Let’s face it. Ghosts are popular these days. Just about every other channel on television hosts some kind of show on the paranormal. And if we aren’t watching ghosts on TV, we are reading about them in newspapers, books and magazines. What was once a taboo subject is now being embraced by society. So, with all this fascination regarding ghosts, it’s no wonder we want more than anything to see them in person. We, as believers and even skeptics, want to experience the paranormal up close.
A great way to do just that is by joining in on a ghost tour. Nearly every city in America has one, and they come in all different varieties. There are walking tours that run anywhere between an hour to nearly two hours, so be sure to wear a sensible pair of shoes. And for those ghost enthusiasts that would rather rest their weary feet, a riding tour may be the better option. Some cities offer horse and carriage rides, bus rides or even haunted hearse rides! When it comes to ghost tours, there is something offered for everyone.
As a ghost researcher and writer, I have been in numerous cities throughout the U.S. and have been on many ghost tours. I have been impressed by many, but have also been disappointed by some. The 90-minute walking tour past the bewitching buildings of Salem, MA was memorable, however, being squeezed into the back of a hearse with seven other people (yes, they were alive) and no working air conditioning ,was not quite so entertaining.
Then, there was my favorite tour. The one that I go back to over and over, and not just because it’s only an hour away from home. This is a tour that has made its mark on my “must do” ghost tour list. It is a place I can highly recommend to other researchers and those seriously interested in the field, and feel confident about. For this tour is one unlike many others. It’s one of the only tours that I’ve been on where I can almost be guaranteed to have an authentic ghost experience. The May Stringer House in Brooksville, Florida is pretty much a sure thing when it comes to finding ghosts, and not just hearing about them. The Victorian abode dating back to the 1800s, which now is a museum during the day, has so many ghosts that it was actually certified as haunted. I once asked one of the May Stringer docents how many restless souls are residing at the house, and she answered at least nine. That’s a pretty high number considering most haunted houses usually have between one to two lingering spirits.
The tour of the May Stringer House starts after the doors have been locked and the lights have been dimmed. Once the atmosphere has been established, the museum’s docents who also volunteer as the nightly ghost guides, introduce the history of the house to the tour’s guests. The historical lead-in to the ghost stories which follow, is very informative, thorough and interesting. After the guests learn of the May Stringer House’s history, the foundation has been laid and the ghostly tales can be exposed. Guests will be led by their guide through the various rooms and levels of the large Victorian home, and then can later wander about on their own (with supervision) to take pictures and perhaps capture some spooky EVPs. That’s right, you are welcome and even encouraged to bring with you any kind of hand- held device such as digital voice recorders, cameras, EMF meters, etc. for your ghost hunting needs.
Please note that you must be at least 16-years-old to take part on a tour at the May Stringer House. Also, while on a tour, docents ask for respect of the house. There are many antiques within the home, and some of the rooms and corridors are quite small, so please be careful when using equipment and just when walking. And while respecting the fragility of the historical furnishings is crucial, it is also extremely important to kindly respect the resident ghosts. Keep in mind you are guests in their home. Disrespect and mockery are simply not tolerated by the docents and the non-living!
Overall, the tour is outstanding. The guides have a plethora of information ranging from historical facts and ghost stories to ghost hunting advice. The house has seen its share of skilled ghost research groups, and also of visitors who would like to learn more about ghost investigation. As a director of a ghost group myself, I must say it is a great place to train your new, less experienced members. And as a skeptic, it is a definite must-see. Granted, you can’t command a ghost to come out and show itself, but at the May Stringer House, it’s almost certain you will leave believing if you didn’t already.
The cost of the tour is $20.00, which is quite reasonable considering it is two hours and takes place inside a haunted house as opposed to being out on the street or sidewalk. Heck, you even get to take part in spooky attic vigil with other guests and your guide…that is, if you are brave enough! So while some might fret about spending the money, keep in mind it is well worth it and in comparison to some of the other tours out there, this one beats them all. Why spend $15-17.00 a person on a simple walking tour, when you could spend only a few dollars more and get all the extras?! Plus, the money you spend on a night of haunted fun goes straight to the May Stringer House museum as it is non-profit and strictly volunteer run.
So, if you are looking for a great way to spend a Saturday night and would prefer to have your very own paranormal experience rather than just watching Paranormal State or Ghost Hunters, then come out to one of the most haunted structures in the state.
To read more about this location and its ghost lore, please pick up a copy of my book titled, Haunted Florida: A Guide to the Departed Soul, Vol. One. You can find it here on Beyond the Limits Magazine’s page. Just go to the Store tab!
To book a tour and find out about tour times, please e-mail museum/ghost guide Ms. Bonnie LeTourneau at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours run on Saturday nights, and are $20.00. Cash only please.
May Stringer House is located in Brooksville, Florida at 601 Museum Court, 34601.
Please note that ghost tour guests need to be at least 16-years-old to take part, and that the utmost respect needs to be given while on the tour due to the fragility of the many antiques housed inside.