This is NOT an ordinary ghost tour of haunted history. Instead, this 5-hour guided bus tour provides you the opportunity to conduct a real paranormal investigation INSIDE the most insanely haunted, terrifying cemeteries of Elgin, Illinois . . . in the dead of night!
Feel the corpse-cold finger of fear slither down your spine as the EMF "Ghost Meter" in your hand (provided free for your use during the ghost hunt) suddenly flashes a warning of an invisible presence materializing silently before you. Play back your recorder and listen to the voices of the dead answer your question. Above all, say a prayer after each cemetery we visit--because SOMETHING tried to board the bus to join our ghost hunt tour last year!
MY GOD, WHERE ARE YOU TAKING US?
Route and sites are subject to change as necessary.
- MOUNT HOPE CEMETERY Weird lights are seen here...and once, something even tried to join the tour! PLEASE NOTE: beginning Sept. 20, Mt. Hope Cemetery will not be accessible at night for the Halloween season. However, the ghost hunt tours will investigate outside the cemetery gate, which was the scene of a tragic car accident witnessed by our tour in 2012, and often shows impressive activity.
- BLUFF CITY CEMETERY Enjoy a nerve-shattering stroll in a gothic haunted cemetery, featured in the film A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET Part 5. We have full access to the entire, massive cemetery at night.
- 40-minute break at Colonial Café..
- ELGIN STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL BACK GATE Here the depressed and unwanted were locked in with deranged, evil psychopaths, subjected to inhumane "cures" of shocking brutality. The lost souls and eternally damned alike gather at Hell's Back Gate longing to escape. An exceptionally active site!
- ELGIN STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL PAUPERS' CEMETERY An evil entity rules this long-abandoned cemetery, so dangerous it's been closed to all, both night and day. Because of these dangers WE DO NOT HAVE ACCESS and will not enter, and yet—standing at its tunnel-like entrance is still too disturbing for most.
- CHANNING PARK/CHANNING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Built over a cemetery, this school has an open enrollment policy; both the living and dead attend classes here. We have full access to the park grounds at night.
Oh yes, you will.
What Is Not Included?
- BRING A FLASHLIGHT THAT WORKS AND BUG SPRAY! (An absolute must!)
- Bring CASH to tip your hard-working Ghost Host and to eat while on the rest break.
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Yes, tickets must be purchased in advance. Tours often sell out so we suggest purchasing your tickets early to guarantee your desired tour date and time. You can buy your tickets either online or by phone with a Visa, MasterCard or American Express.
- Are gratuities included?
- Gratuities to your Ghost Host are NOT included in the ticket price. Cash tips are gratefully accepted since your Ghost Host works hard to ensure your evening is enjoyable. Tips are a major part of their compensation...and a wise precaution to ensure you're not left behind in a haunted cemetery.
- Is there an age requirement to take the ghost tour?
- Due to the intense nature of this nighttime ghost hunt tour of Elgin's most haunted cemeteries, we highly recommend ages 16+ only. We do NOT allow anyone between ages 14 to 16 UNLESS accompanied by an adult—and absolutely NO ONE age 13 or below is allowed on the tour, period...so don't even ask.
- What if the weather is bad?
- Please keep in mind that while the bus is climate controlled, we'll be outside in the elements for up to an hour at each cemetery. Therefore, if basic weather conditions (listed below) are not met, the tour will be canceled and we will contact you via email and/or phone before 5:00 PM.
- In what weather conditions will you run the tour?
- If the weather at 7:30 PM is predicted to be above 40 degrees F, winds are less than 12 mph, and any rain or snow is indicated as "steady light" or "sporadic moderate", the tour will be held. Distant thunder and lightning is usually OK (even preferred!). Any night not meeting these weather conditions may be subject to rescheduling. We base our weather-related decisions on the forecasts at weather.com. To check weather conditions for downtown Elgin, visit weather.com, enter zip code 60120, and click on the "Hourly" forecast for 8:00 PM.
- Do I need to bring anything?
