All posts by Kara Pelicano

America’s Most Haunted

Depending on your level of bravery, these haunted tours may or may not be for you. Claimed to be some of the most haunted spots in America, these locations offer up gruesome histories that make the paranormal all the more normal. Numerous reports of ghosts have been reported at these locations, but if you want proof, you will have to explore them yourself.

Waverly Hills, Kentucky
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium, located in southwestern Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky, was once a two-way hospital that housed 40-50 tuberculosis patients. Bodies of dead patients were thrown down a tunnel in the building to save time. The Sanatorium is open to the public, offering guided tours, self-exploration, and even overnight stays.

Mansfield Reformatory, Mansfield, Ohio
The Mansfield Reformatory opened in 1896, its architecture meant to inspire prisoners to turn from their sin and embrace a clean spirituality. The reformatory housed over 155,000 inmates throughout its lifetime and is open to the public as a historic landmark with a lot of paranormal activity. The reformatory was also used as a location for the film, The Shawshank Redemption.

Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Also known as the Island Fort, Fort Mifflin was a turning point in the American Revolution. The 400 American soldiers held off a British naval fleet long enough for George Washington and his men to arrive at Valley Forge. Fort Mifflin offers guided tours and the option to stay overnight.

Harem of Horror, The Sultan’s Palace, New Orleans
Located in New Orleans, the house at 716 Dauphine Street appears to be an ordinary house. However, ordinary is far from the truth. In the late 1800’s, a young, Turkish man rented the house from a wealthy plantation owner. The Turkish man had a brother who was a sultan. The house underwent massive changes; guards with scimitars kept watch constantly, heavy draperies covered the windows and a hoard of people filled the house. Hardly anyone ever left. One day, a stream of blood could be seen flowing from the house’s entrance. Upon investigation, the entire home was turned into a slaughter house with no sign of survivors.

Manhattan Bistro, New York
The Manhattan Bistro was built around a well that became the hiding place for Gulielma Sands’ body. Sands was planning to meet her lover on the evening of December 22, 1799, when she was never seen alive again. Her body was discovered in a well in Manhattan.

Driskill Hotel, Austin, Texas
The Driskill Hotel is reportedly the most haunted hotel in Texas. Owned by Colonel Driskill after the Civil War, the hotel became a popular place for all of Texas, including the Texas Senate. Ghosts of several patrons have been said to appear in the hotel. Most notably, Colonel Driskill’s ghost follows a scent of cigar smoke.

For further information, all locations can be found in the America’s Haunted Road Trip series books.

Madame LaLaurie: Fact or Fiction?

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America’s Haunted Road Trip author Kala Ambrose has just posted a great article on her blog, Explore Your Spirit with Kala, where she discusses the presentation of Madame LaLaurie on FX’s American Horror Story: Coven. Madame LaLaurie is covered in-depth in Ambrose’s book Spirits of New Orleans, both her history and the rumored ghost stories behind it all.

In Spirits of New Orleans, Ambrose states that “more horrific activities have occurred at this home [LaLaurie’s] over the years and no one is ever able to rest easy in the home. The house appears to have a “presence,” an entity that has developed from all the torture and misery experienced in the home. The entity seems to have an effect on all who stay in the home, leading many of them to do dark deeds of their own.”

In the article, Ambrose claims that “as to Madame LaLaurie, she is buried in New Orleans, where she reportedly is still at rest, unlike her resurrection in the first episode of American Horror Story: Coven.”

Check out the entire article here, and then decide for yourself whether or not American Horror Story: Coven’s portrayal of Madame LaLaurie is fact or fiction! If you are interested in knowing the rest of the story behind all of the characters being portrayed in American Horror Story: Coven, you can dive into the rich history and infamous spirits of New Orleans with Kala Ambrose’s book, Spirits of New Orleans.


Fall Foliage and Haunted Road Trip: OH, PA, VA

Just about every city has a homegrown ghost story that is closely linked to the town’s history. If you’re interested in exploring the unknown, here a few haunted road trips near the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia borders. Explore rich history, haunted locales, and enjoy some of the best fall foliage along the way.

