The hairs on the back of your neck have nothing to do with the perceived drop in temperature.
Your palms get sweaty and you'd swear there's someone standing right behind you, although you know it to be a dark void.
Cincinnati has a dark past, so you can imagine the bevy of eerie tales that contribute to the "Queen City is Haunted" walking tour. My husband, Nick, and I decide to join these "ghost hunters" for a little fright and a load of history. Hosted by American Legacy Tours, who pride themselves on a rich entertwining of dramatic storytelling and cold hard facts, this special excursion runs through October 29.
The tour begins at Cincy Haus, located at 1218 Vine Street in historic Over-The-Rhine, where guides debrief you on the basics of ghost hunting and how to use your "ghost meter" which detects small electromagnetic field fluctuations. You will be asked to sign a waiver, as the tour will wind you through tunnels, steep staircases, and buildings that have seen better days. They also warn you that other tourists' supernatural experiences did more than produce goosebumps. (Whether that's for fun or a literal warning, I couldn't be sure).
Our tour was colored by tales of the cholera epidemic, grave robbery, remorseless murderers, and a Potter's Field. In front of Music Hall, highly regarded as one of the most haunted buildings in America, we were regaled with anecdotes of a female phantom, 200 pounds of children's bones discovered during a renovation in the 1980's, and the testimony of the late great Pops orchestra conductor Erich Kunzel.
The tour circled back to 1313 Vine: a vacant and dilapidated building. Adding another layer of fright to an already spooky structure, electricity was nowhere to be found in this former gambling hall of the 1800's. Our guides explained to us that most of their mystical encounters happened in this building: cell phones ringing with batteries removed and patrons attacked by an alleged poltergeist. In fact, they recently invited a paranormal society to visit, and their experiences were supposedly caught on film.
Thankfully, we explored without incident and we left the spirits to haunt someone else another day. Nick and I decided to end the evening on a lighter note, so we headed to A Tavola on Vine where we calmed our nerves with a glass of wine and local beer, complemented by a salad and blistered brick-oven pizza featuring sage, sausage, and fontina. As far as we know, we went home alone, without any tortured souls in tow.
Length: 90 to 120 minutes
Cost: Advanced ticket purchase $20/person
Age: 13 and up
Accessibility: stairs/tunnels limit handicap access.
Attire: Comfortable clothes/walking shoes
Times: 7:30pm on "final Fridays" of July and August; • 7:30pm, 8:30pm and 9:30pm Fridays and Saturdays from the last weekend of September through October.
Here is the trailer, produced by Ionic Collective:
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