- Yes, bring a working flashlight and cash for our break at Colonial Café Restaurant and to tip your tour guide. You may also want to bring any ghost hunting equipment you may have around the house (listed below), nerves of steel, comfy shoes or boots and appropriate clothing for the weather! It gets as cold as the grave out there. AND DON'T FORGET THE FLASHLIGHT AND BUG SPRAY!
- What sort of ghost hunting equipment might I have around the house?
- You'd be surprised! You may want to consider bringing a video and/or still camera, digital and/or tape recorder with microphone, EMF meter or compass to detect electrical fields (NOTE: we'll have EMF meters provided for your free use during the ghost hunt, but you may want to bring your own or buy one from us; $35 new, $25 used). You may also want to bring anything with night vision (goggles, camera, etc), dowsing rods, trigger objects to intrigue the spirits to interact with you, extra batteries, and a notebook with a pen/pencil to write down any spooky weirdness that may happen!
- Where does the tour end?
- The tour ends back at our starting point at the Elgin Public House on east Chicago Ave.
- Is there a restroom on the bus?
- There is no restroom on the bus, but there are restroom facilities at the beginning and ending locations of the tour. In addition, there will be one restroom stop during the tour.
- Is the bus wheelchair and stroller accessible?
- Unfortunately, the bus is not wheelchair accessible.
- Is there assigned seating on the bus?
- Seating is first come, first served. Please arrive early to ensure that your group can sit together.
- Can I leave my belongings on the bus when we get off?
- Our driver stays on board the bus the entire trip to watch over everything to make sure nothing happens while you are having fun. However, he cannot remember which individuals go with which belongings, so please exercise care when deciding what to leave on board. Haunted Hometowns Corp. is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
- Are cameras allowed on the tour?
- Yes! Tour guests have photographed unexplainable anomalies during our cemetery tour, and we encourage them to post it on our Facebook page (Haunted Hometowns) for a chance to win a free walking tour. It would be absolutely worth it to bring a camera!
- How should I dress for the tour?
- We recommend comfortable walking shoes and dressing appropriately for the weather as we will be getting off the bus and spending considerable time in the elements.
- Are tours only available in English?
- Yes, at the moment we can only offer tours in English, but you are welcome to arrange for an interpreter. Please note that if you are accompanied by an interpreter, they will need a full priced ticket.
- Can I bring alcohol and/or food on the tour?
- While food and beverages are accepted on the bus, our contract with the bus company absolutely will NOT allow any alcohol in the vehicle. Violators will be immediately removed from the tour with no refunds.
- Any other rules I need to know?
- No one is allowed to enter any cemetery or park, public or private, after posted hours. The City of Elgin has granted us access to these places so long as we show respect and consideration for these sacred resting places of the dead. Please obey your Ghost Host at all times. We reserve the right to immediately remove any disorderly guest from the tour with no refund ... or maybe we'll just leave you in there for the malevolent entities to chew on.
- Should we eat before or after the ghost hunt tour?
- There will be time to eat during our rest break at Colonial Café halfway into the tour. Optionally, we highly recommend dining beforehand at the Elgin Public House, and/or have drinks and dessert there after the ghost hunt tour. The Elgin Public House is ideal, not only because we dearly depart from their sidewalk, but their food is GREAT!
- What are the hours of the Elgin Public House?
- Sat. 11 am - 11 pm (full menu), 2:00 am for limited menu, Sundays 10 am - 9:pm (full menu), midnight for limited menu.
- Will Diane Ladley personally host my ghost hunt tour?
- Due to uncertain health, "America's Ghost Storyteller" is not always up to hosting...but she'll sure try to give as many tours as she can.
- Why do you not have any small or medium t-shirts?
- Our t-shirts run quite small, so if you normally wear small or medium, purchasing a large would likely fit just fine!
- Are gift certificates available?
- Yes! Gift certificates are available for purchase and make great gifts for family and friends. If you have any questions about purchasing or redeeming gift certificates, please click on the “Contact HauntdHmtwns” link on the left side of this page.
