Dallas Fort Worth Air Tours' pilots love to show off their city; they just do it from several hundred feet in the air. They lead airborne tours of the urban landscape, using planes and helicopters. They cruise along waterfronts, observe ripples of light across steel and glass sky scrapers, and provide a bird's-eye view of the interplay of concrete and greenery in the city's parks.
The guides at Fort Worth Tours & Trails seek out storied locales and dish out historical secrets of Panther City through the outfit's assortment of tours via bus or by foot. For walking tours, groups gather at one of two locations: the east lawn of the Courthouse for the Hell's Half-Acre to Sundance Square tour or in front of the Visitors' Center on Exchange Avenue for the Stockyards and Historic North Side tour. The former stops at several spots that figured prominently in the downtown area's early development, while the latter combs the brick streets of the historic north side, home to the Cowboy Hall of Fame and the world's only longhorn herd that hasn't succumbed to Internet stardom as a dancing flash mob. On both excursions, tour-goers have the opportunity to hear a plethora of little-known facts and cocktail party-worthy anecdotes from the city's rich history.
In a feature showcasing Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour, a My San Antonio writer mused, "Maybe the connection of the past to the present is stronger in old towns like Galveston and Granbury." Perhaps Granbury, which was founded in 1854, is a paranormal hot spot because it teems with unresolved murders and historic conflict. Legend has it that the infamous outlaw Jesse James died here, and that his final resting place is the grave of an unknown man.
The knowledgeable guides at Granbury Ghosts and Legends—mother-daughter team Coletta and Brandy—explore these centuries-old, supernatural conflicts with their historical tours. Dressed in Civil War period costume, they guide groups through the town square and presumably haunted buildings in pursuit of such celebrated local spirits as the Lady in Red, the Faceless Girl, and Indian Joe. The tour has been named one of the seven best ghost tours in the country by Frommer's.
Sometimes, it only takes one family to ruin a neighborhood. In the case of the Voodoo Bayou in 1901, Baron Michael Verdun and his wife, Lady Cassandra, were the ones to blame. The psychopathic werewolf and his vampire bride set about building a menacing Antebellum-style mansion atop an old cemetery, where they began creating twisted human-animal hybrids. Enraged, the townsfolk set the mansion aflame, burning its inhabitants in the process. But the Baron and his wife never truly left.
Today, their spirits still inhabit Thrillvania Haunted House Park's nearly 50 acres, which encompass four distinct haunted attractions. A giant brain controls the clowns who rule Cassandra’s Labyrinth of Terror, a twisting maze of black-lit hallways and neon colors. Monsters roam outdoors at Sam Hain’s Trail of Torment, and Mortimer Thorn continues to perform cruel experiments within the run-down church known as Thorn Hall. However, the epicenter of terror remains Verdun Manor, the decaying—and occasionally flame-throwing—mansion.
Spooky origin stories aside, the manor is actually the invention of the late human Lance Pope. Mr. Pope grew up fascinated by old mansions, monsters, and haunted houses. So together with a design team—including former Disney Imagineers—Mr Pope built a sprawling park with more hidden scares than his childhood self could have imagined. His creations have garnered many fans and led to ample media attention, including a feature on Travel Channel's America’s Scariest Haunted Attractions.