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Another Roadside Attraction - Orlando Ghost Tours


Orlando Ghost Tours
(407) 423-5600
www.hauntedorlando.com

Admission: Adults $25; children (7 to 12) $20; seniors, college students, and military $15
Hours: Daily except Sunday at 8:00 p.m.
Location: Meets at Church Street Marketplace, downtown Orlando

It turns out you don’t need a centuries-old castle to have a haunted house. Orlando has plenty of haunts and most of them date to the early twentieth century. This low key operation will help you find them.

You meet your group of intrepid ghost hunters on downtown Church Street, steps away from the now-defunct entertainment complex known as Church Street Station, which turns out to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. The various buildings here, some of Orlando’s oldest, are haunted by the spirits of newborns murdered by their prostitute mothers, a piano player (who, until the building closed recently, liked to play for late night guests), and a can-can dancer who died while preparing to perform at Rosie O’Grady’s.

Then it’s off to scope out hauntings in other downtown buildings. One of the most active locations is also one of the newest buildings. In fact, it’s the fifth building to be built on the site, after a series of collapses and fires. As it turns out, this downtown corner was once a Seminole Indian burial ground and as anyone who goes to the movies knows, building there was a big mistake.

The evening wraps up inside an old courthouse (now the Orange County History Center), where the tour goes high tech. Tour guests are issued electromagnetic detectors (or, if you prefer, a laser thermometer) to detect paranormal activity. On the tour I took, my detector started “spiking” wildly. I had apparently sparked the interest of Emily, a little girl who met a sad end in the city’s foster care system years ago. The guide explained that Emily is drawn to father figures. As to why a little girl is haunting a courthouse, speculation has it that this is the last place she saw her family intact.

Unlike other ghost tours I’ve taken, this one does not rely on lugubrious costumes or spooky speeches. Our guide was April, an attractive young woman with a degree in forensic anthropology, who brought a healthy dose of scientific scepticism to the proceedings.

If you’re a “sensitive,” you will definitely want to take this tour. If you “ain’t afraid of no ghosts” (as the song says), this is a good chance to test the courage of your convictions.

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