From the appearance of apparitions to unexplained, unusual occurrences at businesses and hotels throughout Chattanooga, Tenn., the city has its share of restless spirits. In fact, according to Amy Petulla, owner and founder of Chattanooga Ghost Tours, "There is a woman who calls herself 'The Ghosthunters' Ghost Hunter,' who says that Chattanooga is possibly the most haunted city, next to Savannah and New Orleans.
"So it ranks pretty high, though many people do not know about our haunted history ~ yet, and that's why we're here."
Petulla adds that when she began her research, she was taken aback by how extensive the hauntings are in Chattanooga.
"It surprised me that most hauntings are unrelated to the Civil War."
Established in 2007, Chattanooga Ghost Tours has received numerous accolades, including being named among the top ten ghost tours in the U.S. by TripAdvisor within three years of starting and by USA Today a few years later.
The three adventures they offer include:
The Murder & Mayhem Tour is a 1.5-hour nightly journey, March through November, and on weekends in the winter that Petulla says is their most popular tour.
"We take you through downtown, tell you about downtown's ghosts, show you the best places to get ghost photos, and tell you some of Chattanooga's more entertaining history along the way."
While this tour does not go inside any locations, the deluxe version of the Murder and Mayhem Tour (available on Sunday nights) and the (Chattanooga) Choo Choo Deluxe Tour (conducted weekly on Friday nights) have additional inside stops for those who want more.
The company's UTC/Cemetery Ghost Hunt is for those 18 and older. Per Petulla, "Guests get to use the equipment they have seen on television.
The hunt is not about the stories and the history; it is about the experience and for more adventurous adult guests who want the best chance of having some kind of encounter."
For those who can't decide or who have children who want to use some equipment, Chattanooga Ghost Tours offers a combo ghost tour/hunt downtown that includes some of the Murder and Mayhem stops, with the use of EMF detectors during the tour.
"Ghost tours are a great way to learn about a city's history while being entertained at the same time," says Petulla. "We try to offer something for everyone, from those who just want to hear about ghosts and maybe get a ghost photo, to those who want to go inside locations, to those who want to experience something supernatural. And we have the absolute best guides in town."
Destinations exude an entirely different feel when some thrills and chills you'll soon not forget are part of the visit. Regardless of the time of year, take a walk on the paranormal side. For every lost spirit wandering out there, there's a good story to go with them, especially in the South, like:
Departing nightly at 7 p.m. from Hannibal History Museum, enjoy stories weaving in the area's history with ghost stories and more.
The 60-minute walk takes you to haunted places in Hot Springs and introduces you to the city's darker side.
Options include the 90-minute Austin Haunting Walking Tour (Thurs., Fri., Sat., Sun., departing 8 p.m., from Driskell Hotel) and the Paranormal Investigations at Pioneer Farms (third Sat. of each month, gates open at 6:30 p.m., investigations begin at 7 p.m. and concludes at 9:30 p.m.)
Conducted by Red Stick Adventure, the combo less than 3-hour mini-bus/walk tour brings to the capital city's murder stories, local ghost legends and folklore. There are also opportunities for some paranormal investigations.
In a little over an hour on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., join in a twelve-block stroll through Vicksburg's oldest and most haunted neighborhood.
Explore Birmingham's eerie past with one of the three tours introducing you to the city's mysteries, ghostly sightings and more.
During the 90-minute lantern-led walk through historic downtown Marietta, hear stories and see the sites related to the spirits still occupying downtown.
Hosted by Sarasota Suncoast Tours, experience Sarasota, Fla.'s spirited and sinister side on the 75-minute walking tour. The tour departs at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The about two-hour tour covers two miles downtown, with the opportunity to use EMF meters.
The 90-minute walk takes you to actively haunted sites and entertains you with eerie tales and the possibility of encounters.
The candlelit 90-minute walking tour, departing at 8 p.m., guides you along the streets of Colonial Williamsburg, highlighting the hidden secrets of strange and "otherworldly" experiences. Suitable for the entire family, including skeptics.
Old Louisville may be the most haunted neighborhood in the U.S. Come to your own conclusions as you hear about its ghostly past and tour paranormal hotspots. The 90-minute tours are offered nightly at 7:30 p.m., seven days a week from March through November, and select dates in the off-season.
A very old town is said to be very haunted. Learn more about its history and the spirits that still call it home on the evening traditional haunted walk on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing at 7 p.m. (fall, winter and spring) and 8 p.m. (summer.)