If you ain't afraid of no ghost, October is full of opportunities to mingle with spirits of South Florida's past. As the month leads up to Halloween, ghost and cemetery tours are available for brave souls at some of Miami and Fort Lauderdale's oldest haunts. Some tours even welcome ghost-hunting equipment for those who happen to have a pendulum, dowsing rod, and EMF meter lying around the house.
Happy spirit stalking! Here are South Florida's best ghost and cemetery tours:
Arch Creek Park Ghost Tour and Campfire
Break out the flashlight and follow the trail through Arch Creek Park on this night tour led by Miami Eco Adventures. Expect ghost stories perfectly suited for the woods and a campfire to cap things off (you're welcome to bring your own marshmallows to roast). No one can say for sure if you'll run into any ghosts in the forest, but you'll probably have to contend with more than a few bugs, so bring insect repellent as well.7:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, October 23, and Wednesday, October 30, at Arch Creek Park, 1855 NE 135th St., North Miami Beach; 305-666-5885; miamiecoadventures.com. Admission costs $6 per person.
Deering Estate Historic Ghost Tour
When you hear the words "Native American burial ground" in a TV show or movie, you know shit is about to get weird. But what really goes on at such a locale? Find out during this ghost tour through Charles Deering's 1920s-era estate, which was built partly on sacred tribal burial grounds. Learn about the estate's previous inhabitants and the paranormal activity visitors and staff members claim they've seen on the property. Ghost-hunting equipment is welcome.8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, September 28; Thursday, October 3; Thursday, October 10; Thursday, October 24; Tuesday, November 12; and Wednesday, November 20; at Deering Estate, 16701 SW 72nd Ave., Miami; 305-235-1668; deeringestate.org. Admission costs $35 per person.
DragonFly Expeditions Ghosts and Gravestones Tour
Spend an October evening with the dead at this family-friendly Miami City Cemetery tour. Your guide will take you around the graves of early pioneers ("Mother of Miami" Julia Tuttle and Burdines founder William Burdine are buried here) and share how they lived and died. But this isn't some boring history lesson. Expect tales of Santeria and voodoo rituals, as well as a guide leading the way with an antique oil lantern for that old-timey feel.6:45 to 8 p.m. Thursday, October 24, at Miami City Cemetery, 1800 NE Second Ave., Miami; dragonflyexpeditions.com; 305-774-9019. Admission is free for DragonFly Expeditions members or those who buy the trial pass for $20, via eventbrite.com.
Gold Coast Railroad Museum's Ghost Hunting on the Rails
This tour is more about scary interactions than scary stories. Ghost-hunting team War Party Paranormal leads this walk through the museum grounds in search of the ghosts they say haunt the former naval air station. The cast of characters that roams the property includes Navy personnel who died in an airship fire, an injured soldier, and a former museum worker, according to War Party. Equipment will be provided for participants, as will beverages for those who want to take the edge off.6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, October 5, at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, 12450 SW 152nd St., Miami; 305-253-0063; goldcoastrailroadmuseum.org. Admission costs $30 per person and includes one drink ticket. Museum members receive ten percent off admission.
HistoryMiami's Ghostly, Ghastly, Vice & Crime Coach Tour
If you want to hear all about Miami's celebrity homes, try the Duck Boat tour. But if you prefer juicy and somewhat morbid stories about the city's dark underbelly, hop aboard this bus tour with HistoryMiami historian Dr. Paul George. The tour focuses on ghosts, mobsters, drug smugglers, and kidnappings. Stops include the Miami City Cemetery and the South Beach spot where Gianni Versace was murdered. And for those who were introduced to Miami's seedy side courtesy of Crockett and Tubbs, the tour also visitsMiami Vice
filming locations.1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, October 27, at HistoryMiami Museum North Building, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami, 305-375-1492; historymiami.org. Admission costs $50 for HistoryMiami museum members, $60 for nonmembers, and $25 for children 12 and under. Complimentary pass to HistoryMiami is included with admission.
HistoryMiami's Ghosts of Miami City Cemetery Tour
You likely haven't visited a cemetery late at night. And if you have, you were probably there on a drunken dare or conducting some sort of ritual. We don't judge. We do, however, recommend visiting in an organized tour setting instead. On HistoryMiami's Ghosts of Miami City Cemetery Tour, led by HistoryMiami's Dr. Paul George, guests get to learn about the cemetery's famous and mysterious inhabitants without worrying about pesky trespassing charges.5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, October 25, at Miami City Cemetery, 1800 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-375-1492; historymiami.org; Admission costs $20 for HistoryMiami museum members, $30 for nonmembers, and $10 for children 12 and under. Complimentary pass to HistoryMiami is included with admission.
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Spirits of Stranahan House Halloween Tour
Frank Stranahan passed away in 1929, but sometimes it feels like the Fort Lauderdale pioneer never left — probably because some say he never did. Stranahan has supposedly haunted his former home since taking his life in the New River in front of the property. And, supposedly, he's got company. Some say his wife, Ivy, also roams Fort Lauderdale's oldest home and that you can occasionally smell her perfume. Hear all about these ghost sightings and other paranormal tales during the Historic Stranahan House tour, which features guides in Victorian costumes.7 p.m. Friday, October 25; Thursday, October 31; and Friday, November 1, at the Historic Stranahan House Museum, 335 SE Sixth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-524-4736; stranahanhouse.org. Admission costs $25 per person and guests must call ahead to register.