope will be visible enough with the photo taken with my Treo.

There’s a long, darkened walkway where some have experienced hints of hauntings. We walked through (and I borrowed my son’s new digital camera to snap a lot of pics) but saw/felt nothing. (Unfortunately, an extremely boistrous group of enthusiastic primary schoolers was just a few feet behind us. I don’t begrudge them being there in the least, but would have preferred a quieter walk through the place.)

Toward the end of our stay on the island, I asked Scott if he’d ever heard, seen, or otherwise experienced a ghost at the fort.  He regaled us with two stories from his first night there (happening at around 3am) in which there were distinct sounds (a fife playing and a woman crying) with no natural explanation. Both came from directions in which the sounds were impossible. (He tells it better.)

More to come soon!


Haunted Castles in the British Isles: Check ’em Out!

Castle in LondonMy brother sent me a link this morning to a site, Medieval-Castles.com,  with information on haunted castles in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. It looks comprehensive!  Enjoy.

Visit a Haunted Ranch at Grant’s Park
This Weekend

Ever wanted to visit a haunted place by flashlight?  Now’s your chance, if you can get to San Jose this weekend.

Joseph Grant Park, at the base of Mount Hamilton (east foothills of San Jose) has a ranch house that is notoriously haunted.  Join the Ghost Trackers & the park staff and get up close and personal with a spooky home at night!  The cost for admission is a low $5.

Friday the tours run from 8pm -midnight. Saturday they are from 8-11pm.

To make your reservation, call (408) 274-6121

Ghost Tours

I have a page on one of my Silicon Valley real estate websites on Haunted Real Estate (you can find it at www.HauntedRealEstate.com) and this info has been lifted from there for the most part.

Ghost Tours are fun, and often a great way to learn local history. I really enjoyed one in Seattle recently at the Pike Place Market (last bullet below). 

Recently, my family and I were in Chicago to see some colleges for our son and to see family and attend a wedding. There are several ghost tours in The Windy City and I hope to return there and catch one next time, but this trip didn’t have enough time for it. What caught my eye was a new spin on the Ghost Tour idea – a tour by boat.  Yup, “Chicago Supernatural Cruise” tour, aka, “River & Lake Legends & Lore”. Doesn’t that sound appealling?

If you’re not getting why this sounds so interesting, perhaps you have never been on a 2 1/2 hour walk (in the dark) for the ghost stories. Sitting in a nice boat with a bit of a breeze sounds pretty good to me.  I can’t say I’ve attended this one, but I have the brochure for future use: www.GhostTours.com. If any reader of this blog has been on it and has a comment (or would like to comment on any other ghost tour, for that matter), please let me know or submit a comment below.

And now, the rest of the tours that I know something about – many I’ve attended, but not all!

Ghost Tours 

More are visible in larger pic
Orbs On Monterey Ghost Tour

Ghost tours can be found all over the US in big cities, especially in the older districts. Here is a sampling for you, but it is not an exhaustive list – so if you’re interested in catching a ghost tour when you travel and it’s not listed here, do a Google search or check the local chamber of commerce to see if one is offered. By the way, I took the pic to the left on the Monterey Tour. Unfortunately I can only post pics of up to 40b here – I wish I could post it at a larger size so you could see the dozens of bright orbs in this scene. But you can make out some of them, even in this very, very small photo. 

*Take a three hour walking tour of San Francisco and learn about its spooky past! Who knows what you might see? I did it and was amazed – the BEST ghost tour I’ve attended yet.
San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour 
*This is a 90 minute tour (but the night I did it, it was about 2 and a half hours – I guess we asked a lot of questions!). There’s a lot of history covered, so it’s a neat way to give your kids some of that. When my family and I did this tour (August 2005), I took a lot of photos and in several there were many, many orbs. The skeptics will say they were dust, but I don’t think so!!
Ghost Walk of Old Monterey 
San Diego’s Old Town is one of the most well-known hot spots for ghosts anywhere. People are just dying to go on the ghost tour!
San Diego, California Ghost Tour 
Doesn’t look like this one goes year-round, but is offered in October in anticipation of Halloween. And it appears to have a lot of history (as many of the ghost tours do).
Old Sacramento Ghost Tour 
Boston’s got a rich & spooky history. This will make learning some of it a lot more interesting!
Boston’s Ghost & Graveyard Tours 
Alexandria’s original Ghost and Graveyard tour, a six-block walking tour with a colonial costumed guide. Learn about ghost stories, legends and folklore about colonial Alexandria.
Alexandria Colonial Tours 
Chicago has its share of colorful spooks too. No surprise given its history!
Chicago Supernatural Tours 
New Orleans can be a creepy, spooky place – all that vodoo just seems to affect their air. Not surprisingly, they have vodoo & cemetery tours in addition to “plain old” ghost tours. This ghost tour is, of course, in the old French Quarter. We are hoping that after the cleanup from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita tht this tour will be back in action – so though it’s currently closed, I want to keep mentioning it. They’ll be back!
Haunted French Quarter Walk 
San Antonio, Texas, is the home of The Alamo and many, many ghosts. The website states “189 Alamo defenders and 1600 Mexican troops were killed here, many without the benefit of a proper burial, leaving many souls in search of eternal life, thus making San Antonio one of the most haunted cities in America.” Having been through the Alamo, though unfortunately not on the ghost tour, I don’t doubt it. It feels haunted to me!
Hauntings History of San Antonio Ghost Hunt 
Tuscon, Arizona, hosts a seasonal ghost tour (from September through April each year). Their website seems to be one of the most detailed on the subject matter I’ve seen.
Walking Tour of Tuscon’s Haunted, Historic Downtown 
*The area of Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg Virginia is wonderfully dense in history – and ghosts! We recently did a walking lantern tour of Yorktown with my extended family, but I’m not finding them on the web. I highly recommend it as this area was active in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars – extremely interesting stuff, even for the non-ghost hunter crowd!
The Original Ghosts of Williamsburg Candlelight Tour 
*Cape May, New Jersey, is a great spot to vacation. It’s historically significant and interesting, it’s right on the water, and it has the largest “Boardwalk” type amusement park I’ve ever seen with three piers full of rides. The ghost stories are incredible though, and a must-do! They pride themselves on documented & experienced events. Check out the website. My family did this tour on one of our reunions and it was a big hit.
Haunted Cape May Tours 
A tour of Savannah, GA, which is highly acclaimed by tour books and appears to be backed by a lot of research. This was one of the first places to host a ghost tour in the US, and I really hope to attend it someday.
Savannah Ghost Walk Ghost Talk Tour 
We return to see Jim’s family every other summer and I hope to go on this tour, as well as the one in Arlington, while there. (I’ll be lucky if I find time to sqeeze in one, but hope springs eternal!)
Washington, DC, Ghost Walk 
Now here is a cool option: if you can’t make it to Seattle for this lively ghost tour, you can buy the DVD and feel like you’ve been (Ok, mostly – sometimes the camera doesn’t show absolutely everything the guide discusses). But it’s a great show, very entertaining and interesting. I will plan to go next time I’m in Seattle. Want to attend? The phone
number is 206 365 3739 and the guide is Jake (a woman). You can email her at Jake@privateeyetours.com. She’s a great storyteller and knows her stuff!
Haunted Happenings: A Seattle Ghost Tour 

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Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
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