#8: Go on a Ghost Tour

With only 5 months left until turning 30, I’m making more of an effort to cross adventures off my list, starting with a ghost adventure in one of the country’s most haunted and historical cities: Salem, Massachusetts.

This weekend, 3 of my best friends from the Midwest made the trip to experience my new life on the East Coast. I’ve been out here now for 6 months on my own, which has given me a chance to reflect, reinvent, and redefine my life without any interference or interruption from other influences besides my own intuition. Having this time to be introspective and take chances on an uncertain future has been unbelievably powerful for me – almost supernaturally so. It’s felt at different points of this past year like the universe has rearranged itself and the stars have shifted into alignment to give me alternative directions in life, all leading toward an ultimate, ongoing happiness that I had lost sight of somewhere along the way. So to celebrate my new life with old friends, a ghost tour seemed fitting as a way to bring the past, present, and future all into one experience – which is what ghosts are really all about – mystical and inexplicable intersections of time, energy, and space. Plus, we were in Salem, which is among the most supercharged paranormal cities in the world, so what better place than Salem to cross #8 off my list?

Our tour started at dusk, as part of the Salem Night Tour  – “a 75-minute fully narrated walk by cemeteries, murder sites, and remaining spots from the Witch Hysteria of 1692” – which is exactly what we experienced. What I didn’t anticipate experiencing was actual supernatural activity. I tend to be a logical, skeptical, pragmatic person. I believe there is paranormal energy in the world, but I’m probably not capable of detecting it. Because I’m also an imaginative believer in the power of storytelling and thrive on the what-ifs in life, I authentically enjoy hearing ghost stories or re-tellings of encounters other people have had, I just never thought I could experience it for myself. Until our tour.

As we wound our way around the streets of Salem with our guide and other tourists from all over the world seeking to experience something supernatural, we listened to stories, shared laughs, and took photos:

As we approached the site in Salem where those accused in the witch trials were held in cells over 300 years ago, our guide alerted us that the activity seemed higher than usual at this location on this particular night. Normally, this is something I would roll my eyes at and dismiss as a blatant attempt to stir emotions or coax imaginations to run wild, but our guide wasn’t a character actor – he was just a local resident of Salem who had several documented supernatural experiences and seemed sincerely passionate about understanding the lines between life and death, past and present. He didn’t make a production of this statement, he just genuinely wanted to share his heightened perceptions and paranormal sensitivity with the rest of us. So we stood and listened while snapping some photos. Only at this site, all of the pictures we took were covered with a thick white fog:

We tried different angles, closed and re-opened the camera application, and moved into different lighting, but still every picture we took at this site was clouded by this ectoplasmic fog. As soon as we continued on the tour, pictures returned to normal.

The story at the next site was based on an encounter experienced by a tourist from Chicago years ago – who suddenly and vividly started tasting apples, so much so that her mouth watered and she cried out for help. This all happened on the site where one of the accused witch’s apple orchard once grew, before the guide had a chance to share that fact. So being from Chicago, our guide asked me to stand in place while he told the story, incase any residual energy from the encounter remained:

Still a little spooked from our camera malfunction, we moved on, and at “The Burrying Point” – the graveyard where several of the innocent victims of the Salem Witch Trial are buried – the fog on our photos appeared again, as did several light anomalies and orbs:

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At the end of the tour, we decided to show our guide the photos we captured. As we were explaining what we had experienced – another tourist who we had not interacted with or shown our photos to – told us that his brand new, professional grade camera completely malfunctioned at both sites and wouldn’t allow him to take any pictures. In fact, his camera wouldn’t even turn on at the site where we first encountered the fog.

I had a strange sensation after the tour, not fear, but wonder and amazement at all the questions human beings may never be able to answer – and maybe that’s the point. Those moments in life where we just know – like falling in love, or making a decision that feels either supremely right or wrong – are so powerful, and an indication that there’s something more to us than bodies and brains: a spirit, an energy, a soul. What draws me to the supernatural is the same magnetic force that’s drawing me to someday: that unknown, uncertain, potential for something else, something more. I’m so happy I included this experience on my list of adventures, because it reminded me why I’m doing this and what someday is all about.

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