Last week, I wrote about running into something paranormal in a place I wasn't expecting it to be. This week, I wanted to write about haunted places I've been that somehow didn't seem all that haunted. And there have been quite a few.
I've been dragging Jim along on ghost tours for years. We started modestly: a Chicago tour with Richard Crowe, this one by boat along the Chicago River and parts of Lake Michigan. I think Jim probably enjoyed the boat ride more than he did the ghost stories, although he does like the history included on tours. When we had a chance to take a ghost tour in York, "across the pond" in England, I jumped at the chance and he agreed. Now, however, whenever we travel someplace new, he'll ask me if I've looked into a local ghost tour. Cool!
And we've done quite a few of those, both close to us as well as in states not so close. We've hit Savannah, Gatlinburg, Branson, Charleston, Austin, and Williamsburg. Closer to home, we've taken tours in Door County, Galena, and Naperville. During the course of those tours, we were averaging about eight to twelve locations on each one. All of those locations were purportedly haunted. But quite a few of them just felt, well, old.
I read somewhere that if people are told that something can be seen, they are more likely to see it. By that statement, I should have seen all sorts of wraiths popping out everywhere we stopped. That didn't happen, though, so I'm not sure that the stated observation is always true. On most of those tours, I wanted to see something.(Maybe because I'd never seen one before?) But that didn't happen. The Pirate's House in Savannah is a good example of that. Given that the place's earliest foundation was built in 1734, that it has a cellar and tunnel arrangement where unsuspecting sailors were dropped and then spirited away and forced to work on ships they had never wanted anything to do with, and was rumored to be the death place of a certain Captain Flint, one would expect the building to be crazy with ghosts. And while it is certainly filled with shadows, and the cellar and tunnel area is very unpleasant, it didn't feel haunted, so to speak. It mostly seemed musty and old and damp.
The same was true of Charleston. The tour, as always, was fascinating, especially the bits of history that are included with every tour. And although we walked to all sorts of different historical sites, some of them associated with truly disturbing events, nothing jumped out at us at any particular location. Maybe that's a good thing, though, seeing as how our lodgings in Charleston were actually included on the tour! Big surprise to us, I'll admit. And although there were a corner or two in the place that felt a bit uneasy, nothing actually turned up in our rooms. I guess I should be grateful about that. Maybe I might have had more experiences if our tour had included the Old City Jail, but that place was bad enough during the day with ninety-degree heat and Southern sunshine. I can't even imagine what it would be like at night. (We opted against that tour because the Old City Jail was the entire tour. No thank you.)
The York ghost tour was so long ago that I can't remember all the places that we stopped. Our tour guide was a stage actor, so his stories were well-told and very entertaining. But again, none of the places we stopped at struck me as any more disturbed than the surrounding structures. York is a very old city (can we say Roman Empire?) and by rights should be quite haunted. It probably is. But for some reason, nothing showed itself that night.
On the other hand, because I am not a medium and my sensitivity is probably sporadic at best, it is quite possible that there were any number of ghosts doing the Virginia Reel around us in Williamsburg, or coming at us with ethereal weapons in York, and I would never have known. Maybe I should be grateful that I don't have the Michael Penfield ability of being able to see every dead person and his brother at any given location.
But I didn't mean to suggest that all the ghost tours we have been on have been a complete bust. Next week, I'll finish off this little three-post arc with places that were known to be haunted - and didn't disappoint.