Willoughby, Ohio
The Willoughby ghost walk is a guided tour through the haunted historic district of downtown Willoughby, beginning at Cathi’s store on Erie Street, The Spice Peddler. The tour covers approximately twelve blocks and takes about 90 minutes. Described as a rough town, the basements of stores along the ghost walk used to be homes of brothels, speakeasies, and number rackets back in the twenties and forties.

Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
All battlefields and forts have their resident ghosts, but Fort Mifflin ranks high on the list when it comes to the paranormal. Some visitors claim Fort Mifflin to be one of the most haunted places in the country, especially during a moonlit night. There are plenty of phantom activities, but the most renowned ghosts are the Screaming Lady and the Faceless Man. Ghosts have been reported all over the fort, in buildings and out in the open. The 14 buildings of the fort sit on 50 acres on Mud Island, a stone’s throw from Philadelphia and its International Airport.

Ghosts of the Valley, Winchester, Virginia
Winchester may very well be the most haunted city in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. Located at the north end of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester is the northernmost community of any size in the state. The Fuller House Inn and Mount Hebron Cemetery are only a couple of the haunted locations in Winchester. Several ghost tours are offered in Winchester.

To find out more about these sites and more in their areas, or to discover other haunted locations in your area, check out the rest of the books in the America’s Haunted Road Trip series here.

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*All ghost hunts excerpted from AHRT books. 

Education in the Paranormal Field

Often, when people think of ghosthunting, they don’t generally think of education being a big part of the field. Sometimes it’s not, but many ghosthunters pride themselves in backgrounds ranging from psychology to medicine to science. All of these disciplines lend themselves to better ghosthunting research, but do you believe that further education is necessary?

Many organizations, small paranormal shops, individuals, and even some colleges now offer ghosthunting courses and certifications. One example is The Ghosthunter Shop out of Lexington, Kentucky. Patti Starr owns and operates the shop with her husband Chuck Starr (these are the same folks that produce Scarefest) and they offer an introductory course, a certification class, and a certification from home class for reasonable prices.

The question is, what do you think about ghosthunting education? Do you believe it’s necessary for a ghosthunter to be certified to be considered an expert?

New Book Uncovers Windy City’s Ghosts

The newest addition to the America’s Haunted Road Trip series, Chicago Haunted Handbook, brings you 99 ghostly places you can visit in and around the Windy City. Authors Jeff Morris and Vince Sheilds profile 99 of the most haunted spots in Chicago, covering all the important information such as location, directions, a brief history of the spot, the ghost story behind the spot, and tips for when and how to visit.

Are you ready to hunt for ghosts in the Windy City?
All 99 locations are open to the public, and suggested tours are included in the back (Paranormal Pub Crawl, Gangland, etc.), which make this guide the perfect tool when planning your next ghosthunt in the Midwest. Combine this book with John Kachuba’s Ghosthunting Illinois or Helen Pattskyn’s Ghosthunting Michigan and make a real road trip out of it!

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All books in the AHRT series are available at AdventureKEEN. 

Scarefest 2013 Success

Just this past month, America’s Haunted Road Trip attended the 6th annual Scarefest Horror & Paranormal Convention in Lexington, Kentucky. Produced by Ghost Chasers International, Scarefest has become one of the largest horror conventions in the United States, and this  year was no exception.  

This year’s star-studded guest list included Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Star Trek Generations), Rutina Wesley (Tara), Jim Parrack (Hoyt), Janina Gavankar (Luna), and Jessica Clark (Lilith, the Vampire Goddess) from True Blood, Chandler Riggs (Carl from The Walking Dead), and of course, the Scarefest staple babe, Danielle Harris.

There where were more vendors than ever before at Scarefest 2013, with 82,000 square feet of artists, entertainers, tattoo artists, paranormal groups, booksellers, ghosthunting gear, novelty items, and much more. Seminars from experts in their fields stacked the 3-day schedule and drew huge crowds.

Both at Scarefest 2013
Both at Scarefest 2013

 We had an extremely successful year this year at Scarefest 2013 and we can’t wait to return next September 12-14, 2014!