- Can I arrange a private tour?
- Yes! Private tours are available for groups of 30 - 50 but you must make arrangements at least 60 days in advance. If not, we cannot guarantee that your party will be private. A lot of our groups, however, find that it's a lot more fun to join and meet other guests on a public tour. To inquire about booking a private tour, please click on the “Contact HauntdHmtwns” link on the left of this page.
- Non-refundable, can be rescheduled with 24 hours notice.
- Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded. You may reschedule your tickets (subject to availability) only if you do so at least 24 hours in advance.
- Activity may be cancelled due to severe weather.
- Tours will not be held under the following weather conditions: If the weather at departure time is at or below 40 degrees F, winds are greater than 10 mph, light rain. Distant thunder and lightning is OK. We will send you an email and/or call you. If we are forced to cancel the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability).
- Appropriate for ages 16+. Children 13 and under are NOT permitted.
- Due to the intense nature of this late night ghost hunt tour in Elgin's haunted cemeteries, it is strongly recommended for ages 16+ only. Ages 14 to 16 MUST be accompanied by an adult and participate at their own risk. Absolutely NO ONE age 13 or below is allowed. No refunds for guests who choose not to participate at a site due to fear. Haunted Hometowns Corp. is not responsible for trauma.
- All participants must sign a liability waiver before starting the tour.
- Guests MUST sign our Liability Waiver at the door. No one is allowed on the tour without signing; no refund for any guest refusing to sign. Full waiver is posted on our website, but states you won't sue our tours, property owners and/or the City if you fall into an open grave, spill hot ectoplasm on your lap, or otherwise experience injury, harm and/or become a permanent part of the ghost tour.
- Food, beverages, alcohol and smoking are all prohibited in the cemeteries.
- Food and beverages suitable for transportation are allowed on the bus only; they are definitely NOT allowed in the cemeteries. Guests may purchase food at their own expense during our 30 minute rest break at Wendy's Restaurant. No smoking or alcohol is permitted at any time while on the bus or at the haunted sites. Anyone not following this policy may be removed from the tour with no refund.
- Unruly guests may be required to leave the tour.
- The City of Elgin has graciously granted us after-hours access so long as we show respect and consideration for these sacred resting places of the dead. Please obey your Ghost Host at all times. Guests are fully liable for any property damage. We will remove any disorderly guest from the tour with no refund...or maybe we'll just leave you in there for the malevolent entities to chew on.
Accept no imitations! Ours are the ONLY KNOWN GHOST TOURS WHERE YOU ARE THE GHOST HUNTER, providing our guests genuine EMF Ghost Meters to use free of charge during our lantern-lit tours. Shudder as expert storytellers relate each city's carefully researched haunted history, ghostly encounters and ghastly true tales. Thrill as the EMF Ghost Meter suddenly flashes, warning you of a ghost standing right there!
- Our ghost tours are NEVER rigged or staged.
- Any paranormal activity you encounter on your tour is real and occurs often!
- Bring cameras and post your tour photos on our Facebook page for a chance to win a free ghost tour!
"I've been on ghost tours in Gettysburg, New Orleans, Savannah...but oh man, this was the BEST GHOST TOUR I'VE EVER BEEN ON!" Bruce Cline, C.P.I., Little Egypt Ghost Society
"Erin had the BEST TIME OF HER LIFE! She couldn't stop talking about the evening all the way home!" C. Nielsen, tour guest
"Wow! I wasn't sure what to expect and was a bit skeptical. I'm skeptical no more! Diane is a fantastic storyteller! A GREAT EXPERIENCE, AND I RECOMMEND IT HIGHLY!" M. Baumer, tour guest
"SURPRISINGLY, I FOUND THE TOUR EXTREMELY EDUCATIONAL. If you have an appreciation for a good ghost story...this may be a great way to spend an unworldly autumn evening." Marianne Walsh, CHICAGO PARENT MAGAZINE, Oct. 2012