History is a tempestuous breeding ground for historians, ghosts, and ghastly historians. You can haunt history's fertile fields with today's Groupon: $9 gets you an adult ticket to the Ghost Tour of Philadelphia, a candlelight walking tour of Society Hill and Independence Park with tales of fiendish bloodshed and American history (a $17 value). Tours depart from Signers Garden (at 5th and Chestnut) and last approximately 90 bone-chilling minutes. October tours leave daily at 7:30 p.m., and November tours leave at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Get your favorite nightcrawlers and necromancers and get in on the wicked fun. (Note: Your Groupon is not valid for weekends of Oct. 16–17, 23–24, or 30–31.)
Bring a scarf to stave off the cold chill that creeps down the back of your neck. Keep your eyes peeled like slimy grapes to watch ghosts flutter past in the flicker of a candle's light. You'll visit the historical haunts of the Founding Fathers and hear the dark tales that echo from your city's momentous halls and decaying gravesites. Each story has been documented through interviews and research, and your talented tour guides know the lore inside and out. They recount the tales with such ghoulish detail that their voices shake with an otherworldly power, conjuring the dead through story.
Just like taking your high school sweetheart to a scary movie, going on the ghost tour is bound to bring you closer to whomever you bring along. Take the family out for a tricky treat and sleep with the lights on that night. When ominous spirits threaten to follow you home, repel the dead and invigorate your sweetie's devotion with a dramatic snuggle standoff. Woo potential life partners in the flattering glow of candlelight, or entertain out-of-town guests with a haunted history lesson that will have them dying to come back for another visit.
Ghost Tour of Philadelphia is one of GoPhila.com's Top 10 Halloween Haunts and one of the Best Ghost Tours in the USA. It was featured in Fodor's, Arcade, and the Courier Post. The Examiner had this to say:
- Ghost stories of haunted sightings are numerous, and the historical tie-ins by the guides are thought-provoking. Your guide will have you darting in and out of unique locations. There is incredible architecture in every direction. Even if you are a fan of history, there is a good chance you will hear many "aha" moments during your tour. The content is well constructed, so that small children shouldn't be upset easily, yet the more mature in your group will "get it". Simply put, these people are experts at what they do. – Joe Weischedel, Examiner
- This tour is perfect for kids, tourists or anyone who likes a good ghost story! My boyfriend and I went on Halloween this year (2008) and had a fun time...I think everyone could learn something from this and it's not too scary for little kids. – LeeAnne M., Insider Pages
- It's not a hard walk, and will show you the major sites of Philadelphia as well as tell some spooky stories behind them. – Ryan H., Insider Pages
- We got an excellent actor who really got into the spirit of the presentation. – monkeyspit, Kudzu
Phantoms of Philly
When you’re on your tour, keep your eyes peeled for the ghosts of some of Philadelphia’s most famous residents:
- Rocky Balboa: For decades, it seemed nothing could keep down the scrappy club fighter who went from collecting debts for loan sharks to single-handedly ending the Cold War by flattening Russian superman Ivan Drago. However, shortly after the completion of the 2006 documentary Rocky Balboa, the heavyweight hero was tragically crushed while bravely supporting the wall of a collapsing hospital long enough for all patients to escape, calling over his shoulder for one boy to “follow his dreams.”
- Benjamin Franklin: Founding Father and longtime Philadelphia resident Benjamin Franklin officially “died” in 1790, but in reality, his scientific mind could not be restrained by the inconveniences of biology. The discoverer of electricity systematically replaced his organs with hand-stitched preservative-secreting bladders and modified one of his Franklin Stoves into an ammonia-fueled air-cooling device his diaries refer to as “The Perpetuator.” Relocating to a secret cabin in the woods, Franklin went on to live an additional 60 years, finally succumbing when it was discovered that he could not invent a cure for nosy bears.
- Todd Rundgren: The veteran musician is alive and well, dividing his time with touring, recording, and lending his profile to a number of charity organizations. That being said, he does have a ghost, although, at least publicly, they do not speak.
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