Ghost Tour of Philadelphia
$17 per person for approx. 80 minutes of haunted tales
7:30 p.m. nightly in October, with additional 9:30 p.m. tours on Fridays and Saturdays
Meet the Tour Guide
Our tour guide, Josh, has been working with Philly Tours for eight years. He grew up in a haunted house in southern Delaware, and has always been fascinated by ghost stories. “This was something I’ve already wanted to do,” he informed Street.
Dressed in all black (with a top hat and a worn leather jacket), Josh conducted the tour with gusto. He led us to the six different sites, with a vintage lantern just bright enough to highlight the faces of the diverse crowd, which consisted mostly of reluctant boyfriends and a few fanny packs.
His stories were informative and relatively believable. According to Josh, “some people are able to sense things and some people never do.” And he had more than ghost stories to offer: for those that are able to sense ghosts, he advised, “It’s good to talk and just to acknowledge ‘Hi, I know that you’re here, I’m also here. Let’s try and live together.” However, he highly recommends not fooling around with Ouija boards because, “Weird, weird stuff happened for a long time” after he used one once. When asked to elaborate, he responded, “That’s something I don’t want to go into.”
Stops on the Tour
In 1834, a bride and several bridesmaids burned alive in a fire that destroyed the building. Even though it reopened in 1976, visitors who dine in the restaurant today claim to have seen the phantom bride appear in photos and put out candles due her dislike of fire. A waiter who died in a duel on the premise also haunts restaurant-goers.
In 1790, Benjamin Franklin founded this institution. This was allegedly one of his favorite spots—probably because he had the hots for one of the librarians. No joke: a woman working there late at night in the 1880’s claims his ghost pinched her butt. Apparently, the statue of him moves as well.
In 1798, over $160,000 was stolen from the vaults here. One of the suspects, an inhabitant of the Hall, was arrested but soon after released. A week later, his corpse was found in his room after he supposedly contracted yellow fever in jail. To this day, the smell of decomposed flesh sporadically pervades the building.
Bishop White House:
The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 claimed over 5,000 lives in Philadelphia, including some of those who resided in Reverend White’s house. Park rangers claim apparitions of a man, a housekeeper, and a cat frequent the premises (Are they sure they’re not just seeing kids sneaking into the garden to smoke?).
Washington Square Park:
Washington Square Park is built on top of a mass grave of over 2000 soldiers and Native Americans. Before it was built, rampant grave robbing of body parts occurred in these “plague pits.” Morbid, right? The woman who guarded these bodies thought so, too. Dressed in all black, she still haunts the park. But totally still a great place for a picnic.
According to the night watchmen, many of the Founding Fathers still haunt the building. They may have declared the country independent from England, but they certainly won’t let the city be independent of their spirits. So what’s scarier: Independence Hall or Capitol Hill?
If you’re into paranormal activity, this will be right up your alley. If not, suspend your disbelief, open your mind to the supernatural and get your $17 worth.