It’s almost the most bone-chilling time of the year, and there’s no better way to kick off October than with some ghost hunting.
In addition to faux haunted homes and fear farms in every corner of the Valley leading up to Halloween, Arizona also has plenty of reportedly haunted historic places to whet the appetites of paranormal enthusiasts and urban explorers alike. Test your mettle beyond artificial haunted houses starring high schoolers dressed up like killer clowns — here are some ghost hunts for those brave souls wanting to stare down something a little less cheesy and a little more real.
Friday the 13th Mystery Castle Ghost Tour – October 13
The story goes that a man named Boyce Gulley moved to Phoenix in the 1930s for treatment of tuberculosis and began building Mystery Castle — complete with dungeon, trap door and a room called “Purgatory”—for his wife and daughter. Situated in the foothills of South Mountain, the haphazard fortress was made with a hodgepodge of found or inexpensive materials. Some think the castle holds spirits and mysteries that are worth exploring. Visitors can use paranormal equipment seen in popular ghost hunting TV shows. $25 cash at the door. 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. RSVP necessary. Mystery Castle, 800 E. Mineral Rd., Phoenix, 925-392-1205, hauntedscottsdaleghosttours.com.
Haunted Phoenix Bus Tour – October 14 & 28
The so-called Hip Historian, Marshall Shore, hosts this quirky-yet-eerie bus tour of Downtown Phoenix. Notable stops include the ruins of the First Baptist Church, which caught fire in the ‘80s, and the San Carlos Hotel, home of Leone Jensen, who jumped to her death in 1928. $30. 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Clarendon Hotel, 401 W Clarendon Ave., Phoenix, marshallshore.com.
All Hallow’s Eve Ghost Hunt – October 20
Join the Phoenix Arizona Paranormal Society in investigating the mysteries of the Arizona Pioneer Living History Museum – costumes are highly encouraged. Afterwards, join the team inside the haunted opera house, join a live podcast and win some sweet prizes at their costume contest. $25. 18+ only. 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Arizona Pioneer Living History Museum, 3901 W Pioneer Rd., Phoenix, 623-465-1052, phoenix-arizona-paranormal-society.com.
Orpheum Ghost Tours – October 20-31
Explore off-limits spaces in the old Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Phoenix and hear stories of spirits that still visit and bother performers onstage. Keep an eye out for Mattie, the house ghost that apparently likes to wander around the balcony. $25. Tours are an hour long, and begin every half-hour from 6-9 p.m. Orpheum Theatre, 203 W. Adams St., Phoenix, 602-495-7139, fototphx.org.
Tucson Ghost Experience – Year-round on select Monday nights
Everything is lights-out in this eerie experience open to only the bravest among us. Use ghost hunting equipment and EVP sessions with an actual paranormal investigator (Tucson Ghost Co. owner Becky Gydesen) to communicate with the spirits of La Cocina, a restaurant where people have reported being touched, seeing apparitions and finding objects far from where they were last placed. $25. Recommended age: 12 and up. 7 p.m.- 9 p.m. La Cocina, 201 N. Court Ave., Tucson, 520-373-5387, tucsonghosttour.com.
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