One of the things I often do when visiting other cities is look to see if they have any Ghost Tours available. I for one believe in ghosts but even for the people that don't believe, Ghost Tours are one of the best ways to learn about the dark history of a city. The kind of history they don't put in the visitor pamphlets located in the hotel lobby.
The Haunted Asheville Ghost Tour meets in an old Masonic Temple which is pretty creepy in its own right. The building is well over 100 years old and just has an erie feel to it.
This building is just beautiful. Apparently the Ghost Tour rents the basement out and that's their home base for the business. The basement is the last stop on the tour and as we were being escorted down their to view some of the artifacts of the era I couldn't help but to reflect on that pivotal scene in the movie from Dusk Til Dawn. Lol.
As someone who has a great respect for history and great architecture of years gone by I had a field day in the Masonic Temple photographing the many details throughout.
On to the tour! Our small group of "ghost hunters" and "history buffs" were taken on a 2 hour stroll through the old historic downtown Asheville and told some amazing stories. Our guide prided himself on telling us the exact history of each location, then telling us the lore, the myth or stories told of the location and left it up to us to decide on what to believe. This is how Ghost Tours should be conducted. I've been on some pretty hoakie tours where the guide was all dressed in black, wearing a weird top hat, no less than one ring per each of this 10 fingers and even carrying a small PA system which blasted AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" as we walked around. Those hoakie tours you can keep! I'll take one like Haunted Asheville any day of the week.
Each location we stopped at I realized I had been there earlier in the day but had no clue the history that the walls of some of these buildings contained. That's why Ghost Tours are high on my list of attractions because you can learn so much about a city.
One of the funnier stories of the night was how in the 1930's several financial investors jumped to their death off of the Jackson Building. Current reports from active firemen that work in the fire station across the street say at times they'll see a figure of a man jumping off the building only to have no evidence of such a thing when they arrive to followup.
Sometime during the revitalization of the downtown area, the City added a landmark to the side walk pin pointing the location of where the town's Stone Worker's Shop stood many decades ago. Little did they know they added what looks to be a bullseye, on the sidewalk, at the base of the Jackson Building where several men took their own lives. Nice planning Asheville.
Methodist Church that seems to be haunted even though I'm told that Methodist don't believe in ghosts. Either way, it makes for a great photo op.
The Central United Methodist Church was built in the late 1880's.
One of the coolest things I think I learned on this Ghost Tour was the fact that the city of Asheville was settled by many people from New York City. The Vanderbilts which built the Biltmore Estate where the main family but many of their affluent friends and family came to Asheville and settled here. One of the thing I missed during my day time walk around town was how heavily influenced this city was by those New York City transplants.
Asheville has a Battery Park, a Wall St., a Broadway, a Lexington Ave as well as its own Flatiron Building. Go figure.
No matter if you're in Asheville NC or traveling to other cities around the globe I'd highly recommend doing a little research and finding a local Ghost Tour to jump in on. As I mentioned some can be hoakie but if you can see past the "show" portion of the tour you'll learn a lot about the cities history.