Haunted Tours of New Orleans

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Travel Features >> Haunted Tours of New Orleans

Haunted Tours of New Orleans

May 07, 2011

So you thought New Orleans was all about music and jazz – well think again, as we bring to you a few insights into the Haunted Tours of New Orleans. Everyday is Halloween in “the city that care forgot” where grown ups can rediscover once more the childish pleasures of costumes, the sheer bafflement of the paranormal and the pure thrill of magic. New Orleans manages to stir the ghoulish imagination of even the staunchest sceptic. Of course, the setting helps. Providing continual fodder to all things creepy is the profusion of centuries old building, crumbling cemeteries, mysterious alleyways, and darkened courtyards, not to mention the ancient practice of -Voodoo.

We had nothing more daunting planned than a browse through the European 'Viex Carre' imbibing the old world charm of the French Quarter and a stroll down Bourbon Street where the party lasts around the clock. So, the temptation of a spine tingling thrill was too much to pass! Will we really ever be too old for the primeval pleasure of a good scare? Feeling like kids on a school trip we gathered outside Rev. Zombie's Voodoo shop for a Haunted History Tour.

Haunted History tour

This $20 trip comprised seven stops that allowed for narration about the gristly events that had taken place at the locations verified by the findings of professional mediums, newspaper accounts and in some cases, police reports. Make sure that you have a 'muffaletta' or at least a 'po'boy' sandwich under your belt for this is a long walking tour, through the spooky nooks and alleys of the French Quarter, otherwise chances are you may join the legendary numbers who faint and curl up in the foetal position on the same spot on this tour.

Our first stop was the site of the 1788 Good Friday Fire that had ravaged a large part of the Quarter. The bells that would have usually tolled as a warning of the fire had been disabled for the holiday and unfortunately the priests could not untie them fast enough. Many died in this fire and it is said that each year on Good Friday at around midnight the faint sound of the bells ringing can be heard along with the voices of those killed in the fire.

Despite my scepticism, I found myself peering over my shoulder as the tour guide stopped outside La Maison Lalaurie. He began grim account of mutilation and gore and claimed that some people actually experience the paranormal- watches stop at exactly the same location, on each tour. ‘We've had 30 people faint at the same spot!’

We arrived at Pirate's Alley Cafe the final stop and cooled off with a Bloody Mary while the tour guide wound up his narrative with a last ghost story. In retrospect I wonder if it wasn't the combination of the heat and the cocktails that was the cause of the reported faintings.

Voodoo Tour

If you are one of the uninitiated - then the word 'voodoo' probably conjures up images of pin-pricked dolls, sacrificial altars and witch doctors casting spells on unsuspecting victims. But it really is more than supernatural fodder for horror movies. The legend of Voodoo is very much a part of this incredible city as Gumbo and the Streetcar.

A must see on this tour is the gravesite of the notorious high priestess of Voodoo, Marie Laveau. She spearheaded most of the public rituals full of strange and exotic ceremonies, and was a great favourite with the Creole aristocrats supplying them with potions, amulets, powders and oils.

Other stops in this tour include the Historic Voodoo Museum where on display are painting, wood carvings, pythons, rat's heads, bats, talismans and other "gris-gris" along with other mysterious accompaniments like "Boss-fix powder", the Voodoo Spiritual Temple where on offer are a Voodoo consultation and a potion or two.

Vampire tour

Hold your breath and venture into the mysterious and dark realm of the undead! This ghoulish tour is a combination of reality and fiction. It combines sites of vampire crimes as well as locations where movies have been filmed - the most well known of which is "An Interview with a Vampire” starring matinee idols Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. This tour departs nightly at 8:30 p.m. from in front of the St. Louis' Cathedral.

Cemetery tour

This takes you on a walking tour of the eerie ‘cities of the dead.’ New Orleans' famous above ground cemeteries with their ornate crypts, imposing mausoleums and centuries old grave sites, can give the most resolute visitor a shiver, even at high noon.

Much of New Orleans is below sea level. Early settlers here found corpses they had buried float up to the ground and since then began to place their dead in vaults above ground. They decorated these with fences and gardens so these graveyards began to resemble little cities. The general decay of time has given these cemeteries a creepy appearance. Not to forget the criminals here are more corporeal than paranormal, so be warned about the danger of night visits to these cemeteries.

New Orleans, sublime spirit world - is it fiction or reality? Find out if you dare!

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