4 Spine-Tingling Ghost Stories from Our Haunted Scavenger Hunts

Watson Adventures Haunted HuntsBOO! OK, got that out of the way. Now that we’ve toughened up your nerves, you’re ready to read some of the ghost stories from our Halloween season’s selection of haunted scavenger hunts in six cities. (People are saying they’re true. We’ve read that they’re true. They are incredibly true.)

The haunted hunts are a great way to celebrate Halloween, whether on our weekend public hunts or as a treat for friends or colleagues any time. Armed only with a flashlight, your team will follow a trail of clues that take you on a spine-tingling tour of places that are said to be haunted. And we’ll tell you the tales of the hauntings, and the rappings, and the moanings, and all that other spooky stuff. Just check out these tales of famous ghosts, starring Aaron Burr, Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, and the most famous victim of the Salem witch trials…

The Room Where It Happens

On the Ghosts of Greenwich Village Scavenger Hunt, you’ll see the posh, romantic restaurant One If By Land, Two If By Sea, which occupies a former stable. Some say Aaron Burr kept carriages here—and that he continues to lurk in the shadows. Or perhaps it’s his daughter Theodosia? Who else could be to blame for making dishes crash, pulling out chairs from under diners and removing women’s earrings?

Blondes Have More Fun…in the Afterlife

A stop on the Haunted Hollywood Scavenger Hunt, the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel has catered to celebs since 1927 (it’s named for T.R., not F.D.R.). Apparently the stars check in…but they don’t check out. Spirits have been known to ring the switchboard from rooms that no longer exist. In the Blossom Room, a little ghost named Caroline still looks for her mom, while an agitated man walks back and forth. On some evenings you can still hear Montgomery Clift practicing his bugle in room 928. Hollywood’s favorite ghost, Marilyn Monroe, has been known to appear in a hallway mirror and by the pool.

The Salem Witch Project

The Haunted Salem Scavenger Hunt takes you to St. Peter’s St. to glimpse a hulking, abandoned jail from the 19th century, where prisoners were held in inhuman conditions—and occasionally executed—until the 1990s. Behind that jail is the Broad St. Cemetery. It was here, during the infamous witch trials of 1692-93, that elderly accused wizard Giles Corey was pressed to death. He had refused to enter a plea, so rocks were piled atop his naked body to force a plea out of him. According to legend, all he said was, “More weight.” After hours of this, his ribs cracked and he began to suffocate. When his tongue protruded from his mouth, Sheriff George Corwin helpfully pushed it back in again with the tip of his cane. Legend has it that sightings of Corey’s ghost increase just before a calamity befalls Salem. Or perhaps he’s just annoyed that Corwin is actually buried here.

The White-as-a-Ghost House

On the Haunted White House Scavenger Hunt you’ll peer over the First Fence to perhaps catch a glimpse of the many presidential poltergeists inside. The building’s Spook in Chief has to be Abe Lincoln. Sometimes he appears at the center window. Teddy Roosevelt encountered Lincoln’s spirit in various rooms and hallways. Mrs. Coolidge and F.D.R.’s valet both saw him, and Eisenhower might have as well. When the Queen of the Netherlands stayed the night, she saw Lincoln and fainted. One of Eleanor Roosevelt’s staffers spotted him pulling on boots in the Lincoln Bedroom. Reagan’s dog Rex refused to enter the Lincoln Bedroom. Truman once heard two knocks on his bedroom door, but when he opened it he found only cold air and the sound of footsteps trailing off. Good luck to whoever is the new occupant come January!