Dark Side of Memphis

Backbeat Tours

Zerve Seller: Backbeat
Activity #2871
  • Join us for a chilling, lantern-lit walk through our own “Egyptian City of the Dead” to hear eerie legends of Memphis’ past.

  • Visit legendary sites where music history was made and learn little-known facts about them from a professional musician and guide.

  • Join us to learn about the fascinating history and colorful characters that shaped Memphis into a rich cultural destination.

  • Join us for the legendary Memphis Mojo Tour to see the best of Memphis, and then enjoy an hour long guided tour of Sun Studio!

  • Tour the King of Rock’n’Roll’s Memphis stomping grounds, from his high school to Sun Studio and the Overton Park Shell.

The Dark Side of Memphis is no longer available. Please see the "Calendar of Other Activities" for the Memphis Walking Ghost Tour and other great alternatives!

You may view a calendar of other activities from Backbeat.
Or for more information, please contact Backbeat.


Before Memphis was the home of the blues, it was a rowdy river town full of rogues and gamblers, crooks and con men, voodoo queens and ladies of the night.  Is it any wonder that more than a few spirits remain?  Explore the darker side of Memphis history as we search for ghosts and apparitions from the distant and not-so-distant past. 
Some of the highlights on this one-hour tour include:
  • The Gayoso House, site of a brutal murder and several paranormal phenomena
  • The bloody Civil War hospital (and former slave market) of Howard’s Row
  • The cobblestone river landing, stalked by a serial killer in the 1970s
  • Barboro Alley – also known as “Deadman’s Alley” – site of a gruesome chapter in Memphis history during the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 
Please note, this tour is entirely outside.  The buildings on this tour are private residences and businesses, so we are not able to go inside them. 

This tour is appropriate for all ages. Join us today to experience the darker side of Memphis history.

The Dark Side Tour is offered Thursday and Sunday nights, March through October (as well as the last Friday of each month, March through October). 
Dark Side Tour unavailable?  Try our Memphis Ghost Walk, a two-hour walk to haunted locations, with an exploration of one of the most haunted locations in the city.   The Memphis Ghost Walk is offered Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights, March through October; Saturdays only in November.

What Is Not Included?

Admission to the haunted locales is not included; the tour is entirely outside. Food and beverages are not included on the tour. Feel free to bring your own!

Meeting Location

Corner of 2nd and Beale Streets, Downtown (Memphis, TN) (Exact meeting location details will be provided immediately upon purchase of tickets.)


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Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
Tickets must be purchased in advance in order to guarantee your spots on the tour. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, book well in advance!
Can children go on the tour?
We love children and this tour is appropriate for all ages. Children between the ages of 7 and 12 have a reduced priced ticket. Children under 7 can come on the tour for free but must secure a ticket.
What happens if it rains?
The tour will run in most moderate weather conditions. In the event of unsafe or severe weather, we would have to cancel the tour, and you would be allowed to reschedule subject to availability or receive credit for a future event.
If the tour is sold out can I get on a waiting list?
Unfortunately we do not have waiting lists for our tours. Check another date and time, or check out our other offered tours!
How early should I arrive to check in before the trip?
Please arrive 10 - 15 minutes early as the tour will be starting right on time.
What places will we visit on the tour?
We will visit many haunted sites in downtown Memphis, including the Orpheum Theater, Cotton Row, the Gayoso House, Howard's Row and Barboro Alley.
Are there any stops during the tour?
We will stop briefly at each site to hear detailed stories about the ghosts and spirits at that place. We will not go inside any of the buildings that we see, however.
Will we go into any of the stops on the tour?
No; we will not be going into any of the places we pass on the tour.
How much walking is involved?
You will be on your feet for the duration of the tour (1 hour), but we will be walking at a leisurely pace. The tour will cover approximately a half mile.
Where does the tour begin?
The tour begins at the Backbeat Tours ticket window at Blues City Cafe (140 Beale St.). The cafe is located on the corner of Beale and Second Streets.
Where does the tour end?
The tour will end approximately a block away from the starting location. Your tour guide will be available to walk with you back to the starting point or give you directions to your car or hotel.
Who will my tour guide be?
You will not be guaranteed to have any particular tour guide on the tour. All of our guides are certified professionals and will provide you with a fun, unforgettable experience!
Should I tip my tour guide?
If you enjoyed the trip, tips are highly appreciated!
What is the difference between your tours?
The Dark Side of Memphis tour and the Walking Ghost Tour both visit Memphis after-dark and explore its haunted history, but differ in the sites they see and the length of the tour. The Historic Memphis tour includes sites relating to the city's founding, early cotton trade, Civil War, and 19th and 20th century events. We also have several sightseeing bus tours: a general Memphis Mojo tour (that includes on Friday and Saturday mornings a guided tour of Sun Studio), an Elvis - based Hound Dog tour that includes a guided tour of Sun Studio, and a tour that visits Graceland with a Platinum Pass included!
Are there any foods or beverages on the tour?
There are no foods or beverages included on the tour; however, there are some beverages available at the meeting location. Water and sodas are $2, and beer is $4.50.
Can I bring my own food and beverages on the tour?
Yes! You can bring any foods, alcoholic, or non-alcoholic beverages you would like on the tour. Keep in mind that alcoholic beverages need to be kept in a closed container in a paper bag.
What should I bring with me on the tour?
We recommend that you bring cash in case you decide to purchase drinks at the meeting location or tip your hard working guide! Other than that, bring any essentials you may need, and most of all - good spirits!
Is the tour wheelchair accessible?
The tour follows Memphis city streets and sidewalks, and should be accessible to most wheelchair users.
Do you offer private group tours?
Yes! If you are interested in chartering our bus or our guides for a private group event, please click on the "Contact Backbeat" link for more information.


Backbeat Tours

Founded in 2006 by owner Bill Patton and a group of Memphis musicians who all share a common passion for Memphis music and history, Backbeat Tours has already gained a reputation for being one of the city’s most unique and entertaining attractions. Experience the music and high-energy fun while you see the sites where modern popular culture began.

Backbeat offers several walking tours and several bus sightseeing tours. Check out all these one-of-a-kind tours today!
Please call Zerve at
1 (800) 979-3370
to get more information or
book this activity now
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